There are two very good reasons for telling you about this brilliant hostel this week. First of all, much of the recent Swallows & Amazons film was shot on the Lake District's Coniston Water, and we can’t think of a better place from which to launch your own water-bourne adventure. Secondly, it’s ‘YHA Day’ on 3 September, which is a good time to celebrate the YHA (Youth Hostels Association) and its network of fabulous properties, of which this is definitely one: a traditional and stunning Lakeland house, minutes away from the village and Coniston Water, with a mixture of comfy private rooms and eight-bed dorms.
There's something for everyone on Coniston, from water sports and sailing, to mountain biking and hiking; and once you’re done the hostel has two comfortable lounges, a drying room to hang your muddy boots and clothes and a large communal kitchen. There's also a licensed bar and restaurant which serves decent hot meals throughout the day.
There are camping pitches available on the front lawn, in a wooded area which has an impressive variety of trees – 300 of them, including the Lake District's tallest and oldest Monkey Puzzle tree –along with some brand-new tipis, which come with their own fireplace and mattresses on a raised, partly carpeted wooden floor. Basically it’s a fantastic base camp for families and couples to reconnect with the great outdoors in what is by any standards a wild and beautiful part of the Lake District.
Cool Places is a website from the creators of Rough Guides and Cool Camping, suggesting the best places to stay, eat, drink and shop in Britain (coolplaces.co.uk)
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