Enchanting Escapes: 15 Best Waterfalls in England
When you think of the English countryside, your mind tends to go straight to rolling hills, fields with farm animals, huge lakes, and forests with tall trees. You may not immediately think of waterfalls like you would in some tropical countries, but believe it or not this country has some of the most impressive, beautiful waterfalls in the UK and beyond.
With stunning forests and great hikes abundant in England, there are plenty of places around the country to spot some of these stunning falls, no matter which county you’re in. Pack your hiking boots because many of them require a bit of walking to get to, and don’t forget your raincoat or poncho — you may just get close enough to be in the splash zone (or at least the light drizzle zone).
Here are the best waterfalls in England to visit on your next day out.
- 1. Jesmond Dene Falls, Tyne and Wear
- 2. Canonteign Falls, Devon
- 3. Kyoto Garden Waterfall, London
- 4. High Force, Durham
- 5. Hardraw Force, Yorkshire Dales
- 6. Aira Force, Lake District
- 7. Stanley Ghyll Force, Cumbria
- 8. Stock Ghyll Force, Cumbria
- 9. Becky Falls, Dartmoor
- 10. St. Nectan’s Glen, Cornwall
- 11. Middle Black Clough, Peak District
- 12. Ingleton Waterfall Trail, Yorkshire Dales
- 13. Hareshaw Linn, Northumberland
- 14. Gaping Gill, North Yorkshire
- 15. Warleigh Weir, Somerset
1. Jesmond Dene Falls, Tyne and Wear
First up is the gorgeous Jesmond Dene Falls, which cascades from stream to river starting in the north of Newcastle. The Ouseburn River is a small river running from the city into the River Tyne for around 6 miles, and passes through the beautiful Jesmond Dene along the way.
If you want to do a walking trail, you can begin at the Ouseburn Park Visitor Centre (there is some parking available but not much, so keep this in mind during peak times), and take the Jesmond Dene Valley circular walk route described here. You’ll see great scenery on this trail, and of course get a brilliant view of the falls when you arrive.
You might even be lucky enough to come across some of England’s national animals like a kingfisher or red squirrel, both of which have been spotted in the area. This green paradise feels otherworldly, and despite its proximity to the city, the waterfall is moderate in size and provides a tranquil place to escape the hustle and bustle. It is definitely one of the best waterfalls in England.
2. Canonteign Falls, Devon
Heading down to beautiful Devon now, you can visit Canonteign Falls which is a bit different since it’s located on a private estate in Teign Valley. Back in the 19th century during the area’s mining boom, this waterfall was diverted from its original course to drive the wheel that powered the mine, and then later diverted again to cascade over the nearby rocks, making a perfect tourist attraction. The beauty of the area was later opened to the public, and today it claims the title of “the South West’s highest waterfall” at 70 meters high.
The climb will take you a maximum of 30 minutes, and it covers some very steep, difficult sections, so take advantage of the resting places on the route. After your walk, you’ll find an adventure playground nearby for the kids, beautiful gardens to walk around, and the Canonteign Kitchen for a tasty snack. It makes for a great day out in Devon to enjoy.
3. Kyoto Garden Waterfall, London
Didn’t know there were any waterfalls in London? Don’t worry, it’s not something you imagine being among all those skyscrapers! But the Kyoto Garden Waterfall in Holland Park is a small yet impressive waterfall that you should definitely visit if you’re in the city.
With a traditional Japanese garden filled with gorgeous plants, and a koi pond that’s peaceful to sit beside when you need to quiet your mind, this is a lovely day out and the waterfall is not to be missed.
Multiple levels of rocks bring these bubbling falls down to the serene pond below. You can walk across it via a flat stone bridge. Although small in size, this is definitely one of the best waterfalls in England since it’s located in the capital and surrounded by nature to enjoy. Keep your eyes peeled for the peacocks that frequent the park!
4. High Force, Durham
High Force is England’s largest waterfall so it does tend to draw crowds — keep this in mind if visiting during the summer holidays. It continues to be one of the most impressive waterfalls you can visit in England since it’s very accessible, even if you’re not a big fan of walking and hiking.
The woodland trail in the North Pennines offers a peaceful walk and leads to the waterfall, which sees the River Tees topple over the 21-meter drop. High Force in Durham is where people tend to gravitate towards because of its impressive size, but don’t miss Low Force too. This is a much less intense waterfall, with low falls tumbling down a series of smooth rocks. One benefit to visiting Low Force is that, at the right time of year, you can swim there if you can stand the cold water pools.
5. Hardraw Force, Yorkshire Dales
At 30 meters, Hardraw Force claims the title of ‘England’s highest unbroken overground waterfall’, and is an impressive, powerful waterfall that will leave you with a crick in your neck from looking up at it!
The Yorkshire Dales has some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country, and this one is one of the best (and weirdest) in the area. The weird part? This waterfall is protected by… a pub. Yes, the Green Dragon Inn covers the entrance to this waterfall walk so you’ll have to pay the fee and head out the back of their pub, but it’s well worth going through and returning later for a drink. A really great day out.
One fun fact about Hardraw Force is that it was featured in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, where Robin Hood bathes under a waterfall… this waterfall! Don’t try to copy Robin though, as you’re not allowed to go near the base since it’s so powerful and the rocks are very slippery.
6. Aira Force, Lake District
The Lake District never fails to offer up things to see and do, and Aira Force is a great one to add to your list if you’re in the area. This waterfall drops for over 70 feet, but to see the falls you need to do a little bit of a walk through the forest, climb steps and clamber up steep hills. All do-able with a moderate level of fitness, though.
