No trip to the Lake District would be complete without a locally brewed pint in a charming little pub. With that sentiment in mind, here is a list of the top ten pubs in the Lake District.
At a cross-roads close to Ambleside, Hawkshead and Coniston, sits the Drunken Duck. The heart of the Duck is its bar, featuring oak floors, old beams, an open fire, leather club chairs and a beautiful black slate bar from the local quarry. Legend has it the landlady of the Inn found ducks lying stretched out in the road and concluded that they were dead. Thriftily she began to pluck and prepare them for dinner. However, down in the cellar a barrel had slipped its hoops and beer had drained from the floor into the duck’s feeding ditch. Theducks took full advantage but awoke to find themselves plucked and halfway to the oven. Full of remorse for the rough treatment, the landlady knitted the ducks waistcoats of Hawkshead yarn until their feathers grew back again.
One of The Angel’s main features is its terraced beer garden, which overlooks Windermere. Choose from locally brewed beers, international draught lagers, world wines by the glass, hot drinks or soft drinks. In winter, The Angel comes in to its own with a toasty log fire roaring away, a flat-screen television, comfy sofas and twinkly Christmas lights.
A walk up Coniston Old Man wouldn’t be the same without a trip to The Sun Inn. It was built over 500 years ago on the old Walna Scar packhorse trail, which leads over the mountains to west Cumbria. The Sun provides a genuine Lakeland setting with stone walls, stone floor, exposed beams and a beautiful fireplace. The brewed-in-the-village Coniston Bluebird bitter is a must try.www.thesunconiston.com
At the northern end of Bassenthwaite, the only official Lake in the Lake District, is The Pheasant Inn. This charming old coaching inn is one of the best known pubs in the Lakes with its polished walls, real log fires and period furniture. If beers are not your thing take Afternoon Tea with home made scones with rum butter, freshly baked cakes, cucumber sandwiches and a range of different teas from Lapsong Souchong to Earl Grey.
Enjoy a pint of Melbreak in the garden or bar at the Kirkstile Inn and gaze in awe at the huge mountain from which the drink takes its name. The Kirkstile is in a rare corner of the Lake District that many do not manage to find with landscape calendar scenery, peaceful countryside and mostly empty country roads. www.kirkstile.com
Travelling north along Ullswater, you’ll find the tiny village of Tirril and The Queen’s Head pub. The emphasis is on earthy rather than stylish and it has won awards aplenty. It has its own beers brewed nearby, a great lunchtime menu, cheerful bar staff and hosts a festival in August featuring 20-plus beers and over 15 different sausages.
Call 01768 863219 for more info.
Originally a small ale house built by Isacc Cookson, the Mortal Man’s unusual name comes from a sign painted for the Landlord at the time by a famous English painter called Julius Caesar Ibbetson. On a crisp, bright winter’s day at the end of one of the long walks you can do throughout the valley. The surroundings are likely to make you feel mortal whether you’re male or female. www.themortalman.com
The Old Crown, which to all intents and purposes is HRHThe Prince of Wales’ “local,” is believed to be Britain’s first co-operatively owned pub. 125 customers banded together to stop it from falling into the hands of a faceless brewery. Instead, the pub has survived and its links with the Hesket Newmarket Brewery continue to this day. www.theoldcrownpub.co.uk
You don’t just drink or eat at the Masons Arms, you have a Lakeland experience. Overlooking the Lyth Valley, you can enjoy the view from the terrace under a cosy canopy even in winter, fired by the warmth of the outdoor heaters. The food is worth waiting for too, from Smoked Haddock Chowder to the spicy ribs. Combine a trip with a walk to nearby Gummer’s How, offering views over Windermere. www.masonsarmsstrawberrybank.co.uk
The Woolpack at Eskdale aims to eradicate the products found in most high street pubs. Instead, it specialises in its own, a pint of 3.7 per cent Woolpacker made by the Hardknott Brewery. Visitors can camp in the grounds by arrangement and take in views of nearby Harter Fell and the Eskdale Valley. This is walking country and the Woolpack is the perfect base camp. www.woolpack.co.uk