The Steam Yacht Gondola

Location : Coniston

The Steam Yacht Gondola is the oldest steam yacht in the North of England. She was built in 1859 by the Furness Railway Company as an attraction for the tourists they brought by train to Coniston. Now fully restored, she once again provides cruises and boat trips on beautiful Coniston Water.
 
The Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water
image of the Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water
The SY Gondola was retired in 1936 and was used as a house-boat, unfortunately she was abandoned in the 1960’s. However, 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, finally re-entered public service on Coniston Water, Cumbria’s fifth largest lake.
 
The engine room of the Steam Yacht Gondola
image of the engine room of the Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water
Travellers may choose to sit in the luxurious 1st Class Saloon, or enjoy the open air from the spacious forward or aft seating areas.
 
Steam Yacht 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).
 
The 1st Class Salon
image of the Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water

Steam Yacht Gondola – Head of the Lake Cruise

The boat trip around the head of the lake starts at Coniston Pier, proceeding anti-clockwise past Coniston Hall (a working farm owned by the National Trust) to Parkamoor (without stopping here).
 
The voyage then crosses the lake and continues northwards, with a “request stop” at Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin from 1871 until his death in 1900.
 
The second, and last, stop is at Monk Coniston at the northern tip of the lake. This is a good place to disembark for the 3 hour loop walk to Tarn Hows and back.
 
The Steam Yacht Gondola then travels the short distance back to Coniston Pier. This cruise runs 3 times daily and takes 45 minutes – see timetable link below.

Steam Yacht Gondola – Other Cruises

The Full Lake Cruise takes 1 hour 45 minutes and starts from Coniston at 2.30 pm, with the option to pre-order afternoon tea.
 
The Walker’s Cruise leaves from Coniston at 11 am on a Saturday and Sunday morning and goes all the way to Lake Bank Jetty at the southern tip of the lake, with a request stop at Parkamoor on the east bank – see timetable link below.

 
image of the flag on the prow of the Steam Yacht Gondola at Coniston
 

 
Contact : Coniston Pier. Tel 015394 41288
Timetables and fares : https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gondola
 
Coniston Launch also run boat trips on Coniston.
 
Accommodation Links:

  • The Coppermines – Holiday Cottage Agency based in Coniston village
  • Forest Field – 4* holiday cottage for 2 in a tranquil location 4 miles south of Coniston Water

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Grid Ref : SD 308970

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