On the road: The Badger Bar, Rydal, Cumbria

The Badger Bar, Rydal, Cumbria
The Badger Bar, Rydal, Cumbria

A late autumn break in the Lake District and a great chance to escape Edinburgh for a few days and explore some of Cumbria’s fine hostelries. Top of the pubs on this trip was the Badger Bar, part of the Glen Rothay Hotel near Ambleside.

With a sandwich board outside promising “Real Ale, Real Food and Real Staff!”, it was with high hopes that we entered the beautiful, whitewashed, traditional inn. And the traditional look continued inside. My spirits rose when I saw that there was a 10% CAMRA member discount and 36p was duly deducted from my pint of local brew Cat Nap (Barnsgate Brewery) and a pot of tea was brought over for Mrs Bar Fly.

Real staff, not badgers, at The Badger Bar
Real staff, not badgers, at The Badger Bar

A very pleasant hour was then spent tackling that week’s Scotsman Saturday prize crossword as we eavesdropped on a group of older fellwalkers opposite who were treating  themselves to a few ales and plates of ham, eggs and chips as they prepared for an afternoon of walking “into the wind”. Another group arrived to occupy the window seats and proceeded to order what looked like very tasty burgers, with some very impressive onion rings. Later investigation turned up the fact that the Badger Bar’s burgers don’t come cheap but I’m sure they’d be worth it.

Hillwalkers in for lunch and a well-earned pint
Hillwalkers in for lunch and a well-earned pint

The only other visitors of note was a large group of female Japanese tourists, concealed from sight round the corner, who decided that they would all visit the ladies’ toilets en masse. Of course, this occurred at the exact moment Mrs Bar Fly decided that she too needed to take a visit and an unfortunate 15-minute wait ensued as the tourists went in one by one, seemingly in an order based on age. Thankfully it seemed to be oldest to youngest so things sped up towards the end.

Pint of Cat Nap and the Scotsman cryptic crossword, which was duly completed in style
Pint of Cat Nap and the Scotsman cryptic crossword, which was duly completed in style

This wait did give me time to take in more of the pub. The amusing blackboard with “Today’s Soup is Very Nice” caught the eye, as it had done to someone before – a picture of the selfsame blackboard was pinned proudly underneath and proved to be a clipping from the Daily Mail. Elsewhere, there was a full range of board games and adverts for their acoustic nights on Wednesdays.

A badger in the Badger Bar!
A badger in the Badger Bar!

All in all, this is exactly the kind of pub I expect to find on a wet afternoon in October in the Lake District. Friendly, welcoming and filled with badger memorabilia. I have my paws crossed that I’ll win the prize draw that was on the bar – a two-night stay in the adjoining hotel.

Sunshine through the rain at the Badger Bar
Sunshine through the rain at the Badger Bar, Glen Rothay Hotel, Cumbria

The Badger Bar is part of the Glen Rothay Hotel, Rydal, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9LR

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