Only a five minute drive from Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, the Brown Horse Inn is set in the pretty Winster Valley, with views out over rolling countryside.  Easy to find and with plentiful free parking, it’s a welcome haven after a long journey, with no need to venture out until you’ve rested properly.

AMBIENCE 

The Brown Horse in is an 1850’s coaching inn, and the vibe inside is a mixture of old and modern. Downstairs there’s an air of vintage chic, and rustic, earthy colours have been used throughout, giving it a warm and welcoming feel.  Think solid beams, roaring fires, friendly staff and the buzz of happy chatter and that’s the Brown Horse Inn in a nutshell!

PRACTICALLY SPEAKING  

We loved the appeal of a coaching inn where you just land, check in, and don’t need to go anywhere unless you want to.  With a great restaurant in house you’re at your leisure here, so it would make the perfect safe landing spot for a stay in the Lakes.  As soon as we had checked in we made our way back downstairs for a drink outside, and sat soaking up the lovely views for quite a while.

ROOMS 

There are nine bedrooms available – some newly refurbished with en-suite bedrooms.  The styling upstairs is a bit more contemporary than below, but we think that works quite well, delivering a clean, pristine feel.  There are also self catering cottages available nearby, so if travelling as a family, it’s well worth a look. We were particularly impressed with the quality of the toiletries and the tea/coffee tray here.  No wi-fi signal for us in our room but that was a minor point and it can be quite refreshing now and again.

DINING  

This is clearly a hostelry which is well booked, and renowned for good food for miles around.  The menu has a clear leaning towards traditional local fare, with a lot of the produce direct from the Brown Horse Estate.  The restaurant combined with the country bar can seat up to 70, and there’s an outdoor dining space which extends this further on a sunny day. They really do serve up a feast here, so we’re not surprised it’s so popular!

We were particularly impressed by the extensive offering at the bar, and were thrilled to see there was a vast gin menu.  After supping a few fruit-laced pre-dinner drinks, we were treated to generous sized portions at dinner.

We can particularly recommend the Seafood Platter (shown) – it’s amazing but you’ll definitely need to save your appetite for it.  The steak also felt much nicer than the norm elsewhere, although that plate was successfully cleared!

The breakfast here was probably the best we had all week – vegans and vegetarians are well catered for and there were  plenty of other options which would suit regular travellers looking to keep things varied, although we enjoyed a sterling Full English and there was plenty of choice for all.

PROS/CONS

Pros:  Extensive gin-bar, outstanding breakfast, dog friendly.

Cons: Intermittent wi-fi.

OUR VERDICT

Warm and welcoming, the Brown Horse Inn typifies Inn-keeping at it’s best. Hearty food, a superb bar, happy atmosphere and a good, solid core accommodation offering makes this our choice for a stay which oozes traditional Lake District authenticity, but with flashes of luxury to make it feel extra special. Offers very good value for money, but we would recommend reserving a table for dinner at the time of booking your room, as it’s a popular spot!  We arrived on a rainy day, but that’s perfect for the Brown Horse as it’s a really cosy place to stay.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Bed & breakfast from £85 per night based on a room for two.

The Brown Horse Inn, Winster, Near Windermere LA23 3NR

T: 015394 48973

E: info@thebrownhorseinn.co.uk

W: www.thebrownhorseinn.co.uk