Dine out at these Lake District restaurants

Food and Drink

Posted by Kate A on 15th July 2022

Lake District restaurants

It’s no secret that the Lake District has become quite the foodie mecca, home to four Michelin-starred restaurants and a wide variety of award-winning, artisan produce. Visitors from near and far travel here to sample the great Cumbrian sausages, Herdwick lamb, and infamous sticky toffee pudding.

After a bracing day exploring the Lake District, treading the national park's scenic trails and discovering pretty towns, you’ll be sure to have worked up an appetite for some high-quality fare. Whether you’re in the mood for a fine dining experience, a cosy gastropub, a chic bistro, or even a dog-friendly pub, we’ve whittled down some of the best places to eat in the Lake District.

Sample the region’s finest local produce and dine out at these Lake District restaurants, before relaxing in one of our welcoming holiday cottages.

Cottages in the Lake District

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Top Lake District restaurants for casual dining

Fellinis, Ambleside
Fellinis credit: Instagram @zeffsfellinis

 

Fellinis, Ambleside

You might be in the land of the Cumberland sausage, but vegetarians need not worry as Ambleside is home to a very sophisticated ‘vegeterranean’ restaurant. At Fellinis, delicious dishes are made with the best of organic ingredients and have a distinctly Mediterranean twist – think delicate Moroccan filo parcels, stuffed portobello mushrooms and radicchio provolone ravioli. 

Post dinner, head upstairs to the five-screen cinema playing critically acclaimed arthouse films and live arts screenings or enjoy a fruity cocktail in the jazz bar and listen to some live music.

Best for: Vegetarians and vegans

Price: ££

Signature dish: Aubergine cannelloni stuffed with potato, ginger, leek and pistachio served with quinoa and romesco sauce 

Stay nearby: Riverside Retreat - Ambleside | Sleeps 6 

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Hooked
Hooked credit: Instagram @hookedwindermere

Hooked, Windermere

With a delectable menu of fresh fish and seafood straight off the Fleetwood boats, accentuated with the flavour of the Mediterranean or Asia, this charming bistro on the banks of Lake Windermere is one of the best Lake District restaurants to book during your visit. 

At Hooked, melt-in-the-mouth dishes include shrimps from Morecambe Bay, Cajun swordfish steak, and chalk stream trout served with mango salsa.

Best for: Fish and seafood lovers

Price: £££

Signature dish: Whole pan-fried Dover sole, served with sauteed potatoes, leeks, samphire and lemon butter sauce

Stay nearby: Salisbury Place | Sleeps 8

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Drunken Duck Inn, near Hawkshead
Drunken Duck Inn credit: Instagram @drunkenduckinn

Drunken Duck Inn, near Hawkshead

Long one of the Lakes' premier dining destinations, this renowned gastropub near Hawkshead is serious about food, drink and hospitality. 

Lunchtime at the Drunken Duck Inn is a relaxed affair; it's one of the best places to eat in the Lake District after a morning’s ramble through the fells. Evening meals are something else with on-point plates of treacle-glazed beef shin, hake with pickled samphire, and guinea fowl with salt-baked kohlrabi. Tantalising dishes can be accompanied by fine wines, ales from their on-site microbrewery, or one of their home-flavoured botanical gins.

Best for: Hearty dishes with local ales

Price: £££

Signature dish: Venison bourguignon with suet pudding, heritage carrot and salsa verde

Stay nearby: Sunray - Hawkshead | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

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The Jumble Room, Grasmere
The Jumble Room credit: Instagram @thejumbleroom

The Jumble Room, Grasmere

With a menu as colourful as its interior, The Jumble Room in Grasmere is not just one of the best restaurants in the Lake District, but it has become internationally renowned. Here, diners can take a food tour of the world, sampling exotic flavours in dishes beautifully crafted with local ingredients; think Persian lamb, Malay seafood curry and Pinatubo chicken.

A bohemian, arty vibe flows through the two small dining spaces, with platoons of intricately embroidered cushions, pop art on the walls and album covers in the loos.

Best for: Flavours from around the world

Price: £££

Signature dish: Fillet of salmon baked in miso, with giant black tiger prawns in a fragrant Sinhalese
 coconut and lemongrass curry with ginger and coriander, served with jasmine rice, pak choi and mango chutney

Stay nearby: The Old Gallery - Grasmere | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

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Top Lake District restaurants for special occasions and fine dining

The Old Stamp House
The Old Stamp House Restaurant credit: Instagram @ninafitton

The Old Stamp House Restaurant, Ambleside

Set within the hallowed confines of William Wordsworth’s former workplace, in which the famous poet conducted the role of stamp distributor from 1813-1843, this fine dining restaurant in the Lake District offers a sumptuous experience. 

The award-winning cuisine served at The Old Stamp House Restaurant champions Cumbrian produce, with Herdwick Hogget from Yew Tree Farm (formerly owned by Beatrix Potter), and fish and shellfish from the small fishing fleets at Barrow and Whitehaven, partnered with foraged ingredients, surprising flavour combinations and delicate sauces.

