Steam Yacht Gondola
Location : Coniston
Grid Ref : SD 308970
Coniston Pier. Tel 015394 41288
The Gondola, which is the oldest steam yacht in the North of England was built in 1859 by the Furness Railway Company as an attraction for the tourists they brought by train to Coniston. She was retired in 1936, was used as a house-boat, and abandoned in the 1960’s. In the mid 1970’s a group of National Trust enthusiasts raised enough money to restore her.
The restored yacht was relaunched on 25th March 1980, and after a break of 44 years re-entered public service on Coniston Water, Cumbria’s third largest lake. The trip round the lake starts at Coniston Pier, proceeding anti-clockwise past Coniston Hall (a working farm owned by the National Trust) to Park-a-Moor (without stopping here). The journey then proceeds northwards, stopping at Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin from 1871 until his death in 1900. The yacht then travels the short distance across the lake back to Coniston Pier.
Gondola gave Arthur Ransome the idea for Captain Flint’s houseboat in his children’s book ‘Swallows and Amazons’, although this was eventually modelled on Esperance (now at Windermere Steamboat Museum).
A souvenir booklet describing the history of the yacht is available on board.
Travellers may choose to sit in the luxurious 1st Class Saloon, or enjoy the open air from the spacious forward seating area.
- Orchard Cottage B&B – 4* bed and breakfast in Coniston village. Also specialist Walking Breaks
- The Coppermines – Holiday Cottage Agency based in Coniston village
- Coniston Holidays Cottages – two 4* self catering cottages in Coniston village