Close Icon
Boats on the shore of Coniston Water

The charming village of Coniston sits on the banks of Coniston Water, in the heart of the Lake District National Park. Brimming with amenities and attractions, you’ll not be short of things to do in Coniston.

Coniston is a hub for walkers, climbers, and outdoor adventurers alike. Whether it’s hiking through the peaceful countryside or blissfully passing the days on the shimmering waters, there’s something for everyone in Coniston.

Read our hand-picked suggestions for things to see and do in Coniston below…

Things to do in Coniston

The Old Man of Coniston

A view of the surrounding countryside from the top of The Old Man of Coniston

Amongst all the walks around Coniston, a hike to the summit of The Old Man of Coniston is a must if you’re in the area. A relatively straightforward hike, climbers are rewarded by far-reaching views across Coniston Water.

There’s a handful of trails to follow depending on experience. The popular circular trail begins at Walna Scar, passing Dow Crag and Brown Pike along the way. Not for the faint of heart, the Jack Diamond Path is the shortest route, trailing along the southeast ridge.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, The Old Man of Coniston is for you.

When its time to put your feet up, one of our Coniston lodges is the perfect place to unwind after a long day.

Coniston Boating Centre

A view of boats on Coniston Water as the sun goes down

Home to 92 bodies of water, no trip to the Lake District would be complete without an adventure on the water.

Try your hand at something new and hire a canoe, paddle board or kayak from Coniston Boating Centre. Or if you’d prefer, soak in the scenery of The Old Man of Coniston or Peel Island aboard a motorboat. Even better, your canine companions are welcome to join you on your journey!

Beginners fear not, you’ll be provided with safety equipment and expert instruction before you set sail. If you want to see Coniston from a different perspective, this one is for you!

The Ruskin Museum

An external shot of the Ruskin Museum in Coniston

Located in the centre of Coniston, The Ruskin Museum was set up in 1901 as a memorial to the renowned writer, philosopher and art critic, John Ruskin.

The museum is dedicated to sharing the story of the village and its list of inspiring residents. Exhibits include details of Donald Campbells speed record attempt on Coniston Water.

Expect to see drawings made by John Ruskin himself, as well as insights into the literary mind of Swallows and Amazons author, Arthur Ransome.

There’s even a on-site gift shop to pick up souvenirs to remind you of your break!

For those wanting to get out and about, the museum also offers guided walks around the village. Stops along the way include the banks of Coniston Water and the restored model of Campbells boat, Bluebird K7.

Steam Yacht Gondala

Coniston Steam Yacht Gondola Sailing on Coniston Water

The best way to experience the natural beauty of Coniston Water is aboard a Steam Yacht Gondala.

The Gondola begins its journey at Coniston Pier, before setting sail towards Parkamoor jetty. Here, you can disembark and soak in some of the most magical views of Coniston Water from the lakeside.

A trail leads from the jetty toward Brantwood House, renowned as the former home of John Ruskin. If you’d prefer to save your feet, you can choose to stay aboard until reaching Brantwood Pier.

After enjoying a spot of afternoon tea at The Terrace Coffee House & Restaurant, return to Coniston aboard the Steam Yacht Gondala.

Swimming in Coniston Water

A woman open water swimming in a lake

Cool off during your trip to the Lake District with a dip in Coniston Water.

A haven for open-water swimming, Coniston Water varies in depth, with the northern end providing relatively safer swimming conditions. Be mindful of your route, however, as you may end up in the path of a boat or steam cruiser.

With fells, forests and mountains forming the backdrop, you won’t find a more picturesque swimming spot than Coniston Water. Bask in the tranquility of your surrounds as you practice your backstroke.

Adventure North West

Woman abseiling with ropes down a rockface

Out of all the things to do in Coniston, an expedition into the great outdoors is amongst the most popular. Adventure North West offer private activity days, based both on and off the water.

Test your survival skills with a session in bush craft or navigate a rock face with a spot of abseiling. Building a raft with only the bare essentials is a great activity for a team building afternoon.

With outdoor pursuits suitable for explorers of all ages and abilities, there’s fun for all to be had with Adventure North West.

When it’s time to head home, one of our Lake District cottages is the ideal place to unwind and recharge.

Food & Drink in Coniston

A senior couple stood by a lake enjoying a glass of wine

There is a wide variety of pubs, restaurants, and cafes here, each serving a menu of varying tastes and budgets. Picture tucking-into a hearty meal with a lakeside view, or sipping coffee surrounded by the tranquil greenery of Coniston

The Bluebird Café

Idyllically positioned on the lakeside, The Bluebird Café promises a backdrop like no other. You can watch the Steam Yacht Gondala set sail as you fuel a day of excursions with a Full English, or recount the days adventures over a crisp glass of wine.

Expect a menu of freshly baked cakes, light bites and main courses, with veggie and vegan options available too!

Your four-legged friends are welcome here, and the heated terrace provides shelter for alfresco dining, whatever the weather.

Sample menu 🡭

The Black Bull Inn

Bar Meals at the Black Bull Pub in Coniston

A traditional pub set in the heart of Coniston, we’re sure that The Black Bull Inn will be a hit!

The menu consists of classic pub grub, with lighter bites available until 5pm. Expect sausage and mash, jacket potatoes and fresh fish and chips. There’s also options available for diners with dietary restrictions or preferences.

After dining, you can look forward to cosying up around the open fire with an award-winning cask ale in hand. Sourced from Coniston Brewing Co, situated directly behind the inn, you don’t need to look far for a decent pint!

If you’re lucky enough to experience the warmer weather, the beer garden is a sunny spot to enjoy an afternoon tipple!

Sample menu 🡭

Steam Bistro

For a more intimate dining experience, the Steam Bistro is the best option. A cozy dining room decorated in wooden furnishings and exposed brick, this eatery exudes Cumbrian character.

The menu changes daily and features seasonal ingredients sourced from the local area. Friday and Saturday evenings see a set 2 or 3 course menu, whilst roast dinners are available on Sundays.

Be mindful that the Steam Bistro is not a licensed establishment, however, corkage is only charged at £2.50 pp. Be sure to head to the shop ahead of your visit to pick up your favourite bottle of bubbly!

Sample menu 🡭

Coniston Brewing Co

A Brewing Kettle Inside Coniston Brewing Co

Exhausted from an action-packed day exploring the rural delights of Coniston? Where better to raise a glass and unwind than a sunny veranda, snug living room or peaceful garden?

If you’re staying in the area, make sure to visit Coniston Brewing Co. Here you can stock up on delicious, award-winning hand-brewed ales, wine and spirits.

Experience a real taste of the Lakes with Coniston Brewing Co!

With all of this and more, you wont be short on things to do in Coniston. Book one of our Lake District Lodge Holidays today and add these fun-filled activities to your itinerary!

Whatever the weather, there’s something to keep you occupied in the Lake District. Give our guide on things to do in the Lake District on a Rainy Day a read!

Images courtesy of: Paul Hermans – (CC BY-SA 3.0); Peter Trimming(CC BY-SA 2.0)