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Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater, Lake District
In the lesser-visited north of the Lake District, near quiet Loweswater, white-washed Kirkstile Inn typifies all that's solid and comfortable about a traditional Lakeland inn. Inside, it's all low beams, slate floors, cosy snugs and toasty fires. Add in robust food and home-brewed ales and it makes a satisfying end to a day on the fells or cycling the narrow lanes and tracks. Bedrooms have a contemporary cottagey feel and a lack of 21st-century trappings - no hi-tech coffee machines, and no TVs in most - but plenty of hot water and terrific wake-me-up fell views. It's not for those who want shops and tea-rooms down the road, but it'll suit perfectly those after a slice of quiet Lake District. There's a scenic riverside beer garden, too.
Pull on your walking boots and do a complete circuit of gentle Loweswater without meeting a soul.
Located at the foot of Mellbreak Fell, there are many walks and cycle routes nearby. The Georgian town of Cockermouth is a 20-minute drive away.
By car: around 2 hour 30 minutes from Manchester, 3 hours 45 minutes from Birmingham and 6 hours from London. Free parking on-site.
By train: trains to Workington Station (via Carlisle) from Glasgow Central (2 hours 15 minutes) and London Euston (4 hours 30 minutes). The hotel is a 25-minute drive. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
Outdoors-lovers who like their comforts plus anyone who appreciates the beauty of the Lake District without touristy trappings will enjoy staying here. We loved the feeling of being in a pub that has stood the test of time, and still gets things right.
Service & Facilities
The beer garden with its views up Melbreak Fell is the perfect spot to enjoy a well-earned drink after a day's walking.
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
Dogs are allowed in the bar and beer garden in the daytime only
The annexe rooms are more private (with separate entrances) and have TVs but the pub rooms have more character. We woke up to striking views of Melbreak Fell - the view from most of the rooms.
Small Room, Room, Family Annexe, Four Poster Room, Family Room, Premier Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
There's a warm buzz that surrounds you from diners and drinkers, which ensured we tottered off to bed replete and happy. The daily changing homemade crumble is legendary, and rightly so - with homemade custard, too.
Kirkstile Inn: traditional pub and verandah restaurant. Seasonal menus, locally sourced produce. Mains include steak & ale pie, lamb shank and fish & chips. Open daily from 10am.