It's no secret that the Lake District is fast becoming one of my favourite places in the UK to visit. From the many beautiful waterfalls, to incredible walks, and more, the Lake District really has it all! There are so many fantastic areas to visit but Coniston Water in particular really stole my heart last summer. 

It's the third largest of the Lakes meaning you've plenty of water to explore, or if keeping your feet on the land is more your thing, there's miles of breathtaking countryside to tour.

Looking across Coniston Water from the back of of boat. The ripples the boat leaves can be seen going across the lake.
Looking out across Coniston Water from the back of one of the Coniston Launch boats

So what exactly can you do around Coniston Water... 

Coniston Launch boat trips

No break to the lakes is complete without a boat trip, and luckily Coniston has its very own fleet of VERY affordable passenger boats. There are several routes running on different days which are well worth joining, however the fleet also acts as a water taxi for foot passengers picking up and dropping off at several locations around the lake. The Coniston Launch boat trips employe an extremely knowledgable and friendly bunch of staff who will gladly answer any questions you have and also point out important points of interest. Come rain or shine, this is a great activity to do while exploring Coniston.

Grace and her family sat inside on of the Coniston Launch boats. It is very cloudy and the lake can barely be seen.
Inside one of the Coniston Launch boats, hiding from the rain

Climb Coniston Old Man

Recently featured in the top 10 of Britains Favourite Walks The climb up to the peak of Coniston Old Man isn't for the fainthearted. While it's no walk in the park, it's certainly one not to miss and I would recommend that even inexperienced climbers give this one a go!

The views across Coniston Water (and much further on a clear day) are well worth the roughly 2.5 hour scramble to the top. 

While there are easier routes I would recommend parking at the Walna Scar Car Park and walking up towards 'Big Hill' and then 'The Bell' before continuing on the only path. This route can be quite steep in parts but it's very scenic and takes you through the old Slate Quarry which is worth exploring. I'd recommend taking a map for this walk however there is a map at the edge of the car park which you can just take a photo of.

View from the top of Coniston Old Man. Beautiful countryside can be seen all around as well as Coniston town and Lake in the background.
The view from the peak of Coniston Old Man

Visit Donald Campbells Grave

Fancy a bit of morbid tourism on you visit to Conison? Well you're in luck! Just a short walk from the centre of Coniston town is Coniston Graveyard where you can find the final resting place of Donald Campbell, the speed record breaker who sadly lost his life on the lake. 

Campbell continues to be only person to set both world land and water speed records in the same year, a record which hasn't been beaten in over 50 years!

Looking across Coniston Water to Wild Cat Island, the small Island featured in the book Swallows and Amazons
Wild Cat Island, the island featured in Swallows and Amazons

Grab a beer in Coniston Town

Coniston town, small as it may be, it still host to several lovely pubs and restaurants. While you'll still be able to grab your favourite beer, it's well worth trying something new and opting for one of the locally brewed beers. Coniston Brewing Co, which has won multiple awards over the years, seems to be especially popular in the town.

Visit the Blue Bird Cafe

Whether you fancy a nice cool beverage at the side of the lake, or you're trying to escape the unforgiving lake district weather, the Blue Bird Cafe is the perfect place to spend a couple of relaxing hours. The cafe, which is named after Donald Campbells Hydroplane, can get busy in the summer months however it's location on the shore of Coniston Water brings people back time after time.

Grace and her dog George standing at the peak of Coniston Old Man
Standing at the Peak of Coniston Old Man after a very sweaty scramble to the top

Kayak from one side to the other 

There are many ways of getting from one side of Coniston to the other. From long winding roads, to the more direct Coniston Ferry, but there is nothing more rewarding than rowing there yourself. I'm not willing to comment on how safe an exercise like that is but I am willing to say it's lots of fun, and much further than you realise. 

Kayaks, Canoes, rowing boats, and more can be hired from Coniston Boating Centre if you don't have a boat of your own.

Read Swallows and Amazons on the shore of Coniston Water

Want to feel like you're in the centre of the action without having to actually go off and explore?  Grab yourself a copy of Swallows and Amazons and experience Coniston Water through the eyes of children. The novel, which is set on the lake, was released almost 100 years ago but luckily the area remains as beautiful as descirbed.

Another marker at the peak of Coniston Old man. this marker is made from layers and layers of stones.
Another peak marker at the top of Conison Old Man, Coniston Water can be seen below

With all that to do and more, it's really no surprise that I fell in love with Coniston Water and the Lake District in general. And I'm not alone! It ranked VERY highly when I asked over a hundred bloggers where their favourite place to holiday in the UK was!

Have you been to Coniston Water?

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They say you eat with your eyes before you even bite into your food. So what happens when you take that part of the dining experience away? What if you can't see the meal you are about to devour? What if you decide to dine in the dark...?

Dans Le Noir, which literally translates to "in the dark", is an international company specialising in sensory dining experiences. The group have several locations across the world including, London, Paris, Madrid, and now a pop up at Swinfen Hall Hotel in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside. 

The pop up runs from Wednesday to Saturday until the end of March and is priced at £95 per person for 3 courses. 

the reception area at Swinfen Hall hotel. In the foreground a large black grand piano can be seen.
The reception area inside the 18th Century Swinfen Hall hotel

So what can you expect for almost one hundred Great British pounds?

Well this is no ordinary meal. From start to finish, you will dine completely in the dark. No phones, no glow in the dark watches, absolutely nothing that can cast any light is allowed into the dining area. Before entering the darkness you are greeted by a visually impaired server who will carefully escort you to your table and wait on you throughout the evening. 

The three courses you are served cannot be chosen beforehand, and you will only truly know what you have just consumed once the meal has finished and the team can talk you through the menu. To avoid any issues you can let the team know in advance if there is anything you can't or wont eat.

The entrance to the dining in the dark experience
The entrance to the dining in the dark experience

What did I think of the dining in the dark experience?

The event was unlike anything I had done before. As a fussy eater I felt like this was completely out of my comfort zone, and while there were times I was slightly unnerved by the idea of eating something unknown, the experience as a whole was very enjoyable. I very quickly realised just how much texture plays a part in whether or not I find a dish appealing, and believe me, it is very important. I also learned that I actually can't tell what I'm eating by smell or taste alone. Madness!

Though I did spill a drink or two, I thankfully didn't make too much mess, and I did very much revel in the novelty of dining in the dark, or should I say Dans Le Noir! 

I was incredibly surprised by the menu at the end of the night and even found myself enjoying things I would never even dream of ordering in a regular restaurant. My comfort zone was well and truly smashed and I'm actually okay with that.

So what was on the menu at Swinfen Hall? I guess you'll just have to find out yourself by dining in the dark...

Thanks for reading!

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Looking out across the grounds of Swinfen Hall. In the foreground a pond and fountain can be seen.
Overlooking the grounds at Swinfen Hall hotel


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