Coniston is centered round a clear running river, the village is rooted in a history of quarrying and mining for copper, the solid, grey stone buildings being hewn from the surrounding fell and mountain. The location is perfect for outdoor pursuits, walking, cycling and water sport holidays. On all points of the compass there are trails, leafy forest paths and tracks and lake shores to explore, and you need travel very little distance to find a new and exciting landscape. The village, along with its perfect location, has attracted some notable past residents and continues to be a great favourite with holiday makers today. Ruskin lived at Brantwood. Lord Tennyson resided at Tent Lodge, which over the years also saw the likes of Collingwood, Darwin and the Holts of The White Star Shipping Line. Arthur Ransome, author of the famous Swallows and Amazons, resided in a number of the houses, where today you can still track down the places described in his children’s books. One recent name that will always be synonymous with Coniston is that of Sir Donald Campbell and the Blue Bird. A 'daring do' character, he is perhaps more remembered for the tragic accident whilst attempting to best the water speed of 300mph, where Campbell's craft disintegrated It was only recently that both Donald and his craft were recovered and the legend finally laid to rest.
Coniston is very much a Lakeland village where, unlike some of the villages, it has not yet totally given over to a host souvenir shops and boutiques. However, there is a fair share of lamp fittings, clock faces etc, each stuck into shards of the Old Man, and designed to grace your mantelpiece, so be warned and exercise your better taste. What Coniston does have is a small but good selection of shops ranging from butcher, baker, grocer and chemist, along with outdoor clothing stores such as Coniston Outdoor & Country wear and the ever reliable and professional Summitreks on Yewdale Road. For dining and a decent pint there are a number of hotels and inns. Perhaps the best known is the Black Bull, at the heart of the village by the river. The oldest inn, it serves hearty pub grub and the finest local brew, Coniston Gold.
Across the water on the east shore is the Jumping Jenny Restaurant at Brantwood, fully licenced, serving delicious meals all day. Back to the village and you can sample, the Yewdale or The Ship Inn, with its beamed ceilings, cosy fire, good food and a fine pint of real ale. There is the Sun Hotel and The Waterhead Inn, set on the banks of Coniston Water and noted for its restaurant. There are plenty of cafes and now a wine bar, Harrys. So really all you will need when staying in any of the Lake District cottages in Coniston.
Locally there are a number of places to visit, even more activities, both on and off the water, and endless hours of glorious walks, treks and climbs. In the village is the Ruskin Museum, charting the history of Coniston from the early prehistory era to the jet age. At Brantwood House, home of John Ruskin, you can see an exhibition of Ruskin's life and work. A pleasing way to get there is by launch from the village.
For the more adventurous of guests staying in cottages in the Lake District, there are a host of activities on offer. Summit Treks, run by Ron Rutland, will take you rock climbing, abseiling, aquasailing, canoeing and mountain biking. Similar are Joint Adventures, or you may like to try some avian pursuits, taking to the air with Coniston Paragliding. At the Coniston Boating Centre you can hire all manner of craft from sailing boats to canoes, windsurfers to little motor boats, all there for you to have fun mucking about in and on the water. Finally, over in the Grizedale Forest, you have Go Ape, a great adventure, swinging, scrambling and zip wiring through the forest canopy which is perfect for a rewarding family day out when on a Lake District self catering holiday.
For those wanting to take it a little easier, a trip on the lake can’t be beaten. The Lake Cruise and Ferry Service offer regular daily sailings covering the whole of the lake, calling at seven jetties. Ideal for those visiting Brantwood, also as water taxi to walk start points - walks leaflets available, or for those that just want to relax and enjoy the scenery. For a very special trip there is The Steam Yacht ‘Gondola’. An elegant craft, beautifully restored and is truly Queen of the Lake. Gondola runs from Coniston Pier to Brantwood, a trip of about forty five minutes.