Clifton near Penrith. George & Dragon

The George & Dragon is closed for the time being because of a fire in June 2022 but its sister pub, the Queen’s Head at Askham’ (see above), under four miles (6.4km) away, is offering an expanded lunch service. Both pubs and Askham Hall (hotel) are part of the Askham Collection. 

Great food from the Lowther Estate’ has long been a selling point of the George & Dragon, a former coaching inn where, as the Good Pub Guide 2021 pointed out, ‘a bounty of local and own-grown produce is employed in a seasonal, creative menu’. 

Local procurement, however, is not the only attraction of the pub. Come through the front door into the reception area and you’ll find a wood burner lit on cooler days, comfy seats and a little place reserved for dogs to have a drink. 

Next door to the right is the flagstoned bar where a fire, cheerful rugs, paintings, prints, sepia photographs from the Lowther Estate and a mix of furniture give the room a very homely feel. The three beers on handpump may include those from Hawkshead, Keswick and Hesket Newmarket breweries. 

To the left of reception are the four open-plan areas of the 80 seat restaurant with their old church pews and chairs, wooden floor, wood burning stove and open kitchen. Much of the meat and game and a lot of the vegetables come from nearby Askham Hall (which is in the same ownership) or from the wider Lowther Estate.

‘That’s what makes the George & Dragon so special because its source of inspiration, history, passion and produce comes from the estate,’ says the Lowther family owners. The pub has an AA Rosette for the quality of its food.

Sustainability, simplicity and taste governs the menus so expect main courses such as Lowther estate venison, Askham Saddleback pork, Charles’ slow-cooked Shorthorn beef, spicy three bean vegan burger and market fish of the day. ‘Food is excellent…with a vast wine list,’ said the i newspaper in December 2021. 

George & Dragon, Clifton, near Penrith CA10 2ER: 01768 865381, www.georgeanddragonclifton.co.uk The inn has 11 bedrooms. There’s a walled courtyard garden for sitting outside. 

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