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The Best Pubs on England’s Coast to Coast Walk

By Alex Stewart
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Delicious Pub Grub & Freshly Pulled Pints

It’s hard to beat a ramble through stunning scenery coupled with the promise of a pub lunch or the chance to wind up at a cracking pub with hearty food, well-pulled pints and the opportunity to swap stories.

On the Coast to Coast walk, as you journey from seashore to seashore along the network of trails, byways, tracks and footpaths used by famed fellwalker Alfred Wainwright to plot the route from St Bees on the Irish Sea to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea, you’ll traverse the Lake District fells, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Pubs are a prominent feature of this landscape – and some of these cheery English pubs are locations to visit in their own right. Many conform to the image of hale and hearty places in picturesque villages or wild places. While they tend towards the traditional, and you might not find too much variety among the staple menus, they’re often attuned to the needs of walkers and the warm welcomes and hospitality you’ll receive will reward all that effort. Below, we’ve picked some of the best pubs along England’s Coast to Coast route that, come rain or shine, will add to your journey when you duck through that doorway.

Best Pubs by Region:

Map of the Best Pubs on England's Coast to Coast

The Lake District

Royal Oak Hotel, Rosthwaite

The picturesque hamlet of Rosthwaite in Borrowdale has a couple of quality pubs. The Royal Oak dates back to the 1750s and was a former farm and miners’ tavern. These days, it boasts a cosy bar, lounge and snug with a warm, intimate atmosphere. The ‘farmhouse kitchen’ menu is short but well-executed and based on seasonal produce, while the cask and craft beers have all been carefully sourced.

Scafell Hotel, Rosthwaite

 

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A coaching inn since the 1850s, this well-established pub in the heart of Borrowdale welcomes walkers. The Riverside Bar offers a great range of real ales, fine malts and proper Cumbrian food, with sandwiches and ploughman’s at lunch and a range of evening plates. There’s also a restaurant in the evening – keep space in your stomach for the range of Cumbrian cheeses that are served on Honister slate from the nearby Honister Mine.

Langstrath Country Inn, Stonethwaite

The tiny, tucked-away hamlet of Stonethwaite is centred around the pub, a 16th-century miner’s cottage converted and extended to form an unpretentious inn with a narrow bar, slate fireplace and warm welcome. Robust pub grub is available alongside more unexpected dishes as part of a modern, rustic menu paired with a range of local beers, ideal to sup after a day on the fells.

The Good Sport, Grasmere

 

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This pub is the taproom for the Grasmere Brewery, and you can taste the full range of lagers, ales, cider, and gin distilled from scratch. On a sunny day, head to the leafy beer garden, which overlooks the River Rothay. Tasty food starts with a cooked breakfast, while menu staples from the small kitchen make good use of Herdwick lamb born and bred in Grasmere.

Tweedies Bar, Grasmere

 

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Elsewhere in Grasmere, stop into Tweedies Bar for a refreshing pint – tired walkers with muddy boots are welcome. The bar has flagged floors, wooden panelling, wooden settles and a wood-burning stove to keep it cosy on cooler evenings. Combine their range of regularly changing real ales with seasonal food featuring familiar favourites, with generous portions designed for an active crowd.

White Lion, Patterdale

Inside this tall, narrow inn, you’ll find a characterful bar with hand pulls for real ale, including Theakston’s Wainwright. The main menu is crowd-pleasing with large helpings of filling, wholesome fare on order each day.

Yorkshire Dales

The Black Swan, Ravenstonedale


Maybe more fair to describe this as a hotel restaurant than a pub, the Black Swan is undeniably a prime foodie’s destination. Still, with an attractive beer garden and friendly indoor public bar that screams traditional British country pub, it’s a great place to stop for a drink. We highly recommend dining here, as the food is incredible, fresh, creative, and delicious. It’s also just a lovely place to sip on a delicious pint whilst the world goes by.

Keld Lodge, Keld

 

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Standing in magnificent moorland scenery, Keld Lodge started life as a shooting lodge but it is now a walker’s inn with a restaurant and bar. From the dining room enjoy the expansive views across the stunningly gorgeous region of Swaledale. Dishes are locally-sourced with lots of supplies from nearby Wensleydale. There’s a tiny traditional bar and a conservatory-style terrace.

