Surprise View National Trust car park Borrowdale

Surprise View, Derwentwater, Cumbria

A small car park with a huge view, across Derwent Water to Skiddaw and even Scotland on a clear day.

How to get here

  • Postcode: CA12 5UU  (please note that in rural locations post codes often cover a wide area - so don't believe the SatNav, look for the signs!)

  • Grid ref: Grid ref: NY268189

  • Find us on Google Maps

Surprise View is 3.5 miles from Keswick on route to the hamlet of Watendlath. The car park has around 15 spaces in total split across two areas; the upper car park being more suitable for those with mobility problems as it is nearer to the viewpoint (approx.10m) and work has been done in recent years to improve the surface of the viewing point for wheelchair access.

A glimpse of the Ice Age

Surprise View is the point where the hanging valley of Watendlath was cut off by the main glacier carving out Borrowdale in the last ice age. The result is a sheer drop with expansive views across Derwent Water and north over Keswick and the Skiddaw massif.

Looking south you can see the swathes of atlantic oak woodlands, designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and such a special feature of the Borrowdale valley

What other surprises are in store?

Surprise View is one of our recommended spots for seeing a cloud inversion in winter:

Four people view a cloud inversion in Borrowdale

Borrowdale's cloud inversions 

All you need to know to bag yourself a cloud inversion

Park up and boost conservation work in Borrowdale

Whether you are a member who scans your card (we get £1 from central funds every time you do) or a non-member who pays for a ticket, every penny you generate in this car park goes to help us take care of this special place, so thank you.