Southern Lake District Discovery Tour
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Our Discovery Tours really get into the heart of the countryside. These are sightseeing tours by minibus, visiting places not normally reached by a full-sized coach. Small groups and friendly leaders make this a great way to enjoy Britain at its best.
Southern Lakeland has an abundance of delightful valleys and mountains, many of which were immortalised by the Lakeland poets and authors who lived here or visited this beautiful region. Along our scenic routes, often inaccessible to larger vehicles, there will be ample opportunity for photography stops and short easy strolls.
- Cruise on Windermere and catch a steam train from Haverthwaite
- Visit the Lakeland town of Ambleside and historic Grange-over-Sands
- Holker Hall and Gardens and Muncaster Castle
- The dramatic mountain scenery of the Great Langdales
- Experience the delightful villages of Hawkshead and Coniston and the medieval village of Cartmel
Great reasons to join us
- Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, plus five full-day mini-coach tours, with plenty of stops at places of interest and short walks of up to 1½ miles
- Knowledgeable leader: learn more about the history and landscapes of the Lake District from your knowlegeable leader
- Accommodation: stay at National Trust owned 4-star Monk Coniston with its lakeside location and glorious views
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays - explore together, eat together and relax together
As an historic National Trust property, Monk Coniston is full of romantic, gothic-style charm. With a most attractive Lake District setting, it is well suited to a relaxing holiday. A perfect holiday whether it's walking or leisure you seek in this wonderful part of the country.
Monk Coniston has 33 bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the adjoining cottage and counting house.
Choose your room
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Dining room with lake views
|• Range of board games and books
• Free WiFi is available in some public rooms
• Our traditional Lakeland barn can be used for dancing, or as a games room
|• Large garden with views down to the lake
• Putting green and croquet lawn
• The National Trust maintains a collection of rare trees in the grounds
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board with breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
During your Discovery Tour you will have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places of interest. The following is a suggested programme, but your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times or the wishes of the group.
Saturday: Arrival day
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea at 4pm. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
Sunday: Haverthwaite, Windermere Cruise and Blackwell
Ride on the Haverthwaite-to-Lakeside steam train before sailing to Bowness on the Windermere lake steamer. Then visit the internationally important icon of Arts and Craft architecture at Blackwell, with fine views overlooking England’s largest lake. Stroll amongst the magnificence of the Lakeland Horticultural Society’s gardens at Holehird. Experience the bustling atmosphere of the jewel in Lakeland’s crown at Ambleside, with its quirky, most-photographed 300-year old Bridge House.
Monday: Tarn Hows, Hawkshead and Hill Top
Visit stunning Tarn Hows, Lakeland’s famed beauty spot, and enjoy its tranquil magnificence with picturesque views towards the Helvellyn Range and the Langdale Pikes. Take a step back in time and experience Beatrix Potter’s life at Hill Top, her much loved Lake District Farm House and inspiration for many of her famous tales. Explore charming Hawkshead Village nestling in the vale of Esthwaite before strolling along the tranquil western shore of Lake Windermere beneath the imposing turrets and towers of the gothic revival Wray Castle, former holiday home to the Potter Family.
Tuesday: Eskdale and Muncaster Castle
Take a spectacular ride over the Wrynose and Hardknott passes to view the impressive Roman Fort at Hardknott. Ride on Lakeland’s most scenic miniature railway from Eskdale to the west coast village of Ravenglass. Visit the haunted historic Muncaster Castle with 70 acres of stunning gardens and the owl centre, returning over Corney Fell with superb views of the west coast and Irish Sea.
Wednesday: Free day
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Enjoy the superb scenery, or discover more local history with various museums, including the Kendal Quaker Tapestry, or the Ulverston Laurel and Hardy museum.
Thursday: Morecambe Bay and Holker Hall
Travel to Grange –Over-Sands, a charming Edwardian resort on the Cumbrian South Coast with fantastic views of Morecambe Bay. Visit the quaint historic village of Cartmel, home of the famous Sticky Toffee Pudding with its impressive medieval gatehouse and magnificent priory. Tour Holker Hall, one of Britain’s best loved stately homes, set in exceptionally beautiful countryside with gardens that merge into parkland, framed by the Lakeland Hills.
Friday: Grasmere, Rydal and Langdale
Stroll the gentle slopes of Loughrigg Fell with unforgettable views looking down in to the vales of Grasmere and Rydal. Enjoy a guided tour of Dove Cottage, home of the famed Lakeland poet William Wordsworth. Sample the delights of the quintessential Lake District village of Grasmere, forever associated with the Romantic Lake Poets and its unique, world-famous Gingerbread. Take in the scenery of the Great Langdale valley and stroll along the shores of Elterwater, enjoying refreshment at the much-acclaimed tea room, Chester’s By The River.
