Rory Calland
Visit Cumbria, Wastwater

Here’s one to tick off – Wastwater is the deepest lake in England at 258 feet and one of the most dramatic spots in the country to go wild swimming. This National Trust owned lake is settled in the wide bowl of Wasdale valley, on one side colossal scree slopes provide a looming backboard, while on the other the valley has a spareness to it. That feeling of openness and seclusion makes the lake feel more like a mountain tarn, just on a humbling scale. This is one of those lakes where wading into its cold and clear waters really revitalises and purges the body.

This glacial lake feels expansive in every direction, the fathoms of water below, the volcanic rock that stretches up to 2000 feet and the dale stretching out ahead. At some point it seems there was actually a secret gnome garden right at the depths of the lake, how it got there is anyone’s guess. There’s no way of getting deep enough to check – there is however a way of going to another extreme as the Wasdale Valley features the start of a track leading to the summit of England’s loftiest peak, Scafell Pike. Great Gable and Lingmell are also accessible from here.

The road along the northwest shore of Wastwater has plenty of places to park, so it’s quite easy to just rock up here in a car and choose your spot. Right at the northernmost end of the lake is a car park and campsite too – this is a stunning place to watch the stars. If you were looking to make a day and a night of it you could set up shop here, take the trek to the summit of Scafell Pike, then return to camp for a night swim and a toasty lakeside fire.

OverbeckWasdaleCA20 1EX View map
Visit Now

What's on near Wastwater

Plunge with Pride
ActivityKendal and Sedbergh, Cumbria
Kendal Pride: Plunge with Pride

Discover how wild swimming in natural waters can reinvigorate you and leave you set up for the day by taking the plunge this Kendal Pride.

free entry

Where to go near Wastwater

Muncaster Castle

The Muncaster Castle estate takes in a haunted castle, bluebell woods, Hawk and Owl Centre and more.

Florence Arts Centre

Florence Mine has been transformed into a centre for cultural activity, offering workshops, gallery space, cinema and music venue.

The Merzbarn today, courtesy Littoral Arts Trust
Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbarn

Tucked away in a remote corner of the Lake District is Kurt Schwitter’s Merzbarn, an artistic epitaph to the avant garde ‘godfather of modern art’.

The Ruskin Museum

The Ruskin Museum tells the story of Coniston in Cumbria – a place of copper mines and slate quarries, Swallows & Amazons country where Beatrix Potter owned farms and Stone Age fell walkers once dwelled.

Lowes Court Gallery

Lowes Court Gallery in Egremont aims to showcase the quality of traditional and contemporary Cumbrian craft, led by a membership of artists.

Allan Bank, Grasmere, image courtesy of Visit Cumbria
Allan Bank

Once home to William Wordsworth, this historic villa now combines a small, informal art gallery with a giant indoor mural space.

TheBeacon, courtesy of venue
The Beacon

The Beacon in Whitehaven provides a well-used museum service for local families and visitors, drawing on rich collections – fine and decorative arts, social history, archaeology and natural sciences.

LawsonParkFarm, courtesy of venue
Bed & Breakfast
Lawson Park Farm Cottage

Award-winning self-catering holiday accommodation that is not only beautiful but also supports the pioneering work of Grizedale Arts.

Culture Guides