About The Inn

If walls could talk, they may well tell tales of the foundations on which they stand. Believed to be linked to an ancient 15th Century monastery, records for this building date back to 1496AD

At 1500ft the Inn is the highest inhabited building in Cumbria and the third highest Inn in England.

In the early 1800’s the tall stone building at the North end was built as a coach house, the extra height was needed to take the coaches of the day. Around the 1950’s it was converted into a garage complete with petrol pump and forecourt. The building has now been converted to a cottage.

Gail and John Jennings, came from Kent on a break & have subsequently served as owners of the Ancient Kirkstone Pass Inn since 2005. Situated high up in the heart of Lakeland away from any grid systems, we have provided on-site facilities for our Power, Water and Gas utilities. Power is generated on-site via our large generators with some assistance from three small on-site wind turbines that are situated in our grounds 150m behind the inn. Water, piped from a beck high up on the fell is treated and tested for safe use, while stored gas services the kitchens from on-site containers.

Kirkstone Pass Inn Ltd will cease trading on 30th September 2022. We send best wishes and sincere thanks to every one of its customers through centuries of service, blessings to you all. The Inn will undergo development  taking it into a whole new and exciting era with new owners and we hope their joy equals ours for many happy years to come. Retirement called and all things must pass.

The Kirkstone Pass itself is named after a large standing stone 500 metres from here on the road to Ullswater. The distinctive shape of the Kirk Stone is the most likely reason for its name with ‘Kirk’ being the Scottish-English word for Church. There are also similarities when compared to old Norse, for example the Swedish ‘Kyrka’.

Winding between the Cumbrian fells the 1489ft (459m) Kirkstone Pass links Windermere and Patterdale. The road From Ambleside, locally know as ‘the ‘Struggle’, rises steeply from the valley floor and joins the pass close to the Inn. Climbing at a gradient of 1 in 4 in places, means the road provides enough of a challenge for the modern car and an even greater challenge for local cyclists and runners. 

Historically a drover’s track, it’s worth sparing a thought for the families who would have driven their livestock over the pass in all weather conditions to sell at the local markets.