‘Well run, extremely well liked and surrounded by stunning walks,’ said the Good Pub Guide 2021 of this 16th century inn, a much loved pub in a glorious location, a few miles from the Georgian town of Cockermouth. The Kirkstile also has links to a Cumbrian brewery. 

You can soak up the atmosphere of the low beamed, L-shaped main bar where the fire never seems to go out or sit in the large beer garden and gaze across the fields to Mellbreak, the distinctive fell that rises above Crummock Water. Grasmoor and Buttermere are not far away either.

The beer is certainly a big pull, with three choices on handpump, including Esthwaite Bitter, Grasmoor, Langdale and Loweswater Gold. The latter - once described by a travel writer in The Guardian newspaper as ‘the best beer in the universe’ - was the Champion Golden Ale of Britain at CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival in 2011. All beers are brewed by Cumbrian Ales (which is in the same ownership) at Esthwaite Water. 

There are two other bar areas, a restaurant and a verandah overlooking the garden. Food is hearty, ’unpretentious and home-cooked’ and includes soups, sandwiches, omelettes, ciabattas, salads and main courses like Lakeland steak and ale pie, vegan casserole, slow roasted Lakeland lamb shank, shepherd’s pie, Lakeland fillet steak, spicy vegetable chilli, venison and black pudding sausage, and pan-fried salmon fillet. 

If you’re staying here for the night, breakfasts are ‘especially good,’ reported the Good Pub Guide 2021. 

Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater, near Cockermouth CA13 0RU: 01900 85219, www.kirkstile.com There are 11 bedrooms.

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