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Wasdale Head Inn

Wasdale Head Cumbria CA20 1EX 01946 726 229

We say

English country inns don't come much more end-of-the-road than the Wasdale Head, sited under England's highest mountains just past Wast Water, the country's deepest lake. There's a real sense of arrival – or, if you've clambered down off the fells after a hard day's hiking, a real sense of relief – as the white-painted inn hoves into view. Celebrated as the birthplace of British climbing, it's still a real draw for mountaineers and hardcore walkers, and also offers a taster of the rugged country hereabouts for more casual visitors. There are nine rooms in the inn itself – on the small side (it's an old building) but all with amazing views – while across the courtyard in the converted cottage and adjacent stone barn are some bigger rooms and self-catering apartments. Some of the apartments are spacious indeed, with two bedrooms, and Mosedale has a large galleried bedroom above a studio-style lounge-kitchen. Everything has been nicely refurbished in the last two or three years – think modern-rustic and country-pine – and about the only complaint people have (and this tells you what kind of clientele pitch up here) is that they've put TVs in the rooms where there used to be none! Anyway, you don't have to watch it – better instead to stroll the mile or so down to the scree-flanked lake, or head up the wild valley for one of England's finest views. Breakfast is designed to keep you fuelled for the day; dinner is either in the atmospheric Ritson's Bar, a walkers' oasis, or a bit fancier in the dining room. The inn also operates the very basic hike-and-climb campsite in the field across the lane – punters here will be your drinking buddies in the bar at night, though there is also a rather lovely wood-panelled residents' bar with your own peep-hole onto the action.

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