Dining Out

Dining Out

Our Favourite Pubs, Cafe's & Restaurants

Over the last decade the food scene in Cumbria has blossomed to become as good as anywhere in the country, indeed we would say some of the finest you will find.

Local produce has become a thing of pride, where there are many small companies producing specialist foods such as relishes and jams, cheeses, artisan breads and farmers offering free range livestock and home cured meats, along with a barrel full of micro brewerys and a few distileries to wash it all down.

Our farmer's markets showcase much of what is available both locally and from further afield, ranging from fresh field produce to one of the best pre cooked Indian takeaways I have ever tasted.

Our chefs, both trained and famous, along with the self taught and enthusiastic, have each risen to the challenge of placing the Lake District on the foodie map, a true must go to desination.

The following list are all places we have dined at as a couple, with our family and with friends. For us each has its own merits and we return to all time again. This is by no means a definitive list of the best, just our personal favourites based on experience so bon appétit and we hope you enjoy.

Tell Us About Your Lake District Favourite Dining Experience

We want our list to grow to help visitors decide where to dine. If you have had a good experience then drop us a line or post it on our Facebook page


Dining South Lakes

L’Enclume  - Michelin star - Location Cartmel

Simon Rogan is often heralded as Cumbria’s answer to Heston Blumenthal where his imaginative cuisine has earned him a Michelin star and the Good Food Guides No1 Restaurant for 2014 15 and now 2016, which I suppose makes Cumbria and the gourgeous little village of Cartmel home of the countries top spot.

Address - Cavendish Street, Cartmel LA11 6PZ  

Contact - 015395 36362 - l'enclume.co.uk

Prices - Lunch menu £45, Dinner menu £120

Open - 12pm–1.30pm Wed-Sun, 6.30pm-9pm every day

Reservations - Essential


Rogan & Company - Location Cartmel

Rogans second eatery where things are more relaxed at this delightful bistro. We have dined at Rogans many many times and always experienced a good atmosphere, super staff and excellent food and wine.

AddressDevonshire Square, Cartmel, LA11 6QD

Contact - 015395 35917 - http://roganandcompany.co.uk

Prices - Around £45

Reservations - Not essential but wise to book ahead if you know your dates.


Strickland Arms - Location Sizergh near Kendal

Nice atmosphere, good food, ale and wine list served by friendly staff. The inn is very close to Sizergh Barn and Castle so you could combine lunch and locla food shopping with a bit of history.

Every wednessday is Quizz Night where all are welcome and I believe they do have some nights with live music. Children and dogs welcome and for summer there is a beer garden.

Address - The Strickland Arms Sizergh near Kendal Cumbria LA8 8DZ

Contact - 015395 61010 - www.stricklandarms

Price - Around £25 -£35 for dinner


The Punch Bowl - Location Crosthwaite, The Lythe Valley

The Punch Bowl is a revitalised country pub now offering fine dining, excellent wines and ales served in an atmospehere of contemporary chic mixed in with a fine period building.

There is a good bar for those who just want a drink and a bar snack and for full dinner a delightfull dining room. Outside the grounds are peacefull, very pleasent and with an area for alfresco dining and wining.

AddressCrosthwaite, Lyth Valley, Cumbria LA8 8HR

Contact - 015395 68237 - www.the-punchbowl.co.uk

PriceA La Carte Menu around £35 - Light Lunch Menu around £17 - £20

Reservations - Wise to book in advance


The Masons Arms - Location Strawberry Bank Cartmel Fell

A super old inn set in a splendid elevated location with stunning views over the Winster Valley. The Masons Arms has been around since forever, where today it has been refurbished to make a delightful place for a just drink or for lunch and evening meals.

The food is excellent, the cellar a joy with fine wines and well kept local and guest ales, and to spice things up there are plenty of events ranging from a monthly reading group, live music, local produce festivals and markets and sometimes they have the odd travelling busker or two!

Address - Cartmel Fell LA11 6NW

Contact - 015395 68486 - www.masonssarmsstrawberrybank.co.uk

Price - A La Carte Menu around £25 - Light Bites  £6 - £10

Reservations - Wise to book in advance for the evening restaurant


The Brewery Arts Centre Vats Bar & Grainstore - Location Kendal

This excellent, slightly off the wall bar and restaurant specialises in superb cask ales from around the UK along with decent wines, spirits and soft drinks. The food is Tapas style sourced from local produce along with superb freshly made pizza and will delight your taste buds. The atmosphere is informal, friendly and buzzing making it ideal for both couples, families and kids.

