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21 Hidden Gems to explore in the Lake District to escape the crowds

Updated: Jan 2

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track locations scattered across the Lake District.

While the Lake District is renowned for its iconic landmarks like Windermere and Scafell Pike, this guide delves beyond the beaten path to reveal a collection of hidden gems that will leave you spellbound.

These hidden gems range from secret waterfalls located in hidden gorges to secluded wild swimming spots to enjoy a peaceful dip.

In this article, we share 21 of the best hidden gems in the Lake District which you need to add to your Lake District bucket list this year!

Image of Thirlmere Infinity Pool in the Lake District

Skelwith Force is a stunning spot in the Lake District, with nature showing off its beauty and power. Visitors can enjoy a selection of natural waterfalls with some amazing scenery around it, and is easily accessible from the footpath. It's family friendly and we definitely recommend a visit to those in the area.

Stanley Ghyll Force is a 60ft striking waterfall and can be reached by a steep path along a ravine. As it is mostly untouched by human hands, it feels like you're completely away from the noise of the city and connected with nature.

Image of Stanley Ghyll Force in the Lake District

Ritson's Force is a gorgeous hidden gem tucked up out of the way at the North end of Wastwater. Visitors can enjoy lovely scenery and great photo opportunities which are available to aspiring photographers. You can also enjoy a quick dip if the water isn't freezing!

Scale Force is a breathtaking place to visit in the Lake District; with it being the highest single drop waterfall of 20ft hidden away in a deep gorge! You will be greeted by flooded paths and muddy terrain but it is definitely worth the walk too!

Image of Scale Force in the Lake District

Moss Force is a beautiful waterfall only a short walk from the car park at Newlands Hause. Be careful though as the path is usually wet/rocky/uneven so waterproof footwear is required. You can have the luxury choice of either walking up to the falls or continue up the hill and walk over the top for magnificent views!

Even though we wouldn't really consider Aira Force a hidden gem anymore due to the increase in popularity, it's still worth the visit if you're visiting the Lake District! There are many pathways which take you up and around the falls; offering great views of the water and providing some great photo opportunities!

A lovely set of cascading waterfalls on the path from Easdale towards Easdale Tarn. This small river cascades gently down the hills, so from a waterfall POV it may not be as impressive as the others listed in this article. However there's a sublime beauty to the water, the falls, the countryside and the stillness of the scene. You can also have a quick dip if the water isn't too freezing!

Image of Sour Milk Gill Falls in the Lake District

A gorgeous little hidden waterfall which is recommend to visit after a lot of rainfall. There's also a great pool at the bottom of Rutter Force for those who fancy a mild dip. Rutter Force really is a beautiful spot which not many people know about, however in our opinion it's best for a quick visit after a heavy amount of rainfall. The waterfall can range from a ranging roaring torrent to even a tiny trickle!

The hike to Holme Force can be quite challenging for some individuals, however it is definitely worth it. It is a stunning waterfall and is still fairly unknown to the majority of people so you'll more than likely have the whole place to yourself.

Image of Holme Force in the Lake District

Standing at the head of Great Langdale; the Whorneyside Force is a stunning hidden gem of a waterfall which is waiting for you to jump and swim in! It's situated in a secluded and dramatic setting in the shadow of Crinkle Crag, and is every wild swimmers dream.

Enjoy one of the quietest and peaceful walks in the Lake District, with some amazing waterfalls and pools (the pools are shallow too so perfect for the younger ones!). The water is so clear, and you'll be awarded with some stunning views across the fields more notably Scafell Pike.

Galleny Force is an amazing waterfall to visit, with pools deep enough to swim in. The water is crystal clear, and it is perfect swimming conditions for the young kids too. It may be a bit difficult to get too, but it is totally worth it!

Image of Galleny Force Waterfall in the Lake District

The infinity pool at Buttermere is stunning. The water is glisteningly clear and took on a light green hue when exposed to the sun. Behind it is a decent-sized waterfall that would be a great place to take a dip even without the view.

14) Buckstones Jump

A moderately steep 30-45 minute walk up through fields with sheep will take you to this stunning little wild swimming spot. It's deep enough to dive in and majority of the time you will be there by yourself! It's great for those wanting to try their first wild swim.

15) Thirlmere Infinity Pool

The Thirlmere Infinity Pool is on par with the Buttermere Infinity Pool, but which one is better? Out of the two, Thirlmere is our favourite pool to wild swim, and it's no surprise why - have you seen those views?

Image of Thirlmere Infinity Pool in the Lake District

More Hidden Gems in the Lake District

16) Rydal Cave

Carved out by nature, this ancient cavern invites intrepid visitors to venture inside and marvel at its rocky formations and eerie atmosphere. As you wander through its winding passages, you'll be surrounded by the echoes of the past, creating an otherworldly experience.

Image of Rydal Cave in the Lake District

17) Dacre Castle

This lesser-known mediaeval castle features sturdy stone walls, a magnificent tower, and a courtyard that reflects its storied history. As you explore the castle's atmospheric ruins, you can imagine the tales of knights, nobles, and battles that once unfolded within its walls.

18) Ashness Bridge

Framed by stunning vistas of Derwentwater and Skiddaw, the bridge offers a postcard-perfect scene that captivates visitors' imaginations. Its rustic charm and scenic backdrop make it a popular spot for photographers, nature lovers, and those seeking a moment of tranquillity amidst the region's captivating landscapes.

Image of Ashness Bridge in the Lake District

19) Cathedral Cave

As you enter the cave's vast chambers, you'll be greeted by towering rock formations and an ethereal atmosphere. The cave's acoustics lend themselves to mesmerising echoes, earning it the name "Cathedral" for its resemblance to a grand place of worship.

20) Mirehouse & Gardens

Set against the backdrop of the surrounding fells, the house showcases elegant architecture and a captivating collection of artefacts, inviting visitors to step back in time. As you wander through the well-tended gardens, you'll discover peaceful woodland walks, vibrant flower displays, and stunning views over the lake.

21) Honister Pass

This iconic route traverses the rugged landscape, offering an exhilarating journey through towering peaks, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking vistas. As you navigate the winding road, you'll be treated to panoramic views of the surrounding fells, with the majestic Honister Crag commanding attention.

Image of Honister Pass in the Lake District

We hoped you enjoyed discovering the local finds and less known places which are scattered across the Lake District. We are confident that visiting some of these hidden gems will make your Lake District adventure even more memorable!

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