Ruskin, Ransome & The Romantics in the Southern Lake District

Duration: 4 nights
Interests: Heritage Tours
from £509pp £479pp

The Lake District has been the inspiration for writers, poets and artists for generations. Celebrate the bicentenary of patron and critic John Ruskin; the inspiration of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons; and the legacy of the romantic poet William Wordsworth.

Holiday Highlights

  • Dove Cottage (closed for refurbishment in March, alternative visit to the Wordsworth Trust's library with talk and film about Dove Cottage)
  • Ruskin Museum
  • Brantwood

What’s included

  • High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
  • Full programme of excursions and visits
  • The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • All transport on touring days on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach
  • All admissions to places of interest that form part of your holiday itinerary, except for entrance costs to English Heritage & National Trust properties

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (1pm for better rooms). Please join us for afternoon tea.

Admire Lakeland’s autumnal splendour at the popular beauty spot of Tarn Hows before making the short journey to Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin in his later years. Here we will learn more about this eminent Victorian – artist, writer, critic, patron of the pre-Raphaelites and thinker – in this bicentenary year of his birth. We’ll then tour Coniston Water on the famous Victorian Steam Gondola, weather-permitting. You'll be able to touch base with your inner swallow or amazon as we learn about Arthur Ransome’s associations with the area and see the landscape that Ruskin so greatly admired.

We search for one of the most famous Romantic poets, William Wordsworth, with a visit to his home at Dove Cottage, before heading north to the beautiful scenery of Derwentwater. Enjoy a short walk along the shoreline to see the memorial to John Ruskin at Friar’s Crag in a truly stunning location, with time to explore Keswick. Along the way back to Monk Coniston we stop at Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s final home by the shores of Rydal Water.

We visit Hawkshead, where Wordsworth spent some time, and then discover the lakeside home of a wealthy Edwardian brewer. Blackwell House is today a showpiece of the Arts and Crafts movement, arguably one of John Ruskin’s legacies. We then head to Ullswater where Wordsworth saw his daffodils, before sailing on the Ullswater steamer from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge, weather-permitting. The drive home through some of England’s most impressive mountain scenery should be truly inspirational in the autumn colours we encounter.

Departure after a leisurely 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.



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, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 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

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.
Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
28 Oct - 01 Nov 2019 Itinerary £509 £479 Save £30 Per Person Book Now
4 nights
Heritage Tours

4 nights from £509pp £479pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

Add to wishlist Added to wishlist