The Local Area

The Lake

At five miles long, Coniston Water is the third largest of the lakes in the Lake District. It has three small islands, all owned by the National Trust. The traditional timber craft of the Coniston Launch and the Coniston Steam Gondola provide regular sailings throughout the year to jetties around Coniston Water, including Lake Bank Jetty, a short stroll from the lodge.

The Victorian philosopher John Ruskin bought Brantwood house to the east of the lake in 1871 declaring the view over the lake to ‘The Old Man of Coniston’ to be ‘the best in all of England’.   Arthur Ransome based his book 'Swallows and Amazons' on Coniston Water, and much fun may be had trying to discover the locations of the stories. There are boat hire and sailing centres on Coniston Water.

Sir Malcolm Campbell chose Coniston for his attempt at the water speed record in 1939, which he achieved at over 141 miles per hour. On his death, his son Donald Campbell took up where his father left off. His aim was to better 300 miles per hour, which he did on 4th January 1967, but the craft, ‘Bluebird’, shot up into the air and disappeared into the lake. His body was only found in 2001. The story is told in the Ruskin Museum.

The Fells

The Old Man of Coniston stands at 2635 feet and is very popular, offering various well-marked paths to the summit. If you only go part way the view will be spectacular, the pint in the pub on your return all the more delicious.

From the village of Coniston, a path takes you deep into the old Coppermine’s Valley, with its beck and waterfalls. At the head of the valley you carry on to discover the hidden tarns set on the lower slopes of the mountain.

On the east side of Coniston Water lies the Grizedale Forest. A massive working woodland, it is crisscrossed with paths and tracks for walking and mountain biking.

The Towns & Villages

The village of Coniston sits at the head of the lake, sheltered in the lea of the Coniston mountain range. Radiating from the stone bridge, spanning Church Beck, the four main streets are a bustling community with a fine church, shops, a post office, cafes, a local brewery and five good pubs. It is the main departure point for the Launch and the Gondola and a base for a range of outdoor pursuits. For some free on-road parking, try Hawkshead Old Road - the road to the left of the Crown Inn.

Hawkshead is possibly the prettiest village in the Lake District, with its cobbled streets, courtyards and whitewashed cottages. The village is steeped in history, from the 15-th century parish church to the grammar school attended by William Wordsworth. 

Ulverston and Broughton-in-Furness are both historic market towns, well worth exploring.