Crosthwaite. The Punch Bowl Inn and Restaurant

‘Civilised dining pub with a proper bar and other elegant rooms, a fine wine list, impressive food and friendly staff; stylish bedrooms’. Such was the summary in the Good Pub Guide 2021 of this 300 year old inn on the edge of Crosthwaite village in the Lyth Valley. 

The guide named it Cumbria Dining Pub of the Year for the fifth time, echoing the thoughts of the Good Hotel Guide 2022 which says the Punch Bowl has a ‘deserved reputation for good food’. 

Downstairs - in the bar, restaurant and two lounges - ancient and modern keep happy company: beams and wood burning stoves, subdued paint colours, country prints on the wall, slate on the bar room floor (recycled from the old dining room), rugs, leather armchairs, chalkboards and a long chunk of Brathay Black slate as the bar counter. 

The real star here is the two AA Rosette restaurant with its low beamed ceiling, a sweep of burnished oak floor, a rug here and there, high-backed, comfortable leather seats and a display of cognacs and other spirits.

Food, as the Good Food Guide 2020 said (there was no 2021 edition) is ‘leagues ahead of your average pub offering’, with starters that could include twice baked cheese soufflé and beef steak tartare, and main courses that may be roasted loin of lamb, dry aged Creedy Carver duck breast, Cumbrian fillet of beef, haddock and chips, root vegetable pithivier or roast Lakeland venison. Lemon tart with local damson sorbet is a big favourite for dessert.

The damsons may well come from the Punch Bowl’s own farm which also produces lamb, rhubarb, beetroot, artichokes, herbs, salads and other vegetables. 

Should you want a taste of the inn if you’re staying in a holiday cottage in the Lake District or can’t wait until you visit the Punch Bowl itself, check out the ‘Punch Bowl at Home’ service, with meal boxes delivered nationwide: three course weekly menu for two people.

The Punch Bowl Inn and Restaurant, Crosthwaite, Lyth Valley LA8 8HR: 015395 68237, Crosthwaite is just off the A5074, south east of Bowness-on-Windermere. 

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