Best Pub Walks In The Lake District | Advice From Hiking Experts, Outdoor Enthusiasts, And Pub Dwellers - Outdoors Magic

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Best Pub Walks In The Lake District | Advice From Hiking Experts, Outdoor Enthusiasts, And Pub Dwellers

There’s nothing quite like a pint after a long day’s hike. And where better than in amongst Lakeland Fells and the towering Cumbrian Mountains?

The Lake District is home to both the tallest mountain and the largest lake in England. With rocky fells at higher altitudes, and ever-expanding moorlands at lower altitudes, it’s no wonder this national park is such a popular destination. Known by some as Lake Country, it’s a place that’s inspired outdoor adventurers for centuries, as well as beloved Lakeland writers such as Wainwright, Wordsworth, and the one and only Beatrix Potter. With running challenges like the Lakes 24 Peaks, and long-distance bikepacking routes such as the Lakeland 200, it goes without saying that the Lake District has something for everyone.

But what happens when you’ve finished your day’s activities, have exhausted your body, and are fed up with tinnies by your tent? Pub anyone? Pub indeed.

Related: Wild Camping In The Lake District | Where To Go

A pint with a view is easy to come by in Cumbria. Due to the varied topography of lakes, moorlands, and forests, you will be witness to a huge variety of wildlife no matter where you are. These include native oak trees, red squirrels, red deer, peregrine falcons, and the only resident golden eagle of England. So even when you need a little recovery time from hiking, walking, or meandering; you can still soak up what nature has to offer from the comfort of a Cumbrian beer garden.

With that in mind, we’ve gathered some advice from Lake District experts (and keen pub-goers) about some of the best pub walks you’ll find in this corner of England. This line-up has a pretty impressive history of adventuring. From fell-hopping, to high-altitude mountaineering; you’ll be sure to discover some great walks here.

“The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits.”
― Alfred Wainwright MBE, The Western Fells


Pubs: The Strands & Screes Inn; Wasdale Head Inn
Walk: Wastwater Screes; Great Gable
Recommended by: Alan Hinkes OBE, legendary mountaineer and Lake District outdoor activity expert

The Strand Inn & The Screes Inn are literally opposite each other. And what a backdrop. Photo:

The Strands & Screes Inns have excellent homemade meals including a superb steak pie, and locally sourced lamb. The Strands Inn even have their own brewery on-site. The Wastwater Screes walk is a must, though it can be arduous negotiating the boulders, rocks and rolling scree along the shorelines. Middle Fell (585m) is also nearby, as well as Scafell Pike (978m), England’s highest mountain, and the less popular Scafell (974m), England’s second highest peak.

“Wasdale Head Inn also boasts some great walks with fabulous views out to Great Gable. From the Inn, you can ascend this mountain, or traverse along to Sty Head Pass, Great End, and Scafell Pike. It’s supremely located in amongst some of the highest mountains England has to offer. “


Pub: Hawkshead Brewery
Walk: Starts and ends in Staveley via Gurnal Dubs and the summit of Brunt Knott
Recommended by: Lee Procter, Lake District born-and-bred runner, and communications manager for inov-8 (who have a store called The Forge next to the brewery)

From Staveley, you walk up through beautiful green fields, full of farm animals, to Potter Tarn. Gurnal Dubs is the next stop, where if you’re brave you can have a little swim. There are stunning views out into the Lake District fells of Kentmere, Ambleside and Langdale. On a clear day, you can also see down the coast to the Irish Sea at Arnside and Grange. Boggy sections follow from here across undulating land and upwards with a stiff climb to the summit (marked by a trig point) of Brunt Knott, the highest point of this route. This is followed by a fast-flowing descent back down to Staveley, and finally, towards the popular Hawkshead brewery.



Pub: The Pheasant Inn
Walk: Sale Fell & Ling Fell Loop; Bishop Of Barf Hike
Recommended by: Nicola Hardy, adventurer, komoot ambassador, and peak-bagging hiker


“The Pheasant Inn in Bassenthwaite has to be one of the best country pubs in the northern Lakes. Delicious food, great beer, a lovely garden, a traditional interior, and friendly atmosphere – it has it all. The walking nearby is excellent too. A loop of Sale Fell and Ling Fell is really lovely. Or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous you could hike up Barf and visit the whitewashed rocky pinnacle known as the Bishop of Barf. Look it up on Google, it has a bizarre history.”

