Readers’ tips: pubs and grub in the Lake District

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Winning tip: General Burgoyne, Great Urswick

In the un-touristy and stunning south Lakes, Great Urswick is a sleepy, pretty village, with whitewashed cottages and a tarn complete with ducks, and this pub is a cracker. Roaring fires, flagged floors and cosy snugs, well-kept beer and a menu that might surprise you. Chef/owner Craig Sherrington is doing clever things with local produce (expect sea bass, mackerel and rabbit) in an innovative but unpretentious way.
01229 586394,

Eastern Lakes

The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey
The Sawrey Hotel between Hawkshead and the Windermere ferry has been revamped as the Cuckoo Brow Inn. Food, served noon-9pm, is sourced as much as possible from within a 20-mile radius – and with good local beers to boot. They genuinely welcome walkers, cyclists, wet dogs and noisy children. Best enjoyed when it's cold outside and a roaring fire's blazing – so July or August then.
015394 43425,

The Punch Bowl, Crosthwaite
Many visitors to the Lake District never see the lovely Lyth Valley, near Kendal. They're missing a treat, especially in spring when the damson trees are in blossom. The quality of the food at the Punch Bowl is, on its own, reason enough to visit. It's a traditional Lakes building with stylish and welcoming interiors, and an interesting menu.
015395 68237,

The Golden Rule, Ambleside
If you're not wanting a full three-course meal, there can be no finer pub in Lakeland than the Golden Rule, off the town's main street. Beautifully unchanged in decades, it is a haven for locals, walkers and tourists. Food is limited to excellent pork pies and scotch eggs and the ale is all from local breweries. Evening guests can join in impromptu singsongs.
015394 32257,

The Beer Hall, Hawkshead Brewery, Staveley
This is a modern pub attached to the Hawkshead Brewery (which moved to Staveley from Hawkshead some years ago), backing on to the river Kent. Excellent cask and bottled beer to drink there or take away. Pub grub with a regional twist, and informative brewery tours.
01539 825260,

The Drunken Duck Inn, Ambleside
Most free houses have real ales, but this pub has its own on-site brewery (try the Tag Lag). It's seventh heaven for beer lovers. And foodies. The restaurant is stuffed with delicious locally sourced food (the game pie is to die for) and the wine list will suit all tastes and pockets. After all the fine dining and imbibing at lunchtime you won't want to move, so book a room and enjoy it all again at dinnertime.
015394 36347,

The Mortal Man, Troutbeck
This is a truly welcoming pub – we've visited in autumn when the open fires provided much needed warmth after a day on the fells. Our last visit was on one of the few days the sun shone earlier this summer, when the splendid garden proved a suntrap.
015394 33193,

The Masons Arms, Cartmel Fell
If you like a middle-of-nowhere, cosy, traditional Lakeland pub with good food, this is it. If you like a fellside pub with comfy rooms and a view, this is it. If you like to sip a local beer in the open air, overlooking the damson-laden Lyth Valley ... you've guessed it.
015395 68486,

Western Lakes
Kirkstile Inn in 'glorious scenery' in the vilage of Loweswater. Photograph: Alamy

The Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater
This place is a must for anyone seeking excellent food (and real ale) in glorious scenery. Much of the food is locally sourced: Cumbrian steak-and-ale pie, slow-roasted Lakeland lamb. Vegetarians are well catered for, and do try the Eton Mess with damson sloe gin berry compote. It also serves the award winning Loweswater Gold ale.
01900 85219,

The Prince of Wales, Foxfield
This friendly pub with its own brewery, pub games, papers and comfy chairs prides itself on "food for drinkers" – on Fridays and at weekends. After a hike up Black Combe, to contemplate the late Harry Griffin's favourite view, the pies, with a filling of your choice, are well worth the half-hour wait.
01229 716238,

Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel Hikers Bar, Great Langdale
This is my favourite pub, great after a long walk. Beer – Theakstons and Black Sheep among others – is looked after properly. Food is simple but well-cooked and plentiful – cumberland sausage, veg lasagne, soups. Inside there are bare floorboards and wooden benches and tables, just right if you have muddy boots on. The beer garden at the front is quiet with great views, and sparrows, blue tits, and other small birds come up to your tables.
015394 37272,
Jeff Slee

Kings Arms, Keswick
The courtyard behind this pub has a sports bar (Casa's) and a pizzeria (LB's) that was perfect for a family. We dined outdoors, watched sport on TV, and could order from any of these three places. Along with pints of ale and cider from the bar, we ate thin and crispy pizza from a wood-fired oven.
0800 840 1241,

Dog and Gun, Keswick
This old-fashioned and busy pub has an in-house menu for dogs which includes a mouth-watering range of treats and chews at reasonable prices (biscuits 5p) plus free drinks (non-alcoholic). Tell your human to try the real ales and the delicious homemade goulash. The portions are so large that dogs will get lots of tasty bites. Slide your spare change into the cracks in the walls to support mountain rescue. A perfect ending to a day on the Fells.
017687 73463, 2 Lake Road

The Black Bull Inn, Coniston
The Black Bull Inn is in the heart of Coniston, on the main junction in the village. You can happily watch the world, and their dog, go by in the suntrap beer garden, get a bit more cosy in one of the many rooms inside, or grab a seat at the bar. It does good grub, but the reason you should stop off here is for the beers – the Coniston Brewing Company brews next door (spy its hydrometers and tanks from the car park if you are a real real ale fan) and so they serve lots of their beers on tap or by the bottle.
015394 41335,

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