Under 18s GO FREE

Southern Lake District Family Walking Adventure

Three Generation Family Hiking
Duration: 8 nights
Type: Family Walking Holidays
Walking Grade: 1, 2, 4 & 5

Children Aged 5 and Under Go FREE Spend the day climbing dramatic, rolling fells, exploring pretty villages and taking in spectacular views. Then head back and enjoy watching the boats bobbing on the sparkling Coniston Water as you relax in the Gothic-style splendour of our National Trust property, Monk Coniston. With so much to see and do you could choose to walk through the woods to Tarn Hows, visiting Grasmere and its famous gingerbread shop, or reach the top of the Old Man of Coniston, an iconic local peak.

Holiday Highlights

  • Choice of up to 4 walks per day
  • Conquer Wainwright's summits - the Fairfield Horseshoe, Crinkle Crags or Coniston Old Man
  • Explore the Cathedral Cave or visit Wordsworth's Dove Cottage
  • Discover Lake District history at slate quarries and stone age sites
  • Chill out in style on the Gondola across the lake

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

Arrive at Monk Coniston 

Option 1 - Option 1: Tarn Hows

The walk in a nutshell: Explore the charming countryside surrounding Monk Coniston and visit the picturesque Tarn Hows, a famous beauty spot.

Don’t miss: This short walk allows plenty of time for stops and games. Play hide and seek in the woods, enjoy games on the grassy shores of Tarn Hows, then back early to Monk Coniston to relax.

Distance: 4 miles (6½km) Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

Option 2 - Option 2: Yew Tree Farm

The walk in a nutshell: Walk in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter through the woods from Monk Coniston to the stunningly beautiful lake of Tarn Hows, returning via Yew Tree Farm; a great walk right on the doorstep.

Don’t miss: Yew Tree Farm was donated to the National Trust by Beatrix Potter and used for the film Miss Potter.

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

Option 3 - Option 3: Tom Heights

The walk in a nutshell: Walk across fields to Yew Tree Farm and the Yewdale Valley. After ascending Tom Heights we return via Tarn Hows.

Don’t miss: Tom Heights is dwarfed by the surrounding peaks, but it enjoys great views over the local countryside.

Distance: 7 miles (11km) Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

Option 4 - Option 4: Wetherlam

The walk in a nutshell: Ascend via Tilberthwaite Gill to the summit of Wetherlam, before descending via the disused workings of the Coppermines Valley

Don’t miss: The ascent to the top of Wetherlam is rugged in places; but with luck you'll get to enjoy a view of many of the other peaks visited later in your holiday.

Distance: 9 miles (14½km) Total ascent: 2400 feet (720m)

Option 1 - Option 1: Grasmere & Rydal Water

The walk in a nutshell: Discover the delightful scenery surrounding Grasmere and Rydal on one of the Lake District's best lower-level walks. We pass Wordsworth’s former home at Rydal Mount, before finishing in the village of Grasmere.

Don’t miss: Don't forget to seek out the Wordworth's grave in the Grasmere churchyard, or sample the famous (and very tasty) Grasmere Gingerbread.

Distance: 4 miles (6½km)  Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

Option 2 - Option 2: Helm Crag

The walk in a nutshell: Ascend Helm Crag one of the most distinctive Lakeland Fells with the ‘Lion and the Lamb’ rock formations on the summit. A grassy descent takes us to the valley giving the option of continuing to Easedale Tarn with its spectacular waterfall.

Don’t miss: A short but spectacular walk with amazing views.

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) Total ascent: 1,600 feet (480m)

Option 3 - Option 3: Helm Crag & Calf Crag

The walk in a nutshell: An opportunity to climb Helm Crag, one of the most distinctive Lakeland Fells with the ‘Lion and the Lamb’ rock formations on the summit. We’ll follow the ridge to Gibson Knott and Calf Crag before descending via Far Easedale.

Don’t miss: It's a steep climb to the top of Helm Crag, but you'll be rewarded with great views over Grasmere.

Distance: 8 miles (13km) Total ascent: 1,750 feet (540m)

Option 4 - Option 4: High Raise

The walk in a nutshell: A longer circuit which ascends via Easedale Tarn to High Raise, returning along the Calf Crag ridge back to Grasmere.

