RAVENSTONEDALE, Kirkby Stephen, CA17 4NG
In a pretty conservation village, this handsome, multi-gabled Victorian inn is proudly run by enterprising owners Alan and Louise Dinnes. There are friendly bars, a lounge warmed by an open fire and tranquil riverside gardens below Wild Boar Fell and the headwaters of the River Eden where you might spot a red squirrel or two. An acclaimed real ale line-up features regulars from the Black Sheep brewery and from Timothy Taylor and rotating local guests. Meals may be eaten in both bar areas, the lounge or in either of the two beautifully decorated restaurants. As with the beers, reliance on local produce is key, which is evident in the names of some of the dishes. There's a wealth of experience in the kitchen, so maybe try trio of Cumbrian lamb with fondant potatoes, minted cabbage, peas, artichoke purée, baby turnip and rosemary jus; pan-fried salmon and clams, potato and butternut squash rösti, purple sprouting broccoli and creamy saffron sauce; and wild mushroom, leek, chestnut and spinach crêpes, Stilton and truffle cream sauce, toasted almonds and curly kale. A children's option is Whitby scampi, fries, peas and home-made tartare sauce. 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 stopping over in one of the inn's individually designed bedrooms.
Tel: 015396 23204
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Black Sheep Best Bitter, John Smith's Extra Smooth, Guinness, Timothy Taylor, rotating local guest ales
All day all week
Children's play area.
Coach parties catered.