I wrote the Rough Guide to the Lake District. I may have mentioned it. So it follows that I have been in a lot of lakeland pubs, purely in the interests of research you understand. But naturally enough, you want to know which are the best, without going to the expense of buying the book – all perfectly understandable.
So here you go – five great pubs for you to try the next time you’re in the Lakes. The best? Who’s to say, but these are currently on my favourites list.
Old Crown, Hesket Newmarket
The first community-owned pub in the UK, tucked away around the back o’Skiddaw. They brew their own beer, make their own curries and serve Prince Charles every time he comes up north. Several pints of ‘Great Cockup’? What could possibly go wrong?
Dog and Gun, Keswick
Don’t muck around in Keswick – straight to the Dog for a goulash and a beer. Who knows why goulash, but they make it every day and serve it in steaming big bowls. Thank the lord, but a recent change in ownership doesn’t seem to have mucked it up either.
Old Dungeon Ghyll, Great Langdale
Down you come, off the pointy mountains of Langdale, and there is no finer sight than the Hiker’s Bar at the ODG. No one cares how muddy or wet you are, there’s no carpet to spoil and not much in the way of decor – just beer, whisky, an open fire and honest-to-goodness food.
Woolpack Inn, Eskdale
Take one old lakeland inn, put in a humungous wood-burner, shove in a wood-fired pizza oven, fancy up the bar area and serve great, locally sourced food – it’s in the middle of nowhere, but they will come.
Hawkshead Brewery Beer Hall, Staveley
Not in traditional old Hawkshead – that’s the only tricky bit. Instead, this is a fab contemporary ‘brewery tap’ in Staveley’s Mill Yard, with own-brew ales, tapas and music.