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. The Lake District’s best restaurants 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 your reason for visiting this stunning place, make sure to dine like a king/queen with our list of the best restaurants in the Lake District.

Updated on 07 February 2023

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 with waiting lists months long, as well as 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.

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L'Enclume

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

The jewel in Simon Rogan’s crown has got to be three Michelin-starred L’Enclume, known for its sustainable approach, hyper-seasonal produce and, of course, its mind-bogglingly innovative menu. Dishes include the likes of seaweed custard, beef broth, bone marrow, Porlock oysters and its own blend of caviar. 

Over £80
Modern European
British
Three Michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Old Stamp House

The Old Stamp House

Church Street, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0BU

This intimate 28-cover restaurant opened its doors in 2014 to offer guests a taste of Cumbrian food and heritage. It gained a Michelin star in 2019 for its dedicated to quality ingredients, carefully chosen wines and dishes that remain true to its ethos. 

£30 - £49
British
One Michelin star
Forest Side

Forest Side

The Forest Side Hotel, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9RN

Nowhere is a restaurant’s commitment to nature and ingredients better demonstrated than at Forest Side, where guests can actually see chefs foraging in the grounds, nabbing ingredients from the kitchen garden or wild surroundings. Such freshness shines through on every plate for a true taste of the English countryside.  

Over £80
Modern European
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Samling

The Samling

Ambleside Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LR

We urge you to spend a weekend at The Samling, a luxury country house hotel which describes itself as ‘easy to get to, difficult to leave’. The restaurant offers pitch-perfect fine dining made with local ingredients, but it’s that lakeside view that really makes dining here memorable.  

£50 - £79
Modern European
One Michelin star
The Cottage in the Wood

The Cottage in the Wood

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

The name of this Keswick gem might not be overly inventive, but the cooking at Michelin-starred The Cottage in the Wood is sure to be like nothing you’ve experienced before. Surrounded by a tranquil woodland setting, the kitchen team turn out perfectly-formed dishes using the best seasonal produce.  

Over £80
British
One Michelin star
Rogan & Co

Rogan & Co

Devonshire Square, Cartmel, Cumbria, LA11 6QD

Simon Rogan’s neighbourhood eatery in Carmel boasts one Michelin star and exemplifies the skill, style and techniques the chef has become known for. Local Lake District produce is given the best chance possible in the hands of the kitchen team. 

£30 - £49
Modern European
One Michelin star
Hrishi and Gilpin Spice

Hrishi and Gilpin Spice

Crook Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3NE

If you’d like a visual representation that food can indeed be art, look no further than the plates at Michelin-starred Hrishi and Gilpin Spice. Modern British cooking is elevated with Asian flavours via a succession of clever riffs with exotic overtones.  

Over £80
Modern European
International
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Holbeck Ghyll

Holbeck Ghyll

Holbeck Lane, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA23 1LU

Enjoy stunning views of Lake Windermere while you dine at this Victorian country house hotel, which offers both fine dining and more casual menus. Take a seat in the old-school dining room for classic dishes such as lemon sole with fregola, caper, parsley and brown butter.  

Over £80
Modern European
British
Lake Road Kitchen

Lake Road Kitchen

Lake Road, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0AD

This multi-awarding winning Ambleside restaurant only serves two tasting menus (eight- or 12-courses) with chef James Cross at the fore of the kitchen. Stop by for hyper-seasonal, climatically local cooking from a chef at the top of his game. 

£50 - £79
Modern European
One Michelin star
Heft

Heft

High Newton, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6JH

Nestled within the Lake District National Park, Heft is a gastropub that’s been beautifully restored to offer a traditional British inn feel. Serving tasting menus for lunch and dinner, each dish has been inspired by the surrounding area and head chef Kevin Tickle’s love of the English countryside.

Over £80
British
Gastropub
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100

It's no secret that the Lake District's dining scene is chock-full of Michelin-starred restaurants, making it one of the best places in the country for top-class food. Continue your research with our guide to every single Michelin-starred restaurant in the UK for the very best in British gastronomy. 

Prefer to stay close to the local area? We've got lists for the best restaurants in Windermere as well as plenty of places to eat in Keswick. Take your pick from SquareMeal's curated restaurant guides complete with reviews, photos, opening hours and more. 

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