Best-of Guides Cumbria

The Best Restaurants in Cumbria

13 Restaurants
Tucked up in the northwestern corner of England, Cumbria has provided inspiration over several centuries for painters and poets alike. Today, it is the culinary artists of the UK who have settled here. Home of the Lake District National Park with its spectacular views, the Cumbrian countryside has proven to be fertile ground for seasonally minded chefs, who take advantage of the wealth of home-grown ingredients and artisan producers across the county. Few areas can boast as many Michelin Starred restaurants as Cumbria, and it continues to help lead the way in British gastronomy.
Updated on 22 March 2024
Allium at Askham Hall
CA10 2PF Askham
££££ · Modern British

One of the many Cumbrian restaurants that knows how to make the most of its county’s produce, Allium sits within a 14th century pele tower at Askham Hall – itself part of the Lowther Estate – and benefits greatly from this setting. They use game and livestock from the estate and trout from the streams, alongside the best seasonal ingredients recommended by the gardener. Local Chef Richard Swale brings a classical cooking style to these raw materials, with sauces being a particular strength and elevating every dish. It’s worth staying over in one of their classically furnished rooms and investigating the impressively extensive wine cellar.

Cedar Tree by Hrishikesh Desai
Farlam Hall Hotel, Hallbankgate, CA8 2NG Brampton
££££ · Modern Cuisine

For many diners, Cumbria and the Lake District may seem interchangeable, but there’s far more to this county than that particularly picturesque pocket. Up in the far north of Cumbria, nearer to the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty than to the Lakes, is this restaurant nestled inside Farlam Hall Hotel. Cedar Tree won its first Michelin Star in 2024, but the eponymous Chef is no stranger to the award, having held a Star for six years while working at Gilpin Hotel. He specialises in Indian-influenced dishes that demonstrate his considerable skill and experience.

Cottage in the Wood
Magic Hill, Whinlatter Forest, CA12 5TW Braithwaite
££££ · Modern British

As you work your way up the steep, narrow pass from the village of Braithwaite to the Whinlatter Forest, you'll come across this black and white roadside inn. A great spot for dining with a view, its elevated position provides ample opportunity to look out over the valley and fells from its conservatory. Head Chef Jack Bond delivers confident, assured cooking that allows the natural flavours of the high-quality ingredients to shine. In winter, you can swap the conservatory for the dining room and a cosier countryside feel.

Dog and Gun Inn
CA11 9SE Skelton
£££ · British Contemporary

Ben Queen-Fryer has most certainly put the tiny village of Skelton on the map since taking over this cosy and traditional pub. His skill as a chef and love of the craft has helped to bring Michelin Star cuisine to the area, via his no-nonsense and flavour-packed dishes. The likes of suet puddings, soufflés and magnificent triple-cooked chips help make up the menu of hearty, satisfying food, which is priced at an affordable level for such high-quality cooking. Ben makes great use of Cumbrian produce too, including fish caught at nearby Maryport – a good reminder that much of this beautiful county overlooks the Irish Sea.

Forest Side
Keswick Road, LA22 9RN Grasmere
££££ · Modern British

The village of Grasmere, the beloved home of Wordsworth himself, is the setting for this Lakeland mansion that houses both a hotel and this Michelin-Starred restaurant. Sustainability is part of their ethos, so the chefs embrace seasonality to the full and benefit greatly from their Victorian kitchen garden. The food they create has a purity of flavour that really shines through in well-balanced and creative dishes that showcase great skill. Dinner in the rustic dining room is a 3-hours-plus experience, which makes booking one of the 20 elegantly appointed bedrooms all the more tempting.

Click here to book your stay at Forest Side.

LA11 6JH Newton in Cartmel
££££ · Modern British

Kevin Tickle forged a stellar pedigree for himself working in several notable Cumbrian kitchens before teaming up with his wife Nicola to open their own restaurant. Both were born and bred in the county and have a great understanding of the local landscape; in return, Cumbria provides them with the top-class produce that powers their menu. Served inside a characterful and sympathetically restored 17th century village pub, Kevin’s dishes are original and imaginative, with a great depth of flavour underpinning the playfulness. The cooking is seasonally influenced, with Kevin’s local foraging knowledge playing a key role in what he creates.

