Britain’s best lakes: from Buttermere to the Brecon Beacons

    24 August 2020

    As the crowds head for the beaches this holiday, it might be worth seeking out a stretch of water inland. An analysis by Holidu of Google Reviews for over 12,500 British lakes, reveals the ten most admired lakes by visitors. Each of them have distinct qualities that make them well worth a visit – and possibly even a swim…

    1. Ullswater, Lake District

    View of Ullswater, Cumbria

    Top of the list is the ever-popular Ullswater in Cumbria. Beloved by poet William Wordsworth, this is the second largest lake in England and stretches to seven and a half miles long. It is also the third deepest English lake at 250 feet. Ullswater is surrounded by dramatic mountains and rolling hills, making it the perfect destination for hiking, mountain biking and many more outdoor activities including watersports on the lake itself.

    2. Buttermere, Lake District

    Buttermere, Cumbria

    Next up is another lake situated within the Lake District, Buttermere. There are plenty of easy walks surrounding the lake which are suitable for families too. You’ll be sure to stumble upon a number of waterfalls. The best swimming spot for a shallow entry is near Buttermere village itself. And what better way to warm up afterwards than with a pint in one of the two village pubs?

    3. Wast Water, Lake District

    Wast Water, Lake District

    Wast Water lake can be found in the valley of Wasdale and is the deepest lake in England at 258 feet. This stunning location is often dubbed as a photographers dream due to its postcard-perfect views. Scenic walking routes abound and you can even try your hand at some stand up paddle boarding on the lake. The road on the north west of the lake will guide you past plenty of car parks and swimming spots. For those who fancy a dip, the water is cold but crystal clear.

    4. Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia

    Llyn Idwal, Snowdonia

    Next up is the first Welsh location, Llyn Idwal. This is a small lake that lies within Cwm Idwal in the Glyderau mountains of Snowdonia. This small glacial lake boasts surreal beauty which has been likened to the type of view you would expect on Game of Thrones. There is a pebble beach which can be used for sunbathing during the summer months, but don’t expect the mountain lake waters to be warm…

    5. Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons National Park

    Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons

    Llyn y Fan Fach is an epic lake of approximately 10 hectares and lies within the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. It’s a 50 minute hike to get there which means those looking for perfect isolation are bound to find it. The area’s glacial past is proudly on display in the smooth landscape that surrounds it.

    6. Glaslyn, Snowdonia

    Glaslyn, Snowdonia

    Glaslyn lake is the biggest nature reserve owned by Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust in the Cambrian Mountains. The lake sits at the bottom of three peaks and is often a pitstop for hikers en route up or returning down from the Snowdon summit. Take a dip in the water, if you’re brave enough to brace the cold! In the summer months the reserve is covered with white cottongrass and purple heather.

    7. Llyn Brianne, Cambrian Mountains

    Llyn Brianne, Cambrian Mountains

    Llyn Brianne is a manmade lake headwaters of the River Tywi in Wales, on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains, a sparsely populated area of the country. Take a long stroll with your dog or perhaps bring your bike and cycle around the lake’s edge.

    8. Loch Muick, Cairngorms National Park

    Loch Muick, Cairngorms National Park

    Now for the first of two Scottish lakes, or rather lochs, we have Loch Muick. Loch Muick is located 8 miles south west of Ballater in Aberdeenshire and is part of the Balmoral Estate. This loch is located at the foot of Lochnager, one of the finest mountains in Scotland. From red squirrels and deer to salmon and trout, this loch is home to many wildlife species.

    9. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

    Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

    Perhaps the most famous lake in this ranking, in 9th place is the magnificent Loch Lomond. This is Scotland’s biggest lake. At 22.6 miles long, it is split between the lowlands of Central Scotland and the Highlands. It’s a popular spot for water sports lovers and you can easily wile away a day exploring the villages scattered around the lake’s edge.

    10. Lake Vyrnwy, Powys

    Gothic straining tower on Lake Vyrnwy reservoir.

    Rounding up the ranking today is the wonderful Lake Vyrnwy, located in Powys, Wales. This lake is one of Wales’ hidden gems, nestled in the remote and scenic Berwyn Mountains. Here you will find waterfalls, green countryside and many walks which are suitable for all ages and abilities. Lake Vyrnwy can be easily reached by car from the likes of Liverpool and Manchester and is the perfect place to begin your exploration of the Welsh mountains.