Photography Locations in the Southern Lake District

The southern region of the Lake District National Park includes two of its most famous lakes. Windermere is England’s largest lake while Coniston Water will be forever synonymous with speed record holder Donald Campbell.

The pine trees at Tarn Hows in the southern Lake District

The Southern Lake District

The southern Lake District is the most visited region in the national park. It is best known for England’s largest lake and the Lake District’s largest town, both called ‘Windermere’.

Given its popularity it’s no surprise that it contains some of the finest photography locations in the Lake District.

Waterhead

Holme Crag near Waterhead on Windermere in the southern Lake District
Holme Crag near Waterhead on Windermere in the southern Lake District

Located just south of the busy town of Ambleside, Waterhead is at the northern end of Windermere lake.

From Borrans Park there are wonderful views of the lake. A still day offers great opportunities to photograph the boats that are moored there.

However, when the wind is up you are probably better heading south to Holme Crag. From here you can shoot the view across the lake towards the Coniston fells.

Parking: Car park at Waterhead

Walking: Borrans Park – 200m on tarmac paths, mobility scooter friendly. Holme Crag – 1km on tarmac and grassy paths

View the location map.

Millerground

Millerground jetting on Windermere in the southern Lake District
The jetty at Millerground on Windermere in the southern Lake District

Millerground lies directly between Windermere town and Windermere lake.

Here there are a number of jetties to photograph and who doesn’t love a jetty shot?

The other side of the lake can be a little messy. Therefore it’s best to shoot here at sunset when there is interest in the sky or in the morning when there is mist sitting in the lake.

Parking: Lay-by on the A592

Walking: 250m on rough paths

View the location map.

High Dam

High Dam near Finsthwaite in the southern Lake District
High Dam near Finsthwaite in the southern Lake District

A comparatively little known location High Dam near Finsthwaite is a hidden gem.

This small reservoir surrounded by trees offers countless photographic opportunities particularly when conditions are poor. This makes it ideal for a spot of black and white photography.

The island on western edge makes for a wonderful subject and misty conditions can help to isolate it from the background.

Parking: Car park at High Dam

Walking: 1km on rough paths, up hill!

View the location map.

Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows near Hawkshead in the southern Lake District
Tarn Hows near Hawkshead in the southern Lake District

Extremely popular with visitors to the Lake District Tarn Hows is another location with infinite possibilities.

The 1.5 mile path that runs around the edge of the tarn is a joy to explore with a camera. Be warned though, Tarn Hows can get very busy so it’s best to arrive early.

Again this is another location that works when the light is not at its best.

Parking: National Trust car park at Tarn Hows

Walking: 200m on good paths, mostly mobility scooter friendly but it is hilly in places to make sure you are fully charged! If you’ve left yours at home you can still hire one from the National Trust.

View the location map.

Kelly Hall Tarn

Kelly Hall Tarn new Torver in the southern Lake District
Kelly Hall Tarn near Torver in the southern Lake District

One of my favourite locations in the whole of the Lake District Kelly Hall Tarn is just a few hundred metres from the Land Rover dealership near Torver.

There are wonderful views across the tarn towards the Old Man of Coniston which looks particularly fine in the winter when there is snow on the upper slopes.

My favourite composition involves shooting south west across the tarn towards the lone tree. Therefore this is probably a sunset location.

Parking: The car park opposite Lakeland Land Rover

Walking: 200m on rough paths

View the location map.

Coniston Water

Brown How on Coniston Water in the southern Lake District
Brown How on Coniston Water in the southern Lake District

Many of us will forever associate Coniston Water with the crash that killed Donald Campbell as he attempted to reclaim the water speed record in 1967.

There are many locations from which to photograph Coniston Water but my favourite has to be the beach at Brown How.

From here you get wonderful views looking north towards the village of Coniston.

Parking: Lay-by on the A5048

Walking: <100m on the roadside, mobility scooter friendly but potentially not necessary

View the location map.


The southern Lake District has many wonderful photography locations. If I have missed out your favourite why not let me know by leaving a comment below.

35 thoughts on “Photography Locations in the Southern Lake District”

  1. Thank you for your comments regarding access to these sites for those with mobility problems. I look forward to visiting these sites.