Lake Road Kitchen
Lake Road, LA22 0AD Ambleside
££££ · Creative

When this intimate restaurant won its first Michelin Star in 2024, it became the second Starred restaurant in the little town of Ambleside alone. There’s another just outside the centre, with this triumvirate providing proof – if you ever needed it – of the Lake District’s magnificent culinary riches. The restaurant itself draws inspiration from both the local area – the Lakeland produce is of admirable quality – and further afield, with Japanese influences aplenty in the cooking. The detailed explanation of each dish is an indicator of how much pride and passion has been poured in here.

Cavendish Street, LA11 6QA Cartmel
££££ · Creative British

Few chefs are as closely associated with a county as Simon Rogan is with Cumbria. It has been 25 years since he decided to make Cartmel his home, and what a journey he’s been on since. His constantly evolving flagship restaurant has been satisfying customers for years, thanks to the dedication and energy of the kitchen. There is an exquisite level of finesse and wonderful depth of flavour in every plate, all refined to the highest level. L'Enclume has helped to make Cumbria a key part of the British culinary map, and Simon has achieved this feat with the help of the local area and his nearby 12-acre farm. This commitment to local and sustainable produce has also earned his restaurant a Michelin Green Star.

Old Stamp House
Church Street, LA22 OBU Ambleside
£££ · Modern Cuisine

Tucked away amongst Ambleside's shops, in the heart of the Lake District, is a piece of literary and Cumbrian history. In the same tiny house where this Michelin-Starred restaurant now sits, Romantic poet William Wordsworth worked as the Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland. Today, it is filled with great cooking and happy diners, as owners – and brothers – Ryan and Craig Blackburn, show their passion for the local area. Ryan is the Head Chef and brings real skill to carefully balancing both bold and delicate flavours, while also taking on a sustainable approach. Each dish has a story – some historic and some personal – on a menu appropriately named ‘A Journey Around Cumbria’.

Staying the night? The Michelin-recommended Rothay Manor Hotel is within walking distance of the restaurant.

Pentonbridge Inn
CA6 5QB Penton
££££ · Modern British

Located in the far north of the county, this hidden gem is in what locals refer to as the ‘debatable lands’ near the Anglo-Scottish border. Less debatable is the quality of the cooking here under Head Chef Chris Archer. Using plenty of local and seasonal produce from nearby Netherby Hall, Chris applies his knowledge of flavours and textures to create confident and accomplished dishes. There is a simplicity to the food, where gimmicks are eschewed in favour of well-judged combinations. There is a stylish, modern edge to the conversion of this 18th century inn, which extends from the restaurant out to the bar and bedrooms.

Rogan & Co
Devonshire Square, LA11 6QD Cartmel
£££ · Creative British

It may sit just a short walk away from L’Enclume, but Rogan & Co more than holds its own. Just like its older sibling, it makes great use of home-grown produce. Simon Rogan’s influence on the cooking is evident, with creative flavour combinations running throughout, but the dishes here are a little more straightforward. The focus on each main ingredient really allows the natural flavours to shine thanks to such skilful cooking behind the scenes. There is a more laid-back approach in general here, with a cosy, easy-going charm, and characterful wooden beams and roaring fires inside a pretty cottage setting.

SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel
Crook Road, LA23 3NE Bowness-on-Windermere
££££ · Modern Cuisine

Sat inside a luxury country house hotel that’s run with pride and passion, SOURCE is located just outside the pretty town of Bowness on Windermere and is well worth a stop when touring the area. Chef Ollie Bridgwater came here from The Fat Duck and brings plenty of sophistication to the food, whilst also managing to resist the temptation for over-complication. His dishes are precise and restrained, allowing the distinct, natural flavours to shine through. The relaxed and homely feel of the Gilpin Hotel in which it sits, pairs well with the restaurant's friendly and enthusiastic service.

The Samling
Ambleside Road, LA23 1LR Ambleside
££££ · Modern Cuisine

If you’ve come to Cumbria for gorgeous lake views, then there’s nowhere better to find them than here. Set in a modern slate and glass extension to an old country house, The Samling's elevated position and full-length windows provide an enviable outlook down Lake Winderemere – and the food is certainly a match for the view. Cooking gives more than a nod to the local area, whilst delivering dishes full of depth and refinement. The subtle blending of classic and modern techniques is skilfully done, with desserts being a particular highlight.

Click here to book your stay at The Samling Hotel, which is part of our hotel selection.