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  • Address: Boon Crag, Coniston, England
One of the most-popular tourist attractions in the Lake District, “the Tarns,” as the locals call it, is a picturesque area visited by over half a million tourists per year since the 1970s. Rightfully so: not only is this an area of outstanding beauty, but it’s also yet another gem bequeathed to the National Trust by Lake District aficionado Beatrix Potter.

A tarn is a mountain lake that was formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier, which is later filled with rain or river water. Despite being an icon of the Lake District, Tarn Hows is not typical of the region in terms of landscapes; surrounded by thick conifer woodlands, the actual tarn is partly artificial, having been created by James Garth Marshall in the 1850s. It consists of three distinct tarns, which merged in the 19th century.

Located in the low-level valley nestled between the villages of Coniston and Hawkshead, Tarn Hows is now just more than half a mile long (just under 1 km) and 820 feet (250 meters) wide, and contains five islands. It is fed at its northern end by numerous valleys and basin mires and drained by several waterfalls that cascade down the Glen Mary Bridge.

Hikers and trekkers will enjoy the accessible 1.5-mile (2.4-km) path that circles the tarn, while fauna enthusiasts will appreciate the heavy presence of Galloway cattle and Herdwick sheep.

Practical Info

Tarns Hows is just under two hours from both Liverpool and Manchester (via M6, A591 and B5286) and 2.5 hours from Newcastle (via A69, M6, A66 and A591). Car parking is free for National Trust members but costs a small fee to nonmembers. The Tarns are open all day, every day of the year, free of charge.
 

Tours & Tickets

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Beatrix Potter's Lakeland Tour from Windermere Including Lake Cruise, Windermere, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Beatrix Potter's Lakeland Tour from Windermere Including Lake Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 76 Reviews

Discover the locations that inspired Beatrix Potter on a 4.5-hour Lake District afternoon tour. Embark on a cruise across the majestic Lake Windermere, ...  Read more

Location: Windermere, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $61.96
Half-Day Windermere and Lake District winter tour, Windermere, Day Trips
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Half-Day Windermere and Lake District winter tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

Experience the very best of the Southern Lake District this Winter in this small group mini-coach tour with a local knowledgeable guide. If you’re short on ...  Read more

Location: Windermere, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $40.41
Lake District Rail Day Tour from London Including Hawkshead, London, Day Trips
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Lake District Rail Day Tour from London Including Hawkshead

4.5 star rating: Recommended 6 Reviews

Enjoy a day trip by train to the Lake District and discover the world of Beatrix Potter amidst the breath-taking scenery of the surrounding countryside. The ...  Read more

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $289.61
Heart of the Lakes, Manchester, Rail Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Heart of the Lakes

If you’re short on time in the Lake District then we have got the ideal afternoon scenic tour for you. The tour will focus on the famous valleys of Great and ...  Read more

Location: Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $33.68
Private Tour: Lake District of Beatrix Potter, Windermere, Cultural Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Private Tour: Lake District of Beatrix Potter

A private tour of the Lake District of Beatrix Potter with your personal guide. Explore the landscape associated with Beatrix Potter, visit her former home at ...  Read more

Location: Windermere, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $639.83

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