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Holidays in Coniston Water

One of the Lake District’s most beautiful lakes

UK | North of England | Lake District | Coniston Water
The nearby beauty spot of Tarn Hows

Measuring around half a mile wide and five miles long, Coniston Water is one of the many beautiful lakes you can find in the Lake District.

In the distance, the impressive Old Man mountain towers over the lake’s western shore, making Coniston Water an excellent base for walkers. The Tarn Hows lies nearby, and is a lovely beauty spot, with thick woodlands as well as a footpath surrounding the peaceful tarn offering a gentle walk that all can enjoy. Visitors can also take in the region’s interesting history with a walk through Coppermines Valley, where remains of buildings, spoil heaps and hills bearing quarrying scars can be seen. The copper mines here were the most productive in Europe in the mid-19th century, and was normally used for lining the hulls of wooden ships.

Brantwood, John Ruskin's former home

One of Coniston Water’s most famous residents was John Ruskin, who spent the last 30 years of his life here. He was one of the Victorian era’s leading art critic, and was a champion for conservation and the arts. Coniston has a museum named in his honour, and features not only items that Ruskin created and inspired, but a whole host of relics charting the history of Coniston as far back as the stone age. Ruskin’s former home, Brantwood, also opened to the public 50 years after his death, and retains the character of its former resident with a host of fine paintings, antique furniture and many of Ruskin’s most prized possessions.

A fine way to explore Coniston Water is to take to the lake itself. Ride in comfort across the lake and admire the magnificent scenery on the Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola, which sets sail between March and November, or enjoy a truly genteel lake experience on board the 1920s boats of the Coniston Launch. Coniston Launch also offer special interest cruises, following the story of Donald Campbell’s attempt to break the World Water Speed Record here in the 1960s, while another cruise explores the locations that inspired Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons books. You can also have a go at sailing your own boat with sailing courses and boat hire available.

Close by, lying slightly to the east is the pretty village of Hawkshead. With cobbled streets lined with historic buildings as well as the Beatrix Potter Gallery to explore, Hawkshead is well worth paying a visit for a day out.

“In the distance, the impressive Old Man mountain towers over the lake’s western shore…”

Coniston makes a great Lake District base not only because of its variety of things to do but also because it has a wide choice of places to eat. The Steam Bistro is best for if you are making an occasion of your evening meal, while the Bluebird Café is a favourite for light bites.

At the beginning of your visit, be sure to pay a visit to the tourist information centre on Ruskin Avenue in Coniston for even more tips on how to enjoy your stay.

Check out our collection of Coniston Water cottages for even more holiday inspiration.

While you’re there

Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola

Enjoy a boat ride to remember across the lake on board this charming steam gondola

Coppermines Valley

Offers mesmerising walks through a landscape decorated with industrial history


The former home of John Ruskin and many of his possessions alongside fine paintings and furniture

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