Situated in the northwest of England, Cumbria boasts miles of rugged coastline, dramatic peaks and charming lakes that have attracted creatives looking for inspiration and lovers of the outdoors for generations. Now, the rural county hosts the most Michelin star restaurants in the UK, leading the way in British gastronomy and positioning Cumbria at the centre of the foodie map.
Home to the Lake District National Park, the Cumbrian landscape has provided fertile ground for chefs who take advantage of the wealth of seasonal home-grown ingredients and the region’s farming heritage. Some of the best restaurants in the Lake District and Cumbria take inspiration from the surrounding landscapes, creating menus that excite all the senses all while maximising the use of locally sourced ingredients.
From Michelin Star restaurants to gastro pubs, Cumbria has them all but in this blog we are going to focus on the best fine dining spots in the region. So, whether you’re visiting the region or are lucky enough to call this beautiful part of the world ‘home’ consider this post your go-to guide for the best places to eat in Cumbria.
Residing near Lake Windermere in the heart of the Lake District, the Gilpin Hotel is home to both the Michelin Star restaurant SOURCE and Gilpin Spice. Following the arrival of Chef Ollie Bridgewater earlier this year along with his incredible culinary skills and passion for sourcing ingredients, SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel has received its first Michelin Star.
Menus at SOURCE feature sophisticated dishes that are not over-complicated with a focus on beautiful local produce, distinct flavours, seasonality, and sustainability. With innovative dishes and a magical atmosphere, SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel is one of the best places to eat in Windermere for the ultimate fine dining experience.
Pentonbridge Inn, on the outskirts of Carlisle in the very north of the county, is the latest Cumbrian restaurant to gain a Michelin Star. Head Chef Chris Archer’s unique style of modern British cuisine and love of seasonal local ingredients provide a menu of exquisite flavour combinations.
Offering an 8-course set tasting menu, Pentonbridge Inn highlights fantastic Cumbrian suppliers as well as home-grown produce from its walled garden at Netherby Hall. For fantastic seasonally changing Michelin Star food served in a casual fine dining setting, Pentonbridge Inn is a superb choice for keen foodies tasting their way around the county of Cumbria.
Situated in a former 13th century blacksmith workshop in Cartmel on the southern edge of the Lake District National Park, L’Enclume has received 3 Michelin Stars since it first opened in 2002. Owner Simon Rogan has achieved incredible success and his long-standing passion for home-grown, seasonal produce is reflected in the ever-evolving menus at his restaurants in Cartmel and beyond.
Dishes at L’Enclume prioritise flavour and ingredients that are connected to the surroundings and natural resources of its local area, utilising fresh produce from their farm which is located less than a mile away from the restaurant. L’Enclume, Cartmel offers an authentic taste of Cumbria and unmissable fine dining experience.
The Old Stamp House is an intimate 28 cover restaurant in Ambleside which occupies the cellars of an old house where the famous poet William Wordsworth used to work as the Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland. The restaurant celebrates its’ local surroundings and local farmers produce, making it one of the best restaurants in Ambleside.
The brothers behind the Old Stamp House, Ambleside, are head chef Ryan Blackburn and restaurant manager Craig Blackburn. Their passion for all things regional is summed up by the name of their tasting menu: ‘A Journey Around Cumbria’, offering a unique glimpse into the food and cultural heritage of Cumbria.
The Dog and Gun is an independent dining pub at the heart of the north Cumbrian village of Skelton, north of Penrith, attracting diners from Cumbria and beyond. This cosy gastro pub offers an a la carte menu as well as an impressive tasting menu which has seen the restaurant gain a Michelin Star.
The Dog and Gun, Skelton, is best described as a proper British pub, serving a range of imaginative and mouth-watering dishes inspired by the rural Cumbrian landscape. The chef-owner Ben Queen-fryer makes use of fresh local ingredients including seafood from Maryport and there is a selection of locally brewed beers on offer as well as a carefully curated choice of wines to compliment your meal.
Nestled away in Askham Hall, a beautiful 14th century home on the Lowther Estate near Penrith in the northern Lake District, Allium is a Michelin Star country kitchen style restaurant. Askham Hall itself is a lived-in family home and offers a rustic wedding barn for idyllic country weddings, offering an in-house wedding breakfast in the Michelin starred restaurant on your special day.
The talented chefs at Allium work with the seasons to grow, source and preserve the produce from their own gardens, surrounding farms and woodland. Locally born chef Richard Swale oversees the kitchen, offering an exquisite menu that is largely influenced by the produce grown on the estate.
Heft is a 17th century inn in the village of High Newton, near Grange-Over-Sands, which has been restored by Cumbrian couple Kevin and Nicola Tickle. The innovative menu at Heft, High Newton, is ever-changing depending on local produce and seasonal supply.
This warm and inviting restaurant serves classic British dishes based around locally sourced ingredients with a focus on tasting menus but small plates and snacks are available at the bar as well as a selection of local beers and wines. The inspiration for the restaurant’s 10-course tasting menu comes from the seasons, surroundings and Kevin’s foraging knowledge.
Tucked away in the village of Grasmere in the Lake District, Forest Side is one of 11 Michelin Star restaurants in Cumbria. From the outside, Forest Side Hotel Grasmere is a stately Victorian mansion surrounded by gardens and woodland and on the inside, you can expect a sleek and luxurious retreat.
The Forest Side Hotel offers an inventive fine dining experience, utilising local ingredients such as those foraged or grown on-site in the hotel’s vast kitchen garden and skilfully prepared by the talented team. This Grasmere restaurant is designed to be a reflection of the landscape in which it sits and the perfect location to immerse yourself in the colours, flavours and textures of Cumbria.
Sitting in the centre of Cartmel village, Rogan & Co is the laid-back sibling restaurant of Simon Rogan’s 3 Michelin-starred restaurant L’Enclume. Similar to Simon Rogan’s other restaurants, Rogan & Co focusses on utilising exceptional produce from trusted Cumbrian suppliers.
Having gained a Michelin Star in 2018, Rogan & Co is perfect for more relaxed dining, where the high-end comfort food, style of cooking and laid-back vibe attracts diners from all over the UK. There is a lunch menu, and a la carte menu and a Sunday lunch menu, but whichever menu you choose it is a lovely spot for a special occasion.
With fabulous Lakeland views, Cottage in the Wood is a Michelin Star restaurant on the way up the Whinlatter Pass above Keswick, near Braithwaite village. Not only is the Cottage in the Wood an excellent place to enjoy Michelin Star quality food but you can stay in one of their boutique style rooms in a welcoming natural setting in the northern Lake District.
Head Chef Sam Miller makes good use of Cumbria’s natural larder, showcasing the best of local produce with some Nordic influences. Dishes include Herdwick Hogget from the surrounding Cumbrian fells and fresh fish from the West Cumbrian harbours.
With a generous natural larder and an abundance of natural beauty, it’s no surprise Cumbria is home to some of the best fine dining restaurants in the UK. With Michelin Stars scattered across the county, Cumbria’s finest restaurants have seen Cumbria become a renowned foodie destination.
However, the food and drink culture in Cumbria extends far beyond the county’s world-famous fine dining restaurants. Made in Cumbria showcase the very best local food and drink suppliers in Cumbria and the Lake District including award-winning brewers, bakers, butchers, fishmongers and cheese makers who have built a reputation for quality and excellence.
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