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Coniston Water is the third largest lake in the Lake District and one of the most famous in the National Park. It sits at the base of the Old Man of Coniston and boast spectacular views of the surrounding fells. Coniston is a favourite with visitors to Park Cliffe thanks to the abundance of things to see and do both on the lake and in the surrounding area. It’s a great place to spend a day soaking up the scenery and exploring points of interest nearby.
Coniston is best known for its involvement in Donald Campbells attempts to break the Water Speed Record in 1967. Tragically, Donald experienced a technical difficulty during the record-breaking attempt, which led to a devasting crash that unfortunately cost him his life. You can learn more of his incredible story and see a variety of memorabilia on display in the award-winning Ruskin Museum. There is a permanent exhibition showcasing various engine parts as well as the remains of the Bluebird K7 tail fin.
The scenery surrounding the lake has inspired many of the literary greats over the years. Acclaimed author, Arthur Ransome based best-selling children’s book ‘Swallows and Amazons’ on Peel Island – which can be found in the centre of the Coniston Water. The island is closed to the public, but you cans see it from the lake shore.
We highly recommend making some time to get out on the water during your visit to Coniston. Watersports equipment, including canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available to hire from Coniston Boating Centre for a reasonable fee, allowing you to explore the lake under your own steam. They also rent self-drive motor-boats.
If you’d prefer to let someone else do the driving, Coniston Launch offer a range of boat trips aboard their fleet of traditional wooden oats. There are a handful of hop and off services allowing you to explore different areas of the lake as well as a selection of scenic themed cruises. From the water you can enjoy 360-degree views from a unique perspective.
Take a trip on the Steam Yacht Gondola for a completely unique experience. The unique vessel is an exact replica of the original gondola that was popular in Victorian times and features intricate detailing. It is operated by the National Trust and runs a variety of services around the lake. Throughout the trip you’ll learn about the boats interesting history and venetian links.
The Ruskin Museum is situated in the heart of the village, just a short walk from the lake. It houses a range of interesting exhibits showcased in unique displays. As you walk around the various wings, you’ll learn more about the Lake Districts early settlers. Highlights include a variety of memorabilia from Donald’s Campbells record breaking attempts.
Brantwood is a historic house and gardens, set in a scenic position on the shore of Coniston Water. It was once home to art critic, John Ruskin and boasts acres of picturesque gardens spread across extensive grounds. The house hosts a range of exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing the work of local artists new and old. There’s an excellent café on site.
Coniston village is situated just a short walk from the lake. The village is extremely popular with fell walkers due to the abundance of hiking routes nearby. There’s a variety of shops to peruse if you fancy indulging in some retail therapy during your stay. There’s also a selection of pubs and restaurants where you’ll be able to pick up some tasty treats to eat.
It takes around 40 minutes to drive to Coniston Water from Park Cliffe Caravan and Camping Park, depending on traffic. There is plenty of pay and display car parking available in the village and next to the ferry port.
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