Great British fishing lakes and rivers

Activity, Nature, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Ed Roberts on 3rd February 2021

Fishing guide

Many things have been written about fishing, from the great thinkers to witty bumper sticker writers, yet all are in agreement that to fish you are either mad or you are privy to a secret the rest of the world hasn’t caught onto. However, we don’t think you’re mad; we are as enthralled as you are by the calming influence and the slow appreciation of a beautiful fishing location and the thrill of the catch, the weigh-in, the photograph, and the release. 

Fishing holidays are gaining popularity, so whether you are hoping to indulge in some well-earned river fishing, or lake fishing in the UK on your break, we have the perfect self-catering holiday cottage waiting for you in our collection. Some of our properties are based on estates with private fishing lakes, or are close to some of the best river fishing in the country. Permits are needed for a fair proportion of fishing spots lakes and rivers in the UK, with dues averaging out at about £7 per day.

river fishing

Imagine fishing an entire week’s holiday menu – that’s the beauty of a self-catering holiday. Just think, line-caught barbecued fish every night. You can add to your friends' list of fishing stories too, there’s always ‘the one that got away’, or the one ‘this big!’ Or fill out your family mantelpiece with that all-important photograph of your first holiday catch. Fond childhood memories always seem to revolve around fishing because it’s great fun to teach, learn, catch, and release/eat. 

If you're casting around for somewhere new to fish, we've rounded up the best fishing lakes and rivers in Great Britain. Follow us on our guide to the best places to go fishing and let us inspire your next holiday.

Fishing cottages

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The best fishing lakes and fisheries in the UK

Fishing in lakes can be divided roughly into two categories: natural lakes and private lakes with managed stock. Then you can sub-divide the latter into the type of fish you’ll be able to find there, such as carp fishing lakes, trout fishing lakes and sturgeon fishing lakes just to name a few. 


Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace is a private estate in Oxfordshire, a World Heritage Site and the birthplace of the former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. It is also home to managed fishing lakes which are renowned for their pike stocks.  

Stay nearby: Astall Farm - Meadow Cottage | Sleeps: 4


Redmire Pool, Herefordshire

Redmire Pool, Herefordshire  

Redmire Pool is spoken of in legendary terms amongst carp anglers of the realm. Booking a season ticket is something akin to scoring one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets; they are that sought after. The small farm pond covers 3 acres and is a fishing spot favoured by the world’s most famous anglers who have been here for some record catches since it opened back in the 1930s.

Stay nearby: Quercus | Sleeps:

The Royalty Fishery, Dorset

The Royalty Fishery, Dorset

Close to Christchurch, Dorset on the South Coast, is the family-friendly Royalty Fishery. It is a very pretty spot and is open to day ticket holders for coarse and salmon fishing. Situated within an attractive SSSI, you may see ducks’ nesting baskets and bat boxes; it really is a haven for catch-and-release fishermen. Dogs also welcome but must remain at heel or on their lead.

Stay nearby: Wick Cottage | Sleeps: 5 + 2 dogs


Caerphilly Castle, South Wales

Caerphilly Castle, South Wales

It may prove difficult to find a more alluring fishing spot in the UK than this former moat that encircles Caerphilly Castle in South Wales. It’s a truly idyllic spot to cast off from and enjoy a day of relaxing whilst fishing off the banks of one of the lakes there. Covering an area of 25 acres, it’s the place to go for carp and pike; you can also reel in roach, crucian, rudd, tench, bream, perch, and the odd eel! 

Stay nearby: Hayman's Old Stable Cottage | Sleeps:


Marsh Farm Fishery, Surrey

Marsh Farm Fishery, Surrey

Marsh Farm Fishery is located in the lush green countryside close to Godalming, Surrey. A well-established 7.6-acre fishery that’s grown in size since the early 2000s, there are now three waters: Harris Lake, Hill Pond, and Richardson Lake, as well as a tackle shop on-site. There is a great variety of species to catch including rudd, tench and chub. 

Stay nearby: Hopbine Cottage | Sleeps: 4 + 2 dogs

Sywell Reservoir, Northants

Sywell Reservoir, Northants

This very striking fishing location is a 67-acre lake first built in the early 1900s as a reservoir. Sywell is the place to fish if you like to catch tench, as it is one of the leading fisheries for this species in the British Isles. You can also catch roach, pike, perch, and rudd there. Bring a camera to capture the memorable sunsets (and sunrises if you are an early bird).

