Coniston Water

Catch views of the Old Man of Coniston, as you cycle around this scenic lake and encounter charming historical villages.

Picturesque forests and a towering mountain loom majestically over the large lake of Coniston Water. At 5 miles (8 kilometers) long, it is one of the largest lakes in England’s Lake District. Rent a boat to explore various islands and find an ideal picnic spot for your family.

Stroll to the lake from the center of Coniston village. Rent a boat for your family from Coniston Boating Centre for an adventure on the water. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboats are available for a hands-on approach. Appreciate the serene ambiance among the sounds of birdcalls. The lake stretches from north to south and is about 0.5 mile (1 kilometer) wide.

Encounter the islands that decorate the surface of the water. Make your way to Peel Island in the southern part of the lake for its peaceful and secluded setting. The site inspired the fictional Wild Cat Island in Arthur Ransome’s book Swallows and Amazons. Enjoy a picnic on the shore of the lake with a view of the island.

Capture photos of the Old Man of Coniston, a mountain rising above the water to the northwest. Learn about the formation of the lake, whose water flows into the River Crake before finding its way to the sea. It is a type of ribbon lake caused by a glacier during the last Ice Age.

Rent a bike to cover the perimeter of the lake and encounter charming villages. Discover the former home of 19th-century artist and critic John Ruskin. His namesake museum also contains information about Sir Donald Campbell, who died boating on this lake in 1967, trying to set a new world speed record.

Visit the pubs, cafés and restaurants in Coniston. Stroll down the cobblestone alleyways of Hawkshead, where you can learn about poet William Wordsworth and writer Beatrix Potter.

The northern point of Coniston Water is just east of its namesake town in the county of Cumbria. Follow a footpath east for 20 minutes or paddle along the Church Beck River to reach the vast lake. It stretches south past the villages of Brantwood, Sunny Bank and High Nibthwaite.

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