Lake Windermere Trail
Code: CNLWIPrint page
Hills & moorland
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 use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
Your guided trail around Windermere, England's largest lake begins with a walk on Loughrigg Fell at the north of the lake. It gives you magnificent views of the route you will be undertaking. We also include a ferry journey on the lake and you can soon be absorbed in tales of Beatrix Potter, Alfred Wainwright and the home of "Swallows and Amazons". You will visit the busy Bowness and views of famous fells will be all around you.
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.
Choose your room
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• 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
Check-in from 2:30pm
• 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 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.
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.
- 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
Rydal Hall to Loughrigg and down to Clappersgate
From Rydal Hall (200 feet) we ascend Loughrigg (1,066 feet) having passed by Rydal water and had a good view of Grasmere. From the summit we see the object of our next four days walking, Windermere, spread out before us in the distance. We then descend to a crag overlooking Ambleside and the Lake where we can observe our route around the Lake more closely before descending to the River Brathay at Clappersgate and our bus back to Monk Coniston. 5 miles (8kms) with 1,300 feet (390m) of ascent.
Clappersgate to Ash Landing
From Clappersgate the route takes us for the first time to the Lake side at Wray Castle (NT), one of the holiday homes of Beatrix Potter. From there the path is close to the lake shore as we approach Claife Heights (725 feet) from Belle Grange. We ascend on an ancient pack horse trail and then a linear path along the Heights which provides superb views down to the lake, Bowness and the eastern shore. After a short but steep descent we arrive at Ash Landing from where a short journey by bus takes us back to Monk Coniston. 8 miles (13km) with 1,300 feet (390m) of ascent and 1,200 feet (360m) of descent.
Ash Landing to Lakeside
Most of the morning’s walk follows the lake shore and then ascends to Stott Park Heights (535 feet) with good views all around and across to the eastern shore. After a short descent another ascent takes us to High Dam (590 feet) before descending to Finsthwaite and a visit to an interesting grave.”Was she the daughter of Bonnie Prince Charlie?” A short walk takes us back to the lake at Lakeside and the Windermere ferry and a sail up the lake to Ambleside-Waterhead, pulling in at Bowness en route. This is a ten mile voyage which takes about an hour and a quarter, before taking the bus back to Monk Coniston. 7 miles (11kms) with total ascent/descent of 1200 feet (360m)
A day without any walks programmed, giving you the opportunity to explore the local area independently.
Gummer’s How to Bowness
Today’s walk starts well above the lake at 650 feet and with the eastern shore below us takes to Bowness. We first of all ascend Gummer’s How (1006 feet) with magnificent views to all parts of the compass, including Morecambe bay to the south. We pass the house where Arthur Ransome wrote ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and traverse the boundary from the ancient county of Lancashire into the ancient county of Westmoreland. Just before the finish we ascend Brant Fell (618 feet) from where we can enjoy looking back at the previous two day’s walks on the western shore, opposite, the Far Eastern Fells as well as the Howgills. Then down to Bowness for a quick look around before departing by bus to Monk Coniston. 8 miles (13kms) with 1,750 feet (525m) of ascent and 1,250 feet (375m) of descent.
Bowness to Ambleside Waterhead
Leaving Bowness we walk through the town before ascending Orrest Head (752 feet) which is often described as providing the best view in the whole Lake District. It’s where Alfred Wainwright ascended on his first visit to the Lakes – the rest is history. Passing by Holehird Gardens, and possibly making a visit for our picnic, we descend to Troutbeck and walk up the linear village passing Town Head house and barn (NT). A further ascent up Robin Lane gives us more views of England’s largest lake, not forgetting the iconic Langdale Pikes, before the gradual descent back to the water’s edge at Waterhead and the bus back to Monk Coniston. 8 miles (13kms) and a total ascent/descent of 1,550 feet (465m)
The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader with regard to the weather and other external factors
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.
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