Monk Coniston

Lake District

Coniston - External.jpg

With a desirable address overlooking Coniston Water (the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s 1930 novel, Swallows and Amazons), this characterful Grade II-listed house delights with lakeside and woodland walks from the doorstep, décor that stays true to the period feel, and plenty of Beatrix Potter references. While the children's author and illustrator did not live at the Monk Coniston estate (her beloved home was Hill Top, bought in 1905 with the royalties from The Tale of Peter Rabbit), she campaigned with the National Trust to save it from development. She then purchased the entire estate in 1930 and as the new owner she immediately sold half to the organisation, bequeathing them the other half in her will.

Monk Coniston

  •  Open March to November and during the festive season  •  30 well-appointed guest rooms  •  Exclusive occupancy: 38 guests minimum •  Check in from 4:00pm  •  Free Wi-Fi  •  Free on-site parking  •  Boot room and drying room  •  Travel cot  •  Discovery Point offering a wide range of local area maps, route guides, and information for self-guided walks  •  Books and games to borrow  •  Licensed bar  •  Lounge  •  Garden with putting green and croquet lawn  •  Activity barn  •  Electric vehicle charging point - Please note, you will need to bring your own cables to use this EV charging point Visit England - Guest Accommodation 

Then & now at Monk Coniston

Known as Waterhead House and later as Monk Coniston Hall, the Gothic-stye property dates from the 1770s. Successively the home of the Harrison, Ford, and Knott families, the 4,000-acre estate was purchased by wealthy Leeds industrialist James Marshall in 1836. Not only did Marshall hugely extend and improve the property, but it was his idea to join three smallish ponds in a boggy valley to create Tarn Hows – now a Lake District classic. He spent much time at Monk Coniston, pursuing his life-long interest in geology and entertaining eminent friends such as Thomas Carlyle, Adam Sedgewick, Alfred Tennyson, John Ruskin, and Lewis Carrol. The house remained in the family thereafter. Leased from the National Trust, it has been part of our HF Holidays line-up since 1945.

Nowadays, it’s the perfect base for exploring beauties such as Grasmere, the Langdales, and the Old Man of Coniston. You’ll find a hidden walled garden, a putting green and croquet lawn, ornate public rooms, a converted barn with exposed beams, and a Discovery Point offering a wide range of local area maps, route guides, and easy-to-follow information for self-guided walks. There’s a minstrels’ gallery, a licensed bar, books and games to borrow during your stay, and a dining room for a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. Elsewhere, the house has 30 well-appointed guest rooms in three categories (Classic, Premium, and Superior), extensive gardens, and an arboretum with a collection of conifers – some planted in the early 19th century. In the hallway at the bottom of the main stairs, the large oil canvas painted by Beatrix Potter's brother, artist Walter Bertram, is a nice touch.


Designed with your comfort in mind, Monk Coniston has 30 well-appointed guest rooms available in three categories: Classic, Premium, and Superior. 

Classic Rooms are comfortable en-suite guest rooms, ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, and shower gel), and a TV. 

Premium Rooms are more spacious en-suite guest rooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

Superior Rooms are even more spacious en-suite guest rooms offering upgraded views of the surrounds. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

We love: The rooms with a garden or lake view. We also love Room 9 on the first floor for its original features and beautiful views across the gardens and fields that slope down to the shores of Coniston Water. 

The Choose Your Room service is available at our UK country houses, allowing you the option of choosing and confirming a specific room for an extra charge of £30 per room. This is subject to availability. Upgrade supplements apply. 

Check in & check out 
You are welcome to check in from 4:00pm at the earliest. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a complimentary cream tea and get to meet your fellow guests, our HF Holidays Leaders, and the rest of the friendly team.  

On the day of departure, we kindly ask all guests to check out by 10:00am. You’ll be asked to settle your bill prior to leaving. You may, of course, make a charitable donation to our HF Holidays Pathways Fund if you wish. Please note that we only accept card payments.  

Room supplements

Superior Premium single Premium double/twin Choose your room
£25 pppn £20 pppn £20 pppn £30 per room

About your stay

A warm welcome
We want you to feel comfortable from the moment you arrive. You’ll find a welcome pack in your room with guest registration forms, menus, order forms for dinners and picnic lunches, the Wi-Fi password, and the front door code. Our houses are locked at night, so we recommend noting the Duty Manager’s number on arrival in case of an emergency (or getting locked out). 

Evening entertainment
While evening entertainment varies from house to house, the HF Holidays Big Pub Quiz held after dinner on Wednesdays is a weekly staple. Your HF Holidays Leader may be around for tips on guided and self-guided walking routes as well as visit-worthy local attractions. 

Walks talks 
Our HF Holidays Leaders host guided walking information briefings before dinner on arrival days. This is followed by a group Walks Talk for information on the following day’s walking delights (held before dinner every evening). Self-guided walking guests are, of course, welcome.  

The walking day
Prior to setting off on walks, your HF Holidays Leader will run you through a short safety briefing. There’s also an up-to-date weather forecast on display at the house to ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear. If you choose to do your own walks or are on a self-guided walking holiday, we ask that you please complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house. 