Surrounding views and walks near Kirkstile Inn. Photo:
Wasdale Head and the start of Scafell Pike hike. Photo: iStock/ WhitcombeRD
Loweswater forest walk. Photo: iStock/ Mike63


Pub: Kirkstile Inn
Walk: Loweswater loop
Recommended by: James Forrest, author of ‘Mountain Man’, peak-bagging record holder, and full-time outdoor journalist

The Kirkstile Inn lies at the foot of Mellbreak fell. Photo:

The Kirkstile Inn oozes charm; it’s a delightfully traditional Lakeland inn that’s perfect for a post-hike pint. In the winter you can snuggle next to an open fire; in summer the sunny beer garden overlooks the dramatic pyramid of Mellbreak’s northern face. Either way it’s a delight. The Kirkstile Inn is best combined with a walk around Loweswater, a quiet but achingly idyllic lake – it’s a short day that serves up a big dose of Lake District beauty.

Check out our article on the best wetsuits for open water swimming if you’re thinking of taking a dip in Loweswater lake.


Great Langdale

Pub: Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel Hikers’ Bar (seen in the Outdoor 100 2020/21 here)
Walk: Pavey Ark via Jack’s Rake and Stickle Ghyll
Recommended by: Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic editor and president of Ramblers Cymru

“The Old Dungeon Ghyll is arguably Britain’s most popular mountain inn. It’s the old-timey charm of it I think, and also its long-held reputation as a place for walkers and climbers to toast the end of a good day out – or perhaps seek refuge in. I had my first post-lockdown pint here so it will always hold a special place in my heart! It was a lovely golden ale… probably by the Wainwright brewery, fittingly.

“My favourite route in Langdale actually starts a very short walk down the road at the Sticklebarn (another very good watering hole). What I’ll normally do is follow Stickle Ghyll up to Stickle tarn and then climb up Jack’s Rake to the top of Pavey Ark. It’s a grade 1 scramble but there’s enough exposure and risk to get the adrenaline pumping a fair bit (I wouldn’t be too keen to do it in winter conditions mind). Then you’ve got the panorama from the top, giving you views right back down to Langdale, Windermere in the east and then the Wasdale Fells in the west.”



Pub: Ennerdale Brewery
Walk: Ennerdale Horseshoe Fell Route
Recommended by: Huw Jack Brassington, ultra marathoner, fell runner and extreme athlete


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A post shared by Huw Jack Brassington (@huwjackbrassington)

This route is a favourite of both Huw Jack Brassington’s (pictured above on the Red Pike section), and Joss Naylor, ‘King of the Fells’. Spanning 22.9 miles (36.8km) with 2290 metres (7510ft) of ascent; the Ennerdale Horseshoe fell route takes in a plethora of amazing views. Following a clockwise horseshoe round Ennerdale Water, you’ll pass Great Borne, Red Pike, Blackbeck Tarn, Green Gable, Kirk Fell, Pillar, Haycock, Iron Crag, and Crag Fell. All while getting a good workout.

The running round itself is only suitable for experienced fell runners, however, well-seasoned hikers can definitely walk it, or walk parts of it, before heading to the Ennerdale brewery for a Cumbrian craft ale.



Pub: Kirkstone Pass Inn
Walk: Red Screes
Recommended by: Jazz Noble, editorial assistant for Outdoors Magic

Kirkstone Pass Inn from Red Screes. Photo: iStock/ Bob-McCraight

Kirkstone is an iconic mountain pass going through the Cumbrian fells linking Windermere and Patterdale. It’s a pretty magnificent sight to behold, even if you’re standing on lower ground. If you venture higher up though, climbing Red Screes fell, the view opens up to a panoramic scene of the Lake District. You should be able to see Wansfell, parts of Windemere, and above and beyond. It’s a craggy walk with rambling sheep, Cumbrian stone walls, and beautiful red-stained rock formations to take in. The Inn itself lies on the road just below Red Screes. It’s super old-school and has loads of history behind it. It’s also one of the highest pubs in England so has to generate its own power and source water from the fells. All in all, The Kirkstone Inn is a pretty incredible place to have a pint.


Cartmel Fell

Pub: Mason’s Arms
Walk: River Winster; Whitbarrow Nature Reserve
Recommended by: Jazz Noble, editorial assistant for Outdoors Magic


“Mason’s Arms sits on a hillside in Winster Valley. You can literally walk out of your seat to the edge of a field that looks out across the whole valley. Like a lot Lake District pubs, it’s got a great history as a coaching inn, and it maintains that authentic feel to this day. In terms of walking, Bowland Bridge is definitely good for setting off on a spontaneous gander. I’d recommend walking down to the River Winster and following it along as it meanders through the valley. Or you can go on a longer trek to the Whitbarrow Nature Reserve and take in some of the rich wildlife. Either way, the Mason’s Arms is an incredibly tranquil spot to finish the day.”


Main Photo: Mason’s Arms/ iStock: Michael_Conrad


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