    1. It is a pleasure Deryck. A lot of people that follow me on YouTube have mobility issues so it is something that I have been thinking a lot about recently. I am currently researching locations in the Lake District that are mobility scooter friendly and looking for sites across the UK where I can run workshops for people who use them.

  2. Well done Chris what a brilliant idea to make a Lake District Photographic location guide what you have done is great and I look forward to seeing and reading the other four areas as they become available, I never leave comments as a rule but just had to this time, love your vlogs and keep up the good work.

    1. Hi David, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I know that I and my fellow YouTube photographers really appreciate it when people take the time to give feedback like this. Regarding the location guide I am progressing well with the northern and eastern regions but the central and western areas need a bit of work. But that is the whole point I suppose, encouraging me to visit locations that I haven’t been to in a while.

  3. Hi
    Thanks for taking the time to produce and share. Also the mobility scooter suitability info is very useful indeed.
    Mike

    1. It’s a pleasure Mike – While I am writing the location guide I am also researching a separate article on locations with easy access so keep an eye out for that. We are also exploring the potential for running a workshop specifically for people who use a mobility scooter. It’s early days yet but we have a couple of interesting options.

  4. Thankyou for this guide and how informative it is. I really enjoy your videos and their content. Always enjoyable and you do them in a down to earth manner. Which makes a nice change to the self important way that others make their films.

    1. Hi Alex, glad that you been enjoying the videos and like the guide. It has been fun putting it together, deciding which locations make it and which ones don’t. I still have one image that I need to get for the eastern region and one for the northern region so keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks.

  5. Hey Chris, I watched the vlog yesterday and visited this blog this morning. What a great idea to publish a guide like this and I do hope that it eventually propels you to page one on a Google search. You have an excellent start here and I look forward to the rest of the series. Any chance you can finish the guide by the time I visit the Lake District next week? If not, I’ll settle for good weather!😊

    One thing that I will share with you is regarding location scouting. I’m not sure what other people do, but when I am scouting locations from my desktop, I use Google Maps and Google Earth quite a bit. The geek that I am, I try to plot a precise route to a precise viewpoint which helps me to save time once I am on location. For example, when I looked for “High Dam” on Google, it doesn’t even appear, but eventually I found it. Using the satellite view I still cannot find the parking area that you referenced on your map. I’m sure that it exists, but the view on Google is from 2009 so it is likely out of date. I recently started using a location sharing map which I think could be useful to anyone making a guide like yours. It allows you to easily share a location with pinpoint accuracy. It’s called what3words and they have a website map as well as free mobile apps for Apple and Android. I think it is absolutely brilliant and if you aren’t already aware of it, you should check it out. Basically they have divided the entire world into 3m x 3m grids with each square assigned a unique, random, three word designation. It has advantages over other traditional maps in that you can save and share locations very easily and much more precisely. In case anyone wants to try it for the six locations in your guide, I plotted the locations to the best of my ability below. Cheers, Jeff

    Waterhead→ ///passports.prefix.kinder

    Millerground→ ///initial.totally.engrossed

    High Dam→ ///replied.masks.pylons

    Tarn Hows→ ///mixed.covertly.dude

    Kelly Hall Tarn→ ///twice.cubed.widely

    Coniston Water → ///ambition.wildfires.immunity

    1. Thanks Jeff, if everything goes to plan I should publish the location guide for the eastern Lake District before you come up and as you are staying in Penrith that will be the one that you want!

      Thanks for the tip on what3words. I have downloaded the app and it looks brilliant. I will update the location guide with precise locations when I get a spare 5 minutes.

      Usually my planning goes something like this:
      1. scour the OS map for potential locations, usually around a body of water
      2. check the position of the sun using the Photographer’s Ephemeris
      3. search Instagram for any shoots from that location

      Unfortunately I usually do that at 23:45 on a Friday night when I need to be up at 04:00 for a shoot the following morning!

      1. I will look forward to the Eastern region guide, now how about the weather?

        Glad you looked at what3words app. I think it is perfect for landscape photographers–if you want to share all your secret locations that is!

        I use TPE as well. Have not tried the 3D version have you?

        23:45 the night before is preferable to scouting while on location–which I have done many times!

  6. I tried to mark at the junction off the road to the car park . As I recall it is signed there. But it wasn’t the actual car park I agree. At least everyone will have lots more info now. I have walked this road a few times and have been asked by passing motorists before as to where the car park is – so clearly not a straight forward one to find.

