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Lake District Tourist Guide - Local Information

Lake District Pubs

There are pubs to cater for all tastes, offering character, charm, hospitality and atmosphere whether it's a 16th Century Inn or 20th Century Pub.

Why not indulge yourself with a bar meal whilst you have your favourite drink as most drinking establishments offer excellent meals, quality and value.

Different pubs suit different people. Even different bars within the same pub have their own clientele. The Lake District has enough variety to keep everyone happy. Very old pubs, newer pubs, noisy pubs, quiet pubs, pubs with live music, pubs with food, pubs with real ale and pubs with accommodation. Pubs in the towns and villages and pubs in the back of beyond.

The Quiet Pint, a guide to pubs with no piped music, published by the Daily Telegraph, has 20 Cumbrian pubs listed (2004 edition). Four of them are described below.

One is the Bridge Hotel in Buttermere, a real ale pub that welcomes walkers. As well as seats on the terrace, it has a stone floored Walkers' Bar and even provides a drying room. It has a selection of bar food and a table d’hote menu that changes daily. There is also catered-for and self-catering accommodation.

The Watermill Inn in Ings, near Stavely, east of Windermere, was once a stone built wood mill. Now a family run inn, it has up to 16 real ales on hand pump, among them Black Sheep Special, Coniston Bluebird, Theaksons Old Peculier and Hawkshead Best. There is a sunny beer garden next to the River Gowan. Bedrooms are also available.

The Tower Bank Arms near Sawrey, Hawkshead, is next to author Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm and is described in The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck. Unusual for a pub, it is owned by the National Trust. The traditional bar food menu boasts homemade soup, game pie and a breaded Whitby seafood platter. The drink includes Theakston ales and local guest beers with Belgian fruit beers and a selection of malt whiskies. There are also some bedrooms.

The Wasdale Head Inn is at the head of Wastwater, the deepest lake in England, between the peaks of Pillar, Great Gable and Scafell Pike. With dramatic scenery and fine walks, this inn is remote, at nine miles from the nearest habitation. Catering for the serious hiker (eater and drinker), they serve hearty bar food and a restaurant menu in the evening. There are up to nine local ales, including the two they brew themselves. Ales include Jennings Cumberland, Yates Bitter, Hesket Newmarket and Dents Ramsbottom. There are bedrooms available, self-catering apartments and a camping site.

Vats Bar is located at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, a centre for theatre, music, art and events. The Brewery is a music venue with three cinemas, two arts galleries, a drama studio and the restaurant come cafe come bar.

The Circle Gallery is the bar at the Theatre by the Lake, on the shores of Derwentwater in Keswick. It is Cumbria's only full time professional theatre and hosts a wide range of visiting drama, music, dance, talks, comedy and film.

Zeffirellis, Ambleside, offers contemporary jazz and world music performances most Fridays and Saturdays upstairs in the Jazz Bar. Most of live music events are free and start around 20.00.

Value for money: Weatherspoons pubs in Cumbria are peripheral to the Lake District. They can be found in Barrow in Furness, Carlisle, Whitehaven and Workington.


One of the pubs not to miss is the Dog and Gun in Keswick in the heart of the Lake District with its low ceilings with wooden beams, flagged floors and eccentric paraphernalia adorning the walls.



Situated 2 miles East of Windermere in the village of Ings two miles east of Windermere.
The Watermill Inn is a very popular, award winning traditional Lakeland pub and one of the best Lake District Pubs.


The Inn is constructed from Lakeland stone and was formally a wood mill that manufactured bobbins, shuttles and cart wheels for the Lancashire cotton mills. The machinery for the mill was powered by a mill race from the River Gowan which flows through the grounds.


Lake District Pubs


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