Opening times

Boat and bike hire

10am - 5pm

Bluebird Café

10am - 5pm

Getting here

Coniston Boating Centre
Lake Road
Coniston
Cumbria LA21 8EW

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Swallows and Amazons

Arthur Ransome's tales of young pirates and explorers in the Lake District have enchanted generations. In his world woodpeckers become parrots and waterlilies are octopuses. 

Born in Leeds, Arthur Ransome learned to sail on Coniston and went to school in Windermere. He worked in London as a journalist and writer and reported on the Revolution in Russia. There he met his future wife Eugenia, who had been Trotsky’s secretary.

The Ransomes lived in the Winster valley and Haverthwaite where he wrote many of the Swallows and Amazons series, the majority set in the Lake District. The books follow the adventures of the Walker and Blackett children camping on islands, mining for gold, fighting fell fires and conquering mountains. Both Arthur and Eugenia are buried in Rusland churchyard.

Lake District locations that inspired Ransome

  • Wild Cat Island may be Peel Island on Coniston Water – including the secret harbour
  • Rio may be Bowness-on-Windermere
  • Kanchenjunga is probably the Old Man of Coniston
  • Cormorant Island was inspired by Silver Holme island on Windermere
  • The Peak of Darien may be Friar's Crag on Derwentwater

Spot shooting locations from the 1974 film

  • Peel Island on Coniston Water was Wild Cat Island
  • The houseboat is The Lady Derwentwater on Derwentwater
  • Shark Bay is on Elterwater
  • Octopus Lagoon is the waterlily pond above Skelwith Fold Caravan Park

Create your own Swallows and Amazons adventure at Coniston

Embrace your inner Swallow or Amazon at Coniston Boating Centre - from Easter onwards experienced sailors can hire sailing dinghies - or you can explore the lake by rowing boat or motor boat all year round.

Join in the chatter and share your Swallows and Amazons inspired photos with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Also at Coniston...