Best for: Local specialities

Price: ££££

Signature dish: Yew Tree Farm Herdwick Hogget served with peas, mint and anchovy salad, scrumpet and mustard mayonnaise

Stay nearby: Millbeck Cottage | Sleeps 6

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The Cottage in the Wood
The Cottage in the Wood credit: Instagram @thecottageinthewoodkeswick

The Cottage in the Wood, Whinlatter

Enchantingly hidden in Whinlatter Forest near Keswick, this renovated 17th-century traveller’s inn is a foodie’s delight. Making the most of the area’s rich larder, this top-rated restaurant in the Lake District is a celebration of the very best of Cumbria’s bounty. 

The Cottage in the Wood's distinctive menu changes daily with the likes of Herdwick Hogget from the surrounding fells, freshly landed fish and shellfish from West Coast harbours and a host of wild foods gracing the pages.

Best for: A romantic meal for two

Price: ££££

Signature dish: Eden Valley pork roast loin, braised shoulder, young leeks, broad beans, langoustine, parsley and lardo sauce

Stay nearby: Johns Cottage | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

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L'Enclume, Cartmel
L'Enclume credit: Instagram @lenclume

L'Enclume, Cartmel

When it comes to Michelin-starred restaurants in the Lake District, L’Enclume is a true delight for all the senses. As well as being awarded two Michelin stars, this romantic riverside restaurant in Cartmel boasts five AA Rosettes and was named the number one restaurant in the UK by The Good Food Guide 2020. 

Presenting a colourful tasting menu of exquisite dishes and exciting flavours, most of what you eat has been gathered on the day from the restaurant’s own 12-acre farm in the village or foraged from the surrounding Cumbrian countryside.

Best for: Something extra special

Price: £££££

Signature dish: A couple of the dishes from the tasting menu include, beetroot tart with east coast lobster, pickled rosehip and Diana radish, followed by dry-aged Herdwick lamb loin from West Head Farm with fermented cabbage, sauce with fennel and ramson capers

Stay nearby: The Cottage - Cartmel | Sleeps 7

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The Punch Bowl Inn
The Punch Bowl Inn credit: Instagram @punchbowlinncr

The Punch Bowl Inn, Crosthwaite

This handsome Lake District gastropub has long been known for its top-notch food. With a menu based on a wonderful mixture of classic British and French flavour combinations, The Punch Bowl Inn is a relaxed country inn in Crosthwaite - the perfect setting for a special family meal. 

Local produce has a strong presence within the beautifully presented dishes, with Cumbrian lamb and venison regularly featuring on the specials board, along with damson from the Lyth Valley – and the twice-baked Lancashire cheese soufflé is a real treat!

Best for: A family meal

Price: ££££

Signature dish: Cartmel Valley wild boar and damson sausage with mash and red onion gravy

Stay nearby: Valley View | Sleeps 6

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The Forest Side, Grasmere
The Forest Side credit: Instagram @the_forest_side

The Forest Side, Grasmere

The dining experience at The Forest Side in Grasmere is every bit as grand as its magnificent mansion house exterior. Another of the Michelin Star restaurants in the Lake District, the creative dishes served here blend classical and contemporary ideas, using locally foraged ingredients and vegetables grown in the kitchen gardens. 

In fact, 90% of the ingredients are sourced within 10 miles of the restaurant, with a host of weird and wonderful items to look out for, such as pickled allium flowers and scurvy grass. A 10-course tasting menu with wine pairings is perfect for a special treat.

Best for: Big celebrations

Price: £££££

Signature dish: A couple of the dishes from the tasting menu include, line-caught bass from Morecambe Bay with BBQ mussels and kohlrabi, followed by spring lamb with garden turnip and grilled hen of the woods

Stay nearby: Upper Longsyke | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

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Blue Smoke on the Bay, Windermere

Blue Smoke on the Bay, Windermere

Nestled on the shores of Lake Windermere, Blue Smoke on the Bay offers an exciting dining experience. You’ll soon see why this is one of the top restaurants in the Lake District, when you catch sight of the 3-metre-long double wood-fired grill, the centrepiece of the stylish open kitchen.

With chef interaction and a rich smokiness of dishes wafting around the space, the restaurant is a sensory haven. Aged steaks, meats, fish and vegetables are cooked over the hot embers, with woods such as elder, birch, oak and sometimes even olive wood creating unforgettable flavours that sets this establishment apart from other Lake District restaurants.

Best for: International dishes cooked over a wood-fired grill

Price: ££££

Signature dish: Aged steak that's cooked to perfection on the wood-fired grill, served with confit vine tomatoes, flat mushroom and Blue Smoke seasoned chips.

Stay nearby: Lazy Bay Cottage | Sleeps 4

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The Pavilion At Applethwaite Hall
The Pavilion At Applethwaite Hall 

Foodie holidays in the Lake District

If you have an appetite for a foodie break in the Lakes, our collection of holiday cottages in the Lake District is a perfect choice. Including cosy cottages for two, family-friendly farmhouses and large retreats for big group getaways, our self-catering accommodation is ideal for making the most of the best restaurants in the Lake District.

Need some more inspiration for your Lake District holiday? Have a read of our guide to the top 10 things to do in the Lake District.

Holidays in the Lake District

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.