Coniston Water


Coniston Water, or Thorstein’s Water as it was known up until the late 18th century – it was named after the Norse invader after he took up residence in the valley and claimed the lakebed. At five miles long and with a maximum depth of 184 feet, Coniston Water is the third largest lake in the English Lake District. This lake drains to the sea via the River Crake. The monks of Furness Abbey, who owned the lake and most of the surrounding land, found that the lake provided an important fish source for them. Coniston Water has three small island, all of which are owned by the National Trust.

Info Panel

Lake: Coniston Water
Location: Cumbria, England
Coordinates: 54° 21′ 0″ N, 3° 4′ 0″ W
Max length: 5.5 mi (8.8 km) Max width: 0.49 mi (0.79 km)
Surface area: 1.83 m² (4.7 km²)
Max depth: 184.1 ft (56.1 m)
Height above sea level: 150 ft (46 m)
Islands: 5
Nearest village(s): Coniston, Torver

John Ruskin

John Ruskin, the Victorian artist and philosopher, bought Brantwood house in 1871 and lived here until his death in 1900. He said the view of The Old Man of Coniston from Brantwood house, which was on the eastern shore of Coniston Water, was the best in all of England.

Arthur Ransome

The author of Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome, drew much of his inspiration from Coniston Water. After reading his children’s novel, you can enjoy trying to find the location of the story around Coniston Water.


In 1939 Sir Malcolm Campbell achieved the water speed record of 141 miles per hour on Coniston Water. His son, Donald Campbell, set four successive records on Coniston in Bluebird. However, in 1967 Donald Campbell lost his life while attempting to do 300 miles per hour. He actually achieved 320 miles per hour on the first leg of his record breaking attempt, it was on his return trip that he lost control of Bluebird and therefore it could not be counted as a record breaking run as the return trip was not completed. Donald Campbell’s body and Bluebird were only recovered from the water in 2001.


The National Trust renovated the Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola. This still sails on Coniston Water, Coniston Launch provide hourly sailings, on this traditional timber craft, to jetties around the lake.

Accommodation near Coniston Water

Wheelgate | Coniston Cottages | Crake Valley Holiday Park

Main Tourist Towns

Windermere Bowness on Windermere Ambleside Coniston Hawkshead Keswick

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Lake Windermere Coniston Water Derwent Water Ullswater