In the middle of Pooley Bridge, behind its smartly traditional façade, the Crown Inn has had a thoroughly stylish makeover. The indoor spaces have a contemporary country inn feel: a mix of upholstered wall seating, stable-style stalls and separate chairs and tables; wooden floors and plaid carpeting; open fires and wood-burning stoves; subtle lighting and the dramatic statement of a glazed rear wall separating the dining room from the great outdoors. Decked ground and first floor terraces (with heated, sheltered ‘pods’) make the absolute most of lovely river views backed by woodland and high fells – Ullswater Steamers ply from a pier a few hundred metres away. There’s a whole range of drinks, including Thwaites cask ales of course. Family-friendly and modern bistro-style dishes, like grilled sea bass and lamb shank with puy lentils, are served by attentive staff; it’s an efficiently-run, busy place. And upstairs (no lift), in different shapes and sizes to fit the old building, are the good-looking, comfortable bedrooms, with chic rustic touches in traditional materials and fabrics – and pristine bathrooms.