Wild Boar Inn: A fabulous dog-friendly Windermere hotel with great food and its own brewery

The Wild Boar Inn
The Wild Boar Inn

The forecast was for snow.

Two weeks earlier the country had been basking in record-breaking temperatures but on the weekend of our trip to the Wild Boar, the nice weather man told us to batten down the hatches and prepare for the white stuff.

There are stunning walks in the grounds

There are stunning walks in the grounds

It crossed our minds that this might not be the best of times to be heading to the Lake District.

But how wrong we were. Step into the Wild Boar Inn on the outskirts of Crook, near Windermere, and you are enveloped into comfort. It was like pulling a favourite blanket around your shoulders and basking in the warmth. Snow? Who cares?

After unloading our weekend bags (plus several more for the dog who was also on the trip) into our fabulous luxury room complete with copper bath, we settled ourselves close to the roaring log fire in the lounge bar with a couple of pints of ale from the pub's own on-site brewery - a Blonde Boar for me and a pint of Mad Pig for husband Bob. Well, if the cap fits....

If you are a fan of real ale, this is the stuff of dreams. Creamy and full of flavour with a head that stays in the glass all the way down. Needless to say it was one of the hits of the trip and just one of the many reasons why we will be back.

Another was the food. The inn has its own smokehouse, which provides a host of smoked meats and fish for sharing boards and the steakhouse restaurant. You can enjoy an amazing variety of steaks, including the huge tomahawk to share, or a host of classic dishes, like fish and chips, rabbit and crayfish pie and the Wild Boar burger.

We opted for the venison from the specials board and the 10oz Hanger steak. Both were exceptional. Perfectly cooked and served with some of the best chips you'll taste.

It set the tone for the rest of the trip as the hearty breakfasts and lunch menu options were equally good.

Thankfully, the Wild Boar has an amazing secret just behind its rear entrance... 72-acres of woodland, trails and even a clay pigeon shooting ground. It was more than enough for us (and the Labrador) to walk off all that food and drink.

But if you fancy heading further afield, you could not be better placed. The inn is just a few miles from Bowness and the lake. In the summer there is also access to Hawkshead via the ferry, while Ambleside and Grasmere are an easy drive away.

Given the promise of snow, we thought the 10-minute trip into Bowness was the best option and enjoyed a couple of hours mooching around the shops and enjoying the views of the lake. On a better weekend, we might even have taken a ride on one of the boats.

But as it was getting a little chilly, the call of the log fire was too much and we headed back for a spot of lunch and a read of the papers with another pint or two of Mad Pig.

The terrific staff, many of whom came from mainland Europe, kept us supplied and made a fuss of the dogs who came in during the course of the day.

And that is another marker of a great place to stay. Staff who take the time to talk, check you have everything you need and make sure they sort any requests immediately. The staff at the Wild Board fit the bill on all three counts.

There was Lina, from Sweden, who chatted over breakfast and George, a Scot, with an encyclopedic knowledge of whisky which kept Mr Parkinson enthralled for a good hour. Around 100 types of whisky are available at the bar, along with a huge selection of gins for those who are not real ale fans.

By the end of our weekend, we were actually hoping the weather might take a turn for the worse and we might get snowed in, so that we could stay another night.

A few flakes fluttered down as we left... not quite enough to stop us making the journey back to Lancashire.

But we will be back to the Wild Boar Inn...and if it snows, all the better!