The Ruskin Museum – Coniston

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Ruskin Museum Coniston

The Ruskin Museum Coniston offers insight into the history and culture of the region. Exhibits range from the remarkable accomplishments of Donald and Malcolm Campbell to the visionary works of John Ruskin. Visitors can explore an impressive collection of geology and minerals, including a lithophone commissioned by Ruskin himself. The museum also pays tribute to the courageous men and women of the Mountain Rescue, the artistic skill of the Langdale Linen and Lacemakers, and the beloved children’s literature of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series. And be sure not to miss the charming miniature village of Riverdale, outside the museum, created by local builder John Usher and enjoyed by visitors of all ages.

A Fascinating Glimpse into Coniston’s Remarkable Residents

Donald and Malcolm Campbell

Explore the awe-inspiring achievements of Donald and Malcolm Campbell by visiting the Ruskin Museum Coniston’s and Campbell Collection. Donald Campbell set four world water speed records on Coniston Water. Tragically lost his life while attempting to break his own record, aiming for 300mph on the same lake. His grave can be found in Coniston found in the new Parish Cemetery in Hawkshead Old Road, Coniston.

The Orpheus Engine from the K7 - The Ruskin Museum Coniston
The Orpheus Engine from the K7 – The Ruskin Museum Coniston – Photograph by Rebecca Mamwell

Welcome Home to Donald Campbell’s Bluebird K7

After a 23-year journey and a tangled legal battle, the iconic Bluebird K7 has triumphantly returned to Coniston, now proudly on display at the Ruskin Museum since March 9, 2024. This remarkable homecoming absolutely overjoys coniston residents.

The Bluebird K7 – Photograph by Rebecca Mamwell

The Ruskin Museum is proudly able to fully honour Donald Campbell’s enduring legacy by displaying the Bluebird K7 in all her glory. Visitors are drawn into a vivid narrative of ambition and innovation. You can almost feel her power and the engine’s roar when you stand beside the Bluebird. This exhibit offers an immersive view into a legendary tale of British engineering and the pure determination of the late Donald Campbell.

Donald Campbells Land Rover - Ruskinn Museum Coniston
Donald Campbell’s Land Rover from 1960 world land speed record attempt – Ruskinn Museum Coniston – Photograph by Rebecca Mamwell

Visitors can explore his world through memorabilia, a photographic presentation, and interactive exhibits. Additionally, the museum displays the Orpheus engine from the K7, which spent 34 years submerged in the lake. Visitors can also view Donald’s pension plan and the prototype Bluebird JetStar ski-boat.

Bluebird collection

This museum is an absolute must-visit destination for enthusiasts of speed and adventure history.

John Ruskin: Visionary Polymath at Brantwood, Coniston

Experience the profound impact of John Ruskin, one of the most influential thinkers of the 19th century. Settling at Brantwood in 1872, Ruskin lived out the remaining 28 years of his life in Coniston. Open to the public, Brantwood houses a remarkable collection of Ruskin’s minerals, geology, and treasures, offering a glimpse into his multifaceted life and works.

About John Ruskin - The Ruskin Museum Coniston

As an art critic, poet, author, and social revolutionary, Ruskin’s influence spanned diverse fields. He gained fame for defending JMW Turner’s work in his book ‘Modern Painters,’. He became a leading authority in British art and architecture. Ruskin actively championed the Pre-Raphaelite movement and fought passionately for social justice in work conditions. Moreover, he founded Ruskin’s School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford University. He also contributed to forming the National Trust, the welfare state, the NHS, and public libraries.

The Geology and Mineral Collection at the Ruskin Museum

For geology enthusiasts, visiting the Ruskin Museum Coniston is a must. With an impressive collection of crystals and minerals, you can delve into the intricacies of mountain structures, rock formations, and even Gothic architecture’s carved stone. Notably, Ruskin’s curiosity led him to commission a Rock Band from the Till family of Keswick. This resulted in the creation of a lithophone or ‘stone dulcimer’ on display in the Museum.

The Ruskin Museum has become a valuable resource for universities and colleges, enhancing their field trips. The collaboration with the British Geological Survey has led to captivating geology displays and a geological map of the Coniston Fells. Self-guided walks are available for those eager to learn more about Coniston’s rocks and landscape. Moreover, the Musical Stones program, along with accompanying notes for teachers, can be downloaded from the Museum’s website, offering a fantastic cross-curricular resource.

Celebrating Courage and Artistry at the Ruskin Museum

The Ruskin Museum Coniston proudly honors the brave men and women of the Mountain Rescue, who have saved countless lives in the nearby hills. In addition to showcasing tales of courage and excitement, the museum highlights the ingenuity and expertise of the Langdale Linen and Lace makers. It also pays tribute to the valor of Lance Corporal James ‘Jimmy’ Hewitson, VC, who served with distinction in World War I. Moreover, the museum hosts exhibits dedicated to Arthur Ransome’s beloved Swallows and Amazons series, making it an essential destination for admirers of children’s literature.

Opening times

From 6th March 2023, the opening hours are:

10 am-4:30 pm daily.


Adults Β£8, under 16s Β£4.50, a family of 2 adults and 2 children Β£22.50. Children under 5 enter free.

Address: The Ruskin Museum, Coniston, Cumbria, England, LA21 8DU