Windermere is the biggest lake in the whole of the country. Because of that, tourists flock to the eponymous, popular Lake District town. The bustling town of Windermere has plenty of restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes, and bistros – somewhere to eat for every appetite. Below, we’ll lay out some of our favourites, divided into their price points – so there’s somewhere to head for a once-in-a-lifetime special meal and somewhere to choose when all you need is one of Windermere’s great cafes or pubs. Here’s our list of places to eat in Windermere.
We’ll start with our highest price point. With the most Michelin stars outside London, the Lake District is no stranger to the luxury market in hotels and restaurants, and Windermere is no different. Here are some of our favourite high-end dining restaurants in Windermere:
Based in luxury hotel LEEU-owned Linthwaite House, Michelin-starred Henrock is one of the four Simon Rogan offerings scattered around Cumbria, which provide the best dining experiences again and again. While Cartmel is famously home to three Michelin-starred L’Enclume and one-starred Rogan & Co, Henrock is an ‘informally elegant’ dining experience. The sample dinner menu is a set menu at £75pp, which allows diners to choose three courses alongside starter snacks, a pre-dessert, and petit fours to finish off. Rogan’s trademark exploration is on show in full force, as the menu offers courses such as ‘Toast of Cornish Hake, Glazed Shiitake, X.O., Smoked Help Broth & Lemon Thyme’, and ‘West Coast Skate Wing and Buckwheat, Mussels, Ponzu, Therador Wet Garlic, Sea Buckthorn’.
Linthwaite House, Crook Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3JA
Source @ Gilpin
Formerly headed up by Hrishikesh Desai, the Gilpin has been highly regarded (and Michelin-starred) for years. With a change of hands, Source succeeded in pulling off a bit of a coup, recruiting famous and talented chef Ollie Bridgwater to Cumbria after a decade at Heston Blumenthal’s three Michelin-starred The Fat Duck in Bray. Bridgwater succeeded in retaining the Gilpin’s Michelin star, despite a complete menu and style overhaul, only months after he stepped into the post. Expect innovative tastes such as the starter mouthful – a gin & tonic encapsulated in a popping sphere of cucumber jelly. Choose from the tasting menu, the plant-based tasting menu, a development lunch, or the a la carte. The tasting menu and plant-based alternative menus both come in at £120 per person before wine, whereas the development lunch is a great way to try out new dishes as the chefs’ experiment, and comes in at £60 per person.
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Crook Road, Windermere, The English Lake District
For £75 per person, enjoy Holbeck Ghyll’s five-course tasting menu. Featuring dishes such as ‘Hokkaido Bread | Seaweed Butter’, ‘Cumbrian Striploin | Capers | Celeriac | Squid’, and ‘Royale Pigeon | Beetroot | BBQ Leg | Radicchio’, your palate is bound to be excited and indulged to similar amounts. Alternatively, choose from the vegetarian menu, which is just as exciting – dishes include ‘Cauliflower | Black Garlic | Cauliflower | Romanesco | Apple’ and ‘Penny Bun Parfait | Thyme | Honey | Cep | Brioche’. Exciting and comforting, in equal measure.
Holbeck Ghyll, Holbeck Lane, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LU
The next section of our list offers a broader selection of price points depending on your preferences and is the perfect option for a date night or birthday treat.
This small bistro restaurant focuses on fish and shellfish. A slightly smaller menu gives way to a varied dinner menu, featuring everything from ‘Salt Cod Croquetas, Fritada, Serrano Crisp, Aioli’ and ‘Seared Scallops, Sweetcorn Puree, Confit Chorizo, Soused Leek’ to mains like Whole Grilled Native Lobster, Confit Garlic BUtter, Aioli, Charred Lemon, and French Frites’. At Hooked, mains come in between £17 (Windermere Pale Ale Battered Haddock Triple Cooked Chips & Mushy Peas’) and £52 (Whole Lobster Thermidor, Shellfish Bechamel, Crayfish, Panko Crumb, French Fries’.
Ellerthwaite Square, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1DP
The Wild Boar Grill & Smokehouse
Sat just up the hills in the Gilpin Valley above Windermere, this cosy five-star inn is the perfect treat for a chilly night. Take refuge amongst the leather furniture and roaring fires, to enjoy starter dishes such as ‘Wild Duck Heart, chestnut & celeriac puree, pear & walnut ketchup, duck liver brioche, truffle vinaigrette’ or the outlandish ‘Rabbit & Grey Squirrel Brawn with pickled baby carrots, blackberry vinaigrette and smoked gingerbread’. Move on to mains as diverse as “Butter Poached Jon Dory Fillet with chestnut gnocchi, autumn squash & truffle vinaigrette’, and ‘Traditional Roast Cartmel Valley Mallard, with sourdough bread sauce, damson jelly, game chips and a port & juniper jus’ – or indulge in their famous grill, opting for something like 10oz 30 day-aged Ribeye Steak, smoked or unsmoked, served with slow-cooked onion stuffed with mushroom duxelles, bone marrow, and horseradish crumb, dressed watercress and triple-cooked chips. Mains vary from £22 for the chestnut gnocchi to £55 for the Chateaubriand of Aged Beef.