Part of the wonderfull Brewery Arts Centre you can mix dining with an evening of theatre, music, stand up comedy or the latest blockbuster in the cinema suite. All in all it is a one stop venue for a relaxed evening of tasty dining and entertainment. Outside there are areas to sit and dine with the terraces, scattered with tables and chairs, giving a great view across the town to the ruins of Kendal Castle.

This one of our favourite nights out and like all art based venues needs support by use - I promise you will not be dissapointed.

Address - 122A Highgate, Kendal LA9 4HE

Contact - 01539 722833 - www.breweryarts.co.uk

Price - Individual dishes £5 - £12. Per head about £15 to £25 It depends how big your appetite is!

Reservations - Wise to book in advance for the evening restaurant.


The Castle Dairy - Location Kendal

The Castle Dairy Restaurant and Art Gallery is Kendal’s oldest inhabited building. Step through the oak studded door and you are back to Tudor England. Some 600 years old, it’s packed with nooks and crannies, priest holes, wonky walls, a roman floor and beautiful preserved bedroom with its listed four-poster bed.

Today the building has been taken over by Kendal College as a training ground for young chefs, restaurant mangers and front of house staff.

The college apprentices are watched over by chef Robert Stacey, where the restaurant provides exceptional food, surrounded by local art work, in a truly unusual setting, offering a quite unique dining experience. The young staff are just the best and it is an honour and pleasure to be served by these stars of the future.

The food is simply excellent and has recieved rave reviews by the likes of Jamie Oliver - See Review 

Address - 26 Wildman Street, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 6EN

Contact - 01539 733946 - www.castledairy.co.uk

Price - a La Carte Menu - £30 - £35

Reservations - Wise to book in advance for the evening restaurant.


Hooked - Location Windermere

Hooked Seafood Restaurant opened November 2010 by proud owner Michael Gould, and has fast become a real favourite thanks to its first-class fish and seafood. Head Chef Paul White personally prepares each dish, changing the menu daily depending on availability.

The decore is simple, the welcome warm and for fish lovers it will be a real delight.

Address - Ellerthwaite Square, Windermere, LA23 1DP

Contact: 015394 48443 - hookedwindermere.co.uk

Prices: dinner mains £15.95 to £18.95

Reservations: Advisable


The Jumble Room - Grasmere

Grasmere’s best restaurant by far, where a warm welcome guaranteed by husband-and-wife owners Andy and Chrissy Hill. It’s an inspired eclectic mix of styles with jazz and blues on the stereo and food served up on mismatched crockery. The menu is similarly eclectic, taking in everything from beef crostini to chestnut-and-chorizo soup. Whatever the mix the taste is superb the atmosphere perfect. 

Address - Langdale Rd, Grasmere LA22 9SU 

Contact - 015394 35188 - www.thejumbleroom.co.uk

Prices - Lunch from £8.50 to £14.50, dinner from £14.50 to £25

Reservations - Advisable and by phone only


Drunken Duck Inn - Barngates near Hawkhead

We remember when the Duck was a smoky - fags and fire - blackend beamed, stone floored gem, full of walkers and climbers staving off too much ruddy health with four or five pints and half a packet of woodbine, dining at the bar or with plates perched on laps - still time moves on.

Perched on a hilltop between Coniston and Hawkshead, this is the Lake District’s original gastropub, although these days the food is well and truly restaurant standard. Refurbished from the old days but still holding onto its characterful past, it’s a lovely place to dine: the rustic-chic beamed bar is full of antiques and sporting prints, and the menu revolves around old British classics such as pig’s cheek, venison haunch and pork belly with faggots, washed down with ales from the in-house Barngates Brewery. You can’t book at lunchtime and queues often stretch out of the door, while dinner tables are booked up weeks in advance.

Address: Barngates, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0NG 

Contact: 015394 36347 - www.thedrunkenduckinn.co.uk

Prices - Dinner mains £14 to £48

Reservations: bookings not taken for lunch, but you’ll need to book well ahead for dinner as in weeks.

Steam Bistro - Coniston LA21 8ED

This new kid on the block has been getting some rave reviews from our guests. Using local produce the three course meal has a set price of £19 inculding pud. As yet unlicenced you can bring your own tiple for a very reasonable £1 per person corkage.

AddressTilberthwaite avenue Coniston LA21 8ED

Contact 01539 441928 - www.steambistro.co.uk

Prices - £16 to £19

Reservations -  Advisable - Closed Monday evenings 


Dining North Lakes 

The Pheasant Inn 

This well known historic inn near the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake has something to suit all moods: a cosy bar for beer and snacks, a bistro room for unfussy eating, and a smart dining room for a more formal dinner or Sunday lunch. The building has loads of atmosphere, with well-worn armchairs and a roaring fire in winter. Afternoon tea is particularly noteworthy – a silver platter piled with finger sandwiches, buttery scones and fruitcakes.

