Christmas Eve can be a difficult day to find a place to sit down and eat or drink with the family, so you have to be realistic with your choice of eaterie.

So after what can only be described as forensic deliberation, we booked in to eat at the Gilpin Bridge Inn.

Tucked away off the side of the A590 close to Witherslack, it is a charming place to look at from the outside and hosts eight guests in its en-suite rooms.

However, they must have gone elsewhere to eat ahead of the big day as my family and I walked into the place and found ourselves the only ones in.

Outnumbered by the waiting staff, it threatened to be an awkward affair. There was room at this inn on Christmas Eve.

But the welcoming interior matched by the friendly service staff meant it was anything but.

In fact it was pleasing to be away from the usual Christmas Eve crowds lining their stomachs ahead of a big night that would have been the case at a certain pub chain.

And the homely decor, the result of redecoration around five months ago we would later learn, almost gave the outing the atmosphere of a meal with the family.

Onto the food and there was plenty to pick from.

Opening the menu, I was startled by the sheer variety on offer.

Because despite its British pub feel, the offerings were almost as eclectic as any world buffet.

It meant you could find classic pub grub - think fish and chips, bangers and mash - alongside Italian favourites like spaghetti carbonara and Milanese-style chicken.

To start my companions plumped for oyster mushrooms in a creamy garlic butter sauce, and a prawn cocktail.

I picked an oozing baked camembert.

Served in a bowl, it resembled a bottomless pit of gooey cheese in which to dip bread.

Even shared between two people there was plenty left going into the main.

Never passing up the chance to order one, I opted for the aforementioned carbonara.

The “creamy” dish as it was described was just that. Unfortunately it was little else.

That is to say it was firmly a “British” carbonara: a viscous sauce that submerged the pasta ribbons and strips of bacon rather than the emulsified fresh egg and pancetta offering commonly made by Italian specialists.

And it was served in something resembling a doubled-handled bucket and flanked by garlic bread slices rather than a dainty spaghetti dish.

But in fairness to the chef my expectations of the Roman pasta dish have never been met since I tasted an authentic version of it around two years ago.

Looking around the table, I saw my companions stuck to the more familiar pub fare: a burger, rump steak and lamb Henry.

The burger looked fine if a little overcooked on the inside. The lamb Henry was also received.

The rump steak, which totalled a heady £16 pricetag was perfectly medium rare as requested, but, as I tasted a little tough and gristly. Perhaps the cost came through the chunky chips served with it that were crispy and moreish.

To sum up, the food is well made, well presented and of decent quality. The fusion of British and Italian has to be applauded also. There are certainly worse places to have a meal and a drink with your family, especially with the quality service. That said, the prices are probably a hair too steep to properly justify the journey down the A590, which we all know is a route taken begrudgingly on a good day.

Food 3

Service 5

Atmosphere 3

Value 2


Broad menu done well

Friendly service


A bit pricey