Remember my driving experience where I regretted not getting the car ferry across Windermere? This was said journey, to the Cuckoo Brow Inn. In actual fact, it has a great location, very close to the car ferry to/from Bowness-on-Windermere. I highly recommend getting that ferry and not taking the long route around the lake as I did, because, you know, common sense and all that. Now, looking back at their website, I can see it clearly recommends that you take the ferry!
You know a pub is the centre of the village when there’s no road or number to put into your
rebellious/it hates me sat nav. The address of this Inn is literally just the village and the postcode. Once I finally reached my destination (through no fault of the Inn), I can confirm it was all as cute as it sounds.
Anyway, I arrived with an exhausted but content Audrey, having spent a lovely day with Vee and Bear (@veeandbear) conquering a Wainwright summit, the Cat Bells. This claims to be an ‘easy hike’ but in my opinion was maybe a little more strenuous than that.
I was reluctant to book ahead at the Cuckoo Brow for dinner. Not knowing how our day would pan out, I didn’t want to be rushing off for a dinner reservation, as I knew we would have a ball with that dynamic duo. At check in, I tentatively enquired about a table for dinner and was delighted they had saved a spot for me, I just needed to tell them what time I desired. A well earned soak in the glorious roll top bath, a snooze for Audrey, and then a nice dinner was such a good start to our Cuckoo Brow experience that I knew we were going to have a good time. Here’s my review.
Audrey and I stayed for 1 weekday night at the Cuckoo Brow Inn in April 2018. I paid £85.51 plus £10 dog fee.
- Dog friendly: 10/10
- Solo Friendly: 10/10
- Comfort/Design: 7.5/10
- Breakfast: 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Wifi: 10/10
- Room: 8/10
- Parking: 8/10
- Value for Money: 9/10
- Blog On A Dog Approval Score: 10/10
The Cuckoo Brow Inn is in the picturesque village of Far Sawrey, situated halfway between the shores of Windermere and the town of Hawkshead. It’s charming tag line is ‘muddy boots, wet dogs and children welcome’. They say they are a classic yet contemporary Lake District bed and breakfast, recently resorted to it’s former glory. Much of their produce and drinks come from the local area, including real ales. I’m very happy to sample lots of delights under the guise of informing you all how it is (I’m very generous like that), however I’m afraid real ale is a step too far. I’m sure it’s delicious!
Dog Friendly and Solo Friendly Score at the Cuckoo Brow Inn
Knowing that the Cuckoo Brow has it’s own Instagram account dedicated to its canine customers, I was confident they would be very dog friendly. There were dog bowls everywhere, always clean and refreshed, a huge tin of dog treats by the fireplace in the bar for helping yourselves (humans, not dogs, else we all know that would be carnage)and a shop at reception full of necessities and luxuries for your dog, including posh shampoo to use in the dedicated dog bath outside! Awaiting Audrey in our room was a bag of bonios, sealing her approval in mere seconds.
When I rang to enquire about dog friendly rooms (I booked on a third party website), i was quickly told that all of the rooms allow dogs. The £10 dog fee is nightly, and significantly less than other places we have stayed.
Solo friendly wise, this is the first hotel/inn I have stayed at where dogs and their owners are not in a separate room to the breakfast buffet. This is so welcome when it is just me and Audrey. To top it off, I got a wonderful table at dinner. Sometimes when you are solo, it’s inevitable you are allocated the worst table, but this definitely wasn’t the case here. We were in front of a beautiful log fire. Being the hottest day of the year, there was no need for it this time, however in the winter it must be so welcome. Most of the tables had a dog with them, but there is plenty of space so lots of dogs are easily accommodated.
Comfort/Design and Room
The Cuckoo Brow have managed that elusive mix of well appointed perfectly clean rooms, combined with a laid back feel. It isn’t modern, and perhaps the building itself could do with some TLC but this all contributes to the relaxed feel of the place. Some people may call it ‘rustic’ I guess. The bar is large, but has several different areas making it feel nice and cosy, and there is a pretty beer garden to the front.
My room was close to the bar, yet noise was not an issue at all. There was a lovely deep window with countryside views, that Audrey claimed as her own, to watch the world go by. The bed was big and comfy, and there was plentiful storage for a longer stay. A generous bathroom, with a fantastic roll top bath stole the show. My one gripe for the room, was no sockets by the bed.
Fitting in with the vibe of the Cuckoo Brow, breakfast was a relaxed affair in the bar. There was a cold buffet on the bar itself, including freshly sliced fruit which I tucked into, and a hot menu. As mentioned before, no worrying about leaving Audrey by the table and disappearing into another room, everything was within reach. I had everything I wanted, but will mention that another customer asked for some plain yogurt, to be told there wasn’t any. There were small pots of flavoured options, but I would think this needs to be addressed.
Service and Wifi
We were shown through the bar to our room, where there was a 2 day weather report waiting on the bed for us, a nice touch. Additionally there was a folder containing lots of useful information about the Inn and local area. There was also instructions for some walks from the Inn, with a note saying please ask at reception if you want them printed out. All of the staff that we came across were very friendly.
The wifi was flawless, which given the somewhat rural location is commendable. I stayed after check-out for a lovely couple of hours in the bar catching up on some blogging (specifically this Pawfect Weekend post), that I published while I was there. I had failed to do any blogging work at the Waterhead due to the wifi not being good enough so this was a welcome chance to catch up.
Final Thoughts on the Cuckoo Brow Inn
In case you can’t tell, I was quite taken with this place, and am very keen for a return visit. I felt it represented excellent value for money, and really had a lovely welcoming vibe. The Cuckoo Brow could not have been any more dog friendly, Audrey and I felt totally at ease for the duration of our stay. This will now be my reference point for future reviews of other places.
On their own website, I found that for the night I wanted, there was a 2 night minimum stay. However, this was not the case on hotels.com so I booked through them instead. My experience with parking was good, although it’s worth noting that the car park is not huge. It is definitely walkable from the ferry, and the charge for a foot passenger is 50p from Bowness-on-Windermere.
Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0LQ
Phone: 015394 43425