You’ll never be short of somewhere to eat on a short break or holiday to the Lake District. The beautiful region is a veritable feast for foodies with everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to characterful gastropubs that are brimming with original features.
Seasonality and local produce are key at many of the Lake District’s restaurants and it’s definitely worth eating out at least once during a short break or holiday.
Michelin-starred Lake District restaurants
Cumbria has a range of Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from, making the Lake District a perfect destination for any discerning foodie worth their salt. The following restaurants have been judged amongst the very best in the UK so are ideal choices for a special celebration.
This iconic Cartmel restaurant was launched by chef Simon Rogan in 2002 and first achieved Michelin-star status in 2005. L’Enclume has held two stars since 2013 and much of the local produce used in the restaurant is grown on Simon Rogan’s own Lake District farm.
Signature dish: Tasting menu delights include tomatoes preserved in rosehip with nasturtium and lobster tail.
Where to stay: Browse our Cartmel cottages and stay nearby
2. The Forest Side
The Forest Side is located in the beautiful Grasmere countryside and the landscape of the Lake District is the inspiration for their Michelin-starred food. A kitchen garden and regular foraging trips provide an array of herbs and vegetables for innovative seasonal tasting menus.
Signature dish: A highlight of the tasting menu is aged Cumbria Duck with beets and berries
Where to stay: Carr Cragg Cottage in Skelwith Bridge is a three-bedroom property with an idyllic setting.
3. Old Stamp House
This Ambleside restaurant is located in a historic building with links to William Wordsworth, and Old Stamp House gained its first Michelin star in 2019. Local heritage is key on the menu and featured ingredients include Cartmel Valley pheasant and Cumbrian gingerbread on a la carte and tasting menus.
Signature dish: Cartmel valley pheasant with parsnip, barley and red wine sauce.
Where to stay: Take a look at our Ambleside cottages
4. Cottage in the Wood
Cottage in the Wood is nestled near the village of Braithwaite in the tranquil Whinlatter Forest so the restaurant makes a beautiful choice for a fine-dining Lake District meal with Keswick, Bassenthwaite and Derwentwater all nearby and a selection of local dishes on the menu.
Signature dish: Their taste of Cumbria menu includes Herdwick Hogget loin with spiced carrot.
Where to stay: Stile End Cottage is a sumptuous four-bedroom holiday home in the village of Braithwaite
The food at the Michelin-starred HRiSHi is as pretty as a picture with an Asian fusion twist to many of the dishes on the menu. It’s located high up in the fells near Lake Windermere so is a picturesque setting to match the lovely food.
Signature dish: Morecambe Bay stone bass fillet with butter-poached lobster and spiced lobster dumplings.
Where to stay: Barrow Hollin, which is nestled in the Cartmel Fells above Lake Windermere
6. Rogan & Co
Simon Rogan’s second Cartmel restaurant is a rather more relaxed affair than the grander L’Enclume. Rogan & Co was launched by the chef as a casual neighbourhood restaurant with comfort food that’s elevated by precision cooking techniques.
Signature dish: Confit Goosnargh chicken with parsnips and stout.
Where to stay: Browse our range of Cartmel cottages to find your perfect base in this pretty village
Top dining pubs
You’ll find seasonal ingredients, hearty food and local ales in these Lake District dining pubs - and with dog-friendly lounges, glorious views and beer gardens, they make perfect calling points while exploring the Lake District countryside.
7. Drunken Duck Inn
You’ll find roaring log fires, stunning scenery and hearty fare at the Drunken Duck Inn in Ambleside. There’s also an on-site microbrewery if you fancy washing down your meal with a local ale.
Signature dish: Beer battered fish and chips with peas and tartare sauce.
Where to stay: The Bothy in High Borrans is a romantic cottage, tucked between Troutbeck and Kentmere.
8. The Angel Inn
The Angel Inn in Bowness includes a selection of seating areas ranging from cosy dog-friendly lounges to the more formal restaurant. Lovely gardens are a great choice for al fresco dining on a sunny day with views down to Windermere.
Signature dish: The Angel Inn homemade steak burger makes a hearty choice after a scenic dog walk.
Where to stay: Take a look at our Windermere cottages
9. The Masons Arms
A pretty Lake District inn that dates back to the 16th century, The Masons Arms has lots of local fare on the menu including Cartmel lamb and Lakeland Damson. The pub is located in the Winster Valley and come with characterful beams and far-reaching views.
Signature dish: Lamb Cartmel is a slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with tasty hot pot potatoes.
Where to stay: Thorphinsty Barn is a spectacular Grade II listed four-bedroom barn in Cartmel Fell
10. The White Hart
The White Hart Inn is located in the pretty village of Bouth which is in-between Lake Windermere and Coniston Water. The meat, fish and vegetables on the menu are sourced from local suppliers and there are seasonal specials and regularly changing guest ales at this CAMRA-accredited pub.
