The Britannia Inn (Elterwater)

Elterwater, Ambleside, LA22 9HP
The Britannia Inn (Elterwater) Outside

The charming village of Elterwater is a popular starting point for walkers wishing to explore the Langdale area, and in peak periods, the place is brimming with visitors. Unsurprisingly, the only pub in the village centre is incredibly popular. Of course, it would be easy for the pub’s owners to rely solely on the never-ending passing trade to make easy money for very little effort.

However, instead, they have focused on providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with a wonderful selection of real ale and rustic, home cooked food, all whilst refusing to become yet another soulless gastro-pub. Inside, the pub pays tribute to the Lake District, with walls adorned with photo prints of the lakes and fells produced by a local artist who was once a pub employee.

Food & Drink

The bar at Britannia Inn

Real ale is the star at the Britannia Inn. The inn serves five regular ales, sourced from various breweries in the local area, including the Britannia Special. This ale is brewed by the Coniston Brewing company especially for the pub, and is a smooth and distinctive ale that is supposed to reflect the character of the pub.

The pub also introduces a new guest ale each week, so there is almost always something new to try. The wine list is fairly impressive for a rural pub with 26 varieties available, including 7 by the glass, sourced from around the world. Individual 200ml bottles of Prosecco can be ordered, and if you really want to celebrate, a bottle of Champagne will set you back around £60.


Food is served throughout the day at the Britannia Inn, with separate menus for lunch, mid afternoon, and evening meals. The inn uses locally sourced produce where possible, and the dishes are honest and unfussy rather than pretentious. The lunch menu offers a good mixture of light snacks and main meals. Between 2pm and 5pm the afternoon menu offers a selection of filled rolls and sweet treats from a nearby bakery.

In the evenings, delicious, hearty, and filling meals, such as homemade steak and ale pie, fresh sea bass, and mushroom stroganoff will certainly leave you feeling satisfied. The children’s menu is excellent. Along with the usual choices of battered fish, sausages, etc., children can also opt for half portions of some of the main meals – perfect for older children and those who are perhaps a little more adventurous.

Other Features

The beer garden at Britannia Inn

The inn hosts its own beer festival each November, celebrating the very best of locally brewed ale. It also has a quiz each Sunday evening from 9pm. There is no entry fee and the prize is usually a voucher to be spent in the pub.

Outside the inn, there is a spacious beer garden that meets the road, meaning that you do need to keep dogs and young children on a short lead. It is a great spot for those who are fans of people watching.


It’s believed that the Britannia is around 500 years old and started life as a farmer’s house and a separate cobbler’s shop. Around 200 years ago, the house, shop, and the barns used for livestock were all incorporated together to form one single building that then became an inn – no doubt in response to the influx in traders that came into the Lake District with the boom in mining industries. The result of the amalgamation of these buildings is the higgledy-piggledy layout of inn that stands there today with cosy snug rooms in various corners.


The accommodation at Britannia Inn

There are nine double and twin rooms at the Britannia Inn, all of which have been renovated to a high standard. The rooms have been tastefully decorated to create a relaxing atmosphere. However, it’s worth noting that the accommodation is directly above the pub, and some noise is to be expected.

Rooms benefit from en-suite bathrooms with complimentary toiletries, flat screen televisions, free Wi-Fi, and tea and coffee making facilities. A full cooked breakfast is included in the room rate. Guests of the inn also receive a free pass to the leisure facilities at the nearby Langdale Estate where you will find a pool and spa facilities.


Swap Start/End