Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water
Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water

'Gondola' is a purpose-built steam yacht, carrying passengers on pleasure trips around Coniston Water as it has done since Victorian times. The yacht was first deployed on Coniston Water in 1859 and carried passengers on daily trips until 1939.

The boat was badly damaged in a storm in the 1960s, so badly, in fact, that it was determined that she was too badly damaged to be restored. A new Gondola was built on the same lines as the original and launched in 1980.

Gondola is a peculiar, but very attractive vessel, a combination of Victorian engineering and ornate Venetian style.

The Gondola operates a regular schedule of sailings from April through October, sailing from Coniston Pier. Regular voyages include trips to Monk Coniston, perfect for a walk to Tarn Hows, and Brantwood jetties. From the latter, passengers can visit Brantwood, home of writer John Ruskin.

All trips are combined with informative and entertaining guided commentary from crew members, detailing the many connections of Coniston Water with author Arthur Ransome, speed pioneer Donald Campbell of Bluebird fame, and Victorian critic and social activist John Ruskin.

Although Gondola is owned by the National Trust, it is operated as a private business, and thus there are no discounted prices for Trust members. In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of running Gondola, the yacht has been converted from burning coal to burning eco-friendly logs made from wood waste.