The Black Bull Inn is located in the heart of Conniston. While this does mean it is on the main junction in the village (but what does 'busy' in the Lake District really mean?), you can happily watch the world, and their dog, go by in the sun-trap beer garden, get a bit more cosy in one of the many rooms inside, or grab a seat at the bar.
The Black Bull does good grub, but the reason you should stop off here is for the beers - as the Conniston Brewing Company brews next door (spy their hydrometers and tanks from the car park if you are a real real ale fan) and so they serve lots of their beers on tap or by the bottle.
We were luckily enough to stop for a pint the day after their Barley Wine had been crowned Champion Beer at the GBBF.
Lovely tranquil setting with an idyllic garden facing the mountain of Melbreak. Off the main tourist track but still very busy in the early evening, although you can get away from the hustle and bustle in the cosy dining room. The food is freshly cooked mainly from local ingredients, from steak and ale pie (small portions available) to pork tenderloin and fillet steak. The pub has its own brewery, now based in Hawkshead, producing a range of very drinkable ales, including the long-established Melbreak Bitter, Langdale and Esthwaite Bitters and the award-winning Loweswater Gold. There are many walks surrounding the Buttermere Valley and the Honister Rambler bus service is very useful if you only want to walk in one direction. Less-crowded walks are possible in the Loweswater Fells and on Melbreak and the smaller Hen Comb, or even just along the shores of Loweswater or Crummock Water. Comfortable rooms each with their own individual characteristics and good views.
Cockermouth, Loweswater, Cumbria CA13 0RU
On a recent visit to Keswick, I discovered a delicious solution to the often difficult problem of dining out while traveling with children. I found a courtyard tucked behind a pub (Kings Arms), a sports bar (Casa's Bar) and a pizzeria (LB's Pizza House) that was perfect for family dining. With the courtyard setting, we could dine outdoors, catch a favorite sport on TV, and enjoy a mix of food and beverage from any or all of these three establishments. Our goal that evening was to watch the gold medal Women's football match of the summer Olympics, and the bar tender from Casa's accommodated us by finding the game on the television set near our table. Along with pints of ale and cider carried out from the bar for refreshment, we ate some of the best pizza I've ever had, a thin and crispy, spicy hot Diavolo that had been stonebaked in a wood fired oven (with margherita pizza for the kids, of course.) The meal was so delicious we ordered another pizza and had a second round of drinks to take us through the second half of the football match. My only regret at the end of the evening was that we were far too full to finish the feast with a sticky toffee pudding.
23 Main Street Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5BL
+44(0)800 840 1241
Google map: bit.ly/OIytx8
This stylish and ambient looking bar and bistro has a 'happy two hours' each evening from 5-7pm. As Keswick is heaving at this time booking a night in advance is recommended. The decor is tasteful, modern, spacious and the food arrives freshly cooked carried by staff that look as though coming to work is a pleasure. My starter was a large plate of garlic mushrooms swimming in their own creamy sauce accompanied by freshly made bread and butter. At only £3 it brought a large smile to my face. There was a reasonable selection of main courses so my husband enjoyed the fish and chips (a mere £6) and I enthusiastically consumed the vegetable risotto with accompanying salad. The carefully selected vegetables were roasted to perfection and tasted divine(again only £6) There was a varied selection of beers and wines- including the locally produced 'Cockerhoop'- you will be if you eat here!
25 Station Street, Keswick
Google map: bit.ly/Nw9lwG
The Masons Arms is a what people hope for in a Lake District inn, it’s a quaint old building full of character with dining available in lots of nooks and crannies. They sell an excellent range of beers and offer a full menu with lots of traditional favourites alongside some more unusual options such as ale and cheddar rarebit. In good weather the great range of light bites make it the ideal place to stop for lunch; sit outside on the terrace with the birds singing and take in the fantastic views over the valley.
The Brown Horse is situated in the heart of the Lake District, but slightly off the beaten track in an unspoilt area with great views over rolling fields. The inn has a welcoming rustic atmosphere with wooden beams, a flagged floor and a real open fire. Much of the delicious food is grown onsite or sourced locally, with regional specialties such as Cumberland sausage and Lakeland lamb on the menu. Wash your meal down with a pint of real ale; the pub brews its own and has a great selection on tap.
Guardian-reading canines (news-hounds?) should trot down to the Dog and Gun in Keswick. This old-fashioned and busy pub has an in-house menu for dogs which includes a mouth-watering range of treats and chews at reasonable prices (biscuits 5p) plus FREE DRINKS(non-alcoholic). Tell your human to try the real ales and the delicious homemade goulash. The portions are so large that dogs will get lots of tasty-bites. Slide your spare change into the cracks in the walls to support mountain rescue. A perfect ending to a day on the Fells.
2 Lake Road, Keswick, CA12 5BT
Google map: bit.ly/MXyLBL
The Sawrey Hotel on the road between Hawkshead and the car ferry across Windermere re-emerged from a makeover recently as the Cuckoo Brow Inn. Food is served every day from noon until 9pm and is excellent. They pride themselves on sourcing as much as possible from within a 20 mile radius - and with good local beers to boot. They genuinely welcome walkers, cyclists, wet dogs and noisy children - we often eat there with our muddy Springer after walks across the local fells without feeling like social lepers. In our view, best enjoyed when it's cold outside with a roaring fire blazing in the hearth in the centre of the bar - so July or August then.
