Best places to stay for walkers in the Lake District

Because a good walk in the Lake District always ends with a good pub, right?

The Yan at Broadrayne, Grasmere

by Jenna Maryniak |
Updated on

Are you after a great place to stay for walkers in the Lake District? Here’s Trail Magazine's tried and tested pick of the most awesome pubs, inns, cottages, campsites and places to stay for walkers in the Lake District.

Whether it's a great location, top food, quirky accommodation or a brilliant bar, you'll find it in our round up of the best...

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Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater

Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater

With the perfect Lakeland backdrop, the Kirkstile is the epitome of the good ole English country pub. It's perfect for your post-walk pint and meal. You'll find a rustic charm and down-to-earth vibe, and its reasonably priced. We were sold on its cosy atmosphere, open fire, their own award-winning beer and excellent pub food.

The Kirkstile is the worthy recipient of many awards and is fabulously positioned in the north-west of the Lakes at the foot of Mellbreak fell, next to Crummock Water and not far from Buttermere. It’s a good job they have some lovely rooms to stay in too, because once you arrive you won’t want to leave.

The Queens Head, Troutbeck

The Queens Head, Troutbeck

The Queen’s Head is another shining example of everything we love about a hillwalkers’ inn. You'll find it just outside the quaint little village of Troutbeck above Windermere and Ambleside. There's excellent walks from the door, where you can quickly get up onto the fells of Kentmere or Wansfell. Then return to an open fire, a relaxed, sociable atmosphere and very yummy food. Having been restored after a fire gutted the 17th century Grade 2 listed building in 2014, you can stay in one of their gorgeously refurbished rooms, where walkers and dogs are welcomed.

The Drunken Duck, Barngates

The Drunken Duck, Barngates

Over the years the Drunken Duck has earned itself a well-deserved reputation for great food. A clear step up from standard pub food, if your partial to an amuse-bouche to kick off your meal, you won’t be disappointed. Great for special occasions!

You're right in central Lake District, so you're spoilt for choice when it comes to walking. Loughrigg Fell is walkable from the door. And you've got Fairfield, the Helvellyn range, Langdales, the Coniston Fells – basically all the best bits, nearby.

Perhaps the best way to appreciate the location finished off with its full range of gastronomic delights on offer is to stay the night. Breakfast is the tastiest we’ve had, followed by afternoon cream tea with champagne and a 3-course evening meal. While the food might be fancy, the ambiance is relaxed and rustic, with hops decorating the ceilings. You’ll find it on a crossroads in the middle of nowhere, but just a short drive from Ambleside.

The Yan, Grasmere

The Yan, Grasmere

This 17th century farmhouse is less of a pub, and more of a restaurant inn. Its location is right opposite Helm Crag, with the Helvellyn range towering behind and Grasmere less than a kilometre down the road. A fantastic treat for hillwalkers who enjoy good food.

The vibe is rustic, with a modern, bright and airy feel. It’s is a family-run business, with two generations joining forces to quickly earn The Yan a reputation for fantastic food without the snobbery. For a down-to-earth blend of modern food, stylish rooms, in a wonderful setting, The Yan’s a great choice.

The Black Swan, Ravenstonedale

The Black Swan, Ravenstonedale

OK, before you say it, Ravenstonedale is not actually in the Lake District. You’ll find the Black Swan in the Howgill fells, just bordering the Lakes.

We love it because the Lakes can get awfully busy in peak times, and this cute little village of Ravenstonedale avoids the crowds, but gives you easy access to the Howgills, The Lakes, The Yorkshire Dales AND the Pennines… kinda perfect for walkers.

Plus, wherever you’re headed, the inn is worth a visit, just a 10-minute detour from the M6.

The food is a delight, and you can stay in one of their gorgeous rooms, or even in a fairy-lit riverside yurt – just over the lane from the pub.

Riverside Yurt - Black Swan Ravenstonedale.

Tweedies, Grasmere

Tweedies Bar and Lodge is smack-bang in the middle of Grasmere. And villages don't come much more "Lake District" than Grasmere. Still retaining its village charm, it's a 10min bus ride from Ambleside and you can head in any direction and end up on the best Lakeland walking there is. Being right in Grasmere you also have a choice of other shops, cafes, bars and restaurants on your doorstep, all waiting to be sampled.

But there's a high chance that once you've sampled the delights of Tweedies, you won't want to leave. The rooms are gorgeous - there are 16 that range in size and luxuriousness, some with mountain views and a complementary G&T.

You can dine (without dogs) in the hotel restaurant or head over to the dog-friendly bar /restaurant next door, with a more rustic vibe and fantastic food. Look out for the Friday night live music too.

Wasdale Hall YHA, Lake District

Despite appearances, this is not some expensive hotel. This, dear readers, is a youth hostel. And over the winter you can hire the whole place to yourself. It sleeps up to 42 people in 8 bedrooms, with 6 bathrooms for £500 a night in January.

If you have the maximum number of people, that’s just £11.90 a night to stay in a grand 19th century country manor house surrounded by some of Britain’s best hillwalking territory, and still only £62 a night if you only have 8 with a room each.

It certainly earns its place in ‘View with a Room’, being positioned at Britain’s favourite view. Set right on the shore of Wast Water, you can look down England’s deepest lake towards England’s highest mountain. For smaller groups, you can book private rooms from April.

The Quiet Site campsite and pub, Ullswater, Lake District

We’re finding it hard to find accommodation more environmentally-savvy than The Quiet Site near Ullswater in the Lake District. This year alone it won numerous awards for its 10 years of ethical and sustainable efforts, including sustainable energy, water conservation and eco development.

There are tent pitches, cottages, five new eco-cabins and a great farm shop too. Plus they have teamed up with two other green campsites in the Lakes to offer ‘Pod n’ Pedal’ breaks to minimise your carbon footprint even further!

Shhh, don't tell anyone but the Quiet Site is also home to one of the Lake District's best kept secrets. It's called the Quiet Bar. In reality it's anything but quiet! It's a quirky barn conversion, with a roaring fire, live music and a brilliant vibe. It might just be one of our favourite pub finds ever!

The Quiet Site Pub

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