Recent work has shown that meningeal lymphatic vessels (mLVs), mainly in the dorsal part of the skull, are involved in the clearance of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), but the precise route of CSF drainage is still unknown. Here we reveal the importance of mLVs in the basal part of the skull for this process by visualizing their distinct anatomical location and characterizing their specialized morphological features, which facilitate the uptake and drainage of CSF. Unlike dorsal mLVs, basal mLVs have lymphatic valves and capillaries located adjacent to the subarachnoid space in mice. We also show that basal mLVs are hotspots for the clearance of CSF macromolecules and that both mLV integrity and CSF drainage are impaired with ageing. Our findings should increase the understanding of how mLVs contribute to the neuropathophysiological processes that are associated with ageing.