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Explore Painshill

Serpentine Lake & Bridges

  • Panoramic view of the Serpentine Lake
  • Swan on the Serpentine Lake
  • Watermill at Painshill
  • Canadian Geese by the Serpentine Lake
  • Five Arch Bridge over the Serpentine Lake
  • Chinese Bridge at Painshill


A 14 acre lake sits at the heart of the Painshill landscape. Stroll along the banks and enjoy the tranquillity of the calming waters. Designed to curve away out of view, the lake will draw your eye to beautiful vistas.

With a two mile paved accessible route the lake is brilliant for those who are less mobile or families with small children. Wildlife spotting is always easy with lake birds, including swans, Egyptian Geese, herons and coots, which are resident all year around. 

On your visit learn how the lake is created by watching the Waterwheel turn. At 10.6 metres in diameter, it is one of the largest working wheels in the UK and was built in the 1830s.

Across the lake Hamilton built bridges in different styles, placed in perfect positions to cast wonderful reflections.

The Woollett Bridge has recently been restored in steel and leads off Grotto Island.

The Five Arch Bridge is Palladian in style, inspired by bridges Hamilton would have seen on Grand Tour. It has been used in the smash-hit Netflix show Bridgerton.

History and Restoration

The 14 acre Serpentine Lake is man-made and created by rising water from the River Mole by means of a Waterwheel.

By the 1950s the wheel was derelict and the lake disappeared into a swamp-like area.

The Trust restored the wheel in 1987 and it is now maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers.

Painshill Water Wheel - July 1986
Painshill Water Wheel - Now

Painshill from the Air

Painshill Through The Seasons