There is certainly no shortage of magical hotspots in the Lake District National Park, in particularly waterfalls. The excitement you feel will certainly kick in when you hear the roar of the water splashing down and hitting the other body of water below it.
Most Lake District waterfalls have a wide range of accessibility levels, with some being very easy to access, via a short walk and others involving a longer hike of a few hours. However you intend to reach these waterfalls, the rewarding views of these waterfalls are worth taking pictures of to make them look even more majestic.
These 10 best waterfalls in the Lake District are perfect examples of waterfalls that look majestic and worthy of being included in your gallery of images for you to look back on.
Waterfall 1 – Skelwith Force
Even though this is one of the smaller Lake District waterfalls, the volume of water crashing down certainly makes up for its height. Skelwith Force is also a waterfall less known to the public eye, meaning you are likely to view this waterfall with just a few other people there.
Getting to this waterfall is simple enough and only involves parking at Elterwater National Trust Car Park, which isn’t located far up the road from this waterfall. You can then take a level stroll down to Skelwith Force, from where you parked towards Carr Crag Lodge. Finally, you can spot the Trevor Woodburn footbridge, where you can get a good view of the Skelwith Force waterfall.
Waterfall 2 – Sour Milk Gill
The name of this waterfall should not be taken literally; this waterfall does not offer sour milk. However, it does provide a small pool for visitors to quickly dip in, which is recommended in warmer weather. It is a waterfall that was once referred to as a broad stream of snow, thanks to its gleaming white waters, by the wife of William Wordsworth.
This waterfall can be reached from the village of Grasmere, and it takes roughly 30 minutes to get to if you have the correct hiking gear. You can park anywhere in Grasmere; however, to get closer to Sour Milk Gill, you can park at The Lancrigg Hotel and take a slightly shorter walk.
Waterfall 3 – Stanley Ghyll Force
Successful in making it to the top ten ‘Instagrammable Waterfalls’ list in 2022, it is a 60-foot waterfall complete with a gorge made dramatic thanks to its deepness. Unfortunately, it was closed to visitors for a while due to a project to restore the local wildlife around this waterfall. However, it is now open to visitors to watch the waterfall and glimpse Scafell Pike in the distance.
This waterfall is best accessed by parking up in the village of Boot, located a few miles away from Holmrook, and there is a river trail that can be taken through the Stanley Ghyll Woods. The walk through these woods will give you that rainforest feels, thanks to the mosses and rare ferns. This walk will take you approximately 90 minutes to get to the waterfall and is worth it if you wish to brag on Instagram that you made it.
Waterfall 4 – Rydal Falls
Rydal Falls is a waterfall located within the grounds of Rydal Hall. There is a sculpture trail that is taken outside the main hall and passes along a stone bridge, giving a simple yet gorgeous view of both the falls and the grotto situated next to it.
From the Rydal Hall Car Park, you can stroll past the hall towards these falls, exactly how William Wordsworth described in his poem ‘An Evening Walk.’ It is also perfect for a spot of wild swimming, should you need to relax after taking in the historical facts given to you as you roam through Rydal Hall.
If walking to these falls from Rydal village, you will only need to walk 5 minutes to these falls, which is very handy if you are basing yourself in Rydal and need to get out of the house for a short while.
Waterfall 5 – Lodore Falls
Located on the outskirts of Keswick, this waterfall looks theatrical and creates booming sounds as the water hits the plunge pool below. It is located around the back of the Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa, which is an excellent place to stop for a drink after a long walk.
The best place to park should you wish to take a slightly longer walk to this waterfall is Kettlewell Car Park, next to Derwentwater Lake. From there, you can walk downwards towards the hotel and spa and then walk behind it to access the path leading to Lodore Falls.
Once you arrive, sit on an available bench and enjoy the fantastic views of Lodore Falls.
Waterfall 6 – Scale Force
This is the second waterfall near Buttermere village. However, getting there by car from Buttermere is impossible. Once reached, you’ll see how tucked away it is – surely, you think, it is unlikely for other passers-by to come across this waterfall. Unfortunately, this is not the case, but you can still join the enthusiastic crowd. Scale Force is a Lake District waterfall to be shared.
Getting to this waterfall, currently known as the highest waterfall in the Lake District, will require you to ramble along a footpath for slightly more than two miles. This two-mile walk begins behind the Buttermere Court Hotel. After arriving, you will see two platforms, one potentially climbable, but you must be careful here and watch your step.
Waterfall 7 – Moss Force
This waterfall has been described as the most accessible waterfall in the Lake District and is just over a 30-minute drive from Cockermouth, just outside of Buttermere village. Spot the short gravel path located on Newlands Pass. Taking this path will guide you to the head of the waterfall and give you views of Newlands Pass and beyond (if the weather is game).
In wet weather, the waterfall enhances and becomes heavier crashing into the stream below. To admire this view even longer, you could bring your picnic to sample as you sit close to the waterfall’s head, taking in the sound of trickling water on a dry, sunny day.
Waterfall 8 – Rutter Force
This waterfall certainly has the complete package – it is accessed easily and looks incredible at the same time. Also, according to its history, it was a provider of electric power as part of the Great Asby Electric Light and Water Company, formed in 1928. As if this waterfall needed anymore highlights, it also includes a corn mill that functioned from 1579 onwards.
The Rutter Force waterfall is less than a 10-minute drive away from the town of Appleby-in-Westmoreland. If driving alongside the waterfall, you will be treated to a drive through the Hoff Beck River, where the waterfall can be viewed briefly to your right. A footbridge is also available should you stop off for a few minutes and get more scenic views of this waterfall.
Waterfall 9 – The Howk
As well as being a waterfall, The Howk is famous for its limestone gorge, which attracts tourists to visit it yearly. It is a real thundering-style of waterfall, widely hailed as one of the loudest waterfalls in the Lake District. If your ears are sensitive to noise, bringing some noise-cancelling headphones on your walk to this waterfall may be worth it.
Getting to this waterfall is very easy, as it is very near the beautiful village of Caldbeck. Parking at the village’s car park for free, you can proceed to follow signposts to a riverside trail from the village centre, where the thundering of the crashing water will increase in volume, and the river will narrow.
Waterfall 10 – Aira Force
Rounding off our list, we have this romantic Lake District waterfall located next to Ullswater Lake. It is described as the most popular, and it’s easy to see why this is the case. There is a bridge that travels over this waterfall for couples to stop on and admire the view. It is also surrounded by woodland, making this waterfall more discrete from the public eye.
If you travel to this waterfall from Penrith, it will take around 20 minutes to drive from Penrith to the Aira Force Waterfall Car Park. Parking there will be free if you are a National Trust member. However, the fee for parking here is £5 for a maximum of two hours. Whatever you pay for parking here, the waterfall and its beauty will compensate for it.
The amount of Lake District waterfalls that can be found is so extensive. And no matter your age, you’ll find these waterfalls exciting to visit. You will love watching how dramatic they can get, especially if you are a fan of taking slow-motion videos and cinematography.
For an extra special experience, try visiting these Lake District waterfalls in the rain. Visiting rainy waterfalls is easily one of the best things to do in the Lake District.
By Louie Amos
Louie Amos is a freelance travel writer currently operating in the UK. Having achieved his BCJ Diploma in Travel Journalism, he regularly posts articles on his website The Travelling Foodie, as well as Everything UK Travel