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Visit Coniston and experience a 19th century ‘Venice of the Lake District.’ Indeed today, a Venetian-style Gondola cruises daily on Coniston Water, just as she would have done when she first arrived on Coniston in 1859, welcoming a new wave of wealthy Victorian tourists to this then little-known part of the south Lake District.

This well served village is surrounded by spectacular wild landscapes and renowned as a base for outdoor adventure and loved for its outstanding natural beauty.

What not to miss

Donald Campbell broke eight world speed records on water and on land in the 1950s and 1960s. He remains the only person to set both world land and water speed records in the same year (1964). He died during a water speed record attempt at Coniston Water 4th January 1967 after reaching a speed of over 300mph. A section of the Ruskin Museum in Coniston is dedicated to Donald Campbell’s lifetime achievements alongside Arthur Ransome, author of Swallows and Amazons, and John Ruskin himself.

The beautiful Steam Yacht Gondola, exclusively carrying passengers in her 1st class salon with its plush carpets and walnut trim, is a floating reminder of the rich cultural history of Coniston Water. We’d highly recommend a visit to Coniston to enjoy a ride on the gondola to experience this history first-hand.


Left image: Steam Yacht Gondola | Right image: Ruskin Museum

Food and drink

Hidden away behind the Black Bull in Coniston is the Coniston Brewing Company. This outstanding brewery is where the Bluebird Bitter is made. This 3.6% session beer won Supreme Champion Beer of Britain 1998 at the Great British Beer Festival Olympia London and has continued to be awarded accolades of recent years.

The Black Bull offers a whole variety of food choices so there is something to suit every taste. Their chefs, wherever possible, use fresh locally sourced ingredients. All meats are cooked on the premises and dishes are prepared to order by hand. There is always a fresh Catch of the Day with fish delivered that morning, a hearty meat dish and also two vegetarian dishes.

Herdwicks Café and bistro is a family run business in the heart of the village of Coniston. Enjoy a cooked breakfast to fuel your day on the fells or a leisurely lunch with a bottle of aptly named Old Man Ale. Jo McGrath is a well-known local artist and you can view her work on the walls of the cafe. It is a truly beautiful setting to enjoy high-quality local food and drink.


The Black Bull

Where to walk

If you fancy ‘bagging’ yourself another Wainwright walk while in Coniston, take a hike up The Old Man of Coniston, the highest peak in the Furness Fells standing at 2,634ft (803m high). The Old Man is a popular walking destination with many different well-trodden paths leading to the peak. It is also home to a number of disused and abandoned mines and mining equipment, which can be found on various routes to the top. Depending on your way to the top you may also pass Low Water Tarn if you fancy a bit of wild swimming.

On a clear day, views from the summit can stretch out as far as Blackpool Tower, The Isle of Man and Morecambe Bay as well as much of the southern Lake District.

Distance – 4.7km Time – 2.5 hours from Coniston Village or alternatively you can park at Walna Scar car park which will cut out some road walking for you.

Or if you fancy a more laid back, family-friendly walk then no trip to the Coniston area is complete without a stroll around the picturesque Tarn Hows. This circular walk is pushchair and wheelchair accessible. Plus, from here you can take a trail that leads you down to Tom Ghyll Waterfalls. Distance – 3.2km Time – 45 minutes.


View from The Old Man of Coniston

Where to stay

Dow Crag House, Coniston 

Sleeps 6 | 3 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms | 4 Star Gold | 1 Pet Welcome

Situated on the edge of Coniston village, with views in every direction and within easy walking distance of Coniston Water, Dow Crag House is located in the very heart of the Lake District. This modern, detached property has been finished to a high standard by its owners and offers great quality in an excellent location.