Visitor numbers to Coniston’s Ruskin Museum have surged to record levels due to the return of Donald Campbell’s iconic jet hydroplane, Bluebird.

Having crashed on Coniston Water in 1967, Bluebird arrived back to its spiritual home on March 9 this year, causing visitor numbers to reach 5,396 by March 29.

This striking increase is even more impressive given that the museum was closed to the public from March 9-18 in preparation for Bluebird's display.

A stark contrast can be seen when compared to last year's peak month, August, where the museum attracted a total of 1,549 visitors.

Tracy Hodgson, director of the Ruskin Museum, said: "Traditionally, people don’t come to Coniston just to visit the Museum.

"They come for the scenery, to walk on the hills or view Coniston Water.

"But they are now definitely coming to Coniston just to see Bluebird K7 – no doubt."

The Mail: Donald Campbell’s famous jet hydroplane, BluebirdDonald Campbell’s famous jet hydroplane, Bluebird (Image: Ruskin Museum)

This spike in interest has been referred to as the 'Bluebird Effect', and holiday accommodation company The Coppermines Lakes Cottages expects this trend to continue throughout the summer.

The owner and founder of The Coppermines Lakes Cottages, Phil Johnston, said: "The story of Bluebird really strikes a chord with the British public.

"Its return has made Coniston the hottest destination in the Lake District and holiday accommodation is in demand.

"Because of this 'Bluebird Effect' we are advising visitors to book their holiday accommodation early this year."

Bluebird was famously piloted by Donald Campbell and set several world water speed records before its tragic crash in January 1967.

It lay hidden within Coniston Water for 34 years, until its discovery and recovery by engineer and diver Bill Smith in 2001.

In 2006, the family of Donald Campbell gifted Bluebird to the John Ruskin Museum at Coniston, leading the museum to construct an £800,000 wing for it.

However, due to a 'long running row', Bluebird didn't make its return until March this year.

Mr Johnston said: "Coniston has always been a big draw for Lake District visitors because of its beautiful scenery, amazing fell walks and the stunning lake.

"Now, with Bluebird, it has yet another attraction to add to its impressive pulling power.

"We hope many who come to see the iconic craft will be new to Coniston, fall in love with the village and surrounding area and make it a regular holiday destination for their families.”

For more details visit and