Once you get there, the views are brilliant and definitely worth taking your camera along for. On your way back from the waterfall you can stop at the tea room for some food and drinks, conveniently located nearby.
7. Stanley Ghyll Force, Cumbria
One of the most picturesque waterfalls you’ll find in all of England is Stanley Ghyll Force in Cumbria. If you make your way off the beaten track of the typical Lake District routes, this is a lovely spot to visit.
At just 20 meters (a bit smaller than others on this list), the water drops into a gorge in Eskdale surrounded by beautiful woodlands, giving it a magical, enchanting fairy-like feel. There’s something about this one that’s hard to describe, so it’s definitely a see-it-to-believe-it waterfall that you should visit when the weather’s nice.
8. Stock Ghyll Force, Cumbria
Considered one of the best waterfalls in England, Stock Ghyll Force is a stunning multi-tiered ravine waterfall in the Lakeside District in Ambleside, standing about 21 meters high.
Stock Ghyll Force is a tributary of the River Rothay, flowing down to the waterwheel and the Bridge House in Ambleside. In the past, it used to power the buildings and industrial mills in the area.
Today, Stock Ghyll Force Waterfall is highly popular among those who love outdoors. It is also accessible – simply park your car in a main car park in town and walk to the entrance to the Stock Ghyll Woodland Park. Then walk for 20-30 minutes to the waterfall. Take a refreshing dip by the clear water in the lower footbridge or head up the rail viewpoint to admire the waterfall.
9. Becky Falls, Dartmoor
Becky Falls is a nature park located in Dartmoor offering a great day out for families. At the heart of the park, you’ll find a 20-meter waterfall in a boulder-strewn valley. The waterfall looks spectacular especially after a recent rain fall. You will also find mini falls along the length of the brook to enjoy.
Aside from the waterfall, the park also offers various walking trails, family-friendly activities, an animal collection and zoo, a picnic area, a woodland café, and a gift shop.
10. St. Nectan’s Glen, Cornwall
St. Nectan’s Glen is one of the hidden gems in Cornwall, a woodland area offering a fun outdoor adventure and also a spiritual home with its tales of fairies, piskies, and spirits..
There are a number of waterfalls in St. Nectan’s Glen, the biggest of which is Nectan’s Kieve – an 18-meter stream formed from the river Trevillet carving its way through the Late Devonian slate and forming a whole through the original basin.
Aside from exploring the waterfall, you can also enjoy a forest bath walk and sit in a café where you can enjoy various food and drinks while listening to the sounds of nature.
11. Middle Black Clough, Peak District
Middle Black Clough Waterfall is one of the lesser-known waterfalls in England. It is tucked away in the Longdendale Valley in the Peak District, and part of the fun of visiting it is finding it!
Start your hike from the Trans Pennine Trail car park or any of the lay-bys in the A628. From there, follow the river upstream – you will need to wade through the river and even scramble over rocks and fallen trees to get to the waterfall. So make sure to bring your wellies or wear grippy footwear.
It will take about 30 minutes to get there. The stunning waterfall is about 10 meters high and probably one of the most IG-worthy England waterfalls.
12. Ingleton Waterfall Trail, Yorkshire Dales
The Ingleton Waterfall Trail is a 4.5-mile route that boasts some of the most amazing waterfalls in the UK, along with sights of rare flora and fauna depending on the season. In fact, most of the Ingleon Waterfall Trail has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England.
The trail takes 2-4 hours to complete depending on your pace and is a fun day out ideal for families and friends.
There are several waterfalls you can explore along the circular route, the most famous of which is Thornton Force, a waterfall that falls 14 meters over a limestone. Other waterfalls include the Pecca Falls, Hollybush Spout, Beezley Falls, Baxenghyll Gorge, and Snow Falls.
13. Hareshaw Linn, Northumberland
Hareshaw Lim is located a wooded valley in Northumberland. It’s a great spot for a short nature trek, as it only takes around 40 minutes to reach the waterfall.
The route starts at the Northumberland National Park car park in Bellingham. The path is easy to follow, and you will pass by beautiful woodland scenery and smaller waterfalls along the way. At the end of the path is the small waterfall at 9 meters high. Admire the view or scramble down the rocks for a closer look.
14. Gaping Gill, North Yorkshire
If you’re looking for a mix of caving and waterfall adventure, check out Gaping Hill in North Yorkshire, England.
Gaping Hill is the largest underground cave chamber in Britain that is naturally open to the surface, and the stream that falls down from the surface to the cave floor holds the record for the highest unbroken waterfall in England.
The extensive cave system is only open to experienced cavers. But twice a year (every May and August), local caving clubs set up a winch ride where you are lowered 100 meters down to the cave chamber to see the interiors and the stream falling against the rocks before disappearing in a large hole underground. This underground waterfall in England is truly a sight to behold.
15. Warleigh Weir, Somerset
Warleigh Weir is a extremely popular swimming spot along the river. You can also engage in other activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, and rope swing. It is frequented by young people, but also by couples and families who want to chill and relax.
There are no car parks here so you need to park along the main road and then walk to Warleigh Weir. Bring your own food if you want to enjoy a picnic or barbecue. On summer, you may find an ice cream truck in the area — perfect for a hot day of swimming.
England may not be home to the biggest waterfall in the UK, but it has some very impressive falls that are certainly worth adding to your list of days out in England. From huge cascading falls to babbling brooks you’ll love to spot on your walks, this country has it all.
Pack a bag with some snacks and water, don your poncho so you can get as close as you’re allowed to, and head out on one of these brilliant trails!