Southern Lake District Family Walking Adventure

A glorious setting for your Swallows and Amazons adventure


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Activity types:

  • Families
  • High Mountains
  • Rural peace


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  • 5
More information

Choosing the level of your walks

Our easy grading system shows whether a region offer gentle strolls or more challenging routes to help you choose the right holiday for you. Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we grade our walks 1 to 5 (where 1 is easy and 5 hard). Our challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £418.00 - 3 nights


Prices are per person

Holiday overview

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.

Adventure 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

We had an amazing time and
would do it again in a heartbeat

Kara Guppy: Are we nearly there yet? family blogger

In pictures...


HF Holidays' Monk Coniston in Lake District

As an historic National Trust property, Monk Coniston is full of romantic, gothic-style charm. With the attractive Lake District setting, it's well suited to a relaxing holiday. Whether it's a walking or activity break you're after, this is a wonderful part of the country to explore your way. 

Monk Coniston has 33 bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the adjoining cottage and counting house. 


Conistonwater Good Accom'Good' Rooms 

These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:

  • Check in from 2:30pm
  • Tea and coffee-making facilities
  • 23 inch TV
  • Toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Free WiFi

Conistonwater Better Accom'Better' Rooms 

These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:

  • Early check in from 1pm
  • Tea & Coffee making facilities
  • Fluffy bathrobe & slippers
  • 32 inch TV
  • More luxurious mattress
  • Enhanced toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Smalls drying rack
  • Free WiFi

Only an extra £15 per person per night

Conistonwater Best Accom'Best' Rooms 

These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:

  • Recently refurbished to an exceptional standard
  • Large rooms
  • Stunning views of the surrounding area
  • Early check in from 1pm
  • Tea & Coffee making facilities
  • Fluffy bathrobe & slippers
  • 32 inch TV
  • More luxurious mattress
  • Enhanced toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Smalls drying rack
  • Free WiFi

Only an extra £20 per person per night

Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.

At the house

  • Excellent boot and drying rooms
  • Lounge
  • Dining room with lake views
  • Bar
  • Library
  • 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


An example of Conistonwater evening mealAll holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.

Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
 Take your fill from our famous self-service picnic lunches
A relaxed social dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses

Your evenings

Make the most of your evening or join us at the barJust relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.

All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.


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.

More details on Coniston accessibility

Additional information

  • 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


Two teenage boys about to go walkingFamily-friendly walks

Our family holidays offer the choice of up to 4 guided walks each day – you can choose an Easier Walk one day and switch to a Harder Walk the next. Our routes range from short lakeside strolls that are ideal for little legs, to challenging mountain ascents that will appeal to active teenagers.


  • Adventure: each day there are opportunities to climb some of the Lake District's best peaks; ideal for active teenagers and adults
  • Peace of mind: only families can book on our dedicated Family holidays - the kids get the run of the Country House in a safe environment
  • Free day: on our 7 night holidays, enjoy a day without walks to get out and make the most of the nearby family-friendly attractions

Family adventures lineTarn Hows and Wetherlam

2019: Available on Tues 16 April, Sun 11 Aug

Option 1: Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows lake

Distance: 4 miles (6½km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

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.

Option 2: Yew Tree Farm

Yew Tree Farm

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

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.

Option 3: Tom Heights

Tarn Hows Coniston

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

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.

Option 4: Wetherlam


Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 2400 feet (720m)

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.


2019: Available on Wed 17 April, Mon 12 Aug

Option 1: Grasmere & Rydal Water

Wordsworth's Dove Cottage at Grasmere

Distance: 4 miles (6½km) 

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m) 

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.

Option 2: Helm Crag

Overlooking Grasmere from Helm Crag

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 1,600 feet (480m)

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.

Option 3: Helm Crag & Calf Crag

The rocky summit of Helm Crag

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 1,750 feet (540m)

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.

Option 4: High Raise

High Raise Lake District

Distance: 11 miles (17½km)

Total ascent: 2,800 feet (840m)

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.


2019: Available on Thurs 18 April, Wed 14 Aug

Option 1: Langdale Valley

Herdwick sheep

Distance: 4 miles (6½km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m)

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.

Option 2: Langdale Waterfalls

Colwith Force waterfall

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

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.

Option 3: Crinkle Crags

The five summits of Crinkle Crags

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 2,600 feet (780m)

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.

