George & Dragon Pub with rooms in Penrith, Cumbria

Prices from:
£100 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Estate owned; revived with panache
  • Country-house feel; family treasures
  • Produce: estate farms & kitchen garden
  • Elegant bedrooms
  • Perfect for Lakes and M6 pit-stop

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitVisit a Stately Pile15 Minutes from the Motorway

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Call this inn 01768 239151

Overview

George & Dragon Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2ER

The personal touch

Owned by the Lowther family estate, the 18th-century coaching inn was lovingly restored by local craftsmen using a wealth of Cumbrian stone, slate and wood when Charles Lowther took over the faded pub almost a decade ago. The traditional-looking inn hides a beautifully designed interior, which sports a relaxed, contemporary feel that perfectly complements the period features. Expect to find heritage hues, crackling log fires, cosy alcoves, and rugs on stone-flagged floors. With its own family farm, tenanted farms and a kitchen garden at nearby Askham Hall (rooms and great café), the estate supplies the pub with organic free range meats and wild venison, games birds from shoots, and fruit and vegetables, with other ingredients supplied by artisan producers within 20 miles of Clifton. This may translate to charred Rough Fell lamb with barbeque sauce and smoked aubergine, and Shorthorn steak with dripping chips and béarnaise on the chalkboard menu. The eleven bedrooms have a fresh, modern look and are kitted out in elegant country-house style, with paintings and antiques from the Lowther personal collection, rich fabrics, crisp Egyptian cotton on hand-made beds, and tiled bathrooms with walk-in showers or roll-top tubs.

Muddy paws

Dogs are welcome in the bar and overnight in all the bedrooms and dog packs are provided at £10 per stay.

Sticky fingers

Children are welcome throughout the pub and under 12’s have their own Little Dragons menu to choose from. Families can stay overnight; there are two family rooms and folding beds (£25) can fit into some of the larger doubles.

Alfresco

There are sturdy teak tables and benches at the front of the pub – a real sun trap on a good summer’s day.

What’s the Damage?

11 doubles: £100-£160; single £85-£119

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar & dining room
  • Secure bike storage & drying room
  • Parking
Sleep

George & Dragon Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2ER

Do not disturb

In keeping with the contemporary-smart feel in the bar and dining rooms, the 11 refurbished rooms have a fresh, modern look, with the standard, superior and deluxe collection of rooms being accessed via ancient stone stairs to a landing-cum-sitting area, replete with books, magazines and tea and coffee making facilities. Being a 17th-century farmhouse, some rooms are on the small side but all are beautifully furnished in elegant country-house style. Expect antiques and paintings from the Lowther family collection at Askham Hall, hand-made upholstered headboards, quality wool carpets and rich fabrics, and very comfortable slate-floored bathrooms, some compact with shower only, others with bath and shower, while Room 5 has a roll-top bath tucked away in an alcove, and a walk-in shower.

Creature comforts

Bramley toiletries

Gadgets

Smart TVs

What’s for Breakfast?

From the table: homemade granola; fruit salad; cereal & yoghurt; croissants, toast and jam. From the kitchen: smoked haddock with poached egg; eggs Benedict; oak-smoked salmon & scrambled eggs; pancakes with bacon & maple syrup

What’s the Damage?

11 doubles: £100-£160; single £85-£119

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar & dining room
  • Secure bike storage & drying room
  • Parking
Eat & Drink

George & Dragon Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2ER

Mastering the menu

Charles Lowther is in the unique position to supply the pub with organic meats and game birds from the 70-acre, family-owned Lowther Estate, and seasonal fruit and vegetables from the walled kitchen gardens at Askham Hall, where they also have a dry-ageing and butchery facility. What they don’t rear or grow themselves they source from local artisan suppliers and farmers, many of them are tenant farmers on the estate, within 20 miles of the pub. His philosophy of sustainability, simplicity and taste through using fresh, seasonal ingredients translates to superb 30-day aged Shorthorn steak, served with dripping chips and bèarnaise, Rough Fell lamb, rare breed pork sausages and delicious game dishes on the monthly menus and daily chalkboard specials – all are skillfully prepared and presented by head chef Gareth Webster, who has worked for Michelin starred chef Simon Rogan.

