New holidays

HF Book Club in the Southern Lake District: Farm & Country

IMG_4949.JPG
Duration: 3 nights
Interests: Literary holidays
from £459pp £439pp

Whether you’re continually diving into a page-turner or simply want to rediscover your passion for reading, our book club breaks are a great way to meet like-minded people. Staying at our characterful country house in Coniston, you’ll be invited to explore texts, discuss story ideas, and discover Southern Lake District’s literary connections. and perhaps even find inspiration to pen your own novel. To complement the texts, you’ll enjoy guided sightseeing visits to places relevant to that genre. These holidays are perfect for solo travellers looking for friendship-forming experiences as well as book clubs seeking an enriching group getaway.

What you’ll love

  • Meeting like-minded book lovers
  • Discussing a range of literary works
  • Enjoying guided sightseeing visits
  • Exploring the surrounding landscape on foot
  • Guidance from our expert leaders

What’s included

  • Free-flowing literary discussions throughout your holiday
  • Transport to and from venues on your excursion day
  • Comfortable en-suite accommodation in our country house
  • Cream tea on arrival day
  • Cooked or continental breakfast every morning
  • Daily packed lunches
  • Three-course evening meals, plus tea & coffee 
  • Easy-to-follow routes, maps, and information available in our Discovery Point if you want to explore independently

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards. Enjoy a complimentary cream tea on arrival.


This weekend break will focus on delving into works that celebrate the countryside and give an insight into farming life. Your group leader will facilitate discussions about the themes and topics featured in their chosen titles and there’ll be an open forum to discuss opinions. 

Reading List

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Depicting a farmer’s life and love in the 19th century, Far from the Madding Crowd is a must-read in the farm and country genre. It’s set in the rolling landscape of Thomas Hardy’s home county, Dorset, and was the novel that catapulted his literary success. We’ll examine Bathsheba's troubles and joys, and how she overcomes adversity. 

Feather, Leaf, Bark & Stone by Jackie Morris

Jackie Morris started this collection of poems and meditations shortly after her father died, linking her grief and connection to the natural world. It’s unique in that she typed her words onto gold leaf and photographed them, with the final section featuring text on leaves, bark, and feathers from the Pembrokeshire coast. 

English Pastoral by James Rebanks

Following on from Rebanks’ first book, The Shepherd’s Life, English Pastoral tells the story of his family farm in Cumbria. Now he’s the farmer, looking back at his grandfather’s and father’s work, understanding their ways, and working towards being the best custodian of the land.  


Spend the day exploring the historic landscapes surrounding the country house. There’ll be time to stop for lunch and to visit locations with connections to the books in our reading list. 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Monk Coniston

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.

 

Rooms

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.

Accessibility

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

Coniston - External.jpg

Getting to Monk Coniston

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

More Information

Essential information

Please bring along your own copy of the books we'll be discussing either in paper format or on a tablet/e-reader if you prefer. The full reading list will be shown on the itinerary tab as soon as it is confirmed.

We’ll also be heading out sightseeing so please be sure to bring comfortable shoes that you can wear when we’re out and about. And given the UK’s famously unpredictable weather, you may also want to pack waterproof clothing and/or sun cream.

Monk Coniston Calendar

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

Elizabeth Hopkinson

Born and bred in Brontë country, Elizabeth Hopkinson is the award-winning author of around 100 short stories and fairy tales. Her solo books include Silver Hands, a historical fantasy set in the Golden Age of Sail, and short story collection, Asexual Fairy Tales. Elizabeth studied English Language & Literature at the University of Leeds and has tutored several courses at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. On an HF Holidays special interest break with Elizabeth, you’ll get a masterclass in the craft of creative writing. 

Alban O'Brien

A self-confessed bookworm, Alban is a fan of all things literature. He describes the three pillars of his life as family, football, and Shakespeare. After a long career in education, Alban has been waxing lyrical about classic books and British beauty spots as one of our expert tutors since 2012.  

Jill Durnford

A bookworm since childhood, Jill loves books and reading so much she moved to Hay-on-Wye – the pretty market town on the English-Welsh border that lives up to its moniker as the second-hand book capital of the world. Given Jill’s job as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, history books (both fiction and non-fiction) are always high on her list, but she enjoys anything with intriguing characters and a thought-provoking plot.

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take an alternative route, or vary the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.


Holiday prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

08 Mar - 11 Mar 2024

3 nights

Book Club

Single from

£459 £439

Double from

£459 £439 pp

from

£459 £439 pp

from

£459 £439

Save £20 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
3 nights
Interests:
Literary holidays

3 nights from £459pp £439pp

New holidays

or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

Add to wishlist Added to wishlist