Best restaurants in the Lake District

The Lake District is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK, famed for its picturesque landscapes and clutch of fantastic restaurants in equal measure. Restaurants in the Lake District range from cosy and casual gastropubs to those which plant their flags firmly in special occasion territory. The area is home to ancient woodlands, rolling hills and vast bodies of water, with the Lake District being particularly popular for ramblers, hikers and those holidaying in mobile homes. Whatever reason you have decided to visit the Lake District, there is bound to be a restaurant here that’s perfect for you.

Updated on 11 May 2021

The breathtaking scenery of the Lake District may well be a huge part of its appeal to holidaymakers, but the area is as famous for its restaurants as its picture postcard surrounds. The Lake District occupies a unique space within the UK restaurant scene, being that rare place which houses Michelin awarded fine dining haunts that have waiting lists months long just a few minutes drive away from rustic country pubs and charming cafes which mostly trade on walk-ins.

Whether you are on the hunt for a tasting menu that will blow your socks off or just looking for a hearty pie and a pint, one thing you can always be sure of in the Lake District is a steadfast commitment to local sourcing and the use of high-quality ingredients. Virtually all Lake District restaurants take advantage of the area’s abundant natural larder, with several dining rooms in the area actually boasting their own vegetable gardens or farms which underpin their food offering. Many restaurants in the Lake District also offer accommodation for diners who are looking to make a weekend of it, while there are even a few bargains to be found among the sea of pricey establishments. Check out our pick of the best restaurants in the Lake District below.

Fellinis

Fellinis

Fellinis, Ambleside, LA22 9AD

Thought vegetarians would struggle to find a restaurant in the Lake District? Think again. Fellinis Mediterranean inspired fare will convert even the most resolute carnivores. Don’t forget to check out the on-site arthouse cinema either.

£50 - £79
Mediterranean
Vegetarian
The Drunken Duck Inn

The Drunken Duck Inn

The Drunken Duck Inn & Restaurant, Barngates, Ambleside, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0NG

With its gorgeous views and roaring fires, The Drunken Duck feels like a typical countryside boozer. The menu is a cut-above standard pub grub though - think pork belly with pudding, baked celeriac, truffle and crackling.

£30 - £49
Modern European
Lake Road Kitchen

Lake Road Kitchen

Lake Road, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0AD

Local produce, pickling jars, plus a constantly changing (yet ever impressive) menu means Lake Road Kitchen ticks all the boxes of a zeitgeist-hugging special occasion restaurant that could only call the Lake District home.

£50 - £79
Modern European
Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

Unit 4, Berrys Yard 27, Finkle Street, Kendal, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4AB

The Lake District isn’t all Michelin frippery. Satisfy your comfort food cravings with this casual takeaway cafe serving up warming bowls of soups, cheese-stuffed toasties and a la mode brunch dishes, all at reasonable prices.

Under £30
Mediterranean
Eastern European
The Cottage in the Wood

The Cottage in the Wood

Whinlatter Forest, Braithwaite, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5TW

A smartly converted 17th century coaching inn acts as the home to this popular Michelin starred restaurant with rooms, where chef Ben Wilkinson’s menu reads as an ode to Cumbria and its bountiful natural larder.

£30 - £49
British
Holbeck Ghyll

Holbeck Ghyll

Holbeck Lane, Windermere, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA23 1LU

A traditional country house hotel with stunning lake views, Holbeck Ghyll is all about tradition at first glance, but its menu is surprisingly up to the minute, making the most of local and seasonal produce.

Over £80
French
Rogan & Co

Rogan & Co

Devonshire Square, Cartmel, Cumbria, LA11 6QD

Although hardly a cheap eat, this is a decidedly more relaxed sibling to L’Enclume which offers elegant, yet comforting dishes. On our visit, meaty lamb croquettes and creamy baked cheesecake with spiced pineapple were highlights.

