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“Lovely old building, good food” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Priest Hole

The Priest Hole
Church Street, Ambleside LA22 0BU, England
+44 15394 33332
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Ranked #40 of 106 Restaurants in Ambleside
Price range: $15 - $27
Cuisines: Steakhouse, Coffee Shop, Sandwiches, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dessert, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Description: The Priest Hole Restaurant and Tea Rooms are part of Kelsick Old Hall, one of the oldest buildings in the beautiful village of Ambleside in the centre of the English Lake District. With many original features the atmosphere may not be edible, but it does play a huge part in your dining enjoyment, and our friendly young team work hard in a refreshingly casual, but attentive way, to provide a relaxed and enjoyable experience.We are happy to accept single diners and large groups. We have a delightful outside terrace for alfresco meals on those warmer days, or just to sit and have a coffee and watch the world go by. (Dogs welcome on the terrace.) Seperate dining area for special occassion group dining.
England
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Lovely old building, good food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013

This is such an inviting restaurant, with outside seating if the weather is clement, or inside amongst the old slanting walls and bare wood floors. We sampled some of the local beers: Loweswater Gold was delicious, but the Loughrigg was a bit too orange-y for my liking.

Hubby had chicken liver as starter -- generous portion with homemade chutney and chunky oat cakes, but not particularly flavourful.

For the main, he had a burger, which he thought was substantial but between the garnishes and the salad, but there was a bit too much competition for flavour on this one.

I, on the other hand, had their Festival Salad in a starter size and it was enough for me -- crayfish, smoked salmon, egg, salady bits which packed a lot of flavour even though a bit overdone on the marie rose sauce,

I finished off with a cheese board which had lots of cheeses: creamy lancashire, a delicious blue, a brie, and a wensleydale with cranberries. All were generously sized, and accompanied with some celery, apple slices, and oat cakes. It was expensive at about £8, but if you were to share it, you'd probably feel well fed for the money. (I had to take home most of the cheese, and unusually, the waitress offered to wrap it up for me before I even had to ask).

If you like steak and/or seafood, then aim for one of their speciality nights, but for a quiet night with a sophisticated atmosphere but casual friendliness, then this is a good restaurant.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ThePriestHole, Owner at The Priest Hole, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
Kelsick Old Hall - Grade 2 listed building - thanks you for noticing it. Many reviewers do not mention the building. It dates back to the 16th century and has many querky features, including the listed oak floors and panelling. Not to be confused with modern pub refurbishments.

We all would like to thank you for your concise and descriptive review of your food. Just as a T. A review should be, in order that we and other reviewers can see a valued review and enable us to make a judgment about a restaurant.

We were so pleased that you had a good meal with us and hope that you enjoyed the remainder of your cheese when you got home.
Hope to see you again in the future.

Thank you from all the staff too.
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469 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
newbury
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“OK(ish) - disappointed with average quality food and small portions”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

Much like the title - this could be a really nice restaurant. My wife and I and two children had a Sunday lunchtime meal here. Food was OK (just) but portions were really small. A Ploughman's for £8.95; two very small triangles of cheese and a few bits of ham and some pretty ordinary white bread with a very small salad - really? We left thinking this was definitely a touristy trap!

  • Visited September 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ThePriestHole, Owner at The Priest Hole, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
We are sorry that you did not feel that you got value for money on your visit to us and that your portions were small. I will attempt to explain why our platters are smaller than you get at other places you may have eaten, and on which you base your opinion.
Here at The Priest Hole we go for quality food with a local provenance. Ie. Pork locally reared, slaughtered and delivered to our door. If we wished to give quantity we would have to bring the Pork from the other side of Europe, something that we are not willing to do.
You could indeed have had a larger portion of cheddar cheese had we adopted the same philosophy, but instead you had Garstang blue cheese and Mrs Kirkhams creamy Lancashire, together with home made bread, ham cooked on the premises and award winning relish and a salad garnish.
Hope this helps other reviewers.
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essex
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Excellent food and ambience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

We booked as it appeared to be very busy. That was a good idea. We enjoyed the steak special and thought the idea of being able to order sides separately was brilliant as it caters for those who have special food requirements and so you only pay for what you order. Steak was perfectly cooked. Desserts were delicious and service was very good. I will be going back and I do recommend.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ThePriestHole, Owner at The Priest Hole, responded to this review, September 2, 2013
We are so pleased that everything a the Restaurant met your expectations and that you took time to write a review, which is greatly appreciated by all the Team. Thank you from us and thank you for doing reviews on other places in Ambleside. Really does help visitors to see genuine reviewers.
Hope to see you again in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Good for its price point”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013 via mobile

Just had Sunday lunch here. It was nice for the price but nothing to write home about
Atmosphere ruined by screaming children which isn't the owners fault
Sunday roast ok but portion size small for me and gravy could do with being a bit thicker
Can't complain though as two lunches with drinks for £22 is reasonable

  • Visited September 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ThePriestHole, Owner at The Priest Hole, responded to this review, September 2, 2013
We wish that we had £5 for every time we have discussed the age old argument of thin or thick gravy or custard. We have come to the conclusion that it is purely of personal taste. The gravy at The Priest Holes is made with the meat juices and our homemade meat and vegetable stock and would be called a Jus in more expensive establishments. We do not use pre prepared gravy, which does tend to have a thicker consistency.
We are sorry that you felt your portion too small as previous reviewers have complained about too much meat and too many potatoes. Again a personal preference thing. Big appetite versus small. We would have been happy to have provided you with some more as reasonably priced side orders were available or been kind and given you another couple of spuds.
One thing as you say we have no control over are the terrible parents who allow there children to scream and run all over the place and when spoken to say "well they are on their holidays" Luckily these are few and far between and we do get lovely families dining with us, sorry that you came on a screaming day.
Hope that you visit us again in the future.
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Salisbury
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Cosy supper at the Priest Hole Public House”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

I loved the interior of this ancient pub - cosy, quirky and well kept. The menu was appealing with some interesting options. I had a vegetarian spinach cannelloni with side salad and my companion ate sea bream, which looked lovely. I have given this pub an excellent score because I feel it does what it sets out to do with flair and indeed a degree of excellence.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ThePriestHole, Owner at The Priest Hole, responded to this review, September 2, 2013
We were so pleased that you had a wonderful time and enjoyed your food, the old building and the service. We are certain that you ate with us due to the food that you describe having eaten and not accidentally done a review of the pub next door by mistake. We are in fact a restaurant and tea rooms adjacent to a Public House. You are not the first to think we are the same, but being a listed building we cannot do anything that would make us stand out from next door.
Thank you once again for your review and hope that you visit us again.

Independent Management response.
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