Explore the rich railway heritage of northwest England. We’ll ride the Settle to Carlisle line, considered England’s most scenic route, built through the rolling hills of the Pennines. The area’s many preserved lines also feature, with visits on the Cumbria Coast Line and La'al Ratty.
- Travel on the restored Victorian & Haverthwaite line with a connecting boat trip on Windermere
- Enjoy the mighty Settle to Carlisle route
- Ride on the delightful narrow-gauge Ravenglass and Eskdale line
Great reasons to join us:
- Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, coach transport and train travel
- Accommodation: enjoy high quality accommodation and excellent food at Monk Coniston
- Knowledgeable leaders: all our leaders are experts in their field and will ensure you get the most out of your holiday
- Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays – explore together, eat together and relax together
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
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• 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
• 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 with breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal. 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.
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: The Settle-Carlisle Railway
The beautiful Eden Valley provides the perfect backdrop for our first two railway visits. We’ll have a ride on the Eden Valley Railway, then visit the nearby Stainmore Railway at Kirkby Stephen East. A main-line trip on the most scenic section of the Settle-Carlisle railway, through Blea Moor Tunnel and over Ribblehead Viaduct, takes us to the pretty Yorkshire market town of Settle.
Monday: La’al Ratty
Starting from the old Roman Port of Ravenglass, we’ll ride on the ‘La’al Ratty’. This unique and historic narrow-gauge railway winds through seven miles of spectacular scenery to the foot of England’s highest mountains.
Tuesday: Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum & South Tynedale Railway
A look at the Lake District’s industrial heritage on display at the Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum is followed by a trip over the high Hartside Pass to Alston, England’s highest market town. From here we’ll travel into the county of Northumberland on the charming South Tynedale Railway.
Wednesday: Free day
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House.
Thursday: Cumbria Coast Line & a Brief Encounter
From Barrow-in-Furness we’ll follow the scenic Cumbria Coast Line around the sands of Morecambe Bay, crossing the long Leven and Kent viaducts. Alighting at Carnforth, one of the locations for the classic wartime film Brief Encounter, you’ll have time to visit the museum, to sample the restored 1940s tea room and, of course, to see the famous clock. We round off the day in style with a visit the iconic Art Deco 1930’s Midland Hotel in Morecambe, for a guided tour and afternoon tea in pre-war elegance.
Friday: Haverthwaite steam & cruise on Windermere
The restored steam railway from Haverthwaite will take us to and from the Lakeside station on the shore of Windermere, where we’ll enjoy a leisurely cruise on the longest lake in England. We’ll have enough time to sample the lively atmosphere of the Lake District towns of Bowness or Ambleside.
Saturday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast
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.
There could be slight tweaks to this programme after Spring 2017 when the railways confirm their timetables for the year.
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.
Adrian has been a dedicated railway enthusiast for as long as he can remember and is captivated by almost anything that runs with wheel on rail. Although he has a particular affection for steam, anything that carries a ‘heritage’ tag is, in his opinion, worthy of attention. Complementary to his appreciation and pursuit of railways, Adrian is also an HF Holidays’ walking leader with an interest in industrial history and an excellent knowledge of geography.
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