Dine out at these Lake District restaurants

Food and Drink

Posted by Kate A on 25th November 2019

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 treading the Lake District’s scenic trails and exploring the area’s 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 Michelin-star dining experience, a cosy gastropub, or a chic bistro, 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:

The Cottage in the Wood, Whinlatter

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.

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


Enchantingly hidden in Whinlatter mountain 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 fine dining restaurant in the Lake District is a celebration of the very best of Cumbria’s bounty. Its 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.

Accommodation nearby: Twentyman Court | Sleeps 3

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Fellinis, Ambleside

Best for: Vegetarians and vegans

Price: ££

Signature dish: Risotto with fig and prosecco, served with crumbled goat cheese.

Fellinis credit: Instagram @zeffsfellinis


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. Here, 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.

Accommodation nearby: Carr Crag Cottage | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

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L'Enclume, Cartmel

Best for: Special occasions

Price: £££££

Signature dish: A few of the dishes from the tasting menu include tomatoes preserved in rosehip, nasturtium, and lobster tail, followed by glazed hen of the woods, bay shrimp, and oxalis, and Jan king cabbage, fermented mushroom, and wasabi.

L'Enclume credit: Instagram @lenclume


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.

Accommodation nearby: Wharton Loft | Sleeps 2

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The Punch Bowl Inn, Crosthwaite

Best for: A family meal

Price: ££££

Signature dish: Roast Lakeland venison, beetroot puree, purple kale, salsify, and blackcurrant venison jus.

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


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, this relaxed country inn in Crosthwaite is 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!

Accommodation nearby: Damson Retreat | Sleeps 14 + 2 dogs

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The Forest Side, Grasmere

Best for: Big celebrations

Price: £££££

Signature dish: A few of the dishes from the tasting menu include langoustine, bath chaps and white onion, followed by tartare of deer, English caviar and cured yolk turbot, and kohlrabi, cockle and clams.

The Forest Side
The Forest Side credit: Instagram @the_forest_side


The dining experience at The Forest Side in Grasmere is every bit as grand as its magnificent mansion house exterior. Another of the Lake District’s Michelin-starred restaurants, 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.

Accommodation nearby: Hawkshead Hall | Sleeps 8 + 3 dogs

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The Old Stamp House Restaurant, Ambleside

Best for: Local specialities

Price: ££££

Signature dish: Yew Tree Farm Herdwick Hogget served with girolles, Roscoff onion and artichoke. 

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


Set within the hallowed confines of William Wordsworth’s former workplace in Ambleside, 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 here 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.

Accommodation nearby: Moss Beck Cottage | Sleeps 4

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Hooked, Windermere

Best for: Fish and seafood lovers

Price: £££

Signature dish: Pan-fried scallops and slow-braised pig’s cheek.

Hooked credit: Instagram @hookedwindermere


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 to book during your visit. Melt-in-the-mouth dishes include shrimps from Morecambe Bay, Cajun swordfish steak, and chalk stream trout served with mango salsa.

Accommodation nearby: The Pavilion At Applethwaite Hall | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

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The Drunken Duck, near Hawkshead

Best for: Casual dining

Price: £££

Signature dish: Confit duck leg, white bean cassoulet, and sourdough crumb.

The Drunken Duck
The Drunken Duck credit: Instagram @drunkenduckinn


Long one of the Lakes' premier dining destinations, this renowned gastropub near Hawkshead is serious about food, drink and hospitality. Lunchtime is a relaxed affair, perfect after a morning’s ramble through the fells, while evening meals are something else with its 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.

Accommodation nearby: Bridge View Cottage | Sleeps 5

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Foodie holidays in the Lake District

The Pavilion At Applethwaite Hall
The Pavilion At Applethwaite Hall 


If you have an appetite for a foodie break in the Lakes, our collection of holiday cottages in the Lake District are the 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.

View more Lake District cottages


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’.

Make sure to read our completed Lake District Guide.

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.