Farmer’s Arms, Muker

 

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Situated in the stunning scenery of Upper Swaledale, you’ll find this quintessential Dales country pub with a stone-flagged floor and dry stone wall fireplace in the quaint stone village of Muker. The small team lovingly prepares wholesome food while drinks are a mix of real ales and beers from their microbrewery.

The Buck, Reeth

 

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The Buck started as a coaching inn, situated prominently at the top of the green. Today, the pub retains many of the original features, with beamed ceilings, an open fire and an ice house. The beer garden is a sun trap in which to enjoy their selection of real ales, while food tends to be comforting and hearty.

King’s Arms, Reeth

 

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Known as the ‘Middle House’ of three pubs in the village due to its position on the green, this traditional inn dates to 1734. In the cosy single room, there’s an impressive inglenook fireplace and dark low beams. Food is fresh and good, and you’ll get an invigorating pint to wash it down.

The Kings Head Hotel, Richmond

 

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A stylish bar, friendly staff and good food are what you can expect from the King’s Head Hotel. The building, located just by the market square, oozes character. Constructed in 1717 as a gentleman’s townhouse, it now serves as a modern-day coaching inn with rooms, a restaurant and a pub.

North York Moors

The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge

 

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The Lion Inn on the remote Blakey Ridge in the North York Moors National Park is a 16th-century “free house” with the distinction of being the fourth-highest inn in Britain. Soundly built to resist the exposure to high winds and rain on top of the moors, it has open coal fires to huddle around on wet days, low beamed ceilings, a cosy atmosphere and a respected menu of pub classics. Meals are tasty and traditional, while drinks are precisely the sort of cask ales you’d expect from a typical Yorkshire pub.

Horseshoe Hotel, Egton

This charming country inn is located in the secluded village of Egton Bridge on the banks of the River Esk. The bar stocks guest beers from local microbreweries along with wines selected to pair with their unfussy menu. Designed with hungry walkers in mind, the food is satisfying and crowd-pleasing. Eat in the bar with its old-fashioned settles and a large fire, or if lucky, head outside onto the large raised grassy bank to soak up the sun.

The Mallyan Spout Hotel, Goathland

 

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A worthwhile (and fun) detour from Grosmont, hop on a steam train to Goathland to enjoy a drink and/or a meal at the Mallyan Spout Hotel. The food served there embodies the best of Yorkshire: fresh, varied and locally sourced. The hotel and accompanying Spout Bar serve as the perfect country getaway with gorgeous views, traditional cosy interiors and plenty of outdoor spaces for basking in the sun when the weather is good. The menu features many public classics, and the portions sizes are generous.

Bay Hotel, Robin Hood’s Bay

 

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An almost essential stop at the end of your Coast to Coast walk, the grand Grade II listed Bay Hotel stands above the slipway that marks the end of the route. In fact, the bottom bar is even named after Wainwright himself. Wainwright also has a beer named after him and appropriately enough, it’s one of the cask ales on offer here. There’s also a fairly rudimentary main bar upstairs and a sea view terrace on which to toast the end of your hike, assuming there isn’t a rough high tide crashing on the seawall below.

Walk the Coast to Coast With Us

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Meet the Author: Alex Stewart

A childhood being marched up hills and highpoints on family holidays has translated to a lifetime love of the outdoors. This led to a career working with tour operators and walking companies that, twinned with a passion for writing, has taken me on adventures all around the world. Over 20 years, I’ve explored and written about walking, trekking, hiking and tramping in places as far apart as New Zealand, Peru and the Swiss Alps, for guidebooks, newspapers, magazines and websites. These days I’m on a mission to prove that the UK offers as much adventure as anything you’ll find overseas. I’ve found a lot of joy in experiencing wild places close to home, sharing stories of the wildlife, history and heritage we have on our doorstep while also introducing my young family in turn to the outdoors. Home-grown adventures include racing coast-to-coast across Scotland and walking and cycling across England. I have trekked the Pembrokeshire and Norfolk coasts, claimed Yorkshire’s three peaks, hiked a number of our national trails, and camped in wild places while bagging Wainwrights and Munros. Friends joke though that, in many ways, alongside the pursuit of the perfect sausage roll, all this activity is really just an excuse to seek out artisan scotch eggs and local craft ales to try…

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