After a bracing day treading the Lake District’s scenic trails and fells, taking in the spectacular beauty of Skiddaw or stopping to admire the breath-taking panoramas of Buttermere, you will likely have worked up an appetite.
So, it is heartening to know that high quality fare and refreshments are in plentiful supply.
Here, we begin with our top 11 restaurants, pubs and cafes in Keswick, promising cuisine which showcases Cumbria’s finest seasonal produce.
This on-trend cafe specialises in fell pots; a Lakeland-style Buddha bowl, incorporating an all-in-one meal such as sweet potato and curry, smoked macaroni and peas or braised chilli beef – all freshly made and flavour-packed. Flatbreads and baguettes are offered, too, for lunch to go. The food here is zingy and imaginative and it’s also open three nights a week for dinner.
What a setting this splendid cafe has; in a delightful walled garden on the Lingholme Estate, with a 30m glass wall that presents cinematic views of Skiddaw, plus a dainty old greenhouse. For lunch, expect brunch dishes such as chickpea fritters, baked eggs, pork croquettes and (of course) avocado on toast.
A short drive along Bassenthwaite Lake is this fine-dining pub. Hunting prints and pewter tankards cover the old bar, stocked with vintage whiskies and Lakeland ales, and the two restaurants (informal bistro and very formal restaurant) serve up expert country food. The afternoon tea’s done in the proper English fashion, too, served on a tiered cake stand with scones and cucumber sandwiches.
Dog fans rejoice; this popular Keswick cafe is nuts about canines. Dishes here are named after dogs of legend (The Muttley, The Old Yeller, The Huckleberry Hound), there are pooch prints on the walls, and naturally, canine companions are welcome. Food-wise, it’s standard brunch-lunch fare: pittas, sausage rolls, wraps, sandwiches and cooked breakfasts.
This lively cafe-bar seems to have become everyone’s favourite hangout in Keswick – thanks no doubt to its superb thin-based pizzas, excellent wine and craft beer selection, alongside a regular programme of live gigs. With its big wooden bar and packed-in tables, it feels rather continental – and the coffee is hands-down one of the best in Keswick.
On the top floor of George Fisher, this attic cafe is great for a country lunch: try hot rarebit (toasted cheese on toast), mackerel paté or a classic baked spud. The space was once occupied by the Abraham brothers, early pioneers of Lakeland photography.
It’s a little out of the way, in Portinscale, but this cafe is a popular stop-off for passengers on the Keswick Launch, with a lunch menu of flatbreads, stone-baked pizzas and deli boards served on a piece of local slate. Stacked-up logs and wooden furniture give it a Scandinavian vibe.
Probably the best option in Keswick for a sit-down dinner, Morrel’s is an attractive restaurant majoring in British bistro-style food. Glossy wood, spotlights and glass give it a refined feel.
This is a spit-and-sawdust pub that claims to be the oldest drinking den in town. It’s owned by Jenning’s Brewery, so you can sup on a pint of Cumberland or Sneck Lifter while you make pals with the locals.
Benches, beams, hearths, rugs: the Dog & Gun is the picture of a Lakeland pub. Look out for Thirst Rescue ale, which donates part of its proceeds to the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team.
This old-fashioned and much-loved bakery is known for its fruit cakes, Battenbergs and Florentines.