Option 4: Bow Fell & Esk Pike

Glacial Langdale Valley

Distance: 9½ miles (15½km)

Total ascent: 3,300 feet (1,000m)

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.

Windermere & Fairfield

2019: Available on Sat 20 April, Thurs 15 Aug

Option 1: Ambleside to Brockhole

Steamer sailing along Windermere

Distance: 3 miles (5km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

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.

Option 2: Above Windermere

Ambleside and Lake Windermere

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

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.

Option 3: Wansfell

View from Wansfell Pike over Windermere

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,800 feet (540m)

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: Fairfield Horseshoe

Mountains of the Fairfield Horseshoe

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 3,350 feet (1,020m)

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.

Coniston Fells

2019: Available on Sun 21 April, Fri 16 Aug

Option 1: Brantwood & Gondola

Steam yacht gondola on Conistonwater

Distance: 4 miles (6½km)

Total ascent: 300 feet (90m)

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.

Option 2: Little Langdale

Slaters Bridge in Little Langdale

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 900 feet (270m)

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!

Option 3: Langdale to Coniston

Tilberthwaite Valley

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,300 feet (390m)

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.

Option 4: Old Man of Coniston

Walkers on the top of the Old Man of Coniston

Distance: 11 miles (17½km)

Total ascent: 3,500 feet (1,050m)

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.

Family adventures lineHoliday Information

Terrain and transport: Our Family and Easier Walks are generally on well-graded valley, fell and lakeside paths, but can be occasionally rough. Medium Walks are on good, but sometimes rocky paths, to lower summits and moorland fells; you might occasionally feel the need to use your hands. Harder Walks use steep and rough paths to mountain summits and some walks need a head for heights.

On some days the walks start or finish at Monk Coniston; on other days we use hired transport at the start and/or end of the walks. The cost of all transport to and from the walks is included in the price of your holiday.

Family playing JengaActivities at Monk Coniston: Your leaders will inform you about the choice of walks for the next day and answer any questions you may have. After a sociable evening meal you could join in an evening activity created specifically for all the family or use the Country House facilities.

Local area

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.

During your visit to Monk Coniston you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:

Steam Yacht Gondola

Steam yacht gondola on Coniston WaterFirst 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.

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

Steam locomotive on the Ravenglass & Eskdale railwayRide ‘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.

Blackwell House

Blackwell House ConistonBlackwell is a stunning house, completed in 1901 in the Arts & Crafts style. Admire the remarkably preserved interiors, and soak up the beautiful views over Lake Windermere and the Coniston fells

Brantwood House

Just a couple of miles from Monk Coniston, John Ruskin's former home commands superb views over the lake.

Tarn Hows

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.

Grizedale Forest

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.

Levens Hall

Levens Hall with impressive topiary in the gardenVisit this stately home, famous for its magnificent formal garden and topiary displays.


Dove Cottage, home to William WordsworthGrasmere 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.


Steamer on Windermere

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.,

Gondola image ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris


Travel to Conistonwater

Our address is: Monk Coniston, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AQ

How to get to us by train

By train:

The nearest train station is at Windermere. For train times and route planning by train visit or phone 03457 48 49 50.

Get to us by Taxi

By taxi:

The 13 mile journey from Windermere railway station takes approximately 30 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £25. 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.


By bus:

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

Driving to us

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 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.

 Travel by plane

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, change here for Windermere- this is straightforward journey - allow 1½ hours to Oxenholme. See for train times.

You can take a taxi from Oxenholme station to Monk Coniston or you may prefer to change trains and continue your journey to  Windermere.  Please pre book your taxi from Oxenholme as there may not be taxis available at the station.

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 for train times.


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Dates & Prices

Let us take care of you

We know how valuable, and individual, your family holiday is; so let us take all the stress out of booking the perfect break. So we can capture your perfect holiday, each of the booking links below will direct you to a family booking form. Simply fill in your family requirements and one of our dedicated reservation consultants will give you a call back to make your dream holiday a reality.

Date Description Nights Brochure price Buy today for Book
10 Aug 2019 CNFAM - Southern Lake District Family Walking Adventure - Conistonwater 3 £419.00 £418.00 Under 6 Go Free 6-17 From £21 Call Reservations To Book 020 8732 1250 Book Now

Prices are per person


  • All child prices are based on sharing with an adult. Children not sharing an adult's room will be subject to a £50 surcharge per child per stay. A single room charge of £5 per child per night will be made where applicable.
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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