Review: Royal Oak Inn, Bowness-on-Windermere

It’s raining when Ange arrives at the Royal Oak Inn in Bowness-on-Windermere. It’s mid summer but there’s still a coolness to the air.


We’d chosen the Inn because of its proximity to the ferries to get across the lake to the Beatrix Potter Museum in Near Sawrey. It serves as one of the ending points of the Dales Way Walk – a 78 mile walk from Ilkley in West Yorkshire

Ange had been staying in Kendall nearby so made good time – too good in fact as the room wasn’t ready when she arrived. She asked if she could work in the bar while she waited and the barman said that would not be a problem. You should come in the summer, he jokes, it’s lovely!

Ange settles in and tries the sweet potato and ginger soup – discovering in the process that guests get 10% off their food bill. Bonus! Around 1pm the room becomes available and she heads upstairs.


We’d read the reviews online, so we’re expecting the room to be small. It’s not too bad – it is small but perfectly serviceable: everything is in miniature, tiny cupboard with tiny chair, small kettle, small bathroom etc. When I arrive it doesn’t feel Lilliputian, so it’s not too bad.

My route took a bit longer, with a late train meaning missing a connection and the slight panic of maybe missing the last connecting train. When I get there Ange points out the interesting things – outside the window and across the courtyard there’s a rabbit hutch with a bunch of bun buns flopsying around. Later in the evening we hear the yowling of a cat nearby and figure that means he hasn’t worked out how to get into the cages. I wonder what tale Beatrix Potter would rustle up if she’d been staying here…

An extraction fan rumbles away below the window but by night time it has been switched off, so doesn’t impede sleeping.

In the bathroom there’s a whole bunch of cords dangling from the ceiling: one for the toilet, one for the light/fan, one for the towel rail heater and one for the shower heater.


Sitting right on top of the pub, the hotel doesn’t have a lot in the way of facilities – no spa or pool here! What it does do well is food though – especially the breakfast!


Sometimes when you get a full breakfast it’s a bit too much. At the Royal Oak, the portion size was perfect, and you could get your eggs any way you liked them. I elected to try the full English with poached eggs and Ange tries the vegetarian equivalent. I tried her veggie sausages and they actually weren’t terrible (but I made sure to finish mine!).

Pros and Cons


  • great location.
  • good food at onsite pub
  • great value
  • maid service
  • luggage service
  • 10% discount on food.


  • bedrooms quite small
  • extractor fan noise.

Would I Go Back?

Sure! It’s cosy, the food is great and the location is convenient if you want to get on the lake, or have just finished a gruelling trek from Lancashire!