Best Road-Trip Lakes in the UK According to Instagram

Lockdown restrictions are easing and the UK is now allowed to travel again. Brits have fallen in love with the outdoors over the last year due to it being one of the only forms of escapism we could find whilst socially distancing ourselves from friends and family. UK staycations are predicted to be a big hit this summer as we find ourselves hesitant to go abroad until COVID disappears once and for all.

A road trip is exciting no matter the destination but after our research, you will be able to travel to the prettiest locations this summer. So polish those wheels and get on route to these destinations that will not disappoint!

We used Instagram hashtag data to analyse 45 of the UK’s well-known lakes, lochs, and reservoirs across the UK to reveal the 10 most popular for your road trip staycation destination in summer 2021.


1st - Windermere

#windermere 747,991*

Windermere is a wonderful place to visit especially in the spring and summer. It is the largest natural lake in both the Lake District and England as a whole and offers a variety of recreational activities. Take the family scuba diving, cruising, fishing and even sailing on this road trip.


2nd - Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

#lochlomond 462,888 

This beautiful loch in the Trossachs national park can be enjoyed by all. Loch Lomond caters for those on all budgets with it having hotspots for fine dining as well as cheap eats. You will find an endless list of can’t-miss spots that can be found on your adventures around the area.


3rd - Loch Ness

#lochness 415,615

This deep freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands is well known for its so-called sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster "Nessie". Aside from the tales of the world's shyest monster, Loch Ness is filled with all sorts of history which you can uncover when visiting. 


4th - Ullswater

#ullswater 132,937

Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District at 7.5 miles long after Windermere. This location will find you in awe of the stunning mountains, waterfall, and of course lake on a number of popular hiking trails.


5th - Derwentwater

#derwentwater 128,748

Derwentwater is one of the principal bodies of water in the Lake District and is only a ten-minute walk from the town centre of Keswick. There are four islands in total on Derwentwater, all owned by the National Trust. Derwent Island is one of the National Trust’s most fascinating treasures. The 18th Century house on this little wooded island makes it the only inhabited island in the Lake District which is opens to visitors.


6th - Buttermere

#buttermere 72,316 posts

This lake apparently offers one of the best round-the-lake walks in the whole of the Lake District. The village of Buttermere lies between the lakes of Buttermere and Crummock Water and is overlooked by the summits of Grasmoor to the north and High Stile to the south. There is a large amount of parking around Buttermere and so this shouldn’t be a problem you face on your road trip.


7th - Ladybower Reservoir

#ladybowerreservoir 32,466

This Reservoir is a large Y-shaped reservoir located in the Upper Derwent Valley and is one of the three largest there. The Peak District has so much to offer but this reservoir is definitely one of the photogenic spots for your list of places to visit.


8th - Wast Water

#wastwater 30,046

Wastwater is England's deepest lake and lies at the foot of England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike. This lake situated in the west of the county was actually voted 'Britain's Favourite View' and we can understand why.


9th - Loweswater

#loweswater 10,134

Take a circular walk around this lake and keep an eye out for the deer and red squirrels that are populated in the woodland next to the lake. In the wood is a hidden treasure, Holme Force. This is a stunning waterfall that is rarely visited as it is not noticeable from the path around the lake.


10th - Malham Tarn

#malhamtarn 6,433

Malham Tarn is an astounding expanse of open water located in Malham Tarn National Nature Reserve. It’s internationally important for the variety of flowers and other wildlife you can find here. So visit any time of the year and be overwhelmed by its beauty.


The Top 10 Lakes per km2 of Water:

It appears they may be hidden beauty spots that you need to visit when looking at the much smaller number of posts compared to those lakes/lochs mentioned further up.


= 77,759 posts per km2 of water


= 43,236 posts per km2 of water


= 24,855 posts per km2 of water


= 16,890 posts per km2 of water


Ladybower Reservoir
= 15,460 posts per km2 of water


= 14,937 posts per km2 of water


Wast Water
= 10,731 posts per km2 of water


Malham Tarn
= 10,375 posts per km2 of water


Loch Ness
= 7,369 posts per km2 of water


Loch Lomond
= 6,520 posts per km2 of water


5 UK Lochs You Need To Visit That Were Featured In Harry Potter:


When researching, something that became apparent to us was the popularity of certain lochs across the UK due to their involvement in the award-winning film series Harry Potter. Take a look below at the top 5 lochs featured in the films and how they rank according to Instagram.

It appears they may be hidden beauty spots that you need to visit when looking at the much smaller number of posts compared to those lakes/lochs mentioned further up.


1 - Loch Shiel

#lochshiel 11,015

In the Harry Potter films, the Great Lake is portrayed by Loch Shiel. In the films, the lake is known as "The Black Lake."

Located in Scotland, the Glenfinnan Viaduct is a railway viaduct that overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument and the waters of Loch Shiel. The Harry Potter films made this one of the world's most famous pieces of railway infrastructure. So if you want to see the Hogwarts Express for yourself get yourself to Loch Shiel this summer.

2 - Loch Etive

#lochetive 9,237

Here we have another Loch to add to the list for Harry Potter fanatics. This is where the famous trio (Harry, Ron and Hermione) escape from the wizarding bank of Gringotts on the back of a dragon after taking the Cup of Helga Hufflepuff. The three of them are forced to leap off the dragon in the film, landing into this ice-cold loch.

3 - Loch Morar

#lochmorar 2,196

This large freshwater loch can be located east of the coastal village of Mallaig. It is the deepest freshwater body of water in the British Isles. It is also one of the largest lochs in Scotland. This loch was one of the many lochs used for shots of Hogwarts Lake. Loch Morar was used primarily for close up scenes throughout the movies.

4 - Loch Arkaig

#locharkaig 1,578

Loch Arkaig is a 12-mile long freshwater loch located north of Fort William. Loch Arkaig appears in a few of the Harry Potter films. Take a trip to Dumbledore’s final resting place. Or at least sort of? The director of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 decided to blend Loch Arkaig and Loch Eilt together to fit his artistic vision better for Dumbledore’s resting place.

5 - Loch Eilt

#locheilt 1,204

Loch Eilt is also the sad setting where Harry and the gang find Hagrid skimming stones over the water following the trial of his beloved Buckbeak, in Prisoner of Azkaban.

Posted 04/05/2021 Back to Blog

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