Stay nearby: Baggins' Barn | Sleeps: 4 + 2 dogs


Castle Loch Fishery, Scotland

Castle Loch Fishery, Scotland

Castle Loch Fishery is one of Scotland’s prime coarse fishing locations. Located within an enticing nature reserve, you are also bound to encounter lots of local wildlife and birds during your visit. It is the only fishery in Scotland to have held three national records and is renowned for its natural, wild fishing (tench, bream, and carp).

Stay nearby: Loch View | Sleeps: 4 + 1 dog


Horseshoe Lake, Gloucestershire

Horseshoe Lake, Gloucestershire

Horseshoe Lake and its two neighbouring bodies of water, Farriers Lake and Little Farriers, offer nearly 100 acres of fishing prospects. The current lake record for carp is 38Ib; perhaps you can beat this record! The bailiffs are friendly and welcome first-time visitors with a short briefing on the best spots and some angling techniques to try out.

Stay nearby: The House by the Lake | Sleeps:

Chew Reservoir, Somerset

Chew Valley Lake, Somerset  

If you’re a planning a break in Somerset, then Chew Valley Lake is a fantastic choice for a day or two of fishing. The lake covers a vast area, providing a scenic prospect for some quality fly fishing. It’s also a popular competition venue known for its brown trout stocks. There is a whole host of excellent spots to base yourself for a great day out.

Stay nearby: Elwell Stables - West Wing | Sleeps: 


Greenhill Fishery, Scotland

Greenhill Fishery, Scotland  

Located near Dalbeattie in South West Scotland, Greenhill Fishery’s setting is within a pretty valley encircled by farmland and forest. Consisting of four ponds that give you a choice of stock to fish; you can also enjoy private lessons if you are a novice angler. You can find brown trout, rainbow trout, mirror, and carp.

Stay nearby: Sanderling | Sleeps: 4 + 1 dog


The best fishing rivers in the UK

Some of the best fishing rivers in the UK are free to fish whilst others you will require a permit for; there’s no telling what you’ll reel in! But other sections of riverway which are equally superb, if not better, are managed riverways where you can buy day-tickets to go angling off the banks. Read on to find some of the best fishing spots across England, Wales, and Scotland. 


Nottingham Embankment, River Trent, Nottinghamshire

Nottingham Embankment, River Trent, Nottinghamshire

If you are a staunch angler, then you will already have heard about the concrete steps alongNottingham Embankment. A free fishing location, this is a venue for angling competitions and has drawn in lots of famous anglers over the years, all of whom have landed some prize catches. Join the ranks of the UK’s best to cast your line off at this Midlands fishing mecca.

Stay nearby: The Fox at Badger Brook | Sleeps: 4 + 1 dog


River Wye, Symonds Yat

River Wye, Symonds Yat

Symonds Yat is one of the most striking beauty spots in the UK, and it's also a good spot on the magnificent River Wye which is known as a great fishing river that straddles the border of England and Wales. The river is very shallow at Symonds Yat causing a bottleneck and there are lots of places to stand atop of the rocks that jut out of the water or to wade into its middle. 

Stay nearby: The Dovecote | Sleeps: 2 + 1 dogs

Collingham Weir, River Trent

Collingham Weir, River Trent

If you love a challenge, have a strong rod and muscular arms, then cast off from Collingham Weir on the River Trent. It’s a wonderful prospect to haul a fish out of the eddying whirlpools and massing white waters as they course over the weir. It’s a hot spot for fishing Trent barbel, as they love a gravel-based river. Sections of the River Trent are tidal, with the main drag starting at Collingham Weir. 

Stay nearby: Highfields | Sleeps: 6 + 1 dog


River Welland, Lincolnshire

River Welland, Lincolnshire

If you are taking a well-earned fishing break in Lincolnshire, then consider a visit to the village of Deeping St James. There is a fishing enclosure along the banks of the River Welland by the High Locks and down through the village where you can enjoy reeling in some roach, dace, perch, bream, rudd, pike, and eels.

Stay nearby: Storybrooke Cottage | Sleeps: 


Adams Mill, Great River Ouse, Bucks

Adams Mill, Great River Ouse, Bucks  

This quaint, modest stretch at Adams Mill on the Great River Ouse in Buckinghamshire is the site of a record catch. At the time of writing, a huge record-breaking 21Ib barbel was caught. This river section is managed by the Milton Keynes Angling Association and it is a great place to fish if you are in the area. 

