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“Good food, good beer, great staff”

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The Kings Head Hotel
Ranked #85 of 189 Keswick B&B and Inns
Reviewed June 1, 2010

A group of 10 who meet up once a year to walk a little, catch up with events, and generally have a relaxing weekend with good food and good company stayed for a weekend in May. The hotel is mid way between Keswick and Grasmere, both of which are about 10 mins away by car, so most residents take the all-inclusive deal, which we thought was excellent value. The rooms are not large, in keeping with a centuries-old building, but quite adeqaute. The bar is in two parts - the original old bar and a new extension. Meals from the same menu can be had in either bar or in the dining room. The meals were excellent with a good choice, well-cooked and well-presented.
But what sets this hotel apart is the quality iof the staff. Every single peron we met was helpul, courteous and genuinely friendly. Everyone appeared to actually enjoy their job and were unfailingly cheerful, even when very busy. It was a pleasure to stay here - other hotels in the Lake District would do well to learn from the Kings Head in terms of customer service.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank Strian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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540 - 546 of 574 reviews

Reviewed May 28, 2010

I have stayed at The Kings Head in Thirlspot a number of times over the years though not recently.

The Inn is in an idyllic location and, as can be seen from the website and various photos, it has the appearance of a very old coaching in.

One can almost imagine a stage coach drawing onto the forecourt on a Winters eve,decanting its weary travellers to be welcomed by the innkeeper and hustled inside for warmth,ale and hospitality aplenty. A roaring fire in the grate and smoke curling from the chimney pots.

Thats how I remember it one Winters eve some years ago last time i stayed there though my stagecoach was petrol rather than horse driven !

And so it was that i again elected to stay at the Kings Head for a short break.

As previously stated, the Inn is ideally located just off the main road between Grasmere and Keswick. It nestles in a valley below the surrounding fells with St johns in the Vale a short walk away as is Helvellyn,and Thirlemere.

Grasmere and Keswick are only a short drive.

I struggle for thoughts as to how to assess and describe the Kings Head and so shall simply say that it is not what it once was.

I cannot help but wonder how the owners have allowed what was once a very good establishment, to slip. It is not beyond salvation but the owners need to take action before it is too late.

Good points...

Our room was clean,comfortable with crisp white sheets and the bathroom seems to have been refitted with ceramic tiled floor and new, modern shower cubicle and fittings.

The Staff are incredibly friendly,courteous ,hard working and efficient. There doesnt seem to be one person in charge though they all seem to multi-task ! Its almost as if they have been left to get on with it by the owners.

The dining room ambience,decor and table/place settings are of a very good standard..as it used to be.

The public bar has had a refurbishment and now has a more modern appearance. At least five real ales courtesy of Jennings are available which is great.

Points needing attention-

The owner needs to employ a proper chef who can produce meals to a high standard rather than having one of the staff moonlighting as a chef!

The residents lounge needs some new, co ordinated furniture and fittings

The rather murderous swirly read/brown paint colour which pervades the lower and upper hallway needs to redone. I would suggest light cream/beige !

The hot water system needs some attention. On the way to the hotel I had noted that the water level at Thirlmere seemed rather low. I can now attribute this to the kings Head as every time i wanted hot water/shower, i had to run the hot tap at full bore for perhaps as long as 5 minutes to get the water through. There appears to be no secondary circulation system (plumbing ) Once it runs through,it is hot enough!


The bedroom doors need attention/repainting with new fittings as at present,they look a bit like inner city bedsit entrance doors.

Apparently free wifi is available in the residents lounge though i didnt test it.

My accolade for best Lakeland breakfast still remains with Link House, Bassenthwaite.

All in all, an acceptable stay but £70 per room would be my limit at present. The owner needs to invest, put in an appearance and support his current staff who are doing an excellent job on his behalf and apparently in his/her absence!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank dooper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2010

We stayed for two nights in room two. The room was ok and the view was lovely but we found it very noisy - the walls are very thin and you can hear most of what's going on next door (whether you want to or not!!). The room's lock didn't work and we spent ages just turning the key until the door locked. The staff were brilliant - very polite, friendly and attentive. The food on the first night was poor - fish and chips - with very soggy and undercooked batter. The food on the second night (Sunday lunch) was faultless.

