The Wasdale Head Inn

Wasdale Head, CA20 1EX
The Wasdale Head Inn Outside

If you only have time to visit one Lake District pub during your visit, then this is probably the pub you should choose. This iconic inn, proudly boasting to be the birthplace of British climbing, can be found nestled at the base of Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, and close to the shore of Wastwater, England’s deepest lake.

The inn is incredibly popular with walkers, and has a fabulous reputation for its hospitality, food, and for being home to the original world’s biggest liar. Inside this dog friendly pub you will find a cosy bar and a more formal restaurant, both adorned with images of famous climbers and climbing memorabilia. The inn offers a range of accommodation, including bed and breakfast, self-catered, and camping.

Food & Drink

The Wasdale Head Inn

Philip Halling /

After a long day on England’s highest mountain, Ritson’s Bar (named after the pub’s first and most famous landlord) is the ideal place to enjoy a pint of refreshing real ale. The pub serves up to six real ales (though less may be available during the winter months), and the selection changes regularly but you can guarantee that most, if not all, are sourced from Cumbrian breweries.

For those who prefer lager, there are several options, and the bar stocks a wide choice of wines that are reasonably priced. There is an excellent gin menu with a good number of local options, as well as flavoured vodkas and single malt whiskies.

The Menu

Food is served all day from noon until 9pm in the bar, where the menu offers a varied selection of pub favourites, including steak and ale pie or haddock and chips. There are sandwiches and jacket potatoes available for those who prefer lighter meals, and the children’s menu features all the usual favourites.

From Wednesday to Saturday in the evenings, there is a formal table d'hôte menu available in the dining room, known as Abraham’s Restaurant. The menu changes with the season but typical dishes include slow cooked lamb or butternut squash risotto.

Other Features

Dogs are welcome in the bar with biscuits and towels for drying wet paws available. Additionally, outside of the inn, there is a beer garden with unrivalled views of the fells and the stream that runs behind the pub.

The inn also has its own outdoor gear shop. The Barn Door Shop sells everything you need to complete a fell walk, including boots and waterproofs, as well as a wide range of walking guide books. Lastly, the pub has a civil wedding licence and can accommodate weddings for people with up to 50 guests.


The Wasdale Head Inn is around 200 years old. It was originally an inn that offered accommodation to farmers and travelling merchants who would make the gruelling journey over the mountains to trade with those in the Wasdale Valley and other nearby areas. The small stone bridge that lies behind the pub is part of the ancient packhorse route that would bring travellers to the area.

Will Ritson was the first landlord of the pub and was renowned for his tall tales, and eventually he become known as the world’s biggest liar. The World’s Biggest Liar competition is held each year in Ritson’s memory in a pub in the nearby Eskdale valley.


The Wasdale Head Inn accommodation

Photo thanks to the Wasdale Head Inn

The Wasdale Head Inn offers a range of accommodation. Within the inn there are nine bedrooms that have been recently refurbished. Rooms have fabulous views of the Wasdale fells and valley and all have en-suite facilities. Standard rooms are available as single, twin, double, or triple (three singles) and include tea and coffee making facilities and a television.

Superior rooms offer more space with a seating area. It’s worth noting that the hotel only has Internet via satellite link up and therefore Wi-Fi can be patchy at best with mobile phone signal being non-existent. A full cooked breakfast is available each morning. The pub also has a dedicated residents bar and packed lunches can be provided on request.

Self Catered Apartments

For families and those seeking a longer break, the inn has seven self-catered apartments. Three apartments have one bedroom, whilst a further two apartments have two bedrooms and sleep four people. These apartments have central heating, a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, and a bathroom with a power shower. The remaining two apartments also have one bedroom each but can be linked together. Both apartments have a fully fitted kitchen and one is suitable for guests with limited mobility. All apartments have televisions.

For those who prefer to get a little closer to nature, the inn has a campsite with very basic facilities. There is a new toilet and shower block (charges apply for showers) and a washing up area. There is no electric hook up and BBQs are not permitted. At weekends, and often during the week in the summer, campers can purchase bacon and egg butties for breakfast.


Swap Start/End