Coniston Water

Arthur Ransome was deeply moved by the stunning scenery surrounding Coniston Water.

He drew from his experiences sailing on the lake during his childhood vacations to craft the setting for his beloved Swallows and Amazons tales.

Nowadays, Coniston Water is a favourite tourist destination, accessible via the A593 road connecting Ambleside and Coniston village.

The lake is framed by the iconic Old Man of Coniston mountain and features extensive forests and lakeshores to explore.

Surrounded by rolling hills, breathtaking scenery, and a wealth of wildlife, Coniston Water is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the area.

Here’s your complete guide to this picturesque lake and what you can expect to find on your visit.

The charming village of Coniston offers a variety of shops, dining options, and pubs for travellers to explore.

In addition, visitors can rent boats or take a scenic steamer cruise on the lake.

Public restrooms are located in the village’s central parking area and in the Machell Coppice and Thrang Crag Wood parking lots.

On the east side of the lake, you’ll find Brantwood, the former home of writer John Ruskin, which has been converted into a museum and features beautiful gardens and a café (Post Code LA21 8AD).


Visitors to Coniston Water have various parking options, including the village of Coniston, which offers a large pay-and-display car park and a ferry port.

The eastern side of the lake is accessible via a single-track road with multiple parking spots along the way, including Machell Coppice (Grid Ref SD 311 952), with its picnic area and public toilets.

On the lake’s western side, the A593 and then the A5084 run close to the shore, with parking available at Thrang Crag Wood (Grid Ref SD 290 911), equipped with picnic areas and public restrooms.


For those looking for a scenic walk around Coniston Water, a 14-mile trek is possible, mainly on the A5084 and a single-track road along the lake’s eastern edge.

Alternatively, a more flexible option would be to take a steamer from Coniston to Torver (Grid Ref SD 301 947) and then enjoy a 2-mile hike back along the northwestern lakeshore on the Cumbria Way.

Finally, if you prefer to park at Machell Coppice on the lake’s eastern side, you can also wander through the trails of Grizedale Forest and have the chance to observe wildlife like deer and red squirrels.

The lake is surrounded by some of the most beautiful countrysides in the Lake District, and there are plenty of opportunities for walks, picnics, and birdwatching.

One of the best ways to experience Coniston Water is by boat.

The Coniston Launch runs a range of boat trips around the lake, including a 1-hour journey that takes you to the southern end and back.

Alternatively, you can rent your boat, either a traditional rowing boat or a motorboat, and explore the lake at your own pace.

If you’re looking for a more active experience, you can take a walk around the lake, either on the path that runs along the western shore or on one of the many footpaths that lead up into the surrounding hills.


At the lake’s southern end, you’ll find the Coniston village, home to a range of shops, cafes, and pubs.

Here you can also visit the Ruskin Museum, which tells the story of the famous Victorian artist and critic John Ruskin, who lived in the area for many years.

Another popular attraction is the Steam Yacht Gondola, built in the late 19th century and is now fully restored and open for public viewing.

The gondola provides a unique insight into the lake’s history and is a must-visit for anyone interested in the area’s past.


Coniston Water is a stunning lake that will take your breath away.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day out on the water or a more active adventure, there’s something for everyone here.

So why head down to the Lake District and experience the beauty of Coniston Water for yourself?