If you want to avoid the tourist hordes in the Lake District proper – and who doesn’t – head into the Lune Valley on the other side of the M6 and make for The Sun Inn, in pretty Kirkby Lonsdale. Mark and Lucy Fuller have turned this 17th-century inn into a warm, lively hub of town life. Whether you want to browse in Kirkby’s independent shops, explore the Lakes or ramble in the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales, everything is on your doorstep.
What to eat You can snack in the bar, but head into the restaurant for the full effect. From Herdwick lamb to pigs reared in Kirkby’s woods, Sam Carter uses top regional ingredients in modern British dishes that are finessed with cool, cheffy flourishes. For instance, he serves pork belly, pig cheek ravioli, black pudding and crushed turnips with a tart grapefruit gel, and ham hock and guinea fowl terrine with a scampi fritter and parsnip purée.
The booze Look out for ales from Kirkby Lonsdale and Hawkshead. Wine buffs will enjoy the trendier grape varieties on offer (gewürztraminer), its discerning additions (the Chilean organic Casa Lapostolle sauvignon blanc), and the Posh Noshers wine evenings (23 November, £59pp).
Star suppliers Fantastic neighbouring butcher Dales, and for game meats, Cartmel Valley Game.
The bed Stylish country comfort in the 11 bedrooms – the excellent mattresses are Cumbrian-made Sealy; carpets Swaledale sheep’s wool; and Lucy’s dad, a cabinet-maker, made the furniture – even the earplug boxes. The rooms make a feature of beams and stonework, but room seven, which overlooks St Mary’s Church, is a doozy. Big baths and Bath House toiletries make returning from a long walk a pleasure.
The breakfast Start with the inn’s daily fresh smoothie followed by kippers, a full English or scrambled eggs on toast.
The bill Double rooms from £112 b&b. Lunch mains from £11.95, dinner from £20.95. (sun-inn.info)
Written October 2015
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