This is a truly welcoming pub – we’ve visited in autumn when the open fires provided much needed warmth after a day on the fells. Our last visit was earlier this summer, when the splendid garden proved a sun trap (yes we were there on one of the few days the sun shone this summer.) The bar area is made up of three small, cosy rooms and there is a good choice of refreshment – in both food and drink.
Traditional country hotel offering the best of Cumbrian Hospitality. Excellent breakfast, good beer, comfortable accommodation and luxurious toiletries. We were made extremely welcome and the food was perfect.
If you like a middle-of-nowhere, cosy, traditional Lakeland pub with good food - this is it.
If you like a fell-side pub with comfy rooms and a view - this is it.
If you'd like to sip a local beer in the open air, overlooking the damson-laden Lyth Valley ... you've guessed it.
Beach wheelchairs to borrow free of charge around the Kent coast supplied by a local charity - beach within reach. Fantastic idea, great for us as our son Dylan uses a chair and the beach is usually a nightmare! Available (check first in case this changes) West Bay, Viking Bay, Margate main sands and Ramsgate main sands.
+44(0)1843 296111 for further information.
Many visitors will have visited the Lake District without ever passing through, or stopping in, the lovely Lyth Valley. They're missing out on a treat, especially in spring when the many damson trees are in blossom. It's close to Kendal and yet off the usual routes, but the quality of the food at the Punch Bowl at Crosthwaite is, on its own, reason enough to visit. A traditional Lakes building with stylish and welcoming interiors, and an interesting menu with excellent food, it's one of my favourite places to eat - and was as good as ever on my visit last week.
For those whose appetites don't stretch to a full meal, there can be no finer pub in Lakeland than the Golden Rule. Beautifully unchanged in decades, it is a haven for locals, walkers, tourists and anyone lucky enough to stumble across this hidden gem off the main street. Food is limited to excellent pork pies and scotch eggs and the ale is all from local breweries. Evening guests may find themselves participants in an impromptu singsong. A national treasure.
The Kirkstile Inn is tucked away under the fells of the western Lakes and is a must for anyone seeking excellent food (and real ale) with glorious scenery thrown in. The menu is far removed from the usual scampi and chips; much of the food is locally sourced and contributes to such delights as the Cumbrian steak and ale pie and slow roasted Lakeland lamb. Vegetarians are equally well catered for, and desserts are superb (try the Eton Mess with damson sloe gin berry compote). The Inn serves excellent real ale, including the award winning Loweswater Gold.
Most free houses have real ales, but this pub has its own on site brewery too (try the Tag Lag). It's seventh heaven for beer lovers. And foodies. The restaurant is stuffed with delicious locally sourced food (the game pie is to die for) and the wine list is big enough to suit all tastes and pockets. After all the fine dining and beery imbibing at lunchtime you won't want to move, so book a room and enjoy it all over again at dinnertime!
This friendly pub with its own brewery, a huge range of real ales, real pub games, newspapers and comfy chairs and newspapers prides itself on "food for drinkers" - all made to order on Fridays and weekends. After a hike up Black Combe, to contemplate the late Harry Griffin's favourite view, the pies, with a filling of your choice are well worth the half-hour wait as they cook. Opposite the railway station on the West Cumbrian line it's an old fashioned pub with a wonderful panorama of the Duddon estuary. Cumbria for those who know it and accessible to all.
Notwithstanding Mike Harding's quip about Barrow being 'a town at the end of a 32 mile cul-de-sac', south Lakes is an un-touristy (aka quiet) and stunning part of the Lake District. Great Urswick is a sleepy, pretty village, all whitewashed cottages and a tarn complete with ducks, and the pub is a cracker. Roaring fires, flagged floors and cosy snugs, well-kept beer and a menu that might surprise you. Chef/owner Craig Sherrington is doing clever things with local produce (expect sea bass, mackerel and rabbit) in an innovative but unpretentious way. Avoid the crowds in Ambleside and Windermere; this place is a treasure.
Wheelchair-friendly guesthouse in a beautiful setting with easy open access to the mountains from the door. Accessible-trained owners have many years experience of teaching disabled students so can advise on how to make best use of local facilities.
Last year we took a friend with mobility difficulties to these superbly equipped, eco-friendly self-catering log cabins situated in the heart of the Peak District and would definitely return. They aim to provide a ‘home from home’ and lots of personal touches, care about the décor and quality of everything from the kitchen equipment to the crockery and soft furnishings mean they succeed in providing accommodation that all the family can enjoy.
The owners have thought of everything – and are on hand, without being intrusive, to make sure you really enjoy your stay. A thoughtful welcome pack awaited us – including homemade bread and biscuits, milk and eggs from their hens. We were particularly impressed that the cabin we stayed in had a knee hole under the sink so wheelchair users could take full part in kitchen activities.
Two of the cottages have been awarded Mobility Level Two under the national mobility scheme and one has been rated Mobility Level Three Assisted. Detailed specs are available from their easy to navigate, friendly and helpful website.
They welcome assistance dogs and also have made provision for people with sight or hearing loss/impairment.
They have a range of equipment (including adjustable beds and hoists) available for loan and they can put you in touch with local private care services if you want additional support/to give other members of the family a break.
We enjoyed a relaxing evening in the Swedish hot tub (as if the wet room and whirlpool bath weren’t enough!) and they now have a fire pit available for guest to use.
There is lots for people to do locally, whether or not you have mobility difficulties, and the owners have electric bikes and a mountain trike for hire.
They can organise pick-ups from local stations and bus stops and offer a discount for anyone arriving on foot, on horseback or by bicycle.
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