Address: Bassenthwaite Lake, CA13 9YE 

Contact: 017687 76234; the-pheasant.co.uk 

Prices: dinner mains £12-15 in the bistro, £20-25 in the restaurant

Reservations: advisable


The Watermill 

This award-winning café is housed in the only working watermill left in Cumbria, and grinds its own organic flour to use in its breads, cakes and pastries. After lunch, you can take a guided tour to see the mill in action, or even sign up for a baking course.

Address - Little Salkeld, near Penrith, CA10 1NN 

Contact: 01768 881523 - organicmill.co.uk

Prices - £4—£8.

Open: 10.30am to 5pm, no need to book


Rampsbeck Hotel

This AA 4 Star two Rosette hotel overlooking Ullswater has a restaurant to match its qyality accommodation. Head chef, Ben Wilkinson, trained with French chefs and in Michelin-starred restaurants creates classical food with modern methods. Quality comes first, with seasonality and local provenance a close second and third. The result is sophisticated dishes that dazzle in their simplicity, defining the taste of the Lake District.

Address - Rampsbeck Hotel, Watermillock, Ullswater, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0LP

Contact - 01768 486442 - www.rampsbeck.co.uk/eat/  

Prices - £51 - £68

Reservation - Adviseable

The Old Crown

The Old Crown is located in the picturesque Cumbrian village of Hesket Newmarket, on the northern edge of the Lake District National Park.The pub became famous in 2003 when it became Britain’s first registered co-operatively owned pub, more so when it was visited not once but twice by HRH Prince Charles, quoting it as his favourite Cumbrian pub.

It is owned by a collective of around 150 local, national and even international customers and supporters, serving the very best of real ales, most brewed by Hesket Newmarket Brewery which stands at the rear of the pub, as well as a selection of quality lagers, cider, wines and soft drinks. For dining there is a decent range of simple home cooked pub meals and snacks.

Address - The Old Crown, Hesket Newmarket, Nr Wigton, Cumbria CA7 8JG

Contact - 016974 78288 - gbrown007@hotmail.co.uk

Prices - £10 - £15


The Lakes Distillery & Bistro

Not to out done by Scotland or London, the Lakes Distillery makes its own whiskey and Gin and I believe sherry. You can take a tour of the site and the surrounds also dine at its bistro, a stylish venue offering light lunches and evening 3 course meals, all set in beautiful countryside next to Bassenthwaite lake. 

Adress - Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria CA13 9SJ

Contact - 017687 88852 - bistro at the distillery  

Prices - £35 - £50

Reservation - Adviseable


Sharrow Bay

Often thought as the Lake District’s jewel in the crown, Sharrow Bay was the first ever ‘country house hotel’. When the hotel first opened its doors in 1949, the then-owners, Francis Coulson and Brian Sack, brought to life their vision of a hotel whose guests feel utterly at home and those who come to dine would experience only the very best. Under new ownership the ethos of Francis and Brian carries on where you can enjoy fine dining in one of the most delightful locations overlooking Ullswater. 

Dining is not cheap, where many choose to opt for the afternoon tea, a less expensive way of enjoying the Sharrow experience and in winter you can still see the lake..

Adress - Ullswater Penrith Cumbria CA10 2LZ

Contact - 01768 486301 - www.sharrowbayresaurant 

Prices - £65 - £95

Reservation - Essential


George & Dragon, Clifton 

A smart pub with a growing foodie reputation and named 2014 Dining Pub of the Year by Cumbria Life Magazine. Located on the Lowther Estate near the market town of Penrith, it offers flagstone floors and chunky wooden furniture to give a cosy period character. With a happy list of daily specials with most ingredients sourced from local suppliers or the nearby Askham Estate, the chef takes country dishes with a European twist to adda bit of excitement to the menu — Askham-reared Saddleback pork “osso buco”, for example, or Lowther venison liver with truffled potatoes. 

Address: Clifton, CA10 2ER


Contact: 01768 865381; georgeanddragonclifton.co.uk

Prices: mains £7.95 to £19.95

Open: lunch 12pm-2.30pm, dinner 6pm-9pm

Reservations: advisable


Tell Us About Your Lake District Favourite Dining Experience

We want our list to grow to help visitors decide where to dine. If you have had a good experience then drop us a line or post it on our Facebook page








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