In the heart of the English Lake District lies the historical copper mining village of Coniston, perfectly positioned alongside the picturesque Coniston Water and underneath the majestic Coniston Fells of which Coniston Old Man, at 2635ft, is the most recognisable.
Today the village is welcoming, warm and friendly and the two main Victorian streets still house traditional shops such as the village butcher, grocer, newsagent, dairy, five pubs, bakery, several cafes and a highly acclaimed restaurant. So you can be assured that there’s more than enough to keep you occupied during your time here. Read on further to discover more…
Welcome to Swallows and Amazons country! The area around Coniston offers a tremendous landscape of lakes, waterfalls, streams, tarns, forests and mountains. Coniston Water is the 5th biggest body of water in the Lake District, around 5 miles long and just over half a mile wide the waters of Coniston can be enjoyed by visitors throughout the year.
Should you prefer your feet to be planted firmly on the ground then there are plenty of areas to explore on foot. The Old Man of Coniston is an integral part of the landscape, rising 2,634 feet into the Lakeland air and dominating the skyline, no visit to Coniston would be complete without scaling this magnificent mountain. From the Old Man access can also be gained onto a number of popular fells such as Wetherlam, Dow Crag and Swirl How.
The Coppermines Valley just a mile from the village centre offers fantastic views towards the Coniston fells along with glimpses of the areas rich mining heritage. The area around the valley offers a multitude of high and low level walks suitable for all ages and abilities. Nearby delights such as Tarn Hows and Grizedale Forest are also nearby and prove to be ever popular with visitors of all ages.
2. Food & Drink
Home to the #1 restaurant in the Lake District (Steam Bistro – as rated on Trip Advisor) and nationally acclaimed local brewery, a trip to Coniston will most certainly delight your taste buds. Steam Bistro, the aforementioned #1 restaurant (of 949!) is a hit with all who dine here. Their philosophy is simple; relaxed dining with great ambience, ingredients sourced from a wealth of local farmers & producers. The bistro has recently won the Cumbria Life Magazine readers' choice restaurant of 2017! So on your next visit to Coniston make sure to book yourself a table, please note the bistro is extremely popular so reservations are advised.
Home of Bluebird Bitter, real ale lovers will find delight in the Coniston Brewing Company. Tucked away behind the charming Black Bull Inn, this renowned brewery produces some of the best local brews the Lakes has to offer! Brewed from the pure waters of the Coniston hills their range of fine ales have been awarded many accolades over recent years.
For culture vultures there’s The Ruskin Museum, which depicts the fascinating history of the area including the famous water speed record attempt of Donald Campbell. On the eastern shores of the lake lies Brantwood the grand Victorian home of philosopher John Ruskin, where regular events and art courses are held throughout the year.
The lake remains a central focus of the village. To this day passengers are still enjoying The National Trust’s Victorian steam yacht Gondola. The lake also holds historical significance, 50 years ago, Donald Campbell chose Coniston Water for his World Water Speed Record achievements in his jet boat Bluebird, reaching over 300mph. In honour of his amazing achievements a Speed Records Week is held every November.
Together with the surrounding picturesque hamlets, Coniston is an excellent centre for outdoor enthusiasts, with some superb climbing, walking, water sports, fishing and cycling to be had. Away from the crowds who flock to the central Lakes, the mountains, fells and forests surrounding Coniston Water are altogether much less crowded.
Whether or not you’ve read Arthur Ransome’s books about the Swallows & Amazons, or seen the film, any holiday splashing around on rivers and lakes will most certainly bring out the adventurous child in you. If you are feeling adventurous you can have your very own Swallows & Amazons adventure by hiring a dingy in true ‘Swallows’ style or for a modern twist you could even try your hand at canoeing or stand up paddle boarding (SUP) from the Coniston Boating Centre.
Road cyclists and mountain bikers are spoilt for choice in the Lake District. There are quiet country lanes, permitted cycle ways and heaps of bridleways offering some fantastic views and the Coniston Valley is no exception! The valley is the perfect place for a break away on two wheels, no matter what your ability, there are gentle family rides, serious off-road routes and scenic lake side road rides all waiting to be discovered.
Should that not be enough, a whole host of adventurous events also take place throughout the year so why not discover something about yourself in this simply stunning environment…
The Coniston 14 Road Race
A 14 mile road race around Coniston Water and as such is one of the most picturesque courses in Britain. This hilly route follows the road that circles Coniston Water, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains from the lake shore route. Each year runners raise £20,000 each for local clubs, charities and good causes.
The Lakeland 100 Ultra
The Lakeland 100 'Ultra Tour of the Lake District' is the most spectacular long distance trail race which has ever taken place within the UK. The circular route encompasses the whole of the Lakeland fells, with 6300m of ascent on almost entirely of public bridleways and footpaths. The route starts in Coniston and heads south before completing a clockwise loop which takes in the Dunnerdale fells, Eskdale, Wasdale and Buttermere before arriving in Keswick for the finish.
If that sounds too much then there’s The Lakeland 50, which runs over the second half of the Lakeland 100 Ultra, completing the final 50 miles of the 100 course.
Coniston End to End
Long distance open water swimming isn’t just about swimming around buoys in a loop– it’s about the journey. Travelling the length of a lake from one end to the other, swimming across a channel, or completing a swim from one set point to another gives the swim meaning. You haven’t swum a lake until you have completed the full length of it. Chillswim Coniston is a mass participation, fully supported swim the full 5.25 miles length of Coniston Water, in the Lake District.
Lakeland Trails in Coniston
Starting and finishing at Landing Point, Coniston Hall near Coniston village, the 10km Coniston Trail Run, 15km Coniston Trail Race and 15km Coniston Trail Challenge take in panoramic views of Coniston Water and the surrounding peaks of the Old Man, Swirl How, Wetherlam and Dow Crags. There is one one short 200m section killer section, which only agile mountain goats will be able to run so be warned!
Here at the Coppermines Lakes Cottages we have over 50 Coniston village cottages available to suit all wants and needs, from romantic hideaways to design led modern apartments, available for full weeks and short breaks. With all this in mind why not base your next staycation here in this truly charming Lakeland village.