£30 - £49
Modern European
One Michelin star
Pentonbridge Inn

Pentonbridge Inn

Penton, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA6 5QB

Only a half hour’s drive from the Lake District, you’ll find this cosy restaurant with rooms where the motto is ‘refined, yet relaxed dining’. Don’t miss the traditional three-course Sunday lunch, complete with all trimmings.

£50 - £79
Gastropub
The Punchbowl Inn & Restaurant

The Punchbowl Inn & Restaurant

Crosthwaite, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8HR

The interiors here might seem like a ‘gastropub by numbers’ effort, but the food is far from ubiquitous. Tuck into the likes of herb crusted halibut served alongside sauté leeks, confit potato and parsley sauce.

£30 - £49
British
The Old Stamp House

The Old Stamp House

Church Street, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0BU

Showcasing chef Ryan Blackburn’s love of Cumbrian produce, this intimate Michelin-starred haunt (there’s room for just 28 diners) serves seasonal tasting menus underpinned by the finest British ingredients, alongside a pleasingly diverse international wine list.

£30 - £49
British
One Michelin star
Hipping Hall

Hipping Hall

Cowan Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire, LA6 2JJ

Straddling the borders of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, Hipping Hall’s grand, historic dining room conjures up images of gut-busting medieval banquets. Instead, the kitchen turns out a refreshingly simple, ingredient-led offering that delivers.

Over £80
British
Masons Arms

Masons Arms

Strawberry Bank Cartmell Fell Lake District, Unknown, Cumbria, LA11 6NW

A much-loved Cumbrian staple, the Masons Arms boasts quaint interiors and Lakeland views in every direction, as well as a menu full of crowd-pleasing and well executed pub classics. Don’t miss the sticky toffee pudding.

Under £30
British
L

L'Enclume

Cavendish Street, Cartmel, Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6PZ

Few Lakeland restaurants come more accomplished than Simon Rogan’s two Michelin-starred L’Enclume and rightfully so - the tasting menu here (dictated by produce from Rogan’s own organic farm) is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Over £80
British
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Jumble Room

The Jumble Room

Langdale Road, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9SU

The menu is just as eclectic as the hodge podge dining room at this casual, comforting restaurant which won’t break the bank. Stick to tradition with fish pie or choose adventure with mango chicken curry.

£30 - £49
Modern European
Gastropub
Hrishi and Gilpin Spice

Hrishi and Gilpin Spice

Crook Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3NE

Seasonal British ingredients are married with Asian flavours at this Michelin-starred restaurant, which serves a decidedly Cumbrian afternoon tea in the day and a high-end tasting menu come evening. There’s an impressive wine list too.

£50 - £79
Pan-Asian
International
Indian
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Parkers Arms

Parkers Arms

Hallgate Hill, Newton-in-Bowland, Lancashire, BB7 3DY

The Lake District is famous for fine-dining, but this picturesque country inn is best known for its humble pies, changed daily, paired with chips or mash and best washed down with a local cask ale.

£30 - £49
Gastropub
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Samling

The Samling

Ambleside Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LR

Set on a 67 acre estate overlooking Windermere, The Samling blends the traditional with the contemporary. Here, you’ll find the a la mode likes of roasted aubergine and feta ciabatta alongside traditional fish and chips.

£50 - £79
Modern European
Askham Hall

Askham Hall

Askham, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2PF

A romantic manor house provides the backdrop to a menu that is a pure, unadulterated celebration of British produce - think the likes of grilled Cornish turbot with cods roe and truffle. Vegetarian menu also available.

£50 - £79
British
Forest Side

Forest Side

Wildsmith Hotel, Keswick Road, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9RN

A Victorian gothic mansion set in 40 acres of manicured grounds provides an arresting and appropriate backdrop for Forest Side restaurant, where the menu is underpinned by foraged finds, local produce and warm, thoughtful service.

Over £80
British

Prefer a sunnier staycation? Check out our pick of the best restaurants in St Ives.