Where to have a Swallows and Amazons adventure

A new film version of Swallows and Amazons brings the rural way of life back to the big screen. Here we check out the beautiful locations used in the movie.


Arthur Ransom’s 1930 novel Swallows and Amazon depicted a fast-fading way of life in the British countryside which has captured the hearts of generations of children since.

With a new film version heading to cinemas in the UK next week, we go in search of the timeless landscapes which are the real star of the show from the majestic lakes of Cumbria to the quaint towns and heritage railways of Yorkshire.

Coniston, Cumbria

Coniston Water is the place where the four young explorers set sail for Peel Island, or ‘Wild Cat Island’ as it’s known in the film.

Swap sails for Victorian steam power aboard the good ship Gondola. This original Victorian steamship, built in 1859, glides gracefully across the water every day, passing the Old Man,  a famous fell soaring 2,634ft into the sky.

Take a seat in the sumptuous saloon and soak up wondrous scenery before stopping off at Brantwood, a charming country house and gardens once home to the writer and artist John Ruskin.


Heptonstall near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

One of Yorkshire’s best kept secrets, this weavers’ village surveys the town of Hebden Bridge from a hilltop. The cobbled lanes have seen little change in 200 years. Its churchyard is home to two churches, the ruins of St Thomas a Becket (destroyed in a storm in 1847) and the present church, St Thomas the Apostle. More intriguing anecdotes can be found at Heptonstall Museum including the tale of the Cragg Vale Coiners, who produced counterfeit currency and even committed murders.


Derwentwater, Cumbria

Enjoy some of the best views of the Lake District at Derwentwater, which is surrounded on all sides by green peaks and home to four islands. Explore the nearby town of Keswick, home to an array of top-notch restaurants, plus the Theatre by the Lake and the quirky Pencil Museum.


Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, West Yorkshire

This heritage railway is a great way to explore Brontë Country from the comfort of a vintage steam train carriage. There are events to enjoy on the railway throughout the year, including afternoon tea experiences and fish and chip suppers followed by live music on the White Rose Pullman Dining Train.

Plumpton Rocks, North Yorkshire

Clamber over weird and wonderful rock formations with names such as Lion’s Den, Lover’s Leap, and Needle’s Eye at this hidden landscaped garden just a few miles from Harrogate. JMW Turner painted two oil paintings of Plumpton Rocks in 1797 and the landscape has changed little since.

While away the hours meandering through pleasure gardens blooming with rhododendrons, switch off on a tranquil lakeside walk and enjoy the same views Turner did of the towering Milltone Grit rock formations reflecting in the lake.

Related articles

Think big: Inside the homes of the brightest Britons
In photos: Beatrix Potter’s Lake District
In photos: The Tower of London

Click here to subscribe!