Tarn Hows walks: Easy does it holiday cottages

Tarn Hows walks: Easy does it

Kat 27 February 2018

One of the most popular of the smaller waters in the Lake District and a stunning beauty spot is that of Tarn Hows. Originally bought by Beatrix Potter following her literary success, she subsequently sold the half containing the Tarn Hows to The National Trust.

When she died she bequeathed the rest of her estate to them in her will and the organisation now makes sure that the Tarn is preserved and suitably loved along with a willing band of hard-working volunteers.

A great place to propose

Nestled comfortably between the historic villages of Coniston and Hawkshead, this picturesque location is visited and treasured by many for several reasons. Firstly, it is highly unique in that it is partly manmade. During the 19th century, three tarns, known locally as the Coniston Monk Tarns, were joined together by damming them and legend has it that a local landowner undertook the project as a gift to his wife.

Whether this is true or not, the romantic air remains integral and it is a popular venue for grand gestures and proposals along with picnics and bottles of bubbly.


Secondly, it offers an easy stroll for all the family as the one-and-a-half mile path is mostly flat and accessible to wheelchairs and buggies, and thirdly, but by all means not finally, the sheer theatrical beauty of the area.

This dramatic body of water is surrounded by thick woodland that is rich with wildlife and heavenly backdrops peak through with views towards Wetherlam, the Helvellyn Range, and the Langdale Pikes.

Parking and facilities

Directions are easily found on Google Maps and when you arrive, you will find a choice of two car parks. The main car park is manned by the National Trust and is pay and display for non-NT members. The current tariff stands at £5 for 2 hours and £6 for between two and four hours, making a day ticket at just £7 worth the extra £1.

Ice Cream

There are toilet facilities on site and nine times out of ten an all-important ice cream van. It should be noted that there are a couple of hilly sections around here and the alternative car park is specifically designed for disabled drivers and visitors. Plus it boasts one of the best viewpoints overlooking the tarn.

Tramper Mobility Scooter

As part of the National Trust’s commitment to increasing the number of places that are accessible to the less mobile, electric-powered Tramper Mobility Scooters are available to use free of charge. You’ll find them in their car park and a donation is always welcome. Please note, that they need to be pre-booked 48 hours in advance by calling 01539 441456 for a time slot.

Dogs on leads

Dogs are welcome, but due to the grazing livestock, please keep them on lead. In order to conserve the natural beauty of this Tarnarea activities are limited to being leisurely and safe, therefore swimming, camping, fires, barbeques, boating, and fishing are not permitted here. 

The National Trust

The National Trust’s website provides even more detailed info and you can also download a lovely activity list called “50 Things to do Before You’re Eleven and Three-Quarters” for the kids to work their way through during your visit.


Stay by Tarn Hows

Enjoy the views offered by this beautiful lake on your doorstep with a stay at our Tarn Hows cottages - the perfect base for exploring the Lake District.

The Dairy in Coniston
The Dairy in Coniston


Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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