Drive a short distance south of Windermere to Cartmel Fell, situated between the A592 and the A5074, and you'll find a pub-lover's dream. The Mason Arms, Strawberry Bank (tel. 01539/568486), is a Jacobean pub with original oak paneling and flagstone floors. Sturdy, comfortable wooden furniture is spread through a series of five rooms in which you can wander or settle. The outside garden, attractive in its own right, offers a dramatic view of the Winster Valley beyond. The pub offers so many beers that they have a 24-page catalog to help you order, plus a creative, reasonable menu that includes several tasty vegetarian options. Beer prices start at £2.50.
Southeast of the village, off the A5074 in Crosthwaithe, the Punch Bowl (tel. 01539/568234) is a 16th-century pub; the central room features a high-beamed ceiling with upper minstrel galleries on two sides. Outdoors, a stepped terrace on the hillside offers a tranquil retreat. Theakston's Best Bitter, Jennings Cumberland, and Cocker Hoop are available on tap.
Established in 1612, the Hole in t' Wall, Lowside (tel. 01539/443488), is the oldest pub in Bowness, a real treasure for its character and friendliness. The barroom is decorated with a hodgepodge of antiquated farming tools, and there's a large slate fireplace lending warmth on winter days plus a good selection of real ales on tap. The menu, determined daily, illustrates real ingenuity in an eclectic mix of vegetarian, seafood, and local game dishes. A small flagstone terrace in the front encourages lingering on warmer days and evenings.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.