Lake District - Conistonwater Discovery Tour
Lakes & Fells of the Southern Lake District
Code: CNHCRPrint page
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 a 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.
Monk Coniston has 33 bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the adjoining cottage and counting house.
Our classic rooms offer comfortable accommodation and an en-suite bathroom with bath or shower. They also have TV, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are available for an extra £8 per night.
You can enjoy extra space or exceptional views plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade to a premium room. Premium rooms are available at just £5 extra per person per night.
If you are travelling with your family, we have a selection of 3 and 4-bedded family rooms. These have all the facilities of our classic rooms plus full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk beds or occasional beds for children.
A limited number of value twin rooms are available at a discount of £8 per person per night and value single rooms with a £5 per night discount. Our value rooms have the same facilities as our classic rooms, but bathroom facilities are nearby rather than en-suite.
All our Country Houses are tailored to the needs of walkers and outdoor enthusiasts and have excellent boot and drying rooms.
Monk Coniston has a comfortable lounge, an attractive dining room with lake views, and a bar and library. There is also a selection 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 with table tennis and Nintendo Wii.
Monk Coniston is surrounded by a large garden with views down to the lake. Outside there is a 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 all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.
Start your day with our extensive breakfast. Choose from our cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. The cold buffet offers a selection fruit, cereals, yoghurts, croissants and pastries. Hot dishes include porridge, sausages, bacon, choice of eggs, tomato, baked beans and mushrooms. Tea, coffee, toast and jams are served at the tables.
Choose from our self-select picnic lunches. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish.
Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (generally soup, sandwiches etc).
The relaxed dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring good British cooking and often local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.
All our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
Guided Walking: enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk from a member of the local mountain rescue team or a team quiz. Alternatively if you prefer, feel free to just relax in our lounge or bar.
Leisure Activities: many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.
Family holidays: our activity leaders are on hand to organise children’s activities and games for younger children before dinner. These could include rounders, outdoor games, or crafts. After dinner there are further activities for the whole family.
Self-Guided Walking: there may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.
Due to the age and the layout of Monk Coniston, it is not recommended for wheelchair users and guests with restricted mobility. There are ground floor en-suite bedrooms in the Counting House, but this building is access via steps.
Arrival & car parking facilities
- On arrival there is a gate, a cattle grid and a driveway leading towards the house.
- It is possible to load and unload cars directly at the front door.
- The surface of the car park is tarmac and slightly sloping
- Assistance can be provided with luggage
Main entrance & reception
- The main entrance has no steps and is 110cm wide
- The reception area is a spacious 4m x 4.1m
- All public rooms are available without encountering any further steps, with the exception of the games room
- The floors on the ground floor are mainly carpeted. The games room has wooden block flooring and the gents’ toilet has a tiled floor
Public areas - hall, stairs, landing, corridors etc
- The width of the downstairs hallway is 222cm. Leading off the main hallway are lounge, dining room, library, downstairs toilets and bar with access to the main staircase
Public areas - sitting room, lounges, lobbies etc
- In the main lounge there are various chairs, tables and settees. Seating for approximately 50 guests
- There are both ladies and gents toilets on the ground floor, accessed without any steps
- Ladies toilet is carpeted and the gents’ has a tiled floor
- Further public bathrooms are available for those bedrooms that are not en-suite
Dining room & bar
- The dining room is situated on the ground floor with level access
- 7 round tables, each seating maximum of 8 guests
- Tables have an under space of 70cm high by 137cm wide
- All meals served are with waitress service
- The carpeted bar area has chairs and circular tables
Laundry & boot room
- Laundry facilities are available in the boot room, which is located in a separate building with level access
- Washing machine & dryer are available in the boot room free of charge
- Ample drying space
- Tiled flooring
- Evening entertainment frequently held in games room (4 slate steps to access, each step is 22cm high, 22cm deep and 110cm wide)
- The games room is 14m wide and 5.5m long
- None of the rooms has been specifically designed for wheelchair users
- In the main house all bedrooms are on the 1st floor. The main staircase has 24 steps, each step is 16cm high, 30cm deep and 112cm wide
- In the annexe, cottages and Counting House there are bedrooms both on the ground floor and on the 1st floor
- The rooms best suited for anyone with restricted mobility would be 24 and 25, situated in the Counting House
Room 24 & 25:
- Access is via 4 slate steps with hand rails
- Each step is 7cm high, 30cm deep and 130cm wide
- Twin rooms with en-suite (shower). Standard height beds
- The floor is carpeted
- En-suite bathroom with shower
Grounds and gardens
- Large level garden around the house. Mainly with lawns and flower beds. Shrubbery and wooded areas
- 3 steps to access the main front lawn
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
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.
