The Punchbowl

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Address: Crosthwaite, Lyth Valley, LA8 8HR, United Kingdom

Star rating:
4 star hotel

4.2

One of the original Lakeland upstart gastropubs reaches maturity.

The Punchbowl was one of the original movers and shakers, opening in 2005. It's still a high-end property but the frisson of cool has long since become the cosy glow radiated by mature couples reading The Daily Telegraph over afternoon tea.

For me, its young sister property, the Plough at Lupton, will attract the younger crowd, while The Punchbowl will now be favoured by mature weekenders on a bon-viveur break.

The owners are working hard to push the quality of the food on offer and they have kept their promise to integrate the old village post office into the hotel reception - post yourself home a jar of local damson jam as a souvenir of your stay.

Location
4.2
90%
Eating/drinking
4.4
90%
Leisure facilities
n/a
90%
Service
4.2
90%
Value for money
4.2
90%
Bedrooms
4.2
90%
Public areas
4.3
90%

Location

Nestled in the gloriously scenic Lyth Valley off the A5074 yet just five miles to the attractions of Windermere; see my [node:174840] page.

Bedrooms

The eight rooms and one suite all have individual appeal with underfloor heating, Roberts radios and warm decor. Cooper has one of the best valley views and features a rustic, four-poster bed for a peaceful sleep in.

I did feel, however, that the interior design now looks rather dated compared to some of the most character-driven boutique properties that have followed in The Punchbowl's wake.

There are no family rooms.

Public areas

Away from the rooms, the property centres around a long, rustic bar with lots of cosy alcoves and private break-out spaces. The decor is smart with touches of coaching-inn tradition.

Eating and drinking

Chef Chris Meredith was previously Michelin starred at other local foodie stalwarts.

His all-day menu is served throughout the more relaxed bar and the more formal, 100-seat restaurant. Prices are gastropub steep with a dish of roasted guinea fowl with pak choi at £16.95, while a three-course a la carte menu in the latter costs £35.

If you're splashing out, a glass of Punchbowl Champagne costs £7.95. I preferred a pint of Bluebird from the Coniston Brewery, the best of the local ales on tap.

Service

A bit stiff and cool. I felt like they thought they were doing me a favour at times.

Who stays there

An older clientele devoted to good food, fine wine and happy to spend big to mark a special occasion.

Price advice

Book ahead and expect steep rate hikes for bank holidays; single occupancy gets a 25 per cent discount on rack rates.

Amenities

  • High-Speed Internet
  • Parking
  • Restaurant
  • Room Service

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Foodies
  • Mature travellers
  • Great views / scenery
  • Relaxation
  • Special occasions
  • Nature / wildlife

Pros & Cons

  • Perfect foodie escape
  • Tranquillity yet close to Windermere
  • Small beds
  • Cool reception at times
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