This lake collects waters by the Brathay from Langdale, the head of which, between Bow Fell and Langdale Pikes (2401 ft.), is very fine; and by the Rothay from Dunmail Raise and the small lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water, embowered in woods.
East of the Rothay valley and Thirlmere lies the mountain mass including Helvellyn (3118 ft.), Fairfield (2863) and other points, with magnificent crags at several places on the eastern side towards Grisedale and Patterdale.
The village (pop. of urban district in 1901, 781) lies near the head of the lake, on the small river Rothay and the Keswick-Ambleside road, 122 m.
It is most beautifully situated, for though the lake is hardly visible from the town, the bare, sharply rising hills surrounding the richly wooded valley of the Rothay afford a series of equisite views.