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Wasdale Head Inn, Wasdale Head

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user reviews of the Wasdale Head Inn, Wasdale Head

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Iconic location and long been a "wanted to visit" destination.

Decent ales on - Yates Wasdale Head Gold was a rebranded Gold and went down fine.

Amusing signs detailing the lack of WiFi. Plenty to look at and explore.

Visit blogged at
Mappiman - 21 May 2017 09:45
Sells Westons Family Reserve cider, which was a pleasant surprise.

We arrived at 2.05 after hiking over Black Sail Pass and were very pleased to find meals are served from 12 to 8. The portions are hiker-sized. My steak and ale pie was substantial & tasty, and came with a good pile of chips. My wife's cauliflower cheese was also reported to be tasty and filling. Meals prices were £11 - £8.

Dogs are welcome, and there is a welcoming resident canine.

jgurney1 - 26 Apr 2014 22:56
this place appears to have sold out.

not like I remember 10 years ago. the brewery has gone and they now serves average ale in its place. feels to me like they are more interested in making money than keeping up the traditional hiking values. more interested in selling their wedding services than accomodating the walkers

if you want a proper hikers bar, go to ODG in Langdale

juninhocrunch - 22 Oct 2012 18:06
Stunning location and on a sunny day, sitting by the river is lovely. The beer range is good and the service was ok. Food lets it down a bit. The steak & ale pie is too small and too salty, and the beef medallions were just slices of steak (though a reasonable steak for all that)! Great chips though. Pick the right thing on the menu and it'd be very good, I reckon.
Psi - 4 Jun 2012 14:24
This pub is on the up after a difficult few years. Beers are good, the manager is from the valley and is trying hard. The toilets are a real problem for them. A shared refurb is the only solution but the other party will not pay.
GertieGrumbles - 1 Sep 2011 19:18
Easter 2011 visit. 4 male walkers/ climbers camping at the Barn Door field.
A few facts to start: This pub is under new management. The beers are generally local, but no longer on site. The outdoor toilets are managed by the Barn Door, not the pub.
Now for the opinions. The ale choice was excellent. Dark mild, American IPA and a plethora of tasty Cumbrian offerings were available and the barrels changed frequently.
I personally did not like the seating plan in the main bar area. The four seater 'cubicles' were all too easily hogged by singles and pairs of people. Only the most rampantly outgoing person would ever contemplate filling the spaces. The side room, with its larger tables and more open layout, suits my tastes better.
The indoor toilets (well, gents anyway) were fully functional and clean. The outdoor ones utterly stank, but as noted above, this is not the pub's problem, although it did prevent our group from sitting outdoors.
The staff were a mixed bunch, generally friendly considering how busy it was. I dont suffer from pointless xenophobia, so the foreign staff didnt bother me in the slightest; I could understand them and vice versa, which is all that matters. Special mention should go to June who went so far beyond the call of duty to make sure we were fed and watered (she made space for us to enjoy a full english in the hotel on more than one occasion) that she deserves a medal.
The morning cafe is an excellent idea, but the food is a little overpriced (3.50 for a bacon sarnie, when the full english in the hotel was only 7.50). I would suggest staff churn out flyers for people in the campsite.
The food was acceptable, nothing flash here, Cumberland sausage, fish n chips, etc. Perhaps the price was a pound or so overboard, but nothing to break the bank. One note however is that the pub added 50 pence on card transactions and didnt take cards at all on orders under a tenner. Please remove yourself from the dark ages!
Overall, the Inn is getting back on its feet and I'm sure it will get back to its glorious best. Please get the Barn Door to sort out those revolting toilets, sort out the card surcharge and please never allow June to leave!
Igwinder - 10 Jun 2011 10:09
We always go to this pub when in the area - if you are after a great range of real ale ( usually 7 on at a time) rather than the food, foreigners or toilets mentioned in posts below, then you will enjoy this place. Definitely has a prime location and a historical ambience with many old Abraham Bros photos of climbing on the wall.
All of the beers we tried here were in top condition - including their house beers- and not one of the staff spoke Eastern European; they were definitely born and bred Cumbrians!
Probably worth avoiding on holiday weekends when it can be unpleasantly busy with campers from 2 nearby sites, and waits for food can be excessive.
Get it right though ( midweek or low season) and it is one of England's classic drinking spots.
evilfishkiller - 13 Apr 2011 21:32
Well my experience was the opposite. Firstly, the micro-brewery has moved away. The barman was very nice. The location is incredible - the drive to it is mind-blowing.