Stay nearby: Clearbrook Barn | Sleeps: 2 + 3 dogs

River Teign, Devon

River Teign, Devon

Much of the river fishing on Dartmoor is in gorgeous remote locations, but we would wholeheartedly recommend the stretch of the River Teign reaching northwards from Fingle Bridge, in a valley below Castle Drogo. The fast, shallow waters, waterfalls and natural weirs ensure an exciting day out.

Stay nearby: The Old Shippen | Sleeps:


River Camel, Cornwall

River Camel, Cornwall

The wide sand bars upriver from Padstow and inland towards Wadebridge along the Camel River make for outstanding places to catch the odd salmon and trout when the season is right. Beware of quick tides and shifting sands, but take the right precautions, you will be hard-pressed to find a sunnier fishing spot in Cornwall.

Stay nearby: Tremill | Sleeps:


River Don, Aberdeenshire

River Don, Aberdeenshire

A Scottish fishing destination for hunters of wild brown trout, sea trout and salmon, the River Don is a fast-flowing river with lots of rocky pools and many shallow spots to wade into. April and May are the best times to catch and release larger specimens. There are several good tackle shops throughout Aberdeenshire too.

Stay nearby: The Byre | Sleeps: 

River Ystwyth, Wales

River Ystwyth, Wales

Just outside Aberystwyth is a brilliant section of the River Ystwyth where you can catch sea trout, and also catch salmon during the later summer and early autumn. The lower reaches of this spate river below Gosen Bridge are managed by the Aberystwyth Angling Association, and it’s well worth a try if you are holidaying on the coast of West Wales.

Stay nearby: Railway View Cottage | Sleeps:


River Stour, Suffolk

River Stour, Suffolk

There is a saying amongst anglers that goes: ‘If you can catch a fish from the River Stour, you can catch them anywhere.’ The Stour, on the border of Essex and Suffolk, has a legendary status as a brilliant but difficult river to fish. Day tickets can be bought from the local angling associations so that you can try your hand at landing flounder, mullet, dace, chub, zander, perch, eels, or carp.

Stay nearby: The Cottage at Dedham | Sleeps: 3 + 2 dogs


Rivers Burn and Ure, North Yorkshire

Rivers Burn and Ure, North Yorkshire

If a fishing trip to North Yorkshire is on the cards, then the Swinton Estate ought to be near the top of your list of activities. The Rivers Ure and Burn runs through the heart of the estate and it is a superb place to fish fresh salmon, grayling and wild brown trout. In stunning surroundings, this is an unmissable angler’s heaven.

Stay nearby: Skell Garden Cottages | Sleeps: 

Otterspool Prom – Merseyside

Contrary to belief, the formerly polluted River Mersey is a much better fishing location than it used to be. The river is cleaner and quieter, its industry all but left behind. Otterspool Promenade is a long walkway about 2 miles south of Liverpool city centre, where you can find cod, smoothound, and other flat fish.

Stay nearby: Windlecroft | Sleeps: 12 + 2 dogs


Map of the best Great British fishing locations

Find the best fishing lakes and rivers on our map.


More inspiration

deep sea fishing

Deep sea fishing

Charter boat sea fishing in the UK has flourished over the last two decades. Charter boat safety has improved greatly too. With the age of the Internet in full swing you can easily source a suitable skipper and launch online – try Deepsea. Beginners and pros are welcome on all kinds of boats and depending on which waters you fish you never know what you’ll catch. Boats can be chartered from most harbours or ports in the British Isles, so if you’re enjoying a coastal break, this kind of day trip is always a really good option.


shore fishing

Shore fishing

A solitary fisherman stood casting his line off some distant rocks into the sea is a common sight whilst on holiday at the coast. There are some interesting fish to be caught along the shore, whether you are looking for a bite from the beach, the rocks, or the end of the seaside pier. Dawn and dusk are good times to go shore fishing, and during the day time when the tide is on the rise. Some fish such as bass favour lower building tides, whilst others hunt at low tide as it begins to move out again. When on holidays, the local tackle shops are a good source of information to find out what might be biting at your chosen spot.


Stay in a holiday cottage

Choose one of our self-catering holiday cottages with fishing facilities. Some of our properties are based in locations with access to a private fishing lake or a riverbank. What could be better than getting up in the morning to find that the fish are biting close by! Check out our collection of fishing holiday accommodation today.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.