Coniston Water

Coniston Water is the third largest lake in the Lake District and to the North West of the Lake is the Old Man of Coniston, the highest fell in the area; it lies to the west of Coniston village. Near the shores of Coniston Water, agricultural remains from the Bronze Age have been found. The Lake used to known as Thurston Water, from the old Norse and this name pertained until it was changed to Coniston Water in the late eighteenth century.

Art and Culture

Brantwood House, on the eastern shore of Lake Coniston, which was owned by the Victorian artist and philosopher John Ruskin, he lived there for twenty eight years from 1872 until his death in 1900. At one time Brantwood House was known as one of the liveliest artistic centres in Europe. The Ruskin Museum in Coniston is also worth a visit and find out about the history and importance to the area of copper, slate, linen and wools. The museum is inspired by the art and philosophy of John Ruskin. There is a splendid church in the village of Coniston, which is well worth visiting


It is worth seeing the newly opened Eyrie, which is a development of the top floor of Ruskin’s home, Brantwood, into a centre for learning. During high season on a Monday or a Thursday you can go on a Gondola cruise of Coniston Water and learn about the history of the area. You can also go on what is known as a Southern Sailing where you visit Wildcat Island, made famous in the Swallows and Amazons books. Grab some homemade cakes and coffee at the Bluebird Café by the lake, named after Donald Campbell’s famous boat. If you fancy an energetic day out then why not try some of the Summitreks on offer at Coniston and do some absailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, kyaking and canoing.


The town is built mostly from local grey stone and is one of the central shopping hubs for the Lake District. Most of the shops in Coniston are small independent retailers, there are plenty of gift shops and clothing stores selling men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. There are also a number of farmer’s market shops in Coniston where you can get fresh local produce as well as the camping and outdoor wear shops. Visit Brantwood book shop while you are there or get your hair done at the local beauty salon. There is also a very good, local bookshop in Coniston that is well worth a visit.


The Ship Inn sells good beer and food and there is a lively and friendly crowd there most nights of the week. It is not too hard to get around the Lake District and towards the end of the week there are a good number of pubs and inns offering live music. If you want something a bit more lively then there are some bars and a club in Keswick and another club in Penryn.