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Your guide to the best of the Lake District's Cafes and Bars

This is a guide to the cafes and bars that offer something a little special or unusual in the Lake District. We've included all kinds of places, all kinds of choices, and all of price ranges. The one thing that all these places have in common is that they offer tasty eating, a pleasant environment, and value for money.

If you've enjoyed a cafe or bar and you'd like us to review it, send your comments and observations (good or bad) to
If you're a restaurateur or hotelier, please contact:

South Lake District Cafes and Bars

Kendal / Kirkby Lonsdale - The HideAway Coffee House

A recent development on the South Lakes scene, but also convenient for the West of Yorkshire, this coffee house serves delicious snacks and light meals, together with a whole host of goodies and sweet treats - and of course excellent coffee! But the delightful food is not the only attraction: the views are great, and the canal runs just a few yards away from the restaurant. This great place serves local food, lovingly prepared and attractively presented. Highly recommended.

To find the Hideaway, travel from Junction 36 of the M6 along the A65 towards Kirkby Lonsdale. Go straight over Crooklands roundabout and the cafe is approximately 500 yards up the on the right hand side, less than one minute from the motorway.

Phone: 015395 67434 Web:

Kendal - Pumpkins Bistro

Pumpkins has a special emphasis on vegetarian food but they're also very happy to accommodate individual dietary requirements upon request. The restaurant is licensed and has a pleasant ambience enhanced by attractive artwork, some by a local artist, which gives it a Mediterranean feel. The menus are varied and very reasonably priced, all the food is sourced locally and the meat is predominately produced in Cumbria. Eggs are sourced from free range "happy hens", and they grow a considerable amount of the vegetables used during the summer months. Opening times are Monday to Wednesday 9.30am until 5.00pm and Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9.30am until 8.30pm. They even open other nights of the week for larger bookings (with the exception of Sundays).

Pumpkins Bistro, 7 Allhallows Lane, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4JH
Phone 01539 728722 for reservations and enquiries.

Kendal - The New Moon

A super little bistro/restaurant, serving local food with a sharp contemporary edge. Good for vegetarians and fish lovers. It's got something of a reputation as the local "foodies" choice!
The New Moon Restaurant, 129 Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4EN
Phone: 01539 729254 Web:

Kendal - Tapestry Tearooms

The award-winning vegetarian Tapestry Tearooms provides an eclectic mix of delicious food to suit all tastes. In November 2007 the Tapestry Tearooms received the Vegetarian Society Award for "Best Provision for Vegetarians at a Visitor Attraction". In May 2008 Cumbria Tourism awarded the Exhibition Centre & Tearooms "Small visitor Attraction of the Year 2008". Open all year Monday to Friday 10am - 4.30pm and some Saturdays.
Quaker Tapestry Exhibition Centre & Tearooms, Friends Meeting House, Stramongate, Kendal LA9 4BH
Phone: 01539 722975 Email: Web:

Kendal - 1657 Chocolate House

For all those chocoholics among you, the myriad of chocolate drinks and gateaux on sale here will keep you going for a fair while!
1657 Chocolate House, 54 Branthwaite Brow, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4TX
Phone: 01539 740702 Web:

Kendal - Farrer's Coffee House

A very long established and charming tea rooms associated with the tea and coffee merchants who've been in Kendal for a long, long time. And anyone who knows Kendal well probably knows Farrar's. In case you don't, suffice it to say that it's charming, with wooden floors and beamed ceilings (ancient ones!), an old-fashioned place where you get table service with a wide choice of teas and coffees, breads, home-made soup, salads, pies and snacks. Busy, so be prepared to wait or go early to avoid the lunchtime rush.
13 Stricklandgate, Kendal town centre.
Phone: 01539 731707 Web:

Sizergh, near Kendal - Low Sizergh Barn

Worth a visit for the farm shop selling organic and local produce - one of the biggest and best ranges you'll find in the North of England. But it also has a tea room, where you can get cakes, quiches, soups and salads, all of which are delicious. You can also see the cows being milked every day from 3.45pm. Very high quality fresh cakes, scones, soups, quiches, salads etc.
Southbound side of A591 dual carriageway, 4 miles from Kendal.
Phone: 015395 60426 Web:

Staveley - Wilf's Café

A jolly cafe in a courtyard setting in the charming village of Staveley. Highly recommended for its charm as well as its food! Has specialist nights (Mexican, Greek, Italian, and so on), and specialist themed evenings such as information on canoeing See:
Staveley Mill Yard, Staveley village centre, 5 miles from Windermere off the A591 towards Kendal.
Phone: 01539 822329 Web:

Ulverston - World Peace Café

Very good, vegetarian meals and snacks including falafels, sushi, kebabs, hummus, all kinds of salads, sandwiches and fresh cakes, and all at great prices! There's a Buddhist meditation centre upstairs, and you're made very welcome n the cafe.
Cavendish Street, centre of Ulverston
Phone: 01229 587793 Web:

Brantwood, Coniston - Jumping Jenny Coffee House

This is a really pleasant little spot, attached to Brantwood (but you can get in without visiting the house). You can enjoy delicious food, snacks and light meals while savouring the fantastic view over Coniston.
Eastern side of Coniston Water, 2 miles from Coniston, off B5285 towards Hawkshead.
Phone: 015394 41715

