10 best restaurants in and around the Lake District

<span>Photo: Mr. Nai/Shutterstock</span>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/r8pjzfKgJMDEcSkKap4DfA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/933aed08a2ea9e561410e27a92a data-saarc=e” “https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/r8pjzfKgJMDEcSkKap4DfA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/933aed08a2ea9e561410e2a92/a3aa76e”></div>
<p><figcaption class=Photo: Mr. Nai/Shutterstock

Gilpin, Windermere

One of the most welcoming hotels in the Lakes, The Gilpin combines impeccable service with a warm, informal atmosphere. This extends to Gilpin, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, headed by Ollie Bridgewater, formerly of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck. The cuisine is spot on, from charcoal-roasted cauliflower steak with black garlic ketchup to roasted cod with saffron compote and vermouth emulsion. There’s also an à la carte option if the tasting menu feels a little daunting. Paired wines add to the experience and the optional extra cheese course should not be missed.
Tasting menu £120 pp; doubles from £285 B&B; thegilpin.co.uk

Rogan & Co, Cartmel

The younger, more casual sibling of Simon Rogan’s three-Michelin-starred L’Enclume, Rogan & Co promises the same elegantly presented, delicately flavored cuisine with a three-course meal for a third of the price. The menu is haute hearty. Try Old Winchester cheese dumplings or pork terrine with crumpet and apple, followed by Goosnargh duck or dry-aged Dexter short rib – and the low-beamed, lit dining room is full of classic Lakeland charm.
Three course meal £79pp; roganandco.co.uk

The Dog and the Gun, Skelton

Chef owner Ben Queen-Fryer has won a number of awards since opening Dog & Gun in 2017 as an upscale eatery. It was awarded a Michelin star in 2022, but remains a comforting traditional village pub that happens to serve spectacular food. Highlights include local Cartmel venison or wild halibut with vermouth sauce. Desserts are sinful, local suppliers are listed, and dogs are welcome.
Three course menu £59pp, tasting menu £78pp; dogandgunskelton.co.uk

The forest side, Grasmere

A night and/or dinner on the Forest Side doesn’t come cheap, but this gothic mansion is perfect for a memorable birthday or anniversary. Ingredients are truly locally sourced, with 90% sourced from within 10 miles, including a large haul from the hotel’s large gardens. The four- and eight-course tasting menus offer intricately designed bites full of inventive flavors: steamed cod with smoked pike roe; aged venison with walnuts.
Four course menu £85pp, eight course £130pp; doubles £429 with dinner, bed and breakfast; theforestside.com

Cranstons, various locations

If you want to host your own gourmet feast, Cranstons is the place to be – whether it’s the original little butcher shop in Penrith or the Daylesford-esque foodhall just off the M6. A champion of local produce since 1914, it offers six locations across Cumbria, selling local ales, jams, relishes and fruit and vegetables alongside meat sourced from local Lake District farms.

The Apple Pie Bakery, Ambleside

The front of the apple pie bakery

Sweet success: try Eton mess eclairs at the apple pie bakery. Photo: Shutterstock

A culinary treat doesn’t have to mean a tasting menu; sometimes tea and cake is just what is needed. Serving sweet treats since 1975, the Apple Pie Bakery remains a family-owned business, albeit growing from five tables and a kettle to a two-story, five-seat bakery. Come for Eton mess eclairs or frangipane with blueberries and lemon, or buy some hot butties to take away. Stay in one of the cozy rooms next door for a relaxing base in Ambleside.
Doubles from £65 room only; applepieambleside.co.uk

Hidden river cafe, Longtown

Look up ‘off-the-beaten-track’ in a dictionary and you’ll find the aptly named Hidden River Café, tucked away on the banks of the River Lyne, 20 minutes’ drive from Carlisle. The renowned café serves moreish small plates – beef and smoked cheese croquettes; mackerel in soy brine – alongside steaks and burgers sourced from local farms. If lunch doesn’t feel long enough in such a gloriously isolated place, book one of the wooden huts and make a weekend of it.
Mains from £15; cottages (sleeping six) from £200 per night; hiddenrivercabins.co.uk

Fellinis, Ambleside

The facade of Ambleside's arthouse cinema and adjacent Zeffirellis jazz bar.

All in one: combine a vegetarian meal at Fellinis with a movie at the arthouse cinema above or live music at the adjacent jazz bar Zeffirellis. Photo: Kay Roxby/Alamy

A top spot in the Lakes for vegans and veggies, Fellinis is located below Ambleside’s arthouse cinema and Zeffirellis jazz bar, offering the chance to dine and watch a film, or live music, all under the same roof. Dishes are reasonably priced and can include things like crispy cauliflower katsu with quinoa or miso-marinated tofu steak. There should be plenty of room left for the lip-smacking rhubarb ginger crumble, perfect for sharing.
Mains £15.95; zeffirellis.co.uk

Grasmere gingerbread

A culinary treat not to be missed from Cumbria. Grasmere gingerbread can only be found in a handful of eateries in the Lake District and can only be purchased from the original shop, still housed in the 17th century schoolhouse where Sarah Nelson first baked the spicy biscuit-cake hybrid in 1854 . packaged gingerbread, the shop sells its own Cumbrian rum butter, ginger marmalades and chutneys, chocolates and traditional sweets.

The cottage in the woods, Braithwaite

This nine-bedroom restaurant is a one-stop shop for an indulgent foodie weekend with plenty of outdoor savory appeal. It has a wonderfully off-grid feel tucked away 300m above Keswick in the Whinlatter Forest. Chef Sam Miller’s creative flavor combinations include scallop with sorrel, black garlic and apple, and venison with pear and Swiss chard, with a strong focus on seasonal ingredients. The rooms are cozy without being chintzy, with five rooms in the original part of the building, dating back to 1640.
Set lunch £75pp; doubles from £340, including dinner, bed and breakfast; thecottageinthewood.co.uk.

Leave a Comment