On the way back to Glasgow from England and a hellish interview for the day job and stopped off to meet Mr F in the Lake District. He was having a couple of days there for the long weekend with some guy friends and had climbed Scafell Pike. Was a little bit worried about meeting them as, well I hadn’t met these friends before and also I was going to be gatecrashing a man weekend with my lady parts.
As I was driving up late I had a call from Mr F saying that the place where we were staying only served food until 8pm (My sat nav was telling me I wouldn’t arrive until nearer 8.30) and that I probably would need to stop off somewhere for food. There was nowhere else in the village that I would be able to get food. Typically I had just passed the last services and was just about to come off the motorway and enter the middle of nowhere. He kindly asked the staff and managed to arrange to have food served at 8.15 the latest they could do and he read me the menu over the phone and I ordered lasagne.
I arrived at The Manor House in St Bees, a pub with rooms, at about 8.15. Was lucky that the roads were clear and didn’t get stuck behind anyone. It looked lovely from the outside, a nice Georgian style double fronted building. I was directed round the back to park and rushed inside for dinner. I was introduced to Emo the German artist/musican who now works in London in something IT/Art related (apparently he makes data “look good”) and Dom who works in Huddersfield in the water works and as a fellow northerner seemed to have the same dark and crude sense of humour as me. They were already several pints down and had already eaten. I went to the bar to order a drink and they they had a really good selection of drinks. The Manor House was chosen by Dom as it had real ales, but I am more of a wine/fruity lager girl so was going to have an Old Mout. Unfortunately on getting to the bar I was swiftly inappropriately manhandled by a random guy. As soon as I shoved his hands off my waist he had gone into the other section of the bar, not that I really wanted to start anything, plus he was about three times the size of me and everyone else there. Maybe he needed to get close to move through the gap, but still! Hands off my waist mate! And one either side! Inappropriate! Something that sadly I’m used to happening tonnes in a club or busy city centre bar but was a bit shocked in this nice little Lake District pub. A bit put off standing at the bar for the moment I sat down and decided to brave the bar again in a few mins. Mr F wondered why I returned with no drink and was a bit miffed but I diffused the situation. He went and got me a cider.
My dinner arrived almost as soon as I sat back down, Lasagne with two pieces of garlic bread. Proper decent pub grub. The lasagne was really tasty, had a lovely rich, slightly tangly tomato sauce. Lots of meat and a lovely bubbling cheesy topping. I’m not sure on the exact price as I didn’t see the menu but was between £8-9. I scoffed it down hungrily while I chatted to the group and learnt about Mr Fs friends, which started with the rainy climb that morning and quickly devolved into talk about toilet humour, aided by the fact that Dom had previously worked in the sewage works. The garlic bread had a nice flavour but was rock solid. I can only presume this was because they had been keeping it warm for me. Which I did really appreciate, I understand that it was a Sunday evening and it was a small pub in a small village and probably not profitable to have their kitchen open at the times I’m used to in the city. If you are planning on staying and are a walker, make sure you plan your walk to be back in time!
Dom discussed how there was another pub with real ales in the village, and we had also noticed another pub next to The Manor House and we discussed having a mini St Bees pub crawl. We ventured out and made the short walk to The Oddfellows Arms which was the other real ale pub. This was much smaller and quieter than The Manor and much more traditional in its decoration. We were however very very warmly welcomed by the staff who couldn’t be more helpful and the guys were given some advice from the punters at the bar as to which ales to choose. There was a group of locals who get together on the last Sunday of every month to sing and play their music together. It was really lovely to listen to them singing their folk songs or poems and they chatted to us in-between songs. Again, such incredibly friendly folk. The gentleman with the accordion told us that St Bees is the perfect village, one shop, one church but 4 pubs. Perfect pub to other amenities ratio. It was such a lovely experience to have been welcomed in to. They didn’t care if you were a good singer or not and we were asked if we had anything we wanted to sing, and I sat and wracked my brains for half an hour to think of something slightly appropriate that I knew all the words to but the best I could come up with was either too rude or too mainstream, so I didn’t take part. From chatting to the staff and also venturing to use the loo and seeing some of the rest of the place, it was obvious that these people really cared about their pub and their customers. It would be lovely to have such a place near my home, where everyone knows your name. Yes, I also now have the “Cheers” theme tune in my head. We also bumped in to one of the ladies from the musical group the following morning walking her dog.
Mr F I think would have stayed the night listening to the songs but the other guys wanted to head on with the pub crawl and it was getting close to closing so we headed down the road, we passed the Queens which looked absolutely dead and The Albert Hotel was directly in front of us and we could hear the music and see their disco lights flashing as so we decided to give it a try. This was an even smaller pub, but very modern looking inside and had a good selection of spirits, seeming to pride itself on its gin selection and had a much younger crowd than the last place. There were some great tunes being played on the juke box and again we got chatting to the group of people next to us mixed in with some singing along to some Prince classics as this was only a week since he passed. We were there until we got kicked out.
We wandered the short walk back to The Manor House and wandered up to our room, the room was a twin as my visit wasn’t planned when the rooms were booked. It was very spacious and impeccably clean but was a little dated in the decor. I did notice on their trip advisor that they are in the process of renovating the rooms and if the style of the pub toilets are anything to go by then I think the rooms will look brilliant once they are done. The shower room was large and the tiles were spotless and the bed was comfy. I had a great sleep other than it being a little too warm, although I would prefer too warm to too cold. It was brilliant as somewhere to rest your head and the price.
We headed down for breakfast about 8.30 and there was a good selection of juices and cereals on the table to help yourself to and a coffee machine if you fancied a latte or cappuccino rather than a filter coffee. We were quickly served with toast and gave our order for a full english, although I declined the tomatoes and black pudding. It was all very well cooked and there was tonnes of food, egg, bacon, mushrooms, beans, and the sausages were particularly delicious and huge! We asked for more toast and the waitress happily obliged. Great set up for a day walking.
We packed up our room and went to pay, the gentleman who seemed to be running the place was again incredibly polite and helpful. I am not sure how much everything was exactly as Mr F insisted on paying and I didn’t get to see the receipt but I did hear at the till that it was £90 something, this was for both of our meals the night before (minus drinks which were bought at the bar), the room and both of our breakfasts. Very reasonable.
We headed out for a walk along the coast, it was initially freezing and windy but we were lucky and the sun was beaming down on us as we walked back. It was a lovely walk to let our breakfast go down. We waved goodbye to the others we popped in to Hartley’s beach shop and cafe for a coffee (£1.70) before hitting the road back to Glasgow as I was working the night shift that night and wanted to get some shut eye before work. The view from inside the little cafe is lovely and they have a good selection of drinks and cakes even if the decor is a little like going back in time to when I was little and went to the seaside. The view from the windows however is the main reason for stopping here. Before leaving I got two scoops of ice-cream (£1.80) as I couldn’t resist, Irish cream and apple and cinnamon. Can’t remember having apple ice-cream before and it was a little odd at first but actually turned out to be my favourite of the two. Both lovely and creamy and yum. I would have loved to have had more time and seen a little more. I really wanted to stop off somewhere else in the lakes for a drink and some cake on the way back, but we were pushing it for time with my being in work later and so we in our separate cars hit the road and I enjoyed the views heading back to the M6 and thought about how I really need to do the lakes properly.
Foodie x x
Thanks for reading!
Feel free to follow me on twitter: @_foodie_uk, Facebook: facebook.com/UKFoodie or on Instagram via the link below