Visiting the Lakes doesn’t have to limit you to outdoor activities and adventures on the water. The area has plenty of quaint, historical and attractive towns to visit, along with some notable eating places, including some serving Michelin-standard food.

 

Fine Food and Inventive Meals

Near Windermere is Holbeck Ghyll, a 19th century country mansion serving up Gallic-styled gourmet food. It has a Michelin Star and is heavily in demand. The imposing oak-panelled dining room looks out over Lake Windermere. Save up for a special treat on your holiday and remember to book well in advance.

The Drunken Duck Inn is located high above Ambleside, at a crossroads. It’s traditional rural setting doesn’t however, prepare the visitor for the sheer quality of its food. There’s plenty of traditional British meaty fare and accompanyingreal ales on offer. Queue without booking at lunchtime, or reserve a table in the evening.

The more eclectically-minded Jumble Room at Grasmere mixes up styles in both décor and cuisine. There are plenty of Asian-inspired dishes alongside traditional fish and chips and steak. The restaurant is now celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Chef Simon Rogan runs L’Enclume in Cartmel. Here he serves up modern British cuisine with an experimental twist on traditional, seasonal ingredients. He also has a nearby bistro, Rogan and Company and gastro pub, The Pig & Whistle – both are highly recommended.

A good eatery for those with more of a budget-minded appetite is the Hawkshead Brewery at Stavely. The beer hall here now has a kitchen with a menu originally devised by a former head chef at Le Gavroche. The food is self-styled “beer tapas” and includes smaller plates of meat and fish. This all goes down a treat with a selection of locally brewed ales.

 

Local Places to Visit and Enjoy

Kirkby Lonsdale is one of Cumbria’s smallest market towns, but in this case small really is beautiful. It feels rural and unspoiled but has enough independent, artisan shops and places to eat to attract the discerning visitor. Sitting between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, it’s something of a gateway between the two.

Beside Derwentwater, Keswick is a bustling local town that serves as a great base for outdoor activities in the surrounding area, but is also worth a visit on its own merits. The Keswick Museum and Art Gallery has a had a recent facelift and runs intriguing exhibitions alongside collections of archaeological finds, fine art an industrial and social history. There is also the successful Theatre By The Lake, with a programme running throughout the year. Keswick also boast plenty of interesting local shops, restaurants and cafes.

Ambleside is useful base for anyone exploring the Lakes, while also providing a wide range of local amenities and activities, including plenty of shops and restaurants. Nearby are the ruins of a Roman fort and the beautiful woodland location of Stagshaw Gardens.

Perhaps the most famous Lake District settlement is Grasmere, due to its connections with William Wordsworth. The poet and his family lived here, and both are buried in the local churchyard at St Oswald’s. Grasmere It is full of picturesque charm, if it does get a little busy in high tourist season. Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread Shop is not to be missed, as it boasts “the best gingerbread in the whole world.”