Cosy pubs and inns for winter

Introduction

What could be better than coming back to a cosy pub, a warm fire and a local ale after a day out on the fells or a visit to one of Cumbria’s many attractions? Fortunately there are plenty of lovely old pubs and inns around, some with great reputations for food, others offering a big range of Cumbrian ales (there are about 40 small breweries in the county) and others again in wonderful locations. A number combine all three. 

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Brigsteer near Kendal

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Brigsteer near Kendal

Outside on the wall a sign mentions the 'fine hand-pulled Cumbrian ales, proper log fires and Cumbrian delicacies’. Inside it is cosiness personified, with three bar rooms, shepherds’ crooks, cartoons on the walls and flowers on the tables. The Wheatsheaf is in the Good Pub Guide 2020 and has a well deserved reputation for food.

www.thewheatsheafbrigsteer.co.uk

Kendal and the South

Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank, Cartmel Fell

Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank, Cartmel Fell

Outside on the wall a sign mentions the 'fine hand-pulled Cumbrian ales, proper log fires and Cumbrian delicacies’. Inside it is cosiness personified, with three bar rooms, shepherds’ crooks, cartoons on the walls and flowers on the tables. The Wheatsheaf is in the Good Pub Guide 2020 and has a well deserved reputation for food.

www.masonsarmsstrawberrybank.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

The Queen’s Head, Askham near Ullswater

The Queen’s Head, Askham near Ullswater

Re-opened in 2019, this 17th century inn is ‘a village pub with a difference,’ offering local beers, hearty food and a pop up restaurant on Friday evenings, the latter being a collaboration between the head chef at Askham Hall’s Michelin starred restaurant, Allium, and the head chef at the nearby George & Dragon. Health Barn just across the road.

www.askhamhall.co.uk/the-queens-head

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Black Swan Hotel, Ravenstonedale near Kirkby Stephen

Black Swan Hotel, Ravenstonedale near Kirkby Stephen

Pub of the Year at the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2019 and in the 2020 editions of both the Good Hotel Guide and Good Pub Guide. There are two dining rooms (restaurant has two AA rosettes), two cosy bar areas (candles on the tables) and a small lounge, with open fire, old photographs and a Millennium parish map.

www.blackswanhotel.com

Eden Valley and the East

The Wild Boar, Crook near Windermere

The Wild Boar, Crook near Windermere

Enjoy the beers from the Wild Boar Brewhouse as you snuggle down beside the old range in the flagstoned bar or in one of the comfy chairs in the bar lounge. A door from there leads to the large, oak-beamed Grill and Smokehouse with its open kitchen. The 34 bedroom inn is a few minutes east of Bowness-on-Windermere.

www.englishlakes.co.uk/the-wild-boar

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater

Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater

A much loved pub in a glorious location, its habitat pure, unadulterated Lakeland. Soak up the atmosphere in the low beamed main bar where the fire never seems to go out. Savour the Kirkstile’s own Cumbrian Legendary ales which include award winning Loweswater Gold, and take in the view across to Melbreak from the large beer garden. Good Pub Guide 2020.

www.kirkstile.com

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

George & Dragon, Clifton near Penrith

George & Dragon, Clifton near Penrith

‘Bags of heritage chic,’ said the Good Food Guide 2020 of this former coaching inn where the main bar - with flagstones, fire, rugs, paintings, prints, sepia photographs and mix of furniture - has a very homely feel. The 80 seat restaurant has old church pews and chairs, a wooden floor, a wood burning stove and an open kitchen. Good Pub Guide 2020.

www.georgeanddragonclifton.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

The Sun Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale

The Sun Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale

Whatever the weather, the 17th century Sun Inn isn’t short of a sparkle. Oak beams, flagstones, log fire, oak floors and oak wall panelling are some of the features of the welcoming, smart bar. Beyond it is a two AA rosette restaurant. The dog-friendly pub is in the 2020 editions of both the Good Hotel Guide and Good Pub Guide. Close to ‘Ruskin’s View’.

www.sun-inn.info

Eden Valley and the East

The Pheasant Inn, Bassenthwaite Lake

The Pheasant Inn, Bassenthwaite Lake

Once a farmhouse, the Pheasant became a pub in 1778, the famous huntsman John Peel a familiar face in the tap room in the 19th century, now a small, atmospheric bar. There’s a bistro, a restaurant and two lounges with antiques, rugs and log fires in the winter. The inn’s a main entry in the 2020 editions of the Good Hotel Guide  and Good Pub Guide.

www.the-pheasant.co.uk

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

The Watermill Inn, Ings, near Windermere

The Watermill Inn, Ings, near Windermere

This is one of Cumbria’s best known beer pubs, ‘just the ticket for lovers of real ale,’ said the Good Pub Guide 2019. It’s in the same guide for 2020. About a dozen beers are on handpump, including those from its own Windermere Brewing Company. Inside it’s beams, flagstones, exposed stone walls and open fires or woodburning stoves.

www.watermillinn.co.uk

Kendal and the South

The Punch Bowl Inn and Restaurant, Crosthwaite

The Punch Bowl Inn and Restaurant, Crosthwaite

It’s not just damsons deserving of purple prose in the Lyth Valley. Visitors and critics alike are full of praise for this 300 year old inn and restaurant, a main entry in the 2020 editions of the Good Hotel Guide, Good Food Guide and Good Pub Guide. Its restaurant has two AA rosettes and there are nine smart bedrooms.

www.the-punchbowl.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

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