On the menu

(Starters: £7.50-£8; Main Courses: £13.50-£25; Desserts £6-£9)

Poached Askham duck egg, crispy duck rissoles, beetroot & caper; home-cured sea trout topped with mustard & dill, shaved fennel, horseradish, rye crisps

Grilled sea bass, crab croquettes, mussels, spiced sweetcorn & coriander; Shorthorn beef slow-cooked in ale, potato, parsley and smoked Inglewhite

Iced Lowther honey parfait, honeycomb, cherries; summer pudding, elderflower crème fraiche, sorrel

Sandwiches (lunchtime only)

(£9-£14)

Shorthorn beef & caramelised onion open sandwich, skinny fries, garden leaves; smoked salmon on sourdough, beetroot & horseradish crème fraiche

Local, local, local

Beef, lamb, pork and venison – Lowther Estate and family farms

Vegetables – from kitchen garden at family’s Askham Hall in season

Smoked meats & cheese – Eden Valley Meats at Brougham Hall (1 mile)

Game, crab & lobster – Cartmel Game

Duck – J & S Goosnargh, Lancashire

Fish – Neve of Fleetwood, Lancashire

Ice cream – Abbott Lodge (local Jersey herd 1.5 miles away)

Beer – Eden Brewery (Penrith); Hawkshead Brewery (Staveley)

Coffee – Farrers of Kendal (roasters & blenders)

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 8am – 9.30am

Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm

Dinner: 6pm – 9pm

Behind the bar

Expect to find three cask ales on handpump, which include regular beers from Cumbrian micro-breweries – Eden Brewery (Gold) and Hawkshead Bitter. Wines are from Frank Stainton, Kendal’s famed wine merchant, with Charles passionate about sourcing wines from independent and small-scale producers, reflecting the Lowther family ethos. A comprehensive choice of 17 wines by the 125ml glass, including Joseph Perrier champagne is offered. The list runs to over 70 and includes some half bottles and magnums, 17 by the glass, and some outstanding wines (mostly French) from Charles’s own cellar. Quality mixers and juices come from Frobishers, Fever Tree and Bottle Green to accompany a sensible selection of spirits. The excellent coffee is roasted and blended by Farrars in Kendal.

Time at the bar

12 noon – 11pm

What’s the Damage?

11 doubles: £100-£160; single £85-£119

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar & dining room
  • Secure bike storage & drying room
  • Parking
Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - George & Dragon

2

Farrer's Tea and Coffee House, 13 Stricklandgate, Kendal LA9 4LY

From 1819, when John Farrer started a family business of specialist tea and coffee merchant at Stricklandgate, the tantalizing aroma of roasting coffee became a feature of daily life in the market town of Kendal. Visit the tearoom to sample the great range of teas and coffees available while enjoying fresh cakes and maybe an exhibition of local art.

4

Kendal Farmers' Market, Market Place, Kendal LA9 4TP

Kendal Farmers Market is held in the Market Place in Kendal on the last Friday in each month from 9:30 to 3:30pm.

5

Stainton Wines, 1 Station Yard, Kendal LA9 6BT

Feisty, independent, opinionated and honest is the best way to sum up Frank Stainton’s approach to his business. Beginning in 1984, the overriding quest has been to source, import and sell the most characterful and interesting wines at every price point. “Our £7 bottle of wine will be the best value £7 wine on the market”

6

Askham Hall Gardens & Café, Penrith CA10 2HH

Historic building and fascinating flower and kitchen gardens that have been restored to their former glory and magnificence. Now a restaurant with rooms, it has a very special café that draws on the Lowther Estate's wide range of organic and rare breed produce.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - George & Dragon

Activities

3

Ullswater Steamers, Glenridding Pier House CA11 0US

The Ullswater Steamers have been sailing on ‘England’s most beautiful lake’ since 1859 – take a one or two hour cruise along the lakeside, with the dramatic backdrop of Helvellyn and the stunning fells.

4

Horse Riding Parkfoot Pony Trekking, Howtown CA10 2NA

Trek on horseback for an hour or a day along pretty country lanes, and by the lakeside - the views over Ullswater are breathtaking – all the routes are off-road, and the Highland ponies are sure-footed and well mannered.