Don’t miss: The return walk along the ridge to Helm Crag is a fine conclusion to this walk.

Distance: 11 miles (17½km) Total ascent: 2,800 feet (840m)

Option 1 - Option 1: Langdale Valley

The walk in a nutshell: Discover the Langdale Valley on this low-level walk along the Cumbria Way.

Don’t miss: Look out for cascading waterfalls, slate quarries and Stone Age sites amidst a backdrop of spectacular mountains.

Distance: 4 miles (6½km) Total ascent: 500 feet (150m)

Option 2 - Option 2: Langdale Waterfalls

The walk in a nutshell: Follow the Langdale Valley past Elterwater village, to the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel through increasingly grand scenery.  

Don’t miss: The two spectacular waterfalls of Colwith Force and Skelwith Force; two of the best cascades in the Lake District.

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

Option 3 - Option 3: Crinkle Crags

The walk in a nutshell: Enjoy this high-level traverse along the aptly named Crinkle Crags with its undulating five mini-summits.

Don’t miss: Negotiating the ‘Bad Step’ – a short scramble over an impressive chock stone wedged between the crags.

Distance: 8 miles (13km) Total ascent: 2,600 feet (780m)

Option 4 - Option 4: Bow Fell & Esk Pike

The walk in a nutshell: Climb two of the Lake District’s highest peaks. We first ascend to the top of Bow Fell via The Band, before continuing to the equally impressive Esk Pike.  

Don’t miss: There's a great sense of achievement in scaling two of the best summits in the Lake District, on this challenging but rewarding walk.

Distance: 9½ miles (15½km) Total ascent: 3,300 feet (1,000m)

Option 1 - Option 1: Ambleside to Brockhole

The walk in a nutshell: Walk from Ambleside to Troutbeck offering views of Lake Windermere with the Langdale Pikes in the distance. The route passes a fine Victorian viewing point before finishing at the Brockhole visitor centre.

Don’t miss: There are plenty of free activities at the Brockhole visitor centre include a great adventure play area.

Distance: 3 miles (5km) Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

Option 2 - Option 2: Above Windermere

The walk in a nutshell: Discover Stockghyll Force waterfall, then contour around the slopes of Wansfell, enjoying views over Windermere, to Troutbeck and Brockhole.

Don’t miss: Discover the wooded valley of Stockghyll with its impressive waterfalls, then enjoy plenty of time to play at Brockhole at the end of the walk.

Distance: 5 miles (8km) Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

Option 3 - Option 3: Wansfell

 The walk in a nutshell: Follow an elevated route from Ambleside to Brockhole. We'll ascend past the Stockghyll waterfalls to the summit of Wansfell followed by a steady descent to Troutbeck and the lakeshore.

Don’t miss: Wansfell is modest in height but enjoys a fine view along the length of Windermere.

Option 4 - Option 4: Fairfield Horseshoe

The walk in a nutshell: Walk the famous Fairfield Horseshoe, one of the finest mountain walks in the Lake District. Tick off eight separate Wainwright Fells on this day of fantastic high-level walking.

Don’t miss: A celebratory ice cream will be richly deserved after this challenging but rewarding walk.

Distance: 10 miles (16km) Total ascent: 3,350 feet (1,020m)

Option 1 - Option 1: Brantwood & Gondola

The walk in a nutshell: Walk via the Coppermines Valley to Coniston village then cross the lake aboard the restored steam yacht Gondola to Brantwood House. Finally a short walk through the fields takes us back to Monk Coniston.

Don’t miss: The cruise across Coniston Water aboard the National Trust's restored steam yacht gondola; a fantastic way to appreciate this magnificent setting.

Distance: 4 miles (6½km) Total ascent: 300 feet (90m)

Option 2 - Option 2: Little Langdale

The walk in a nutshell: Walk through the beautiful valley of Little Langdale, taking in Slaters Bridge and Cathedral Cavern, returning through the Tilberthwaite Valley to Coniston.

Don’t miss: Try and see if you can spot the goldfish that lives in the puddle inside Cathedral Cavern!

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) Total ascent: 900 feet (270m)

Option 3 - Option 3: Langdale to Coniston

The walk in a nutshell: Walk from the Langdale Valley to Coniston via Blea Tarn, the pretty green valley of Little Langdale and gigantic Cathedral Cavern.

