If you are looking for accommodation for the Fred Whitton Challenge, then the obvious place to start is Coniston itself, where the start and finish are. The Coniston Tourist Information website has an accommodation page, and they offer a booking service. If you are into camping or caravanning then Coniston Hall camp site and Park Coppice caravan site are both within a couple of miles of the start/finish, and you can find information on these by searching the web for those names. There are two youth hostels in Coniston, one in the town called Holly How and a simpler one a mile or so up the road/track towards Coniston Old Man, called Coniston Coppermines. Finally, Harry's offers accommodation to groups in Coniston.
The next nearest places are Hawkshead, Elterwater and Ambleside (where you'll find the Biketreks bike shop). All three have their own youth hostels, and if you search the web for accommodation for those places, and further afield, then of course you'll find lots. Here are some places you could start:
- Golakes has details of all sorts of accommodation.
- Stayin the Lake District is an accommodation and tourist guide, including where to go, what to see, things to do, restaurants, cafes and a selection of Lake District Cottages, log cabins and other accommodation.
Broughton and the Furness Peninsula
Of course the centre of the Lake District tends to be a bit more expensive. Slightly further away from Coniston are Broughton (about 10 miles) and Ulverston (about 15 miles). And because they are away from the main tourist area then the accommodation tends to be less expensive.
Broughton has a good tourist information website and is only 20 minutes from the start in Coniston – closer than Windermere or Kendal and about the same as Ambleside. It has the complete range of accommodation starting with the Kepplewray Centre, which provides a hostel type setting with plenty of good home cooking and family and bunk rooms – ideal for clubs and groups of riders who want to stay together and very reasonably priced. There are three good pubs in the village – all with comfortable rooms to let, and two of which do bar meals. There are also a number of guest houses, and even more self-catering cottages, and the village is also home of the Broughton Wheelers who always provide a large number of riders and helpers at the Fred Whitton event. You can find all the details on www.broughton-in-furness.co.uk.
Ulverston is larger and an attractive market town, and has various B&Bs, hotels, and a hostel. And there's a good train service to Lancaster, Preston, Manchester and the rest of the UK. For details see www.ulverston.net.
Local cycling clubs
Other Challenge & Sportive Rides
UK Cyclosport Website
The Three Counties Challenge
The Cumberland Challenge
Etape Du Dales
Wrynose or Bust
Cycle Cairngorms Sportive
Dutch website giving links to sportive rides in Europe and elsewhere