Things to Do in Coniston

For those of you planning a trip to the Lake District, we’ve got you covered – we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the top things to do in Coniston, covering everything from the quaint streets of Coniston Village to boat rides, family days out, and more!

Carry on reading to learn more about the plethora of things to do in and around Coniston…

coniston holme fell landscape

Where is Coniston?

Located in the Lake District, Coniston is a quiet, yet immensely charming location that's situated on the water of one of the Lake District's largest bodies of water.

The easy-to-access location makes Coniston the perfect destination for anyone looking for a trip in the north of England without spending too much time travelling - the journey from Manchester is just 2 hours by car, with the journey from Liverpool taking around the same amount of time.

With easy access from the major cities in the north, it's no surprise to see that Coniston and the Lakes are such a big hit with people looking to head out on domestic holidays all year round.

Although not one of the most popular destinations in the Lake District, Coniston is still a fantastic destination for tourists looking for a more relaxed retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the major tourist towns like Bowness and Ambleside.


Coniston is also a place steeped in history and folklore, having been the home of Donald Campbell's record-breaking speed runs across the water, following in the footsteps of his father, Sir Malcolm Campbell.

Sadly, Donald Campbell was fatally injured during a failed speed record on Coniston Water whilst riding Bluebird K7 at a speed of 320 mph, but his memory and legend still live on with multiple monuments around the lake, and the museum erected in his honour. If you're visiting Coniston, you're sure to find yourself studying the incredible feats that Donald Campbell CBE achieved during his time on Coniston, including breaking Water Speed Records on more than one occasion.

Beyond that, Coniston Water is also the third-largest lake in the district, making it the perfect place for hiking, cycling, and kayaking without having to cover the larger, more tiring distances that you'd find at Windermere!

What are the best things to do in Coniston?

Coniston and the surrounding areas are full of fantastic things to do for people of all ages.

Whether you’re looking to indulge in the history of the area, follow in the footsteps of legendary author Arthur Ransome and learn to sail on the water, or you’re looking to test yourself on some of the challenging hikes in the area, you’re sure to find plenty of activities to help you fill the time and enjoy your trip to the max.

Here’s a quick rundown of our favourite things to do whilst you’re visiting Coniston:


Brantwood House

Brantwood House, the historic home of John Ruskin, one of the country’s most famous art critics, is one of the most peaceful and tranquil attractions in the Lakes – the whole estate is set against the shore of Coniston Water and has stunning views of the surrounding hills, making it one of the most picturesque places to relax and watch the world go by.

Of course, there are plenty of things to do whilst you’re visiting Brantwood, too – there are contemporary exhibitions, tours of the house itself, and even a cafe serving coffee, tea, and snacks!

If you’d like to visit Brantwood, the estate is open all year round, with dates and times changing slightly between seasons. At the time of writing, the open hours are:

March-November: Every day between the hours of 10:30 am – 5 pm.

December-March: Wednesday-Sunday between the hours of 10:30 am – 4 pm.

Coniston Boating Centre

When you’re visiting the Lake District, you have to head out onto the water.

It’s one of the top attractions and it’s easy to see why – it’s a fantastic experience and gives you one of the most unique viewpoints of the beautiful views on offer in Coniston.

But if you’re worried about heading out on the water, don’t worry – there are lots of different ways to get onto the water, so you’ll be able to pick the method that makes you feel most comfortable.

You’ll be able to choose from kayaks, rowing boats, paddle boards, canoes, motor boats or full-boat cruises, so you can explore the lake in any way that you see fit.

There’s even dog-friendly boat hire, so you’ll be able to bring your canine companion along for the ride!

When it comes to boat hire, Coniston Boating Centre is the place to go – the boating centre is the best place to arrange your rentals and you’ll be supplied with all of the safety gear that you need, so don’t worry about bringing your own (although if you’d prefer to do this, that’s perfectly fine!).

Coniston Copper Mines

At first, a trip to the copper mines might not be top of everyone’s to-do list, but stick with us – it’s worth the read!