Windermere – LA23 3NF
Cosy Francine’s never fails to maintain its reputation in guest reviews. This long-serving, family-run bistro is popular with locals and visitors alike, and the small dining room, where you’ll be waited on by Francine herself as well as local young people, is cosy without compromising your privacy. Daily specials and a regularly changing a la carte ensure plenty of choice, but classic dishes include pan-fried scallops with homemade black pudding and pomme purée, mussels in a leek, garlic, and saffron sauce, and linguine vongole. Mains range from £14-£22.
27 Main Rd, Windermere LA23 1DX
Everything is freshly made to order at this Bowness-in-Windermere restaurant, just up the hill out of Windermere town itself. They prize the best seasonal ingredients on this eclectic and inspired menu. The man behind the hob is Slav, who is renowned for his delicious focaccia, freshly made every morning and served up to get your tastebuds going. The dinner menu comprises mouthwatering dishes such as ‘Cartmel Valley Pheasant Ballotine, Venison, Carrot, Puy Lentils & Pancetta, Potato Dauphinoise, Jus’, as well as a selection of small plates such as ‘Lobster Arancini with Bouillabaisse Sauce, Chimichurri, Watercress’ and ‘Sauté King Scallops, Chicken Mousse, Satay Sauce, Parmesan & Thyme Crisp, Pomegranate’. Mains range from £16.50 for ‘Wild Mushroom Risotto’ to £35 for 8ox Fillet Steak, served with Confit Mushroom, Balsamic Onions, Celeriac, Fine Beans and Olive Oil Mash’.
3 Ash Street, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3EB
Up at the luxurious Gilpin Hotel, you’ll find high-end dining at Source – but you’ll also find the most delicious globe-trotting menu at the adjacent Gilpin Spice. Gilpin Spice offers up an intriguing menu that combines Spice Route-inspired Indian and Asian flavour profiles, for example, ‘Edamame Puri – crispy puff balls filled with edamame thecha, mango chutney, togarashi spice’, ‘Chalk Stream Trout Tartare – papadums, pineapple gel, Macha tea dust, ponzu’, and ‘Tomato Che Saar Soup – roasted plum tomato and lemongrass soup, coconut milk, chaat masala croute’. And they’re just the starters! Mains start from £16 for the Baked Trout Fillet – Coconut and red chilli-based sauce, grilled marinated seafood’ up to £20 for Braised Belted Galloway Beef – Braised beef, mild Vietnamese curry, lotus stem crisps’.
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Crook Road, Windermere, The English Lake District
At the other end of our menu, we have the stalwart places that serve more everyday-affordable menus – whether for brunch, lunch, snacks, or dinner.
One of the only places serving up proper barista coffee in Windermere, Homeground is famed for its brunch/lunch menu of exciting brunch dishes (alongside the old favourites) that are bound to see you through to teatime. The menu ranges from £5 for your classic bacon sarnie (on sourdough ciabatta), up to £14 for something like the Thai Satay pork belly bao bun.
Main Rd, Windermere LA23 1DX
This craft beer bar serves up a dizzying range of beers (alongside your other favourite tipples), and has a list of tempting nibbles to make sure your stomach is lined, too! As well as a range of different toasties, Crafty Baa serves a 9-in Bockwurst chilli dog (a sausage in a baked rustic sourdough roll with chili con carne, American mustard, Crafty’s chili cheese sauce, grated cheese & gherkin with a side of Mexican paprika slaw and cheesy nachos), as well as your favourite British pub grub fare, such as pork pies, Scotch Eggs – and even baked Camembert! Nibbles range from £4.60 up to £27 for a Combo Sharing plate, featuring three cheeses of the day, three meats of the day, and your choice of their ‘le rustique’ crafty camemberts.
19-21 Victoria St, Windermere, LA23 1AB
Choose whether to eat in or takeaway at Bandito Burrito, on the Main Road through Windermere. This is a place to indulge in your favourite Mexican munches, from nachos (£8-£10) to burritos to loaded fries. Watch out for them popping up somewhere near you, too!
30 Main Rd, Windermere LA23 1DY