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OVERVIEW

A Lakeland landmark inn, located in quiet Eskdale in the less-touristy western area of the National Park. In traditional style, with whitewashed exterior and stone flags, beams and real fires indoors, it's a well-known favourite amongst walkers and cyclists. Bedrooms are comfortable and fuss-free, food is well above average, and the atmosphere is down-to-earth and friendly.


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Rooms available from £100 per night

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OUR REVIEW

THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

It's not the easiest place to reach, but that's the price you pay to get away from the crowds. Set back from the narrow road up to Eskdale and accessed either from the coastal A595 or, if you dare, the spectacular Wrynose Pass and Hard Knott Pass from Langdale, it stands in glorious isolation as practically the last building in the valley. Apart from walks - including Harter Fell and Scafell - the main attraction is the diminutive Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, which steams on a former iron-ore route to coastal Ravenglass.

By car: The hotel is just under 3 hours from Newcastle, 2 hours 30 mins from Manchester, 3 hours from Glasgow and just under 5 hours from London.

By train: The hotel is a 30-minute taxi ride from Bootle station. Trains run from Manchester Piccadilly (via Barrow-in-Furness), London Euston (via Lancaster) and Edinburgh (via Carlisle). Book trains to Bootle.

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THE LOOK AND FEEL

The long, low, whitewashed building - originally a farm and cottages dating back to the 16th century - is all beams, flagged floors and toasty fires. While the snug is traditional with banquette seats and copper kettles, the main bar has been updated with scrubbed wooden tables and - not to all tastes - a sports TV. Everywhere has an unpretentious homely feel, including bedrooms.

THE FACILITIES

The cheery, efficient, yet easy-going nature of the place is immediately apparent, from a drying room and cycle storage to packed lunches plus guide books to borrow and help with planning walking routes. For relaxation, there's a small, rather stark lounge with books to browse, a beer garden, a pool table, plus occasional live music sessions.

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Lounge
  • Beer garden
  • Live music
  • Pool table
  • Pet-friendly
  • Free Wi-Fi

Dogs are welcome if arranged in advance (max 2 per room) and charged at £5 per night.

BED AND BATH

With their firm beds, smart showers and clutter-free design, the seven rooms are aimed at walkers who value a good night's sleep over fancy extras. Having said that, there are some nice rustic touches - perhaps a vintage wardrobe or chest - and bright throws and jazzy headboards add a contemporary feel.

Room types: Single, Double, Twin, Fellview Double/Twin, Fellview Kingsize Double/Twin, Jacuzzi Kingsize Double

Key amenities: ensuite with Pure Lakes products, free Wi-Fi

FOOD AND DRINK

Strong on sourcing locally, for example beef from the valley, is up several notches from your average pub fare. On offer are Mediterranean tapas, homemade flatbreads and pizzas, cook-your-own-steaks (on scalding-hot lava stones) and homemade Herdwick burgers as well as classics such as tatie pot. There's a short, well-priced wine list, plus three local ales, a cider, and around 30 gins.

Hardknott Bar & Kitchen: British pub classics, curries, small plates, wood-fired pizzas (Fri-Mon). Open daily for breakfast 8-11am, lunch 12-3pm, and dinner Mon-Sat 5-8pm, Sunday 5-7pm.

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