Hunkered under the pockmarked hill known as the Old Man of Coniston (elevation of 803m), this lakeside village was initially established to assist the local mining industry. The surrounding hilltops are littered with historic remains of old copper workings. These days, most families visit with two things in mind: to cruise on the graceful old Coniston Launch or march to the top of the Old Man, a challenging but satisfying return hike of around 9.5km.
Many famous writers and poets have taken inspiration from this place, mountain, lake, and surrounding area, though most famously, it is synonymous with the life of Beatrix Potter.
Today, families can enjoy anything from fishing to boating and a host of adventures in between; there is sure to be something for everyone. The lake is shadowed by The Old Man of Coniston, a magnificent mountain that rises from behind the houses in the village in a climactic fashion.
For strollers relishing the open space and charming scenery of the region, there is a rewarding end for their fell-walking efforts of the day, with a delightful pint in The Black Bull Inn. For more than 300 years, the old coaching inn in at the bottom of Old Man Coniston has been serving its own real ales and beers; well worthy of a visit.
Top Attractions in Coniston
John Ruskin (1819 CE–1900 CE) was one of the prominent thinkers of 19th-century CE society. A philosopher, polymath, critic, and painter, he expounded opinions on everything from lace making to Venetian architecture. In 1871 CE, Ruskin bought this lakeside house and spent the next two decades modifying it, championing handmade crafts (he even sketched the wallpaper). Explore his vast shell collection in this place. Boats run periodically to Brantwood from Coniston. Displays include the grand but incredibly cozy drawing-room, the tome-filled study, and the upstairs bedroom furnished with some of his favorite watercolors.
Coniston’s small museum traverses the town’s history, touching on copper mining, Arthur Ransome, and the Campbell tale. There’s also a segment on John Ruskin, with exhibitions of his writings, sketchbooks, and watercolors. It’s also closely linked to the decade-long project to restore Donald Campbell’s Bluebird K7, with several pieces of the remodeled boat on display.
Coniston’s beautiful 5-mile-long lake – the third-largest in the Lake District after Ullswater and Windermere – is a half-mile stroll from the village along Lake road. The best way to travel the lake is on one of the two cruise services or, better still, by boat paddling it yourself. You can hire rowing boats, dinghies, kayaks, canoes, and motorboats from the famous Coniston Boating Centre.