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
Monk Coniston, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AQ
By train: The nearest railway station is 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).
By taxi: The 13 mile journey from Windermere railway station takes approximately 30 minutes. Taxis cost approx £23 per taxi. Every year we negotiate a pre-booked rate for these journeys. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. We recommend pre-booking your taxi and the taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Monk Coniston Manager.
By car: 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 the 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. Look out for the sign on the wall. There is car parking available within the grounds.
To help you plan your journey, use www.traveline.info
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.
Marina is a freelance Blue Badge tourist guide based in Edinburgh, with Argyll having a special place in her heart. It was where her ancestors, the ‘Scotti’, first expanded their mighty Kingdom of Dalriada from Ireland into the British mainland. As a Scott, both in name and race, Marina can’t fail but to ‘walk with ghosts’ here. Marina has a good knowledge of history (particularly Scottish of course!), architecture, geology, flora and fauna, art, literature and current affairs.
Introduced to the Lake District as a child, when her grandparents moved there to live, Marina's grandfather, who had also been a tour guide, enthusiastically introduced her to his new home by driving around and mesmerising her with tales of the Vikings, Romans, historical characters or marauding Scots! We all know the magic of childhood holidays stays with you, Marina feels proud and privileged to continue the family ‘guiding’ tradition.
|Date & Rating||Customer Review||HF Holidays says|
25 Jul 2016, 5:54 p.m.
Good holiday provider.
Enjoyable holiday in all respects.
23 Jul 2016, 4:25 p.m.
Booking Ref: 145984. The staff were all excellent. Nothing was too much trouble and the company was efficient as always. Also the other guests (company) were all great.
we were concerned to hear that a new CEO was considering making changes including getting rid of the "Lazy Susans" and installing rectangular tables instead of round ones in the dining rooms. Both would be a huge mistake! Round tables encourage conversation - one of the pleasures of HF Holidays! Also having B&B guests although understandable to boost numbers can alter the tone of an HF Holiday. Take care here. "Leave well alone" seems to be the watchword. To ecourage younger folk to use HF I would suggest keeping the name "HF" as the holding company but inroduce a name change for the holidays, something like "Venture Holidays" for instance. You may be aware that "Elder Hostel" in the USA because they were only getting elderly customers have changed their name to "Roads Scholars" to encourage the young. A good pun too1
22 Jul 2016, 5:47 p.m.
Very fine overall.
This was our first experience with HF Holidays, and the Southern Lake District Discovery Tour was an excellent introduction to the organization.
19 Jul 2016, 8:12 a.m.
Easy to book holiday,
A good program, very good leader
19 Jul 2015, 8:48 p.m.
No complaints about the house or the service...as I have come to expect with HF Holidays.
This, my tenth holiday with HF, was the best yet...because of the people in the group, the itinerary and the dynamic tour leader.
1 Jul 2014, 11:04 a.m.
Aided by excellent weather, we thoroughly enjoyed the places of interest and the scenery
Coniston is a fabulous place giving access to other areas of interest
26 Jun 2014, 7:11 a.m.
One of our best holidays ever!!
Monk Coniston well up to standard, the 'Discovery Tour well organised, and Mark, the Mini bus driver , first rate..... took us to several out- of- the way places which we would otherwise not have seen... Of course, the perfect weather, as organised by H.F., helped us to experience one of the best holidays we've ever had!!!!
9 Jun 2014, 1:51 p.m.
Been on many walking holidays and enjoyed them all. What a great service HF provides. Thanks to all.
First time we have been on a Discovery Tour and really enjoyed it. Food and lodging (Monk Coniston) were very good and the balance between time on the bus and opportunities to walk was just right. Buses were comfortable, trips on the water were very enjoyable and coordination of the overall timetable was good. The local guide was excellent and the itinerary was really informative in an area so rich in cultural history. The explanation of remaining impacts of Norse (and earlier inhabitants) in the area added welcome additional depth to the tour. Well done indeed!
23 May 2014, 9:57 a.m.
extra room charges difficult to agree with
single room charges a complete turn off and against the founding ethos
tour guide excellent and driver's local knowledge worked well in our favour
21 May 2014, 11:56 a.m.
Much choice of holidays and
Always good value
Ver good leadership and very helpful staff,
also with diet for my wife (diabetes)
Dates & Prices
|10 May 2017||CNHCR - Discovery Tour - Conistonwater||3||£365.00||Book Now|
|19 Aug 2017||CNHCR - Discovery Tour - Conistonwater||4||£505.00||Book Now|
Prices are per person
- Standard single room: (2016) £8 per night; (2017) no supplement
- Premium single room: £15 per night (2017 only)
- Premium twin/double room: (2016) £5 per person per night; (2017) £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person