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Lake District Hotels

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Drunken Duck Inn
England LA22 0NG
Tel: 44 153 943 6347

This inn has been around for 400 years, but its name only dates back to the Victorian era. Here's the story: One morning, the landlady found several of her ducks lying dead by the road, so she set about plucking them—only to discover they were very much alive. Turns out a beer barrel in the basement had leaked into the duck's feed, and they had merely passed out, drunk. Today, after you descend from one of 16 comfortable bedrooms (antique furnishings and huge modern bathrooms) into the pub, you can do your best binge-drinking-duck impression by downing pints of the inn's own home-brewed ales. These—along with the candlelit dining rooms—helped the Drunken Duck earn the Good Pub Guide's coveted "Cumbria Dining Pub of the Year" in 2003 and 2004. The Duck also makes a fine base for hikers, as it overlooks the famous Fairfield Horseshoe walk; for fly-fishing enthusiasts, there are two small, private lakes nearby stocked with wild brown trout.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
King George IV Inn
England CA19 1TS
Tel: 44 194 672 3262

Though largely a 16th-century property, the oldest parts of the King George IV date back to Roman times—an appropriate background, given that much of the walking in the Eskdale Valley takes you down ancient Roman roads to visit Roman ruins. The historic feel is maintained with flagstone floors, open fires, oak beams, low ceilings, and real cask ales (plus 200 malt whiskies to choose from). There are three rooms—one has a canopy bed with frilly curtains; another sports a timbered ceiling above pink walls; the last is a self-catering apartment.

Editor's Pick
Masons Arms
Strawberry Bank
Cartmel Fell
England LA11 6NW
Tel: 44 153 956 8486

If you prefer modern styles to the cozy British charms of most Lakeland inns, try one of the Mason Arms' three suites or two cottages. They're all elegantly contemporary, done up in minimalist black, white, and natural wood tones. Tartan drapes soften the clean lines, and the cottages, which accommodate four or six, feature working fireplaces. The Cartmel Fell suite, which sleeps three, even has a private walled garden. The inn enjoys an unrivaled setting, overlooking the Winster Valley to the woods below Whitbarrow Scar.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Mill Inn
England CA11 0XR
Tel: 44 176 877 9632

The six bright, modest rooms at this 16th-century coaching inn above the Glenderamakin River have hosted the likes of Charles Dickens and local hunting legend John Peel, who lies buried in Caldbeck churchyard just a few miles away. Since 2000, owners Margaret and Jim Hodge have fostered a thriving business out of their homemade pies—which you can sample along with grilled fresh salmon and pan-fried duck breast before a roaring fire in the dining room—and they now host an annual Pie Fest at the inn. (Before you get too excited, remember that British pies are usually filled with meat and veggies, not fruit.)

Editor's Pick
Pheasant Inn
Bassenthwaite Lake
England CA13 9YE
Tel: 44 176 877 6234

In 1778, this 500-year-old farm in the northern reaches of the Lake District was converted into an alehouse. It soon became the favored haunt of John Peel, a place where he could hold court and recount his exploits. Adding to the charm of its antique bar, the sumptuousness of the elegant dinners and afternoon teas, and the superb service—which even provides a comprehensive weather forecast delivered to your room every evening—there are 13 comfortable bedrooms, each one unique. Yours might have an antique mirrored vanity or a carved wooden headboard—or even a working fireplace.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Red Lion Inn
England LA22 0NS
Tel: 44 153 943 6213

This, the oldest inn in Hawkshead, dates to the 1400s and was once frequented by Disraeli and Wordsworth. Today, in a black-trimmed stucco building in the heart of town, the inn's 12 rooms mix modern comforts and colorful fabrics with antique furnishings and appointments—and, if you steer clear of the pricey Four Poster room, doubles run just over $100.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Tower Bank Arms
Near Sawrey
England LA22 0LF
Tel: 44 153 943 6334

Philip and Dorothy Broadley are certainly fine and hospitable innkeepers, and their three bedrooms are as charming and cozy as you'd want in a small British inn (including D.I.Y. tea trays). The five real ales on tap in the dining pub are delightful, and the Tower Bank Arms even has a fishing license so that guests can angle the local lakes. None of these charms, however, are why folks flock to this National Trust–owned 17th-century inn. They come because Beatrix Potter once lived next door at Hill Top (preserved as it was the day she died), and because the Tower Bank Arms was the model for the country inn in the author's The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck.

Editor's Pick
Wasdale Head Inn
Wasdale Head
England CA20 1EX
Tel: 44 194 672 6229

The Wasdale Head, in the heart of the Western Lakes, is famed as the birthplace of British rock climbing. No wonder. It's surrounded by the tallest peaks in England and serves as a brilliant base for mountaineering as well as less-strenuous walking trips. There are 12 rooms, including a family suite and a ground-floor double with a four-poster bed, plus several self-catering apartments for longer stays. The dining room specializes in Herdwick mutton and lamb, and if you fancy a pint, they brew their own beer under the label Great Gable Brewing Company.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.