The village of Coniston sits on the north western shore of Coniston Water, a five-mile long stretch of water in the south of the Lake District.
The village itself is small, with a single street of shops, pubs and eateries at its heart, and the community really takes pride in maintaining facilities for visitors such as the Tourist Information Centre and public toilets there.
Things to do in Coniston
Coniston is surrounded by fabulous walking country, with Coniston Old Man a draw for many paying a visit to the area. Coniston also has a fascinating industrial past, and was once home to the Coniston copper mines, the remains of which can still be seen today.
In my opinion, one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery around Coniston is from the water itself, and you can take a lake cruise on board a Coniston Launch, or the National Trust’s iconic Steam Yacht Gondola, which runs between April and October. You can hop on and off the boats at the jetties, and use the journey to shorten a walk around the lake.
Coniston Water is Arthur Ransome country, and the famous children’s author wrote a series of books, ‘Swallows and Amazons‘ based on features found on the lake. You can see Peel Island towards the south of Coniston Water on a full lake tour, and this was the inspiration for Wild Cat Island in his books – you can even see the ‘secret harbour’! It is also possible that Ransome used Steam Yacht Gondola as the inspiration behind Captain Flint’s houseboat.
Brantwood, a large residence on the eastern shore of Coniston Water is open all year round to the public, and was once home to the famous artist and social reformer John Ruskin. You can learn more about his life, and enjoy walks around the peaceful gardens and extensive woodland estate here – magical and tranquil, even on a hot summer’s day when the rest of the Lake District is bustling. Brantwood has its own jetty so you can get there on a Coniston Launch or on Steam Yacht Gondola.
Coniston Water is famously the lake upon which the British speed record breaker Donald Campbell tragically died in 1967, whilst trying to beat his own world water speed record in his Bluebird K7. You can find out more about Campbell’s legacy at the Ruskin Museum in the centre of Coniston.
If you’re driving or walking from Coniston to Brantwood, look out for the Monk Coniston car park at the most northerly tip of the lake. If you’re a keen photographer, this is one spot you won’t want to miss – it’s a beautiful place to capture on camera, with virtually no effort required to find it.
Coniston is strikingly beautiful in the autumn, when the leaves turn a variety of shades of gold, red and brown, so a visit at that time of year is a must – read my post about Coniston in Autumn. November is also when the world-famous Coniston Power Boat Records Week takes place on the water.
Tarn Hows is an extremely popular beauty spot near to Coniston, and was preserved with the help of the famous children’s author Beatrix Potter. This man-made tarn is now managed by the National Trust, and you can take a walk around the two-mile pathway surrounding the water. Again, this whole area turns a dramatic golden colour late in the season.
Have I missed out a favourite Lake District Gem of yours in the Coniston area? If so, let me know by leaving a comment below and I’ll do my best to mention it in future editions of this page.