The location is great for walking - we didn't use the car at all and you can walk to Helvellyn and the Dodds (to name a couple of walks) from the doorstep.

The location and the staff are what kept this one from being terrible!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Geecee6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2010

We had a one night stay at the Kings Head and couldn't recommend the place enough - the staff were incredibly courteous and were particularly thoughtful in their attention to our 2 year old and dog. Such little touches made a big difference to our stay. Excellent food, wines and Jennings ales added to the beautiful location also made this a place were we fully intend to stay.

Noting Eddie62's comments re. room 17, we also stayed in this room (a large family room) and I felt that I had to comment. I noticed a discreet sign in there warning that some guests had found the room noisy to stay in. I think that something must have been done since his stay as we noticed nothing at all. The room itself was lovely and spacious with a lovely en suite shower room. The beds were incredibly comfortable.

As the weather was wonderful, we spent several hours sitting in the sunny, but sheltered, beer garden to the front of the hotel. This was a lovely walled area, with lawns and a stream running by beyond the wall - very relaxing!

Having booked this only the day before, we got an amazing price for the booking too. We will definitely be returning!

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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Thank PaulaPops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2010

This was a nostalgic trip from my home in France to visit family in the region. The location of the Kings Head is stunning and very convenient for North and South Lakes. A historic building in the main sympathetically used, although the new modern bar is a bit odd!
On checking in I was directed to my single room which I had been warned was small - no problem in the miniature size but a mouldy shower and stains on the wall where a previous guest had obviously had a great time swatting flies/mosquitos led me to ask for a change. The second room (room 1) was adequate for a single traveller - clean,(except the shower again!) room to unpack and great water pressure in the shower (soooo important). However the plug sockets were broken and probably dangerous.
I had dinner in the restaurant - nice room, ok-ish food, spot on service from a young South African. Her colleague who I understand is from Romania, were the highspots of my stay - patient, incredibly hard working under difficult circumstances (one of their colleagues walked out without warning leaving them to cope with a full hotel alone!)and commited. Breakfasts were superb. The rest of the food was mediocre - I think I had Sunday lunch on the same day as a previous reviewer and found it really poor - overcooked, badly presented and tasteless.
All in all a bit of a disappointment - I have also now discovered I left a small item in my room and was coldly told on the phone that the minimum postal charge to return it is ten pounds! Why?? O and someone ought to dim the corridor lights so that the rooms are dark at night.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank wendyandpeterchapman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2010

You may think Im being overly harsh and just one of those people that likes to rant but this is not the case. I visited the Kings Head with family for Sunday lunch. We waited for ages for our food and when it did finally arrive service was certainly minus a smile. Although the chicken was ok, the yorkshire puddings were burnt to a crisp. To follow this came a rather synthetic lemon meringue pie. This really wasn't very nice. The 'meringue' was grey and gooie, it reminded me of filler.

I am a student so am well use to buying budget meals and although the meal was not expensive it did not represent value for money.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank sheffun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2010

beneath room 17 is the bar and the beer coolers which is situated behind the bar. the coolers, unless on the timer can be on all night, vibrating through the floor which they were on our stay, even when they are switched off there is a constant whirring noise. so dont stay in this room! other than that the hotel was value for money at that price.

  • Stayed: February 2010
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Thank eddie62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Kings Head Hotel

Address: Thirlmere, Keswick CA12 4TN, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Keswick
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #85 of 189 B&Bs / Inns in Keswick
Price Range: $91 - $153 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Kings Head Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located at the foot of Helvellyn, near the shores of Lake Thirlmere The 16th Century Kings Head Hotel enjoys an idyllic setting in the heart of The Lake District National Park. The Kings Head offers two unique dining experiences - with Fine dining in the award winning St Johns Restaurant or Traditional Bar Dining, a contemporary bar lounge and delightful en-suite bedrooms are traditionally furnished with views of the surrounding fells. ... more   less 
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