The Coniston Copper Mines is a huge project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, bringing new life to the area and generating more tourism revenue to support growth in Coniston and the greater Lakes area.

The project went under construction between 2016 and 2018 and is now fully completed – the initial project mostly focused on conservation in the first instance, with over 150 items repaired, stabilised, and reconstructed to properly display the natural features of the area.

One of the major developments undertaken during the funded project was the Miners’ Lived Guided Trail, which takes visitors on a short walk around Coniston Village, following the lead of an experienced guide who gives walkers fantastic insights into the social history of the village, focusing on the impact of mining in the local area.

In addition to this short guided walk, there are several new hiking trails in the area that offer longer, more challenging expeditions to the original mining sites in Coniston.

If you’re looking for a hike filled with history and breathtaking sights, the Coniston Copper Mines has to be part of your trip itinerary.

Dow Crag

No Lake District trip is complete without a couple of hikes up the hills and fells that surround the bodies of water – it’s tough work getting to the top, but the superb views across the landscape are more than worth it once you’re at the summit.

Dow Crag is one of the best walking routes from a Coniston base – there are a couple of different routes each with varying levels of difficulty, but the easiest routes should be easy enough for most hikers and dogs.

To the peak, the ascent is approximately 574m and is expected to take around 3 hours in total. If you’re looking to fill a day with all-terrain hiking without the dangers of flowing water or scrambling, this is a great option.

The general terrain for the route is described as “rough” with rocky paths and tracks, but these are clearly defined on the ground, so there’s little chance of getting lost along the way.

Whilst you’re at the top of Dow Crag, be sure to get some snaps of the local Coniston peaks, including the iconic Old Man of Coniston!

Steam Yacht Gondola

Obviously, scaling those kinds of heights isn’t for everyone, so if you’re looking to stay a little closer to sea level, why not take a trip on the Steam Yacht Gondolas that operate on Coniston Water?

Coniston’s Steam Yacht Gondolas are a sailing experience unlike any other – it’s a glimpse into a life of Victorian luxury that you’re unlikely to experience anywhere else.

If you want to take a trip across the lake on a gondola, your best bet is to book a ticket in advance – these boat trips are very popular and tickets on the day are prone to selling out quickly, but if you book a ticket in advance, you’ll be able to skip the hassle and board the boar at the time of your choosing.

Tickets go on sale every Thursday and you’re able to book a ticket for any day in the next 4 weeks, so you’ll have plenty of choice on time and date if you get in early enough.

The current routes that you can choose between are:

  • North Lake – this cruise gives an insight into the origins of the gondolas and the importance of their designs;
  • South Lake – this cruise offers fantastic views over the wooded eastern shore of the lake, including Brantwood;

Full Lake – the full lake cruise gives you views of all the highlights on Coniston Lake and lasts for around 1 hour and 40 minutes.

The Coniston Inn

Places to stay in Coniston 

When you’re staying in the Lake District, it’s natural to want spectacular views out of your bedroom window, but very few hotels in the area are capable of offering that to their guests. 

At The Coniston Inn, you’ll be spoiled for choice - whether it’s a Lake View Room that you’re after or views across the Coniston Fells, we’ve got a room that’ll make your stay feel magical. 

When you’re staying at The Coniston Inn, you’re getting so much more than just a room - you’ll get the signature Inn Collection Group service that has our guests coming back for more time and time again. 

A wooden panelled room at The Coniston Inn

We’re dedicated to creating an experience that you’re in love with - we combine the luxury of your favourite hotels with the comfort of your local pub, topped off with the heart-warming pub food that every post-hike beer deserves to be accompanied by. 

If you’re looking for places to stay in Coniston, head over to our booking pages today - you can check out our available rooms, learn more about our restaurant, and so much more! 

Alternatively, head over to our ultimate guide to the Lake District to find the perfect activities to fill your days with as you visit this gorgeous part of the country. 

If you have any questions regarding Coniston or would like to book your stay at The Inn Collection Group today, do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!