Coniston Water

The Lake District

Coniston's gleaming 5-mile-long lake – the third largest in the Lake District after Windermere and Ullswater – is a half-mile walk from town along Lake Rd. The best way to explore the lake is on one of the two cruise services or, better still, by paddling it yourself. Dinghies, rowing boats, canoes, kayaks and motor boats can be hired from the Coniston Boating Centre.

Along with its connections to the speed attempts made here by Malcolm and Donald Campbell, the lake is famous for inspiring Arthur Ransome's classic children's tale Swallows and Amazons. Peel Island, towards the southern end of Coniston Water, supposedly provided the model for Wild Cat Island in the book.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Lake District attractions

1. Brantwood

0.45 MILES

John Ruskin (1819–1900) was one of the great thinkers of 19th-century society. A polymath, philosopher, painter and critic, he expounded views on…

2. Ruskin Museum

0.88 MILES

Coniston's little museum explores the village's history, touching on copper mining, Arthur Ransome and the Campbell story. There's also a section on John…

3. Tarn Hows

2.53 MILES

Two miles off the B5285 from Hawkshead, a winding country lane leads to this famously photogenic artificial lake, now owned by the National Trust. Trails…

4. Hawkshead Grammar School

2.86 MILES

In centuries past, promising young gentlemen were sent to Hawkshead's village school for their educational foundation. Among the former pupils was a…

5. Beatrix Potter Gallery

2.87 MILES

As well as being a children's author, Beatrix Potter was also a talented botanical painter and amateur naturalist. This small gallery, housed in what were…

6. Hill Top


Two miles south of Hawkshead, in the tiny village of Near Sawrey, this idyllic farmhouse was purchased in 1905 by Beatrix Potter and was used as…

7. Skelwith Bridge

4.81 MILES

Three miles south of Grasmere, Skelwith Bridge is little more than a knot of cottages along the banks of the River Brathay. Since the 19th century it's…

8. Elterwater

5.01 MILES

Named by Norse settlers after the colonies of whooper swans that still swoop across its surface every winter, Elterwater (literally 'swan lake') presents…