Saturday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast
For maximum flexibility, admissions are not included; please remember to bring your National Trust or English Heritage cards if you have them. Otherwise please allow up to £80 for entrances; (there may be concessionary and group discounts which may reduce this price).
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
Discover the Lake District
Monk Coniston is an imposing Gothic property leased from the National Trust and set in 8 acres of grounds, including a restored walled garden and the impressive arboretum. Some particularly impressive specimens, including a giant sequoia (the largest tree in the world) and the wollemi pine can be explored on the Monk Coniston Tree Trail.
Views from the property offer breathtaking glimpses of Coniston Water and the surrounding mountains.
Coniston village is about one mile away – there is a direct path from the house to the village. Here you’ll find a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a Barclays Bank (open 3 times a week). A wider range of facilities is available in Ambleside, the nearest town, about 8 miles away. The Ruskin Museum is also well worth a visit - find out more about the lake's connections to Donald Campbell and Arthur Ramsome. www.ruskinmuseum.com
During your visit to Monk Coniston you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Steam Yacht Gondola
First cruising Coniston Water 150 years ago, the restored gondola is now operated by the National Trust, stopping at the Monk Coniston jetty at the bottom of the meadow below the house before gliding across the lake, calling at Coniston village and Brantwood House. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Ride ‘L’al Ratty’ a highly scenic narrow gauge railway which runs from the coast at Ravenglass along beautiful Eskdale. You could combine a visit with a walk over Muncaster Fell, or to Stanley Gill waterfall. www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk
Just a couple of miles from Monk Coniston, John Ruskin's former home commands superb views over the lake. www.brantwood.org.uk
A short walk from the Country House, this man-made water was created by Monk Coniston’s resident owner, James Garth Marshall in 1865, as he continued to develop the estate and expand his pleasure grounds. He built a dam to flood the area, amalgamating several smaller tarns, before planting the shores and islands with new woodlands and specimen trees.
Nearby Grizedale Forest is ideal for mountain biking and also has a popular sculpture trail. You can also experience the Go Ape! high-ropes course – a great option for active teenagers. www.forestry.gov.uk/grizedale
Visit this stately home, famous for its magnificent formal garden and topiary displays. www.levenshall.co.uk
Grasmere is about 30 minutes’ drive from Monk Coniston and is famous for its connections with William Wordsworth. The poet’s homes at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount can be visited, the former of which includes the Wordsworth Museum. www.wordsworth.org.uk
Take a cruise along the length of Windermere - England's largest lake. Ferries connect Ambleside in the north to Bowness and Lakeside in the south, where you can connect with the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk, www.lakesiderailway.co.uk
Gondola image ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris
Travel to Conistonwater
Our address is: Monk Coniston, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AQ
The nearest train station is at Windermere. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 13 mile journey from Windermere railway station takes approximately 30 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £27. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Monk Coniston Manager.
From Windermere station you can catch the 505 bus direct to Monk Coniston - the bus stop is right outside our Country House. Journey time is around 50 minutes. For bus times see www.traveline.info
From Ambleside take the A593 signposted to Coniston. Turn sharp left over a narrow bridge, then after half a mile turn left onto the B5286, signposted to Hawkshead. About 3 miles along this road, and just before Hawkshead, turn right onto the B5285, signposted to Coniston. Follow this road over Hawkshead Hill. The road descends then goes around a 180° bend to the left. The entrance to Monk Coniston is on the left about 100yds after the bend. There is car parking available within the grounds.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests the most convenient option is to book a flight to Manchester Airport. There are direct trains every hour from Manchester Airport to Oxenholme - this is straightforward journey - allow 1½ hours to Oxenholme. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Oxenholme station you can complete the journey to Monk Coniston by bus or taxi (see above).
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow at least 4 hours to reach Oxenholme. From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. Next take the Underground train to London Euston. Finally the main line train from London Euston to Oxenholme takes 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Tom is a Blue Badge Guide for Cumbria and Hadrian’s Wall and has been guiding professionally since 2000. He is a true Cumbrian, born in Maryport on the West Coast and is a retired police officer with a wonderful sense of humour, dry wit. He possesses a natural ability to make you smile. He has a sincere passion about his home County and simply loves to share his knowledge and love of The Lake District, with its breathtaking spectacular scenery and legendary poets, authors and artists. Tom loves meeting people and relating tales of folk lore, history, characters and industrial heritage in this the most wondrous part of England.
Brought up in south-east England, Jill has lived in the West Country, Scotland and, since 1998, Cumbria. She has a real passion for Britain, its history, geology and wildlife and loves sharing that with other people. She loves visiting stately homes and gardens but is also interested in how ordinary people lived in the past. Jill works as a Blue Badge Guide which is the perfect job for combining her wide range of interests with a love of communicating with people.
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Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person