Coniston Water

Coniston Water

Coniston Water

Length – 8.7km / Max Width – 0.73km

Arthur Ransome was so inspired by the landscapes around Coniston Water that he used his knowledge of the lake gained from sailing lessons and childhood holidays to create the background of his Swallows and Amazons stories.

Today, Coniston Water is a popular tourist spot, accessed via the A593 that runs from Ambleside to the village of Coniston. The lake is overlooked by the iconic fell, the Old Man of Coniston, and has plenty of woodland and shoreline to explore. At Coniston village you can board a restored Victorian steamer or hire your own boat.


There are numerous options available for parking, including within the lakeside village of Coniston where there are large pay and display car park in the village and at the ferry port. A single track road runs along the eastern edge of the lake with various parking spots along the way, including at Machell Coppice (Grid Ref SD 311 952) where you will find a picnic area and public toilets.

Along the western edge of the lake the A593, followed by the A5084 runs close to the shore line, with parking available at Thrang Crag Wood (Grid Ref SD 290 911) which again benefits from a picnic area and public toilets.


The village of Coniston has a selection of shops, cafés and pubs for visitors to enjoy. Boat hire is available at the lakeshore adjacent to the village, as are steamer cruises. Public toilets are available in the village car park, and at Machell Coppice and Thrang Crag Wood car parks.

On the eastern side of the lake (Post Code LA21 8AD) you will find Brantwood, the former country home to writer John Ruskin that is now home to the public and features gardens and a café.

Walking Trails

A walk around the entirety of Coniston Water is about 14 miles in length, with most of it on the A5084 and the single track road along the eastern edge of the water. Alternatively, you could take a steamer from Coniston to Torver (Grid Ref SD 301 947) and then walk on the Cumbria Way back up to Coniston along the northwestern lakeshore, which is around two miles.

If you park at Machell Coppice on the eastern side of the lake you can explore the trails of Grizedale Forest and possibly spot a deer or a Red Squirrel.