6 beautiful waterfalls in the Lake District

PUBLISHED: 17:09 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:48 24 July 2020

Rainbow Light at Aira Force by Stephen Bell

Rainbow Light at Aira Force by Stephen Bell


There are many forces of nature to witness in the Lake District, we pick six of our favourite waterfalls.

Aira Force by Chris NewmanAira Force by Chris Newman

Aira Force

near Ullswater

Aira Beck is tributary of Ullswater and the most dramatic point of course is undoubtedly the 60 ft drop over the rocks at Aira Force. The site is run by the National Trust and you can view the waterfall from the bottom or there is a small bridge from which you can witness the cascade from above.

Lodore Falls, Keswick by Chris EvansLodore Falls, Keswick by Chris Evans

Lodore Falls

near Keswick

A beck from from Watendlath Tarn flows north and along the way cascades down 100 ft in the area behind the Lodore Falls Hotel on the sourthern tip of Derwentwater. Parking at the hotel is for guests only, so the majority of people park a mile north at the National Trust Kettlewell Car Park and walk through the woodland, the falls are within private grounds and an honesty box is provided.

The Grot and Waterfall, Rydal Hall by Deborah FordThe Grot and Waterfall, Rydal Hall by Deborah Ford

Rydal Falls

near Ambleside

The Grot, a small viewing hut at the foot of Rydal Falls is one of the most famous landmarks in the Lakes, the hut has been here since 1668 and is thought be Britain’s first ever ‘viewing station’ that has inspired poets and artists for centuries. Sadly the building is no longer open to the public but you can still view the falls which are to the north of Rydal Hall in Ambleside, a must see when exploring the wider area of Rydal.

Scale Force Waterfall, Buttermere by Antony RowlandsScale Force Waterfall, Buttermere by Antony Rowlands

Scale Force

near Buttermere

There a bit of a debate about the actual height of Scale Force, many people believe it to be 170 ft, making the highest in the Lake District. You can see Scale Force while exploring the area around Buttermere and Crummock Water, you can try this walk from nearby Buttermere.

Skelwith Force by Chris EvansSkelwith Force by Chris Evans

Skelwith Force

nr Elterwater

At just 16 ft, Skelwith Force may not be the highest of falls within the lakes, but that does not mean it isn’t as dramatic as some of the other waterfalls mentioned. In this case, the name force is particularly descriptive here as the River Brathay and Langdale Beck combine to create a dramatic, fast moving flow that is especially powerful after rainfall. The falls are just a short distance from the Skelwith Bridge Hotel, and you can also visit Elterwater and Tarn Hows nearby.

Stock Ghyll by Antony RowlandsStock Ghyll by Antony Rowlands

Stock Ghyll Force 

near Ambleside

Another waterfall near Ambleside is the 70 foot waterfall at Stock Ghyll Force, it is part of Stock Ghyll which is a tributary of the River Rothay, draining eventually into Windermere. The waterfall is a short walk away from the centre of Ambleside and can be viewed safely from a railed viewpoint.


There are many other waterfalls within the Lake District, and professional photographer Mark Gilligan shares reveals his favourite waterfalls as well as some handy tips for capturing them on camera.


We would love to see your photos of waterfalls across the Lake District, all the images featured in this article were uploaded to our reader photo gallery.


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