8

Lake District Wildlife Park, Bassenthwaite CA12 4RD

The only wildlife park in this part of Cumbria, the emphasis here is very much on conservation, education and engaging with visitors. Take a stroll and see more than 1,000 species – from anaconda to zebra.

9

Keswick Climbing Wall, Goosewell Farm, Keswick CA12 4RN

There’s something here for all ages – including indoor climbing, bouldering and archery throughout the year. Climbing lessons are available and experienced climbers have an excellent range of challenges to confront them. One bonus is that the climbing wall represents a perfect alternative if wet outside.

Shopping

10

Bookends, 66 Main St, Keswick CA12 5DX

Independent bookshop with the emphasis on books and maps of the Lake District within a great range of general interest titles, many at reduced prices.

12

Special Expressions, 34 Main St, Keswick CA12 5JD

Established in 2001, Special Expressions retails Harry Mason designer jewellery at various shows, fairs and events around the UK. Special Expressions specialises in distinctive and desirable designs.

14

Twentyone8, 18 Middlegate, Penrith CA11 7PG

Opened as a boutique in 2007, with an earth collection franchise, Twentyone8 offers a range of distinctive styles for a smart, relaxed look. Accessories include jewellery, scarves and footwear.

15

Ambleside

Predictably, the streets of this delightful little Lakeland town are busy for much of the year, but what is surprising is the great choice of craft, gift and gallery shops to be found here. Expect, too, plenty of coffee shops and bistro-style restaurants.

16

Rheged Centre, Redhills CA11 0DQ

This is Europe’s largest grass covered building – it’s a dramatic, contemporary setting for exhibitions, talks and workshops and an Imax screen showing films. A Foodhall, café and great shops here too, selling hand made chocolates, arts & crafts, books, and outdoor clothing.

Places to visit

2

Hill Top, Near Sawrey, Ambleside LA22 0LF

The National Trust describes Hill Top, on the banks of Lake Windermere, as a Beatrix Potter time capsule. It's a wonderful experience as you step back in time to 1914. The garden is also a great attraction, with its flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

18

Dalemain, Penrith CA11 0HB

Historic country house and gardens near Ullswater. Described as one of the most beautiful stately homes in the north west, the pink stone of its Georgian façade glows wonderfully in the Lakeland sunshine. Dalemain includes an extensive award-winning garden with plants including a Greek fir.

19

Rydal Mount, Ambleside LA22 9LU

Rydal Mount can be reached on foot from nearby Ambleside, making it the focal point of a manageable and very attractive Lakeland walk. William Wordsworth and his family moved to Rydal Mount in 1813. With its 4-acre garden and charming setting on the banks of Rydal Water, the house suited Wordsworth perfectly.

20

Stagshaw Garden, Ambleside Road, Ambleside LA22 0HE

Covering about 8 acres, this woodland garden, near Ambleside, is owned by the National Trust. There are winding paths and a wide variety of shrubs, trees and plants, including rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas.

Walking

www.visitcumbria.com

The Lake District has many spectacular walks to try, you’d never complete them all. There are countless circular rambles and signposted trails but for something truly breathtaking, climb to the summit of Scafell Pike in the west of Cumbria. This much-loved Lakeland landmark rises to 3,209ft and from the flat, rocky summit you can look over a vast panorama of peaks and valleys.

Cycling

www.cycle-route.com
www.golakes.co.uk
www.visitcumbria.com

Not surprisingly, the Lake District has an assortment of challenging mountain trails, gentle country lanes and classic cross-country routes from which to choose. Bike hire is readily available.

Events

www.lakedistrict.gov.uk

The Lake District plays host to numerous cultural events and colourful festivals. There’s everything from the Grasmere Lakeland Sports and Show and the famous Appleby Horse Fair to the Windermere Air Show and Ambleside Christmas Lights Festival.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Beside A6 2 miles south Penrith and M6 (J40)

By Train: Penrith Station is on the West Coast Mainline (3 hours from London) and just a short taxi ride from Clifton

Address:

Clifton, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2ER

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