The best food pubs in Ambleside


Ambleside is a typical Lakeland town, built in local slate and full of character. The town attracts plenty of walkers and tourists. There are lots of pubs and cafes to cater for the influx of visitors, something for every taste and pocket.

Ambleside in the Lake DistrictAs a service to our guests in our self catering Lake District cottages, we have road tested the food pubs of Ambleside and come up with our top five.

The Unicorn
Tucked away on North Road, the Unicorn is one of those pubs you have to know about. This part of Ambleside was known as Above Stock and is home to some of the oldest buildings in Ambleside – the Unicorn is the oldest pub in the town. It is very popular with locals – always a good sign – and welcomes dogs and walkers.

Wateredge Inn
When you walk through the centre of town, it is easy to miss the fact that Ambleside spreads all the way to the edge of Windermere. The Wateredge Inn on Borrans Road has a large lawned garden down to the lake and a jetty with boat moorings. Borrans Road. It is a traditional building that has recently been refurbished to a contemporary standard, serving meals, snacks and a rather nice afternoon tea.

The Struggle, AmblesideGolden Rule
Situated on the steep Struggle that leads to the Kirkstone Pass, The Golden Rule is a unique pub in this modern age of all day menus and piped music. The Golden Rule is thoroughly and unashamedly traditional. There is no music and no food, although they do serve generously filled rolls, huge scotch eggs and pork pies from the bar. Cask ales are served from the original Gaskell and Chambers pumps that date from the 1930s. The Golden Rule is notable for another reason – it is one of only two pubs with this name in the entire country. The other is in Edinburgh.

Royal Oak
The Royal Oak is on the corner of Church Street. Look past all the chalk boards proclaiming live sports and extensive menus, as the Royal Oak is a really friendly and warm pub that welcomes dogs and children. There is a nice beer garden on the front of the pub, a great place to people watch at this busy junction for foot traffic through the town.

The Kirkstone Pass InnKirkstone Pass Inn
The Kirkstone Pass Inn is a pub of legend and acclaim. It is the highest pub and occupied building in Cumbria. It regularly gets snowed in by huge drifts of snow at the top of the pass. It might even be haunted but that is another story. The interior of the Kirkstone is rustic in style, like stepping back in time but in a good way! The owners pride themselves on serving good hearty meals and several namesake beers including Kirkstone Porter and Red Screes. The pub also has a generous carpark (make a donation if you are planning on walking but not visiting the pub, although it is highly recommended that you do call in!)

Click here to view all our cottages in Ambleside and the southern Lake District. You can also read an article on one of our favourite Ambleside cafés, Bilbo’s.