The Lake District may be best known for its lakes but at Lakeland Cottage Company, we think it would be a shame to visit without seeking out some of the region’s most beautiful waterfalls. From tumbling streams to cascading falls, you’ll find pretty waterfalls throughout the Lake District. Take a look at 10 of our favourites along with a selection of Lake District Holiday Cottages where you can stay nearby.
#01 Aira Force
The beautiful Aira Force is one of the best-loved and most visited waterfalls in the Lake District. Rainwater from the fells gather at Aira Beck then cascade down an impressive 65-foot drop to the waters below. There’s lots to see and do in the surrounding area too, including the Aira Force Tree Trail where you may well spot a rare red squirrel.
There’s a car park at Aira Force with an information kiosk and tearoom but we recommend making the visit even more special by catching an Ullswater Steamer from Glenridding across the lake to this lovely waterfall.
Where to stay: Bank Barn - Wreay is a beautiful family-friendly barn conversion on the edge of Ullswater.
#02 Tom Gill Falls
Tom Gill is a tumbling stream that you can walk along to reach Tarn Hows. Suitable footwear is essential as the path is fairly steep and can be slippery in places but along the way, you’ll get some great views of a couple of very pretty waterfalls.
Parking is available at the Glen Mary Bridge car park which is next to Tom Gill.
Where to stay: The Dairy is a cosy cottage for two that’s close to Coniston - just right for a romantic getaway to the Lakes.
#03 Taylor Gill Force
Taylor Gill Force is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Lake District, with water tumbling majestically down a drop of 140 feet into the Seathwaite Valley below. If you park in Seathwaite village, there’s a walk of around a mile from here to reach Taylor Gill Force. There’s some climbing involved along the way but reaching this beautiful Lake District waterfall makes the effort well worth it.
Where to stay: Garth Cottage is a spacious two-bedroom garden apartment located between Lake Bassenthwaite and Derwentwater.
#04 Stanley Ghyll Force
The 60-foot Stanley Ghyll Force drops down through a narrow gorge, and the foliage and flowers that grow on the surrounding rocky ledges, make this pretty waterfall look rather magical.
To make things extra special, we recommend travelling on the heritage Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway to Dalegarth Rail Station then walking through the lush green woodland to reach Stanley Ghyll Force. There are some bridges along the way where you can capture a great photo of the waterfall and you can call in at the nearby village of Boot for refreshments after your visit.
Where to stay: Sun Cottage - the private terrace at this luxury holiday home for four has stunning views over Lake Coniston.
#05 Colwith Force
This pretty waterfall has an enchanting woodland setting; quite uniquely its water tumbles down several stages before splitting into two separate drops. You’ll find Colwith Force just off the main Ambleside to Coniston road and parking is available nearby. Alternatively, you can walk along the Cumbria Way footpath from Skelwith Bridge and enjoy views of Elterwater Lake along the way.
Where to stay: Heathwaite Cottage is a characterful 2-bedroom cottage on a peaceful farm that’s close to Coniston village.
#06 Rutter Force
Rutter Force is one of the Lake District’s hidden gems where you can take a peaceful stroll along the river and spot a variety of wildlife including the local red squirrels. A footbridge looks out over the waterfall, perfect for an Instagram-worthy photo.
Parking is very limited at Rutter Force but you can park and walk from the characterful (and dog-friendly) New Inn located in nearby Hoff then call in for refreshments on your return.
Where to stay: Rayne Cottage has an elevated spot in the Lune Valley with Appleby, Hoff, Kendal and Kirby Stephen nearby.
#07 Rydal Falls
One of the most popular spots to visit in the Lake District, Rydal Falls was a favourite with William Wordsworth and is just a short stroll from Rydal Mount - the poet’s historic family home and gardens.
There’s lots to see and do at Rydal Mount but make sure you seek out ‘The Grot’ at the base of the waterfall - this small stone hut was built in 1668 and was Britain’s first purpose-built viewing station.
Where to stay: Gooseyfoot has a prime spot in Hawkshead - a pretty Lake District village with strong links to William Wordsworth.
#08 Scale Force Waterfall
Scale Force is tucked away in a deep tree-lined gorge that’s around a 2.5-mile walk from the nearest car parks at Lake Buttermere. At 170 feet, it’s the highest waterfall in the Lake District so it’s well worth seeking out during your visit. On your return to Buttermere, we recommend calling at The Fish Inn - one of the oldest pubs in the Lake District and a good choice for a hearty home-cooked meal.
Where to stay: Stile End Cottage is a four-bedroom holiday home that’s surrounded by stunning scenery at the edge of Whinletter Forest Park.
#09 Stock Ghyll Force
A visit to Stock Ghyll Force is a popular choice with families as it’s a short and easy-going walk from the centre of Ambleside. There are special viewpoints for pushchair/wheelchair users, so this is also one of the Lake District’s most easily accessible waterfalls. There are two separate flows of water that meet to form a lovely V shape. Keep an eye out for an original Victorian turnstile where visitors would once have paid to see this natural wonder.
Where to stay: The Pavilion at Applethwaite Hall is a family-friendly 2-bedroom apartment near Windemere and just a short drive from Ambleside.
#10 Skelwith Force
Skelwith Force may be one of the smallest waterfalls in the Lake District but that doesn’t make it any less dramatic (or indeed pretty). The 16ft falls here are created by the combined waters of the River Brathay and Langdale Beck meeting and cascading over the Skelwith Force rocks. It’s particularly good after a heavy downpour so a great choice for a rainy day - just don’t forget your waterproofs!
Where to stay: Carr Crag Cottage has a prime spot near Skelwith Bridge overlooking the craggy mountain peaks of the Great Langdale Valley.
Ready to go exploring?
That’s our list of 10 pretty waterfalls and we hope you’ve been inspired to seek some of them out on your next short break or holiday to the Lake District. For even more holiday ideas, take a look at the guide to the National Trust in the Lake District and browse our range of family-friendly, romantic and dog-friendly Lake District holiday cottages