Firstly pick a fine day, though unlike competititors, there is 50/50 indoor seating. The gondola is a NT restoration job, and one of their better ideas, being the oldest steam yacht in the North of England, dating back to 1859. No safety worries however as they've done an excellent job in restoring her. You will probably be restricted as we were to the journey which takes in the northern half of the lake, as the whole lake tour runs extremely infrequently. There are 1/2 stops, on a hop on/hop off basis, depending how the skipper feels it seemed, one of which is at John Ruskin's home at Brantwood. Price is just under £10, which was reasonable enough in a high-price area, and the trip lasts around 45 minutes. It leaves from Coniston Pier, and we would recommend not necessarily heading into the covered cabin before checking the child ratio in there, as the only spoil factor was the constant noise and griping from a few badly-behaved youngsters, which meant we heard little of the commentary. All in all, not a must-see, but worth a try, especially if you want to visit Brantwood (NT) too.