Cumbria’s landscape lends itself well to cater to the classic village pub, and it’s clear from what their owners say why they’ve – for the most part – remained standing through thick and thin.

We remember often the clubs and bars of yesteryear in Carlisle city centre that are now no more, so why is it that they fall under but the humble village pub stands strong?

Obviously, circumstances are such that there isn’t much competition, but there’s more to it than that.

Rozanne Reeves runs the Midland Hotel in Lazonby, and like others in the middle-ground between east and west, her clientele is a healthy mix of holiday-makers and villagers.

She said: “I really don't know what we're doing differently, I think just to be friendly and welcoming is what you need to do.”

In nearby Melmerby is Mike Haddow’s Shepherd’s Inn.

Mike said much of the same: “Here, there's not a lot of competition, we're not last man standing but you've got to drive in the country so you may as well drive somewhere that is good value for money and consistent.

“We're in the black which is a success, but we've been in the trade for a long time, this is my 50th year in the industry, I've been through it and seen it and know what's to be done, we're not young kids, we've got to be fairly smart about what we're doing.”

Mark Palmer-Rees co-owns the Barn Inn in Gilcrux said: “We just do pub grub and nothing fancy, our price is affordable for everyone.”

He added that they’ve only been open since March, but the Barn has been there for 20 years or so prior but keeping it simple and affordable is what Mark attributes to his success, that, and being in a beautiful area with a glamourous venue.

Helen Harmer is wife of the owner of the Cumberland Inn in Alston, a uniquely placed village in the Pennines.

She said: “We’ve actually been really quite busy throughout.

“We do beer but we also provide coffee and cake, I never used to do that but I am now.

“If you’re versatile and able to adapt you get more business.”

Adapting to the times is something Helen spoke more about: “The days of people crowding the bar drinking and smoking are long gone here.”

That’s not to say you can’t do that in Alston, as there are two other popular pubs, but that’s not Helen or her husband’s style.

She continued: “We used to have that but those people don’t come here anymore because they don’t think we’re a proper pub.”

Despite this, they consider themselves to be a proper pub, with Helen adding: “We’ve been here for 20 years and we like to provide a comfortable place for people so socialise, but it sohuldn’t be a threatening place.

“We do obviously have people come in for just drinks which we expect, but if you just want a cup of tea, or want to have a meal, you’re welcome to.”

Helen has been in the business for 20 years, and the pub remains ever-popular while sticking to what it knows and is good at, much like the other village pubs, it’s clearly a comfort to know you’re getting a consistent service you can rely on.

Eve Halliday from Cumbria Chamber of Commerce said: "Many ‘out of town’ pubs will have a mixture of clients, their ‘locals’ then the ‘holiday makers’.

"Many local pubs are still the hub of the village, I know mine is.

"It’s no secret that I’m a Geordie, it's quite obvious as soon as I open my mouth!

"When I moved to the village we are in now the local pub was amazing.

"Not only were the staff friendly the locals who were in there made us feel incredibly welcome too, and I’ve seen this time and time again with visitors and holidaymakers.

"You aren’t just being welcomed to a pub and shown to your seat, you’re being welcomed into a community.

"The landlords and staff get to know their locals, what they like, what they don’t and therefore know what works for their customers.

"In terms of not changing the way they work – the old adage of ‘if its not broke, don’t fix it’ still applies.

"From a business model standpoint, when you’ve got regular footfall and returning custom, having that baseline helps average out the peaks and troughs of the holiday season, which makes cash flow easier to manage."

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