Wasdale Head Inn

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Address: Wasdale Head, near Gosforth, CA20 1EX, United Kingdom

Star rating:

4

Packed full of history and character, the Wasdale Head is back after a period in the wilderness

First think heritage: this atmospheric inn has 200-odd years of history permeating every nook and cranny. Then try the scenery: the view of Wast Water from Wasdale Head was recently voted Briatin's favourite.

No wonder, then, that walkers and climbers have been coming here for donkeys years. But the Wasdale Head has been the subject of grumbling of late with tales of falling standards.

The good news is that the owners are now back in control and plan to invest in the legacy of this historic property for a new generation of visitors and for the wider region.

Location
4.6
90%
Eating/drinking
4
90%
Leisure facilities
n/a
90%
Service
4.1
90%
Value for money
4.2
90%
Bedrooms
4
90%
Public areas
4.4
90%

Location

Remote. On the southwestern fringe of the Lake District National Park with a five-mile taxi ride to the nearest town, Gosforth. But those views are spectacular.

Bedrooms

The 10 rooms in teh main house are simple but clean with cream bedspreads and standard bathrooms. For a walking trip, they feel cosy; for anything else they could feel a bit sparse.

The seven self-catering apartments in a nearby annexe are a bit more modern, are fully self contained and removed from the bar for a quiet night in.

Public areas

Heavy on memorabilia and oak panelling, the property has something of a living-museum feel overall. The bar is the domain of muddy boots and North Face jackets, while the Residents' Lounge has no TV but the usual raft of walking maps, guides and brochures.

Eating and drinking

Breakfast is the most atmospheric meal. Sat in the Dining Room (also serving dinner some nights), I was transported back to a more genteel age when tweed-clad Victorian pioneers founded the British mountaineering movement over a hearty, fried brakfast. Little has changed apart from the clothes.

The nooks and crannies of Ritson's Bar, named after a former landlord and mountain-climbing stalwart, is a more relaxed place for real ales and high-carb fodder after a day on the fells. The standard of food has been a bugbear of late but we expect great things of the new managment to up the ante.

Walkers can pre-order a packed lunch for around £6.

Leisure facilities

Walk out of the hotel. Turn left towards the fells. That's leisure facilities for you.

Service

A little gruff and datched for people used to international standards, but ideal for the no-airs-and-graces active crowd.

Who stays there

The followers of Alfred Wainwright, hardy outdoors types, the likes of Julia Bradbury filming her latest documentary.

Price advice

Dogs are charged at £5 per dog per night in hotel accommodation and £20 per dog per week in self-catering apartments; the hotel offers a 10 per cent reduction for booking three nights or more.

Amenities

  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restaurant

Recommended for

  • Seasoned travellers
  • Sporty types
  • Great views / scenery
  • History
  • Nature / wildlife

Pros & Cons

  • A slice of Cumbrian history
  • The best view in Briain
  • Canteen-style dinners in the bar
  • Welcome can be a bit cool
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