An outstanding inn and restaurant, the Punch Bowl is a stylish but down-to-earth retreat in the peaceful Lyth Valley, between Windermere and Kendal. The bright, airy bedrooms have high ceilings and lots of sturdy oak beams. Chic fabrics and wallpaper add some flair, and handsome tubs take pride of place in the wood-paneled bathrooms. Health and beauty treatments are available if you book in advance. Sleek and slate-floored, the bar serves fine real ales, and you can sample good locally sourced dishes in the bright, contemporary restaurant. The pub has taken over duties from the local post office, so you can even post a letter here.