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Lake District Tourist Guide - Local Information

Best Pub Food in The Lakes

Best Pub Food in The Lakes

Picturesque landscapes, scenic walks and boutique B&Bs - there's no doubt the Lake District has plenty to offer visitors coming from near and far. Over the last few years, with staycations becoming more and more popular, the food and drink scene has seen a sharp rise in quality, with a number of fine-dining restaurants opening up, some of which even have the elusive Michelin stars gracing their doorways. As competition for punters has become fierce, pubs have been forced to increase the pace and raise the standard of their menu options, and thankfully there are many that have lived up to the task, quite successfully.

The Lake District is one of my favourite UK travel destinations whatever the weather, and as favourite travel spots are often governed by food finds, I thought I'd share my top three venues for indulgence when I do ever get the chance to venture out into the countryside on a long weekend.

The Punchbowl Inn, Crosthwaite

In the heart of rural Lyth Valley, nestled alongside the Parish Church of Saint Mary, lies one of the oldest village pubs - the Punchbowl Inn. Although the rooms here aren't quite big enough to cater for large families, the restaurant most definitely is. The Punchbowl Inn is fast becoming one of best dining sites in Windermere, like all good gastropubs the menu here is very much focused on seasonal, locally-sourced produce. Quality is at the top of the agenda and Head Chef Arthur Quinn, a finalist in this year's highly prestigious National Chef of the Year competition, has created dishes built on traditional British flavours with a modern twist. After a day out in the countryside this is the perfect place to kick off those boots, settle down by the log fire and tuck in to a warm hearty meal. A perfect way to round off a day out rambling.

Top tip: Try to visit around springtime, this pub is famed for its surrounding damsons, which flourish in full force once the weather clears.
The Punch Bowl Inn, Crosthwaite, Lyth Valley, Cumbria, LA8 8HR

The Drunken Duck Inn, Ambleside

Good views are ten to the dozen in the Lake District, but there aren't many eateries with a panorama such as this. From here you can look out over the Lakes and up into the hills all from the comfort of your plush leather seat. On reading ‘sandwiches & chips’ on the lunch menu, it’s easy to expect the usual suspects, but on further inspection this list is far from regular. Meze board, sauerkraut, spiced freekah - all words you wouldn't necessarily find on an average British menu. However, pop back a few hours later for dinner and you'll find a range of countryside classics such as ox cheek, lamb rump and I distinctly remember a very tasty pumpkin and sage risotto. Set in acres of countryside, you could easily spend the day here looking out at natures finest.

Top tip: Be sure to ask about the legend behind the Drunken Duck name, a perfect pub tale to enjoy over a drink or two at the natural slate bar.
The Drunken Duck Inn, Barngates, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0NG

Woolpack Inn, Eskdale

After navigating the road along the UK's steepest pass, the Woolpack Inn is the perfect refuge to end up at. The two pubs I've mentioned above might come up trumps on the fine dining, but what the Woolpack lacks in inventiveness it makes up for in ambience. With a more contemporary feel, the floor area has been split into various areas including a large beer garden, perfect for gatherings and those rare moments when the sun makes an appearance. Not that the food here is average by any stretch of the imagination. Your scampi isn't just scampi; it's fresh battered king prawns with skinny cut fries. The pizza, not just any pizza; we're talking Italian style thin and crispy wood fired pizzas. Near enough the entire menu is an elaborate version of everyday home comforts and pub grub.

Top tip: This was one of the few gastropubs that offered a number of gluten free food options. They also cater to dairy free and vegans too.
Woolpack Inn, Hardknott Pass, Eskdale, Lake District, CA19 1TH

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