Located in the heart of the Lake District, set just above the shores of Coniston water, this magnificent house offers guests a rare opportunity to take weekend and extended breaks in a large Georgian country residence.
The position was chosen for the dramatic views of both Coniston Water and the famous Coniston Old Man. From the extensive grounds surrounding the house, a 17 acre meadow sweeps down to the lakeshore, with its jetties for mooring, swimming and fishing.
There are few houses in the Lake District that can offer such a backdrop as this, where to watch the sun set over the mountain, reflected in a mirror like lake is a special experience in itself.
The history is as romantic as the setting, beginning before the house was built in the early 1800s.
Around 1802 the Smith family resided at nearby Townson Ground, where the story revolves around their daughter Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Smith. Elizabeth, considered by many to be a most inspired, scholarly, and bright individual, was well connected to a circle of literary and artistic acolytes, especially Thomas De Quincey. At Townson Ground ‘Bessie’ lived the life of the romantic and, as in all good romantic tales of the time, she became ill, succumbing to consumption. During her final months the family erected a tent on the lawn opposite Townson Ground so that Elizabeth could fade gently with her favourite view in sight. Her family duly carried out her dying wish to build a new house on this lawn in her memory, Tent Lodge. The Romantic and literary connections of Tent Lodge did not end with Elizabeth.
In 1818 William Turner painted the house in a work named ‘Coniston Water with Tent Lodge’ (the original now resides in The Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge). Alfred Lord Tennyson, the soon-to-be Poet Laureate, and his bride Emily spent part of their honeymoon there in 1850, and were visited by Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, Coventry Patmore, and Edward Lear. The Tennyson’s returned in 1857, their guest was Charles Dodgson, destined to become more famous as Lewis Carroll, author of the Alice in Wonderland books.
Come the 20th Century ownership had moved to the Holt family, owners of the White Star Line. Miss Emma Holt often shared afternoon tea with her great friend Beatrix Potter, who used to spend time reading the tales from her little books to her friend’s avid young relative, George Melly.
The Holts, not surprisingly had many boats, which they allowed friends to use including the Collingwood family who cared for the young Arthur Ransome, teaching him to sail and the ways of the lake. Ransome used these experiences when writing his famous 'Swallows & Amazons' children's books, indeed Tent Lodge and its occupants were thought to be the inspiration for Beckfoot and some of the story's characters.
The House - Overview
Today, Tent Lodge affords parties of up to thirteen to get away and enjoy perfect peace in both style and comfort. Set on the north east shore of Coniston Water you arrive via a private drive. From the main door you step into the oval entrance hall, where to the right you find the fine, original sweeping staircase. Off the hall lie the three main rooms.
The sitting room forms the centre of the house. A beautiful room, it is suffused in a gentle light from the magnificent French windows, which frame the picture perfect view of the gardens, with the meadow, lake and mountains beyond. Contemporary furniture blends well, and the open fire adds warmth and ambience in the autumn and winter months.
The dining room is at the north side of the house. A good sized room with French windows looking down to the lake, and from the north elevation the bowed window has long views up the valley to Helvelyn and the White Lady waterfall. A fine table and open fire for winter make this a perfect room to enjoy grand dinners long into the night in the very best of company.
The Kitchen lies at the south side of the house. A large space, it is well equipped for self-catering with an AGA at its centre. A breakfast table sits in front of French windows, again offering views of both the lake and mountain. To the rear is a scullery with laundry and storage space, and to the side is a door leading to the rear porch with a cloakroom area and downstairs WC. An outside door affords access to a courtyard and the gardens overlooking the lake. From the kitchen there is also another small hallway with a stairway leading to the south side bedrooms.
Bedrooms & Bathrooms
The upper floors are accessed by either of two staircases. At the north side is the original staircase, curling round onto the upper landing. Here there are three bedrooms (please note due to the height and open nature of this staircase children should be supervised at all times).
The first is a double with a king sized bed and an en-suite shower room. Next is a twin bedded room, and ahead, through one of its two entry doors, lies the central master king sized bedroom. These latter two rooms share a spacious shower room with a very large walk in shower, double basins and WC, which is accessed from within each bedroom. Both these bedrooms and the shower room enjoy stunning views and together they may be used separately or will serve ideally as a family suite.
From the south stairway, onto a landing, you come to a double bedroom, with king-sized bed and en-suite WC and basin. Opposite this room is a fabulous house bathroom, with a luxurious double-ended V&A bath, large walk in shower, basin, WC and bidet.
To each side of the landing, short narrow staircases lead up to each of the two attic bedrooms with their combed ceilings, where one has two single beds, the other three single beds. These rooms easily accommodate able-bodied adults and are great fun for children. Finally, at the end of the landing up a few steps, you have the second door opening into the central master bedroom.
Grounds, Gardens & The Lake Shore
Outside there is much space to relax and play. Surrounding the house are terraces and sloping lawns where it will be easy to find a pleasing spot to tuck away and enjoy a good read. From the garden there is a gate and pathway which leads across the meadow to the water's edge where there is 800 yards of lakeshore along with three shared jetties. On a lazy summers day this is perfect for picnics, swimming and fishing.
The house, its setting and lakeshore make a perfect country house getaway for gathering with friends and family.
Boat Mooring - Use Of Lakeside
Guests may bring their own craft to a maximum of 26ft. The 3 shared jetties lie across a meadow and dependent on weather and ground conditions, it may be necessary to launch from the public jetty at the Boating Centre.
For boat hire - Coniston Boating Centre Tel 015394 41366
Please Note - To preserve the peace of all estate properties; the facilities, grounds and lakeside are strictly for the use of resident guests of the Tent Lodge Estate properties only.
Out & About
Set in the heart of The Lake District, Coniston is popular with walkers and those that enjoy getting on the water. The village offers plenty of shops, cafes, pubs and inns, the oldest being the Black Bull serving up its own micro brewed ales.
At the boating centre you can hire all manner of craft including canoes, rowing boats, small sailing craft, along with my favourite, the little motor boats, perfect to explore the lake and coves in relaxed style.
The big mountain is Coniston Old Man. Well marked paths lead to the summit where the view is reward itself.
The Grizedale Forest runs down the east shore. This huge managed woodland, has well laid out tracks that take you on a wonderful nine mile trek, passing the many sculptures that have been created along the trail.
Dogs fees are charged per dog at £20.00 for up to 7 nights, £40.00 for up to 14 nights and an additional £20.00 for every week or part week thereafter.
Please note there is a refundable £500 security deposit for this property payable closer to the start of your holiday.