The Lake District isn’t short of perfect places to eat. Whether you’re looking for a Michelin starred meal for two, hearty pub grub in glorious surroundings, ornate tea for two or a quick pit stop as you make your way from one gorgeous location to another – you will find a wealth of wonderful choice.
So to make things easier we’ve made a few recommendations for the best places to eat in the Lake District with a view to pleasing all types of palates and catering for even the hardest to please holidaymakers.
L’enclume has built a well-deserved reputation as probably the Lake District’s finest eatery by doing amazing things with locally sourced produce from the Cumbrian land and coast. Chef Simon Rogan supplies the riverside restaurant with food from his farm and the seasonal tasting menus he creates really are something to savour.
The Good Food Guide clearly agreed, awarding L’enclume with two Michelin Stars and praising Rogan for being leader of the pack when it comes to modern British cooking. The only downside is the price. L’enclume, and its versatile tasting menus are not exactly cheap, but if you’re celebrating – which seems a reasonable assumption if you’re holidaying in the Lakes – or simply keen to sample some of the finest dining the UK has to offer, a visit is highly recommended.
Few dining experiences are as memorable as Ambleside’s The Jumble Room. This lively bohemian style lounge has a menu as lively as its ambience. Enjoy locally sourced meat and seafood prepared with world food flair and served in a wonderfully relaxed and informal setting.
And while the menu itself offers a number of delectable dishes, reviews are equally gushing about the warm welcome afforded by owners Andy and Chrissy Hill. It’s their personality that shines through in the Jumble Room and has made the restaurant a mainstay of culinary tours of the Lake District for nearly two decades.
Serving sumptuous food in a glorious setting high above Lake Windermere, Holbeck Ghyll Country House is no stranger to lists of fine dining in the Lakes. But despite a reputation that precedes it, aided in no small part by its memorable appearance on The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, you may be surprised to know that you can visit at almost any time and receive a wonderful culinary experience.
Start the day with breakfast of freshly baked bread and pastries, Cumberland sausage and local oak-smoked dry cured back bacon or slow cooked porridge with cream and honey. Between 12 noon and 2pm you can sit on the setting as the light shimmers on the gentle waters of Windermere and enjoy a lunch of sea bass or guinea fowl. Then there’s afternoon tea, dinner and drinks – it’s the perfect place for a cosy culinary encounter for two!
Thanks to its continued use as a working farm, Low Sizergh Barn at the gateway to the Lakes provides a perfect opportunity for children to get firsthand experience of farming, and the whole family can then sample quality local produce to boot. The lovely tearoom offers gallery windows to the dairy below, and with milking time at 3.30pm, afternoon tea is heartily recommended.
All food in the farm shop and café is locally sourced and crafted to suit the Lakes region – even the tea is chosen to suit the quality of local water! And after breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea, the whole family can explore the farm trail, which is comprised of beautiful wild flora and lovely ancient woodland.
When we say ‘motorway services’ you may well be drawn back to experiences of eating a soggy sausage roll at the side of the M25 whilst clutching an overpriced bag of toffees. Thankfully, they do things a little differently at Tebay Services. Family owned and independently operated, since it was opened by local farmers John and Barbara Dunning in 1972, that Tebay Services does things a little differently is apparent when you first arrive off the M6.
Tebay Services is comprised of lovely low lying buildings made from local stone and timber set in a tranquil and fairly idyllic setting beside a duck pond. You will find fantastic food in the café and farm shops (award-winning and opened by HRH the Prince of Wales) along with an indoor play area and a dedicated dog-walking trail – it’s the perfect start to your Lake District holiday.
Many eateries in the Lake District offer afternoon tea; after all, it’s one of the most traditionally enjoyable ways of enjoying your time in this beautiful region. It’s fair to say, that few do it as well as Gillam's in Ulverston, as despite a few years off the Gillam family have been serving tea, fine food and good times to holidaymakers in Ulverston for over 100 years.
Today’s tearoom stands opposite the original yet still offers an abundance of authentic charm and character. On sunny days you can take your tea in the terraced garden whilst the open fire and wonderful selection of teas and coffees will warm you up in winter. Add a programme of evening events, praise from The Times, Guardian and Hairy Bikers and you have a must-have afternoon experience for your Lake District holiday.
Combined with a visit to the similarly cinematically titled Zefferellis boutique picture house upstairs, an evening at Fellini’s is one of the best ways to enjoy a memorable evening of film and food. But even if you’re not swayed by the latest releases or the regularly scheduled live events, the cuisine is highly regarded – even by the most dedicated meat eaters.
Fellinis small but perfectly formed seasonal ‘Vegeterranean’ menu brings a little sunshine to the Lake District. Enjoy grilled Spanish onions with rocket, parmesan and walnut pesto, cherry tomato and garlic risotto, a host of side dishes, some delicious desserts and much more.
While your ideal of the Lakes as a perfectly peaceful idyll may be rudely shattered by the cagoule clad throng that crowd the narrow streets of Keswick in peak season, it is still entirely possible to find perfect peace on holiday in the Lake District. You just need to know where to look. And when the rewards are as inviting as a walk in the gorgeous Lyth Valley followed by a hearty meal at The Punchbowl Inn, wandering off the beaten tourist trail isn’t just recommended – it’s all but essential!
The Lyth Valley is a wonderful pastoral idyll comprised of peaceful damson orchards, floral woodlands, traditional whitewashed cottages and gently undulating green hills. What’s more it offers one of the Lake District’s finest pubs. The Punchbowl Inn is a wonderfully inviting alehouse in the truest sense of the word. Enjoy a fine selection of ales before sampling a delightful menu comprised of locally sourced delicacies.