Coniston ~ An Honest Shop and Sidney the Sea Serpent.

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Vivid blue skies.

Not every day of our recent stay in the Lake District was as gorgeous and sunny as this. When we woke up to blue skies and warming sunshine one morning, we decided it would be the perfect time to head into the quaint village of Coniston for breakfast and then take a boat trip on the lake. 🙂

One of Coniston's popular cafes.
One of Conistons popular cafes.

Breakfast turned out to be buttered crumpets and toasted tea cakes at Cafe Meadowdore and there was also time for a quick nosy round the shops. I had spotted a sign for a vintage shop ( much to Wils delight 😉 ) so had a very quick browse.

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The peak of the old man of coniston rises above the village.

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The Vintage shop turned out to be several local dealers displaying and selling their gorgeous wares in Coniston Institute Village Hall on Yewdale road. They will be there until September with a cornucopia of treasures to explore. There were all sorts of lovely goodies including lots of picnic baskets and tea sets. 🙂  Very nearby is the ‘Ruskin Museum’ and the villages ‘Honest Shop’ situated in the old Reading rooms.

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The ‘Honest Shop’ stocks handmade and home grown goods sourced from the villagers themselves. Each item is priced individually so you pay the money into a tin and write what you have bought in the book provided. The money made goes to the people selling them and towards the upkeep of the shop and village Hall. Its a nice idea and I will show you what I purchased later in the post. 🙂coniston shepherd huts 065

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Coniston Launch.
Coniston Launch.

And to the lake. Coniston Water is five miles long and one way to explore it , is on a leisurely cruise on the Steam yacht Gondola. This beautiful restored Victorian steamer offers pleasure trips round the lake. Happily dogs are allowed on board (outside only) Yay! Hugo enjoyed his first boat trip. 🙂

waiting for the gondola.
waiting for the gondola.
The Gondola. :)
The Gondola. 🙂
Sidney the sea serpent looking resplendent.
Sidney the sea serpent looking resplendent.

The boat has a rather fine figure head. Its Sidney the sea serpent. Look how shiny and golden he looks! However poor Sidney has suffered much wear and tear in all weathers over the years and he is literally crumbling away. 😦  You can read about his plight and maybe even help with fundraising for a new Sid here…

Ahoy there ~ its the ships captain. Ok i'm joking. :)
Ahoy there ~ its the ships captain. Ok i’m joking. 🙂

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The Engine!
The Engine!

There are various different excursions you can do on the Gondola. We opted for the ‘Head of the Lake’ cruise which is about 50 minutes long and costs £11 ( National Trust Members get a 10% discount) and there are options to break your journey with stops off at Brantwood House or Monk Coniston. We stopped on board and simply enjoyed the sunshine and cooling breeze.

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Inside the Victorian saloon modeled on Queen Victoria's own.
Inside the Victorian saloon modeled on Queen Victoria’s own.
Heres Freddy the Fox who I bought in the Honest Shop. He enjoyed his first boat trip too. :)
Heres Freddy the Fox who I bought in the Honest Shop. He enjoyed his first boat trip too. 🙂
And look who else grabbed a lift!
And look who else grabbed a lift!

On the cruise it was interesting to learn about all the areas art and literary connections. The artist and poet John Ruskin lived at the impressive Brantwood on the shores of the lake. Arthur Ransome,author of the children’s classic Swallows and Amazons chose Coniston as the book’s location and Beatrice Potter lived at Yew Tree Farm just outside the village. Also the lake was the setting of Donald Campbell’s ill fated attempt at the world jet powered water speed record in 1967. His boat ‘Bluebird’ went out of control and Campbell was sadly killed. The Black Bull pub in Coniston has its own micro brewery and brews ‘Bluebird Bitter’ in his honor.

Hugo wondering when to jump!
Hugo wondering when to jump!

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The gondola is such a great way of enjoying the area and I heartily recommend it.  🙂 Have you messed about on boats in any of the Lake District’s many lakes and tarns?

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8 thoughts on “Coniston ~ An Honest Shop and Sidney the Sea Serpent.”

  1. Looks like a great trip out and love the honest shop idea. As for the Fox you brought I think it was a very good buy and the vintage shop looked really sweet also.
    May have to check that area out! X

  2. We did and I have never seen an Honest Shop before. The fox is really cute. I was surprised to see the Vintage shop. Wil groaned when he saw it! 🙂

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