RAVENSTONEDALE, Kirkby Stephen, CA17 4NG
In a pretty conservation village, stands this handsome, multi-gabled Victorian proudly run by enterprising owners Alan and Louise Dinnes. The building has been refurbished to its former glory, and has friendly bars and a lounge warmed by an open fire. In its tranquil riverside gardens below Wild Boar Fell and the headwaters of the River Eden you might spot a red squirrel or two. An acclaimed real ale line-up features regulars from the Black Sheep brewery and guests from Dent, Hawkshead, Hesket Newmarket and Tirril microbreweries. Meals may be eaten in both bar areas, the lounge or in either of the two beautifully restored and decorated restaurants. As with the beers, reliance on local produce is key, which is evident in the names of some of the dishes - warm smoked Penrith pepperpot sausage with tomato, basil and white bean cassoulet; and Brougham Hall smoked tuna with lime and dill potato salad, sesame seed-buttered fine beans, both starters - for example. Main course favourites include chicken, haggis and cured bacon pie; seared medallions of monkfish with pea purée, and crayfish and Chardonnay cream sauce; and fresh egg spaghetti with Galloway beef bolognese. A children's option is Cumberland sausage with chips and peas. On a memorable day in 2008 HRH Prince Charles opened the Black Swan's on-site village store where essential groceries, stationery and locally-made gifts, crafts and organic soaps and toiletries - as used in the guest rooms - are on sale. A beer festival is held in the garden in the summer. In such a lovely area of the country it is certainly worth considering stopping over in one of the inn's individually designed bedrooms.
Tel: 015396 23204
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Black Sheep Ale & Best Bitter, John Smith's Cask, Guinness, rotating local guest ales
All day all week
Children's play area.
Coach parties catered.