At the foot of the Sale Fell and close to Bassenthwaite Lake, this 17th-century former coaching inn occupies a peaceful spot in the Lake District and is surrounded by lovely gardens. Once a farmhouse, the pub today combines the role of traditional Cumbrian hostelry with that of an internationally renowned modern hotel. Even so, you still sense the history the moment you walk through the door – the legendary foxhunter John Peel, whose “view halloo would awaken the dead”, according to the song, was a regular here. In the warmly inviting bar, with polished parquet flooring, panelled walls and oak settles, hang two of Cumbrian artist and former customer Edward H Thompson’s paintings. Here, you can order a pint of Coniston Bluebird or Hawkshead Bitter, or cast your eyes over the extensive selection of malt whiskies. The high standard of food, recognised by an AA Rosette, is well known for miles around; meals are served in the attractive beamed restaurant, bistro, bar and lounges overlooking the gardens. Light lunches served in the lounge and bar include open sandwiches, baguettes and potted shrimps on toast, as well as main courses such as Cumberland sausages, buttered Savoy cabbage and mashed potato; smoked haddock with light cheese sauce, spinach and poached egg; and pan-fried supreme of guinea fowl. A three course dinner in the restaurant could feature beetroot-cured gravad lax, beetroot jelly and horseradish cream; crispy confit of Gressingham duck, cabbage and bacon, potato terrine and plum compôte; and pistachio and cherry Arctic roll. Treat the family to afternoon tea with home-made scones and rum butter. The Pheasant can get pretty busy, so booking ahead for meals may be required.