Coniston - The Bluebird Café

For snacks, sandwiches and other tasty treats in a lovely spot by the lake. You can also learn more about Bluebird and the ill-fated water speed record attempt by Donald Campbell as you eat your delicious food, perhaps dreaming of ascending the Old Man of Coniston in the distance.
Lake Road, Coniston, 0.5 mile south of town off the A593.
Phone: 015394 41649 Web:

Bowness - Booth's Supermarket Café

Super modern café serving snacky type meals: you can get a great breakfast before you go off to the fells!
Behind Windermere Railway Station on A591.
Phone: 015394 46114

Windermere - Brockhole Lake District National Park Visitor Centre, Café and Gardens

On the terrace of this very special building, situated in one of the most desirable spots in the Lakes, the cafe serves coffees, cakes, lunches and more. The gardens are well worth a stroll, and the visitor centre itself gives an insight into the history and culture of the Lake District. Closed November to March.
Ambleside Road, 1 mile from Windermere on A591. Phone: 015394 46601. Web: Lake District Visitor Centre At Brockhole

Windermere - Daryl's cafe

A reader emails: "Hi, Daryl's Cafe, at the foot of Orrest Head in Windermere has been run by Darryl for over 20 years, and is the earliest opening cafe in the area at 8 am (and he'll even open earlier for you on request! - how's that for service?) so you can get a big early breakfast before tackling the big mountains, and it is the only place that offers a left luggage service. The cafe is only 100 metres from Windermere railway station."
Here's an entry I found on a blog: "While looking for a place to have some dinner I found Daryl's, which is, in my opinion, the best cafe in the Lake District. It's just over the road and down the hill from Windermere train station on the opposite side of the A591 to the Windermere Hotel. It's a greasy spoon cafe that's cheap and cheerful with a menu consisting mainly of fried food, chips and soup. It's like time stopped a few decades ago and inflation seems to have passed over it as well. It cost me just over £2 to have a triple decker bacon and egg sandwich with tea. The cafe's well worth a visit, and conveniently it's open from 8 until 6 every day except on Sundays."

Central Lake District Cafes and Bars

Skelwith Bridge, Langdale - Chesters Café

Aha! My favourite Lake District cafe! We discovered it a few years ago after a cold, wintry walk around Loughrigg Tarn on New Year's eve, and it's never let us down since. The cakes are superb, the meals delicious, and the setting fantastic. Highly recommended.
Skelwith Bridge, 2 miles from Ambleside on A593.
Phone: 015394 32553
Email: Web:

Ambleside - Zefferelli's

With cinema, pizzeria, and cafe, this is a complete entertainment centre! The cafe is famous for its inventive veggie food - and everyone, including devoted meat eaters, will find something to tickle their tastebuds, for there's lots of choice to satisfy even the heartiest appetite. Highly recommended.
Compston Road, Ambleside (on left of one-way street coming into town centre from Windermere).
Phone: 015394 33845 Web:

Ambleside - The Apple Pie Eating House & Bakery

Very pleasant place - part bakery, with an enormous choice of pies, pastries, bread and so on, and part cafe, serving good, simple food. A great place to refuel after a walk.
Rydal Road, Ambleside (on left of main road leaving town centre towards Grasmere).
Phone: 015394 33679

Grasmere - Miller Howe Cafe

This is an especial favourite of ours, which we discovered a few years ago while staying at Lancrigg, the vegetarian hotel just up the road. We'd been walking all day and then came across Miller Howe, recently opened, on the edge of the Green in the centre of Grasmere, and enjoyed an unexpected and delightful lunch. We've been back many times since, and it always delights. They have a range of inventive and tempting main courses as well as snacks.
Phone: 015394 35234

Grasmere - Baldry's Café

A tiny room, decked out in jolly Provencal colours, serving baguettes, scones, tarts, sandwiches and homemade cakes. All of which are absolutely delicious! Highly recommended.
Red Lion Square, centre of Grasmere Village, 3 miles from Ambleside, off A591.
Phone: 015394 35301

Eastern Lake District - towards Ullswater - Cafes and Bars

Glenridding - Fellbites Cafe

This stylish cafe, located in the car park in the centre of the village, serves breakfast from 9.00 then lunches and dinners, using locally sourced meats and fish. Highly recommended.
Phone: 017684 82664

Glenridding - Greystones Coffee House & Gallery

One of the most welcome sights of my life was the warmly lit windows of Greystones in the distance as we came down off Helvellyn one winter's afternoon, frozen and wet. Hot chocolate and cake served to thaw us out and get us ready for the walk home! It's now been refurbished and improved, and served delicious snacks as well as more substantial food and excellent coffee and tea. Highly recommended.
Phone: 017684 82392 Web:

North Lake District Cafes and Bars

Keswick - Cafe Bar 26

The contemporary cafe bar has reached Keswick, with this colourful and stylish cafe which serves lunch and dinner. It's a short menu but a reasonably wide ranging one, and the food is well-executed. Recommended.
26 Lake Road Phone: 017687 80863 Web:

Keswick - Loose Box Pizzeria

Pizza and pasta. Spaghetti. Simple, rustic food in a pleasant environment, for a filling, tasty meal and a pleasant evening out. Recommended.
King's Arms Courtyard, Main Street. Phone: 017687 72083

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