Wastwater and the Lake District West Coast - explore and visit

Wastwater, England's deepest lake, lies in Wasdale to the west of the National Park. The view from the south-western end of the lake near the youth hostel was voted Britain’s Favourite View in 2007 by television viewers. The view takes in the lake with the mountains of Yewbarrow, Great Gable and Lingmell behind. It forms the basis for the National Park's logo. Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, lies at the top of Lingmell.

Wasdale Head

This village lies at the very north eastern end of the lake and has a pub, a few houses and the tiny church of St Olaf. The road there is narrow and single-track so drive carefully.

Nether Wasdale

The tiny village of Nether Wasdale is to the west of the lake and has two pubs.

Around Eskdale

The beautiful Eskdale valley includes villages like Santon Bridge and Boot. There's also the Ravenglass and Eskdale steam railway. There are several pubs and a few local shops.


On the west coast of Cumbria, Ravenglass is the only coastal town in the National Park. There is a shingle beach and fishermen’s cottages looking out over the estuary.

Ennerdale Water

Ennerdale Water is the only lake which does not have a road running along its full length.

Useful links

Book attractions online

You can book the attractions below online. Any commission we receive from your booking will go towards keeping this landscape special for future generations.

Coast Aquarium

Clown fish at Coast Aquarium

In Maryport, watch native and tropical fish and stroke the rays.

More on Coast Aquarium and book

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle

Visit this beautiful castle, home to the World Owl Centre, 800 years of history and the odd ghost.

More on Muncaster Castle and book

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Journey through spectacular landscape to the foot of England's highest mountains.

More on the Railway and book

The Rum Story

The Rum Story

Learn about the 'rum' tales of pirates and smugglers.

More on The Rum Story and book

SwimSafe code

Be Seen, have support

Swimmers may be able to see boaters but boaters may not be able to see swimmers!

  • Have a safety boat or canoe support displaying a white and blue Alpha flag Blue and white Alpha flag, warning of divers or swimmers in the water.
  • Wear a bright swim cap and tow a bright float.
  • Never swim alone.

Take a look at the photos below. If you were steering a boat, which swimmer is easier to spot?

Showing how much easier a swimmer is to spot when next to a support boat

Be Water wise

Exposure to cool water can rapidly lead to hypothermia

  • Wear a wetsuit to keep you warmer and more buoyant.
  • Enter the water slowly to get used to it.
  • Check the depth and the water bed by walking in carefully.
  • Don't jump in.

Be Informed

Other people use the lakes too! Windermere, Derwentwater, Coniston Water and Ullswater are busy with boats. People on boats may struggle to see swimmers. A collision with any boat can be fatal.

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Be Mindful

  • Choose one of the quieter lakes that do not allow boats.
  • Avoid mooring areas, marinas and jetties used by boats, ferry routes and boating channels.
  • Be aware boaters may be in any area of the lake at any time of day or night.
  • Only swim when weather conditions are suitable - remember they can change quickly.

Print out a handy guide

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Need holiday accommodation?

Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

We've cosy holiday cottages, quirky boutique hotels, friendly bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels!

Our commission goes towards keeping the National Park special: Browse and book accommodation online here