  7. Cheers for this guide Chris, brilliant idea and really well executed . Hope it drives the desired traffic to your website.

    1. Thanks Martin, I hope the next instalments will be just as good. The eastern and northern regions are coming along nicely. I am struggling a bit with the central and western. It’s early days yet to see if it will drive traffic to my website but I find stuff like this fascinating and am keen to know how it all works.

  8. This is great Chris, well done and well written in the short time. Looking forward to the rest of the guides, hope it works to drive you up the lake district rankings. Having watched yours and James videos over the last year I’ve often wanted to be able to visit these locations at some point and this works a treat.

    My usual process for scouting over here involves google earth, TPE or Photopills. Where we live maps are not available! I did google myself as an experiment, my site comes a little higher but I am in very much a niche market for Azerbaijan:)

    All the best.

    1. Hi Alan, obviously being in the UK we are very spoiled with Ordnance Survey maps. I usually spend an hour or so pouring over them on a Friday night trying to figure out where I want to go and get rained on in the morning! 🙂

  9. Nicely done Chris, invaluable to those who don’t know the area and want to make the most of their time there. Always good to have someone who knows good parking too!
    Really looking forward to further instalments. Take care, Cat

    1. Thanks Cat – 90% of my time scouting is looking for free parking. These days however I have had to bit the bullet and join the National Trust. See you on Saturday.

  10. Hi Chris.

    Picked this up from your You Tube content. Great to have someone like yourself to do some scouting for those of us not as well placed for access to the lakes as you are. I hope Button’s plot doesn’t come to fruition before you get the other areas covered (on a purely selfish note).

    Loving your You Tube content
    Many thanks to you.

    1. Hi David, thanks for taking the time to check out my location guide. I am just working on the location guide for the eastern Lake District which should be ready by the weekend. Button’s is currently acting all sweet and innocent. She’s clearly up to something.

  11. Good idea with the description of the tour and map where what is. I know the area already through your videos but while reading the blog, I’m even more curious. If I could spend a week off and visit Lake District, could I imagine Windermere would be a good starting point? Am I dependent on the car or is everything easy to reach by bus, bike or by foot? Which season would be best for hiking and taking pictures? Would you rather recommend another part of the lake district?

    1. Hi Jorg, Windermere is usually where first time visitors to the Lake District head for. Personally I think it is very difficult to get round the Lake District without a car. Particularly for photographers who are generally out and about at unsocial times. Personally I would recommend Keswick as the best location for someone who is reliant on public transport. You would get the train to Penrith and the bus to Keswick. Once there you have Derwent Water on your doorstep and I can think of at least 4 locations to shoot there (my location guide to the northern Lake District will be out soon). You also have good hiking in the area. Catbells, Walla Crag and Latrigg are all within reach and worth visiting. And if you fancy a challenge then there is always Skiddaw. Hope that helps.

      1. thanks for the information. it helps with the planning. I’m looking forward to the post. I like the area from your videos and if it is necessary with the car, then maybe I have to try it with the right-hand drive. I mean you had once said in a video that “it is October and autumn has begun so far, while it was almost over in Scotland”? Do you prefer Spring, if I remember correctly? with me it is the other way, i like the autumn months better, because of the colors and the autumn storms on the coast …

        1. A pleasure Jorg. Personally I prefer spring, it’s just a personal thing. We do tend to get better weather in late spring than we do in early autumn. Most people prefer autumn in the Lake District. We can get fantastic colours. However, in recent years we have had big storms just as the colours are coming out which has rather spoiled things. Just shout if you have any other questions.

  12. Hi Chris, I stumbled across one of your youtube vlogs that led me to your website, the Lakes District Guide is certainly handy as I am planning a trip to the UK next Sept / Oct ( have to wait till you guys forget about the ashes) and wanting to spend a week in the lakes before heading north to Scotland.The guide is great for out of towners like me and the maps are a big help. Thanks for putting in the time and effort to freely help other, much appreciated.

    1. Hi Greg, I am pleased to hear that you find my Lake District location guide useful. I hope you have a fantastic time when you visit here next year. As for the Ashes… I guess we can take some small crumb of comfort that at least we didn’t loose the series.

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