Don’t miss: The incredible Cathedral Cavern, one of the Lake District's hidden gems, is monastic in state and awe-inspiring in scale.

Distance: 7 miles (11km) Total ascent: 1,300 feet (390m)

Option 4 - Option 4: Old Man of Coniston

The walk in a nutshell: Walk from Langdale via Red Tarn and the Three Shires Stone. We then follow a challenging high level return to Monk Coniston, taking in four ‘Wainwright’ peaks before the final summit of the week, the Old Man of Coniston.

Don’t miss: The parent fell of the Coniston Fells, this is the mountain that is staring down at you from the lounge window of Monk Coniston. A spectacular mountain walk to end the week.

Distance: 11 miles (17½km) Total ascent: 3,500 feet (1,050m)

Depart after a breakfast

Monk Coniston

Wrapped in manicured gardens with stunning views over Coniston Water, Monk Coniston combines country house grandeur and romantic, gothic-style charm with contemporary touches to great effect among the rugged landscapes of the Lake District. Rocky mountains and grassy fells loom all around this handsome home, once owned by Beatrix Potter, and more latterly turned hikers’ hotel and owned by the National Trust. Fell-flecked scenery unfurls from the windows of the bedrooms in the main house, adjoining cottage and counting house. While the setting remains traditional and the grand entrance recalls a traditional era, the interiors have been swept into the present with bold patterns and comfy fabrics. Beyond the house, trails from the doorstep set off to explore the Lake District. Climb famous summits including Bow Fell, the Langdale Pikes and the Old Man of Coniston. Bag a series of Wainwright summits. Alternatively, slip into the beautiful valleys and stroll picturesque lakeside paths in search of secret corners such as Cathedral Cove in Little Langdale.


Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.


Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in the smartly presented rooms in the main house. With 32 rooms, Monk Coniston has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from. Rooms with a view are well worth the extra spend as you’ll be overlooking the gardens or the lake.  Our favourite is Room 9 on the first floor, which contains some of the original features from when it was first built in 1885, a striking sailboat-patterned wallpaper and opens on to beautiful views of the gardens and fields that slope down to the shore of Coniston Water.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.


Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, lounge, bar, Lakeland barn for activities, library and board games to borrow

After a day exploring the Lake District, return to the house. Stroll through the extensive grounds with their putting green and croquet lawn and uncover the hidden walled garden on the hill behind the house. Take a turn around the National Trust nature trail and look out for the fabulous, rare mature trees. Stumble on the small secret folly stood quietly among the bluebells when they’re out and the lush green grass when they’re not. Catch up with fellow guests in the bright and spacious lounge or grab a drink from the airy bar and wander down the garden to the bench overlooking Coniston Water for the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner – you might even spot the restored steam yacht Gondola cruising the five-mile length of the lake. After hours, duck into the converted Lakeland barn with its exposed beams and rustic chandelier for evening activities and skittles.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Monk Coniston is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the bright dining room with its giant fireplace and oversized mirror hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of regional flavours. From a cup of Monk Coniston walled garden vegetable soup to a Wabberthwaies Cumberland sausage – the only Cumberland sausage to have a royal warrant and to be served on Concorde – to twelve-hour slow cooked Cumbrian lamb and Ravenglass crab and Morecambe Bay shrimp cakes, the kitchen puts out the best of the Cumbrian countryside. Look out too for the Kendal Mint cheesecake among the assiette of deserts.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

Coniston - External.jpg

Getting to Monk Coniston

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

Suggested Kit List

  • a rucksack,
  • a waterproof jacket
  • waterproof over trousers,
  • a spare jumper or fleece,
  • sun protection cream,
  • a water bottle (at least 1 litre),
  • some spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar
  • a small torch
  • first aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed).

    (in spring, autumn and winter)

  • a hat and gloves (Britainis famous for its changeable weather after all!)
  • You might find walking poles useful, particularly for descents (the kids usually find their own big stick en route!).
  • thermos flask for a hot drink
  • sun hat
  • towel for paddling on hot days

Guest Reviews

8 nights
Family Walking Holidays
Walking Grade:
1, 2 & 4

8 nights from 0pp

Under 18s GO FREE

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

Add to wishlist Added to wishlist