The daffodils were out in force in the hamlet of Bowland Bridge in the Lake District National Park during my visit.
Across the road from The Hare & Hounds Inn, a bench, appropriately dedicated to a woman called Joy, looks in the direction of sumptuously green fields, dry-stone walls, contented sheep and wooded hills.
The inn, which dates from the 1600s, has recently reopened after being shut for several years.
Rural revamp: The 17th-century Hare & Hounds Inn, pictured, has recently reopened after being shut for several years
According to Will Hide, the refurbished pub is ‘very much a rural inn with rooms’ and gets the essentials spot-on
One of its new owners, Simon Rayner-Langmead, grew up locally, and after 20 years spent working in London decided to return home when the Hare & Hounds became available.
After a tasteful refurbishment, it’s very much a rural inn with rooms (just four) and gets the essentials spot-on.
When I arrived, there was a pub quiz in full swing to raise funds to install better broadband in the village.
A fire was blazing in the main bar where locals drop in for a drink, although a full menu is available at lunch and dinner, either there or in the charming side rooms where prints on the wall range from hunting scenes to a Tracey Emin.
‘A fire was blazing in the main bar (pictured) where locals drop in for a drink,’ Will recalls
Hearty, locally sourced comfort food is the order of the day. Above is the pub’s serving of pie and mash
‘We don’t want it to be Michelin-star,’ Simon tells me over a pint of Guinness.
‘You can get basic fare around here and super-duper, but I always thought the middle ground was a bit overlooked.’
Hearty, locally sourced comfort food is the order of the day.
I loved my steak and ale pie followed by sticky toffee pudding and ice cream for dinner, although the Cumberland terrine and haunch of venison looked good too.
Inside the cosy pub. ‘We don’t want it to be Michelin-star,’ one of the pub’s new owners, Simon Rayner-Langmead, tells Will over a pint of Guinness
One of the guest rooms. A fried breakfast or build-your-own bap starts from 9am, but a continental selection is also available earlier
The pub’s en suite bathrooms come with a large shower and big claw-foot bath
At lunch you’ll be tempted by Cumbrian dry cured ham with smoked cheddar toastie, Cumberland sausage and mash and beer-battered haddock and chips, while walkers on cooler days will appreciate the ‘Add on a mug of soup’ option.
A fried breakfast or build-your-own bap starts from 9am, but a continental selection is available earlier for any eager hikers who want to get up the fells.
Upstairs, a snug with a sofa is the perfect place to curl up with a good book if the weather isn’t so kind, but this is the Lake District, so just come prepared with waterproofs.
Country comfortable sums up my room, with a plush bed and thick duvet, antique dresser and good heating.
A kettle for tea and coffee is provided, with fresh milk delivered in a flask.
The en suite bathrooms come with a large shower and big claw-foot bath – ideal for a deep soak after a long day’s walk.
‘The Hare & Hounds feels like a great spot to escape the bedlam in the world right now and wander lonely as a cloud o’er vales and hills, then return to a pint and a well-earned dinner,’ says Will
Upstairs, this snug with a sofa is the perfect place to curl up with a good book if the weather is bad
This mesmerising shot of lake Windermere was taken from Gummer’s How hill, a short drive and walk from the pub
You’re three miles from Windermere here, and it is an easy walk there from the inn itself, but I recommend you drive about ten minutes up the road and park at Gummer’s How and then ascend on foot.
You’ll go past a herd of Highland cows before amazing views open out down on to the lake below and the fells spread before you.
The Hare & Hounds feels like a great spot to escape the bedlam in the world right now and wander lonely as a cloud o’er vales and hills, then return to a pint and a well-earned dinner.
Hare & Hounds Inn Bowland Bridge, Cumbria. B&B from £145 per night; dogs are welcome for £10 per night (hareandhoundslakes.com).