8:00 PM 14th January 2020
The Hare And Hounds In Levens - A Good Find In South Lakeland
For some reason I always tend to think that the Lake District is further from Yorkshire or Lancashire than it is, thankfully this natural area of outstanding beauty is within easy reach.
Located in the unspoilt gem of the south Lake District in the village of Levens, just a few miles south of Kendal is the Hare and Hounds - a beautifully renovated 16th century posting house with four individually styled ensuite double bedrooms named after past owners and landlords.
There is also a spacious Barn Annexe which is where we stayed. It was a typical wet January night when we arrived. After driving up the A65 through torrential rain the sky got darker and darker and it looked like Armageddon had arrived. What a joy to find at journeys end a warm and welcoming pub that was not filled with tourists but locals.
The Barn Annexe is a short uphill walk from the main pub. Don't worry if you get there when it's dark - they give you a torch! As you walk through the main door the first thing that hits you is how big the main living room is. The Annexe only opened in September 2018 so everything looks and feels new. It would be ideal for family holidays and self catering guests. Thoughtfully decorated the self contained apartment has one king size bedroom and a sofa bed in the lounge designed for children.
If you are looking for somewhere to bring your furry friends then you have found the perfect place. Supplied is a dog bed, blankets, wicker dog baskets and 2 dog bowls. With a name like Hare and Hounds it seemed most fitting. The various Pot Hares dotted throughout the barn conversion completed the picture. Mind you they were placed high enough up I noticed so that no dog could knock them over!
The pub itself is a local favourite. There is a new dining area that is cosy and warm, the big open windows look out over the Lyth Valley countryside. Within 30 minutes of us being seated the restaurant was full - not just of hotel guests but locals who had driven there specially to dine, which I thought must be an encouraging sign.
The menu uses some of the best produce from the local area. If you fancy a drink there is an extensive wine list and a great selection of local draught ales. A good range of cocktails come under the Dirty, Sexy, Boozy banner sounded interesting. The menu itself is not that big with selections such as Pan Fried fillet of Seabass, Venison Bourguigon Pie, Mild Madras Vegetable Curry, Steaks and Burgers.
The pizzas too offer some unusual toppings - Smoked Chicken, Garlic Prawn and Chilli Jam or how about Crispy Pork Belly, Black Pudding, Celeriac Slaw and Apple?
There is a daily special pizza which they kindly took off the jalapeños to be replaced with black pudding. Add to that Chilli Con Carne, sour cream, Guacamole and Dorito crumbs and you have your own bespoke pizza. The drive up the wet A65 was worth it just for my pizza.
My partner's Fresh Beer Battered Haddock Fillet came with proper chunky chips and homemade Tartar sauce with mushy peas on the side. A good sized helping that would taste even better I dare say after a walk along the Lyth Valley.
A gooey and a very Sticky Toffee Pudding ended a superb meal. Breakfast at the Hare and Hounds is a big one if you wish, Cumberland Sausage and Bacon from the local butchers along with Black Pudding, Mushrooms, Baked Beans, Tomato and 2 eggs your way.
By now the rain had passed south with the sky turning blue. It was fortuitous that the Hare and Hounds is ideally situated for country walks throughout Cumbria's dramatic Lakeland landscapes. Kendal is a few miles drive away and less than half an hour away is Windermere and Ambleside.
After a hard weeks work it felt like you had found a haven of tranquility - a whole world away from the pressures of modern life. The Hare and Hounds is within easy reach of the M6 and of course Lancashire and Yorkshire. Other guests I spoke to seemed to be of the same opinion too - in that it is somewhere you would return to. I know we will.
Hare and Hounds, Lowgate, Levens LA8 8PN
Telephone 015395 60004