A nice internal layout. The golden / fruity beer I had was superb - may have been Loweswater Gold. Food was fine. Well worth a visit. An 8/10.

Old_King_Cole - 15 May 2010 18:39
i visited the pub after a hard day on scafell pike and was chuffed to stumblle upon 'camra pub of the year 2006' our so i thought....
the beer of choice was from there own micro brewery and it was pish, tasteless and smelt off, i commented to the barman on the quality of the beer and he started to argue the toss but then admitted he only drinks larger and doesnt know one ale from another! the price of a pint also took the mick 2.90 for a beer that is only brewed in the barn next door.
the toilets were another sore point..... no bog roll, doors not locking, toilet unit not even fastened to the floor (almost toppled over) the list goes on....

what should be a great lakeland boozer with its own berwery was real disapointment and how it ever was nominated for a camra award amazes me.

on a final point, do you have to be eastern european to work in a pub in the lakes?
scott_from_morecambe - 14 Jun 2009 21:44
Very good home brewed beer, worth a visit. Staff were friendly. Food good quality.
wa11ace - 10 Apr 2009 13:40
Visited on Boxing Day.
It was a freezing day, so it was lovely to see welcoming log fires burning away. The beer was sensational and the food (Steak and ale pie, and beef lasagne) was delicious and hot. The staff were generally okay, but the older one serving us clearly did not want to be there. However, his demeanour did not spoil an otherwise enjoyable visit.
quietriot - 29 Dec 2008 09:20
The staff in this pub seem to think that they are kings of the valley and certainly treat visitors as their peasants. Although the home brewed beer is good, it is far too expensive and not worth the rudeness of the staff.

It is not unheard of that this pub shuts at 10pm on a Friday and Saturday if they have had enough food orders during the day.

The food is mediocre at best and way overpriced.

There are several (better) alternatives to this pub in Nether Wasdale and Gosforth.

I have visited the Wasdale Inn many times over the past few years in the hope of improvement. It is such a shame as the place has so much potential to be nice.

I now avoid it.
riggwelter - 18 Nov 2008 00:49
Good beer, dreadful food (kept warm all day), rude staff. Stayed in the nearby Burnthwaite farm B&B (absolutely lovely, highly recommended), such a shame that thy will no-doubt get less business due to this poorly run pub. 3/10
notters - 9 Aug 2008 19:07
What a fantastic location! With such a super location this place should everything going for it. The beer was great but the staff attitude (apart from one person) was abysmal. They seem to hate their customers. We have since discovered that they are notoiously unhelpful, and unfriendly and have developed this into an art form. Apparently the manager is under notice to quit but as this may take a year don't expect things to get any better soon. The food we had (Sunday evening 20April was good). Why do people like this work in pubs?
Steve.Ottevanger - 28 Apr 2008 11:50
Despite its amazing location this is a poor pub. However because it's the only pub for miles, it's always busy with hikers.
It does have a decent range of real ale but it feels like a chain pub. The bar staff are unfriendly and unhelpful. The food is extremely poor(anything they can get away with apparently)
Run without love, but as a money making exercise. Go to the local Santon Bridge Inn instead to see how a pub should be run
Scottie_chorlton - 11 Mar 2008 13:07
Fabulous location - just voted best view in Britain on the Beeb hence Wasdale was exceptionally busy with extra visitors and traffic. Even so it was curious to find so many "sorry sold out" stickers on the Great Gable range of beers - just the GG bitter was available. The range of guests though was top rate - Yates in marvellous thirst quenching condition and two good beers from Derwent brewery. We noticed that all the jacket potatoes suddenly get "sold out" at 6pm so as to push the more expensive menu I contend, and there is a large notice announcing to one and all "We do not serve chips". The bar food looked "OK" on the plates, if rather pricey for something kept warm all day in stainless steel troughs, and we thought about trying the restaurant until we discovered the price - 28 per head table d'hote menu! The Ritsons bar lacks any atmosphere but is worth visiting to see the old photos on the walls. Staff generally dour but helpful when pressed. Overall disappointing - but there's no other place nearby and, as everyone says, the beer is great.
GrahamH - 27 Sep 2007 19:23
Some pubs in the National Park are almost a victim of their own glorious location. The Wasdale Head Inn is just such a pub in a location to rival the Old Dungeon Ghyll in Langdale. Like the ODG it has opted for a fairly basic style. In this case, the main bar area is brightly lit, there are lots of tables packed into stalls and a partially open conservatory at the rear. It isnt very comfortable or cosy. But if the sun is shining it is very pleasant sitting outside by the river.
They brew their own beer (the Great Gable Brewing Company brews 7 beers a number of which were on offer) and that is reason enough to come here. But I must agree with the previous comment that unless you had to, it would be odd to choose to eat here. It is, in effect, a caf. I suspect that this is the only way they can keep up with demand given the number of walkers and campers who pass by. But better to have a beer here and go to Nether Wasdale or Santon Bridge to eat, if you can.