Signature dish: Medallions of monk fish tail with polenta, peas and lemon mayo
Where to stay: Kiln Cottage is a cosy two-bedroom holiday home in the heart of Bouth
11. The Pheasant
This 17th-century coaching inn is nestled on the shores of Lake Bassenthwaite and dining options range from a casual lunch in the dog-friendly bar area to a more formal dinner in The Fell Restaurant where a sommelier will recommend fine wines to accompany your meal. The Pheasant also offers private dining for up to 20 guests - a perfect choice for celebrating a special occasion.
Signature dish: Game hot pot with braised red cabbage and tender stem broccoli
Where to stay: Take a look at our Cockermouth properties
12. Cuckoo Brow Inn
The Cuckoo Brow Inn is located in Far Sawrey, a peaceful Lake District village that’s just a short walk from Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top. Log fires keep the bar and dining area cosy and warm, and there are lots of hearty dishes and local ales on the menu.
Signature dish: Try the home-made pie of the day.
Where to stay: Meadowcroft, a four-bedroom house with cottage gardens in Near Sawrey
13. The Mortal Man
You’ll find classic English pub dishes, a great atmosphere and live entertainment on the menu at this quirky Lake District pub. The Mortal Man has a history dating back to the late 17th century and an idyllic Troutbeck location with a gorgeous beer garden and Lake Windermere close by.
Signature dish: Fish chowder with haddock and smoked salmon
Where to stay: Browse our range of Windermere cottages
The best Lake District bistros
From casual lunches to fine-dining dinners, there’s a wide assortment of bistros in the Lake District and here are just some of our favourites.
14. The Bistro at the Distillery
The Lakes Distillery produces a range of fine whiskies, vodkas and gins in its beautiful location near Keswick. Visitors can take a tour of the distillery, stock up on spirits and enjoy some freshly made food in the on-site bistro. Food ranges from homemade cakes to fillet steak and there’s a scenic courtyard garden if you fancy eating alfresco.
Signature dish: Prawn and avocado salad with the Lakes Distillery own whisky sauce.
Where to stay: Wrens, a three-bedroom barn conversion that's just a few miles from Keswick
15. Lucy on a Plate
Lucy on a Plate has been an Ambleside institution for more than 25 years and this friendly neighbourhood bistro is perennially popular thanks to comfy sofas, open fires, a friendly atmosphere and a menu that changes every day.
Signature dish: Lucy's daily Queen of Dessert pudding is served at any time of day.
Where to stay: Carr Crag Cottage, which overlooks the Great Langdale Valley near Ambleside
16. The Jumble Room
The Jumble Room is a small Grasmere restaurant that’s colourful, cosy and casual with local organic ingredients on the menu and pop art on the walls. Smaller dishes mean you can order a few and share them tapas-style with friends.
Signature dish: Curried cauliflower on a butternut squash rosti
Where to stay: Browse our range of Grasmere cottages
17. Porto Restaurant
A modern two AA rosette restaurant in the village of Bowness-on-Windermere, Porto Restaurant has a dog-friendly bar area downstairs where you can watch the chefs at work and a rooftop terrace which is very popular during the warmer summer months.
Signature dish: Monk Fish scampi with crushed peas and Porto tartar sauce.
Where to stay: Take a look at our selection of Bowness-on-Windermere cottages
18. The 1863 Bistro
This fine-dining bistro offers foraged seasonal ingredients and a choice of a la carte dining, quick bites to eat or a special six-course tasting menu. The 1863 Bistro is located in Pooley Bridge at the north of Lake Ullswater.
Signature dish: Lamb tartare with smoked yoghurt, mint and focaccia.
Where to stay: We have some stunning Ullswater properties on offer
19. Blue Smoke on the Bay
The centrepiece of Blue Smoke on the Bay is a 3-metre-long wood-fired grill where a variety of meat, fish and vegetable dishes are cooked. This stylish restaurant is located on the edge of Windermere with wonderful views out over the lake.
Signature dish: Steak that's cooked to perfection on the wood-fired grill.
Where to stay: Shepherds Nook is a romantic retreat with views out over the Kentmere Valley.
20. Steam Bistro
Steam Bistro in Coniston offers set dining menus in a casual environment with ingredients that have been sourced from local farmers where possible. The bistro doesn’t have an alcohol licence but guests can bring along their own bottle for a small corkage charge.
Signature dish: Slow cooked Lakeland lamb on mint and mustard mash
Where to stay: Browse our range of Coniston cottages
Plan your getaway to the Lake District
Have we whetted your appetite for a visit to the Lake District? As well as some rather fine restaurants, this beautiful part of the UK is filled with stunning scenery, mesmerising lakes and fabulous walks.
Whether you choose to visit Coniston, Windermere, Keswick, Ullswater or any of the scenic towns and villages in between, the Lakeland Cottage Company has a collection of luxury Lake District Cottages that are perfect if you fancy staying somewhere extra special.