The photography guide to United Kingdom Lake District
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Lake District photography guide

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The Lake District (or Lakeland) is by far the UK's most popular national park and it's easy to see why. The Lake District, is a mountainous region in the northwest corner of England, in the county of Cumbria and home to England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike (978m). Known for its panoramas of craggy hilltops (or fells), mountains, tarns and lakes, this area attracts over 15 million visitors a year and is a real draw for photographers. Unlike many national parks around the world, people live and work within the park and their lifestyles, working practices, homes and traditions are intertwined with the location making it a fascinating place to explore and photograph.

The Lake District is a year round destination. The driest months are April and May and the wettest month is usually December. Go in autumn to catch the spectacular colours of the leaves and fells with mist covered lakes and valleys or in winter to capture the snow capped fells in their majesty. Some of the most striking photos can be captured when the weather is at its moodiest, so weather is never a barrier to photography. 

Most popular Lake District photo spots


A car will be your friend in the Lake District as arriving at most spots by public transport will be challenging and will rarely coincide with the times you want to arrive for best light. 

The M6 skirts up the east side of the Lakes. Leave at exit 36 near Keswick for Central, South East and South West lakes or head up to exit 40 near Penrith for the northern lakes. 

Local roads are well maintained but many are narrow and twisty, so take care and make use of the pull-ins to slow down and pass other cars. There are several steep mountain passes in the area; Hardknott and Wrynose are the most challenging driving conditions with hairpin bends, blind summits and steep inclines so make sure you test your clutch and brakes before setting off and don't attempt them if you are not a confident driver. Others include Honister, Kirkstone, Newlands Hause and Whinlatter. Surface water after heavy rain will make conditions even more dangerous so avoid driving on these roads if very wet. 

Rain should never be a surprise with all these lakes. Go fully prepared for frequent and sudden heavy downpours with a good set of waterproof clothing, wellington (rubber) boots and take an umbrella and some kind of rain cover to protect your camera gear. 

There are few restrictions for photographers in the Lake District so go ahead and shoot freely, but remember that this area of outstanding beauty must be preserved, so follow our Responsible Photography Guidelines and leave no trace as you explore. Close gates behind you, stick to marked paths and respect barriers to reduce your impact on the landscape you are exploring. Don't trample on wild flowers or be tempted to step into crop fields - no shot is worth damaging such beautiful surroundings. Inevitably you will find yourself with other photographers at many of these locations, so respect their time there as much as you value yours and be patient with each other. Alternatively explore this guide to find lesser known spots if you want to have a spot all to yourself. 

Wheelchair access can be challenging in the Lake District as many paths are steep, rocky and uneven. However there are also many accessible spots and these are marked in the guide. 

Top Picks

There are just so many great spots in the Lake District - you will be enchanted by its natural wonders and beauty at every turn. 

For iconic lake views, Buttermere and Rydal Water are a must, especially on a misty autumn morning.

If you're keen to try your first fell walk, Catbells is a good place to start. It's one of the most popular easy fells in the Lake District for beginners, and for good reasons. It's got the feel of a mini mountain with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and Derwentwater (go early to avoid the crowds). 

For an impressive waterfall, head to Aira Force which lies alongside Ullswater in the Lake District National Park. The force falls from beneath a stone arch bridge at the top into a pool 20 m below. If there’s sunlight breaking through the canopy of trees you might be lucky enough to capture a rainbow in the spray at the bottom of the falls.


Explore more photo spots in United Kingdom

If you want to explore beyond Lake District, we have 2028 photo spots and 25 events that you can visit in United Kingdom.

Curated By

Richard Lizzimore Curator
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Jules Renahan Team
Love my family, my dog, travel, photography, PhotoHound, kickboxing, books & coffee - order of preference subject to change! I’m all about words, creating great partnerships with other photography-minded people and organisations and making sure many more photographers discover PhotoHound so we can explore and shoot this planet together but do so responsibly.
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