Visit Coniston: Places to stay, things to do

Discover the magic of the Lake District by basing yourself on the edge of Lake Coniston. Nick Peers goes looking for a dinghy named Swallow.

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Why go there

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Coniston is one of the Lake District’s jewels. It sits in the heart of the Lake District National Park, and the village’s location, just half a mile from Coniston Water, makes it perfect for all kinds of activities, from sailing to fell walking.

The big draw is the lake, the fifth largest in the Lake District. The best way to see the lake is from the water, and you can either hire your own boat through the Coniston Boating Centre  or take the Coniston Launch, a regular scheduled service that enables you to either drink in the scenery or get to different parts of the lake for other activities.

There are plenty of local walks to try  the Old Man of Coniston sits 803 metres above sea level, and thankfully there’s a tourist-friendly trail to the top. If that feels too strenuous, head to the north end of the water to see Coniston and Tarn Hows, which is administered by the National Trust.

The area is also renowned for its rock climbing – the eastern edge of Dow Crag, just three miles from the village, is widely renowned as the finest in the entire Lakes.

Also worth a visit is the Ruskin Museum should the weather prove unfriendly. This showcases local history, and fans of Arthur Ransome and Donald Campbell in particular will find much of interest here.

Where to stay
How about stepping back in time and staying at the house – Yew Tree Farm – owned by Beatrix Potter in the 1930s? Prices start from £52 per person per night (based on two sharing), including full English breakfast cooked from local ingredients. If you’d rather stay in the village itself, check out the four-start Crown Inn, with accommodation costing £90 per night for a couple sharing, or £60 for single occupancy. Again, breakfast is included.

Where to eat
The Sun Inn offers a delicious and varied lunch and evening menu cooked where possible with local produce, including fish caught from the lake. Typical prices are around £6.50 for starters, £11-15 for mains and £5 for desserts. Don’t forget to sup one of the eight real ales on offer in the bar!

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Tell us a local secret
Coniston pioneered the use of hydro-electricity, and local houses were powered entirely using this green energy source from 1932 to the mid-1950s. In 2007, a new scheme was built, and now supplies enough power for 260-300 houses via the national grid.