drtimthornton - 24 Jun 2007 18:01
Let me say first that we were not disappointed by the real ale here. The quality, flavour and range of home-brewed beer is absolutely excellent- served at just the right temperature and maturity, and a great addition to the real ale scene. Spot on.
However, we were disappointed with the food and the service. Firstly, the food- although average by 'anypub' standards, usually where the beer is considered carefully (as it is here), then so is the food. Unfortunately the food set-up at Ritson's
Bar reminded me of an institutional cafeteria in terms of food quality and the big stainless steel troughs that the chefs ladle food from. This is strange as the local competition for food is stiff (the nearby Gosforth Hall Hotel bar for example, has excellent, great value food, so we ended up going there to eat most nights and the Wasdale just to drink).

The service at the bar was also cold, unsmiling and unfriendly, to say the least- I didn't take it personally, as I noted the barstaff doing the same to all customers....did we come at a
bad time?!

The Wasdale has so much potential to be truly excellent, what with the brilliant beers- just a few tweaks with the food and the service are all that would be required to change from a 'go there
just for the beer' pub to an 'excellent beer, excellent food, excellent atmosphere- spend the whole evening there' pub.

Surrealale - 19 Apr 2007 21:01
A pub in the middle of the Lakiest, Walkiest Part of our noble land, which does not allow Dogs???????!!!!
bulky - 5 Dec 2006 20:29
Wimbourne, are you stalking me?

Its a bit pricey and scruffy but you can hardly nip to the pub down the road! The beer has improved over the last couple of years although even Fosters would taste good after a day on the fells (did I say that out loud?).

If there was only one pub left in the world I'd want it to be this one.
robnest - 20 Oct 2006 10:33
If you eat the porridge, you'll not glow in the dark, by the way. That's Windscale!
5thearlofwimbourne - 12 Sep 2006 12:13
Superb base for a weekend break in the lakes. Breathtaking views. Excellent food and beer. They'll even make you up a packed lunch if you'ew off hiking for the day, and as Terry_W correctly observes - no idiots.

I had a fantastic long weekend there recently, and can hardly wait to return.

An truly deserved 9/10.
5thearlofwimbourne - 12 Sep 2006 12:09
This is one of Lakeland's best pubs. The location at the birthplace of mountaineering and the history of the Inn / Hotel is amazing. The remote location keeps the idiots and coachloads away leaving this little piece of Heaven to the keen walkers, climbers and locals. It also has the Great Gable micro-brewery providing delicious ales, most of which are available at the same time in Ritson's Bar which forms the main part of the Inn. It also has an ornate residents' bar and a restaurant serving posh nosh should you feel inclined. In sunny weather you can take your pint outside, sit yourself down, and contemplate the best scenery in England.
Terry_W - 11 Jul 2006 00:12
I love this place! I've been coming at least once a year for the past four years, at first to use the hotel as a base for walking and now mainly for the food and the beer. The food from the bar is generously portioned (although somehow you manage to eat it all after a hard day's walking) and eating in the restaurant is a real treat. Now that they've got the Great Gable Brewery going I just wish I could spend my time there working my way along the bar! Make time to stay and experience breakfast... The rooms are fairly small and the showers used to give out hot and cold water at random (book a room with a massive bath instead). I never have enough time to spend in this lovely part of the world and the hospitality at the Inn will keep me coming back for more.
AngeK - 31 Jan 2006 17:34
Great location, especially after a day on the Fells - actually it should me a condition of entry that you have just come off Scafell Pike or Great Gable! Has a near full range of Great Gable Brewery beers and first class food along with generous pots of tea if you are driving!!
Ian341 - 10 Oct 2005 13:43
Fantastic location right under Great Gable and Sca Fell.
Excellent range of beers, brewed on the premises. Food and Accommodation available, although I didn't try either. A very busy part of the Lakes, even in November.

Moose - 17 Nov 2004 17:42

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