Food & drink

Led by experienced chefs, we serve a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We always aim to source the best produce available and use home-grown herbs and vegetables from our own gardens whenever possible. Additionally, we have a licensed bar with beers, soft drinks, and a superb selection of spirits. Full-board comes as standard and includes a cream tea on arrival and a hearty breakfast on departure day.

HF Holidays understands the importance of managing allergens effectively to ensure food is safe for guests with food allergies. Whilst we are always able to confidently inform guests which allergens are present in our ingredients and dishes, we are unable to guarantee absolute freedom from the 14 main allergens in our kitchens. Vegetarian and vegan menu choices are available. If you have allergies, food intolerances, or any special dietary requirements, please inform our reservation team at the time of booking.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Monk Coniston

House calendar

  • Guided Walking
  • Self-Guided Walking
  • Special Interests
  • Unavailable to Book

Discover Lake District

Places to visit

Whether you’re enjoying a guided or self-guided walking holiday, there’s always the opportunity to linger for longer. Here’s our pick of the very best things to see and do within easy travelling distance of Monk Coniston.


About a mile from the house and easily accessed from a direct path, this small village charms with a superb position at the foot of the Old Man of Coniston and by the western shore of Coniston Water. The small town of Ambleside is a 20-minute drive away.

Steam Yacht Gondola

Manged by the National Trust, this restored steam-powered yacht on Coniston Water was built by the Furness Railway Company in 1859. It stops at the Monk Coniston jetty at the bottom of the meadow below the house and calls at Coniston and Brantwood House.

Brantwood House

A couple of miles away, this 250-acre Lakeland estate was once home to English writer, philosopher, art critic, and social revolutionary, John Ruskin. The eight beautiful gardens were created by Ruskin, his cousin Joan Severn, and head gardener Sally Beamish.

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

Known locally known as La’al Ratty meaning ‘little railway’, this is one of England’s oldest and longest narrow gauge railways dating back to 1873. A trip here can easily be combined with a walk over Muncaster Fell or to the Stanley Ghyll Waterfall.

Blackwell House

Designed by esteemed architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott between 1898 and 1900, this Grade I-listed building is one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts & Crafts architecture. Don’t miss the well-preserved interiors and the formal terraced garden.

Tarn Hows

Just a short walk away, this man-made lake was created in the mid-19th century by one of Monk Coniston’s former owners, James Garth Marshall. The 1.5-mile path around the lake has been well maintained by the National Trust and is suitable for wheelchair users.

Grizedale Forest

Set right in the heart of the Lake District between Windermere and Coniston, this vast woodland is perfect for walking, mountain biking, and swinging through the trees on a Go Ape course. There’s also a visitor centre with a gift shop, tearoom, and playground.

Levens Hall & Garden

A 50-minute drive away, this privately-owned Elizabethan mansion is cherished for its award-winning topiary gardens – the oldest in the world. Inside, there’s fine oak panelling, ornate plasterwork, leather wall coverings, and the earliest examples of English patchwork.


Best known for its William Wordsworth connections, this impossibly pretty village is a 30-minute drive away. Highlights include Grasmere Lake, Allan Bank, and the 17th century Dove Cottage - home to the Wordsworth Museum.


The largest natural lake in England, this watery wonder measures 10.5 miles long, one mile wide, and 220 feet deep. Ferries connect Ambleside in the north to Bowness and Lakeside in the south, where you can board the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.

Getting to Monk Coniston

Getting here


Monk Coniston
Cumbria LA21 8AQ

Tel: +44 (0)1539 441566

By train

The nearest station is Windermere. From Windermere you can take a taxi or bus to Monk Coniston (see below).

The nearest mainline station is Oxenholme which may be more convenient for you, however there are no direct buses from Oxenholme to Monk Coniston. There are frequent trains from Oxenholme to Windermere.

Check National Rail for journey times and routes. 

By taxi

The journey from Windermere train station to Monk Coniston is 10 miles.

From Oxenholme, it’s double that at 23 miles.

For pricing, please contact Ace Taxi directly.

Ace Taxi
You can pre-book a taxi from our recommended company, Ace Taxi*. We recommend booking your taxi at least seven days in advance by contacting:

Tel: +44 (0)1539 445445

A return journey can be arranged on your behalf by the HF Holidays House Manager at Monk Coniston.

*Ace Taxi is not owned or managed by HF Holidays.

By bus

The 505 takes you directly from Windermere station to Monk Coniston, taking about 50 minutes. The stop is right outside Monk Coniston. 

Check Stagecoach for bus times. 

By car

Car parking is available at Monk Coniston.

If travelling from the south, you’ll need to leave the M6 motorway at junction 36. Follow the A590 to Greenodd Roundabout, take the second exit and follow the A5092 before turning right onto the A5084 signposted to Torver. At the T junction turn right onto the A593 and follow into Coniston village. Turn right onto the B5286 and follow for 1.5 miles. The entrance to Monk Coniston will be on your right.

By air

The nearest airport is Manchester International Airport.  

There are direct trains every hour to Oxenholme with the journey time around 90 minutes. From here you can change to Windermere or get a taxi (we recommend pre-booking one).  

National Rail have up-to-date information on times and routes. 

Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but it’ll take you at least four hours to reach Oxenholme. Take the train to London Paddington station, then the London Underground to London Euston where you can connect to the main line train to Oxenholme. The journey from here is 2.5 hours.