Lake District

####At a glance:

  • With 2,292 square kilometres of rugged natural landscape to explore, there’s no shortage of things to do here.
  • Some would say it was a bit silly to head to Lake District and not attempt a climb up the UK’s highest mountain Scafell Pike.
  • Walk around some of the most pristine coastline in the whole of the UK. With over 26 miles of coast, you’re sure to find your own spot from Silecroft in the south to Siloth on Solway in the north.
  • Make sure to take a walk round Derentwater. This stunning lake has some exquisite scenery, perfect for photography lovers.
  • Head to the pub and bag yourself a meal with tasty cumberland sausages and gravy, bliss.
  • Explore the area between Ambleside and Windermere, often dubbed the taste district. Sample anything from Michelin star food at the Holbeck Ghyll to famous Grasmere gingerbread.

####Best bars and pubs in the Lake District:

The Bitter End

Based in Cockermouth, this inviting country pub has its very own in-house brewery, so you can even take a look the ales being brewed, which include ever-rotating seasonal drops and the staple (all year round) Cockermouth Pride.

The great thing about The Bitter End is that it’s stag friendly, offers a host of freshly prepared pub grub (to cater for a man’s appetite) and sells its very own homemade brews, making for a real unique beer drinking experience.

The Mortal Man This Lake District stag do gem is tucked away in the pretty village of Troutbeck, overlooking Lake Windermere.

Warm and welcoming, The Mortal Man welcomes medium to large sized groups and its beer garden is arguably one of the most scenic in the area. There is a great buzz to this thriving little joint; the guest ales are ample and if you do feel like a tipsy stroll, there are plenty of great walking routes surrounding the premises.

Watermill Inn and Brewing Co This sizable and quirky Cumbrian watering hole is clad with cosy beamed bars, as well as traditional log fires. Based in the quaint village of Ings near Windermere, this is perfect for a late evening bite and tipple with the lads.

With regular storytelling and acoustic jam nights, 16 local ales on tap, a menu of pub classics with a creative modern twist and its very own micro-brewery, this CAMRA inn is sure to go down a treat.

Masons Arms Approved by none other than The Good Pub Guide (one of the beer drinker’s bibles), Winster Valley’s Masons arms is run like clockwork - and it’s packed with more character than the earlobes of a seasoned scrum half.

The pub boasts a heated outdoor terrace for soaking up the view and drinking al fresco; the guest ales are beautifully conditioned and the food is a real winner with locals and visitors alike - so if you want to eat here, it pays to book in advance.

Hole in T’Wall If the name wasn’t alluring enough, when you t’arrive at Hole in T’Wall you’ll be intrigued to head inside for a pint and a gander.

The outside looks like a recently converted semi-detached house and despite its location, this off-beat little ale house gets incredibly lively during the spring and summer months. Expect a warm welcome, hearty ‘no messing’ pub grub, plenty of great grog and spirits, and an interior that will make you feel like you’re in a granny’s living room (make sure you don’t hit your head on the china knick knacks hanging from the ceiling). This is a place you’ll be talking about weeks after the stag do!

The Sun

The Sun is lively, spacious and a cosy place to sit down with the boys and mull over the day’s activities. Perhaps the most striking thing about this Lake District gem is its stunning location, which lies beneath the dramatic bare fells of Coniston.

A true blue Lake District boozer, each dish on the food menu is prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and with eight ales constantly on tap (including the likes of Bluebird Bitter and Old Man Ale), plus 20 malt whiskies on offer, you won’t be short of things to slurp or sip during your time here. Feeling competitive? The Sun Inn has a dart board, pool table, cribbage and dominoes.

####Food: eat like a local:

When it comes to eating out, The Lake District offers an abundance of gastronomic delights, many of which are influenced by the ingredients and produce nurtured in the local area.

If you and the lads are looking for something a little bit flamboyant (you know, a little Heston Blumenthal), L’Enclume is the answer. The Michelin starred culinary hot spot in the historic village of Cartmel offers an experimental twist on Cumbrian classics. Expect dishes such as lamb with sheep’s curds, fine wines, a contemporary setting and a bill to match. It is a little on the pricey side, but if you and the boys are really into your food, it’s definitely worth it.

Now, if you’re looking for a more laid back, traditional countryside experience with masses of food with a solid price tag, you’re also in luck. Owned by husband and wife Andy and Chrissy Hill, The Jumble Room has a real homely feel to it and often offers live entertainment in the form of live blues and jazz. The menu is eclectic, yet hearty, and if you’re looking for a slice of country character with your meal, this is the one. The Punch Bowl is a firm Windermere favourite and its comfortable seating and olden day décor, coupled with a menu a delicious pub-style classics (cooked to perfection) makes it a top notch spot for a man with a manly appetite.

####Nightlife:

Much like the Watermill Inn and Brewing Co, the Old Dungeon Ghyll offers all the charm of a traditional Lake District boozer, but with a bit of nightlife sprinkled on top. From mid-week to Sunday night, the pub starts to pick up momentum, often offering local live music – perfect for cutting shapes to.

Although, in terms of nightclub’s, there’s not much to offer in The Lakes, The Wheelhouse Night Club and Lounge (located above The Ship Inn) offers all the loud music, neon lighting, drinks specials and late night dancing action you could possibly want, but with the view included (and we’re not just talking about the local lasses in miniskirts). There’s free entry on a Monday!

####On your doorstep:

The Lakes District is the epitome of The Great Outdoors and wherever you base yourself during a stag do here, you’ll find plenty of top notch activities to enjoy right on your doorstep. Here are a few quick ideas to help you out…

  • Take a boat cruise on Lake Windermere

  • Take advantage of the many amazing hiking routes on offer – especially in Great Langsdale which is considered by experienced outdoors types as a walker’s paradise due its unrivalled panoramic views and strong industrial history.

  • Go gorge walking in Keswick near Ghyll – and see who’s got the most guts in the group

  • Head outdoors for a leisurely swim or cycle and soak in your surroundings

####Events not to miss:

There are plenty of annual and bi-annual events in The Lake District (not all are stag friendly), but if you’re booking up your trip in the summer, make sure you don’t miss out on the Keswick Beer Festival (usually takes place around June). With lots of local potent local brews, a great atmosphere and the chance to go afternoon drinking, you really can’t go wrong.

Another unmissable – and stag friendly event - is Fell Foot Sound. This annual two day music festival takes place in July and features the very best in local live talent and alternative acts (past artists include the likes of Bilge Pump, Cowtown and Bearfoot Beware). This festival may be small, but it’s one heck of a place to check out hard to find acts (after all, we’ve all seen Feeder and The Kaiser Chiefs at Reading, Leeds, Glasto etc.), the woodland glade based location is one of the most enchanting places you could ever wish to stay and if you don’t want to really rough it, you can all cram into a few luxury Yurts. A winner if ever we’ve seen one - plus, they always say the smaller festivals are the best.

####Getting there:

By train

If you’re going from London, your best bet is to take a train direct from Euston to Oxenholme, Lake District, which takes around two hours and 40 minutes in total.

Manchester Piccadilly to Oxenholme also offers a direct service, which takes around one hour and 10 minutes. The service from Leeds takes around two hours and 18 minutes with one change at Manchester Piccadilly.

By car

Of course, going by car (or hiring a minivan) is always a fun and flexible option, just make sure you do have a designated driver, you all chip in for fuel money and you check your sat nav directions before setting off. Once you get close, it’s one heck of a scenic drive!