Our first day in the lakes began with a 7.5 hour drive from the south of England to the north. Top tip, it’s true what they say about traffic in the UK on a bank holiday, horrendous. Avoid at all costs.
Still, we made it to our destination of Coniston late afternoon so had time to grab some supplies from the local shop and check into the cottage. The cottage was lovely – decorated in a country style. One bedroom two floor space with a lounge/kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. It was located on a main road and the minute you step out of it you are on the road but it was manageable.
We could park opposite the cottage and walk into two via an abandoned railway line so a good location too! We booked this through Airbnb and I would recommend staying here!
We awoke on our first real day to clear skies (albeit a bit windy) but we didn’t rush to get up as sometimes it’s nice to chill out and enjoy those lie ins!! Once we had managed to pull ourselves away from the cottage we headed on a roundabout walk to Coniston.
The quick route (which we took several times over the next couple of days) took around 20 minutes, our longer route took a couple of hours. With thanks to our OS maps which led the way.
Our walk took us from our cottage towards Trover, through footpaths, fields, campsites and finally along the waterfront. I had originally considered camping but thought it a bit early for the UK – both campsites we walked through were packed!!
The walk was lovely, took us through some quintessential British countryside and along Coniston Water. The highlight of the walk was walking through a field full of sheep and their lambs. They were very vocal not knowing why we were walking through their space but very very cute.
I do like walking in the countryside, it gives me a real sense of relaxation and freedom (even if I do complain to start with.) I think it’s good for mental and physical well being to get outside and experience the elements. It does me good anyway!
The waterfront seemed peaceful and still with a few people out on kayaks. Some of the campsites had direct access onto the water as well which I was rather envious of.
Once we made it to Coniston we headed for a coffee and chose The Greenhouse Cafe. The cafe itself was nice enough and quite full but to be honest it wasn’t great. The coffee was bad and there were a lot of flies buzzing about which put us off the food.
After the caffeine hit we wandered around a few shops (we found some Banana Habanero chutney that we had only previously found at the Chilli Festival) and headed for one of the three local pubs for a spot of early lunch. We chose The Crown, a old world pub which smelt a little musty but had really good food. It looked expensive to us on first inspection but what arrived fully made up for it, I opted for a fish finger sandwich and Stu went for a chicken panini – both came with a side salad and coleslaw! Washed down with an ale!!
Our afternoon was filled with some time on the water. We walked the half a mile to Coniston Pier and wandered along the lake for a short time while we waited for our booking on the Steam Gondola.
The Steam Gondola is a National Trust boat that was restored by NT volunteers and does several different trips around the lake on a daily basis. We opted for the head of the lake tour, a 45 minute trip round half the lake.
It was very very windy by this point and several of the small sail boats were capsizing in the water due to the winds. Some were able to right themselves some not. The boat trip itself was good, they have inside and outside seating so you can stay warm or get a good view of the surroundings. The driver gave some commentary as we made our way round, stopping off at Brantwood so some people could depart.
The boat was very well restored and was a romantic way to experience the lake, under the power of steam!!
The rest of our day was spent with 2 pints in The Black Bull Inn (good beer),a walk home along the abandoned railway line and an evening of board games and Louis Theroux documentaries!
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