When your time in the Lake District is limited, and you like to eat well, it pays to know where to go. Here's the very thing you need: a gastro guide to the best foodie spots in and around Windermere
The Lake District has so much more to offer foodies than just its famously delicious lamb and Cumberland sausage. However, on a short break, there are only a finite number of meals to enjoy - which means that it helps if you know where to find the best of what you're looking for. Here is a guide that highlights the best places to eat and drink in Windermere and surrounds.
Available to residents only, the breakfast at Jericho's at the Waverley is the perfect cure for those who overindulged the night before or anyone with a busy day ahead. You can help yourself from a buffet of muesli, yoghurt, fresh fruit and juice before making your choice of cooked breakfast from the menu. Prepared to order by chef-proprietor Chris Blaydes, the Jericho's breakfast platter is a fry-up of note, with bacon, eggs, tomato, mushrooms and black pudding, plus a basket of warm toast. Other options include eggs, kippers or haddock.
If you’re staying elsewhere in Windermere, head to the Lighthouse (Main Road; 0871 5297852) for breakfast instead. It opens at 8.30 in the morning and offers outside seating where you could enjoy your Sunday papers at leisure. If the weather doesn't play along, there's indoor seating across two floors.
Francine's (Main Road, Windermere; 015394 44088; www.francinesrestaurantwindermere.co.uk) was a lucky find for us. There is so much choice when it comes to places to lunch in Windermere, but we were really pleased that we opted for this one. There is a great range of sandwiches to choose from, as well as soups, salads and more substantial meals such as pastas, mussels and other additions, displayed on boards in the bistro. An extensive wine list is also available.
We stayed at Jericho's at the Waverley during our weekend in Windermere. A restaurant with rooms, this fine establishment is owned by Chris and Jo Blaydes. Chris is a master chef of Britain, so it was a no-brainer that we would eat dinner here. The food was amazing, and we both agreed that this had to be our best restaurant meal ever. Chris uses locally-sourced, top-quality ingredients to prepare dishes on the ever-changing (depending what’s in season) menu. There's also a fantastic range of wines - if you struggle to choose, why not opt for the taster menu of wines, which gives you a glass of bubbly, a white, a red and a dessert wine or port for £16 a head. Portions were generous, every bite was perfectly seasoned and each course was a triumph. We highly recommend the chicken risotto or asparagus to start, while both our mains – wild sea bream and loin of lamb – could not have been any better. A perfect meal was rounded off with orange pannacotta and, my personal favourite, crème brulée (one pot white chocolate and one milk chocolate – heavenly). The meal, including taster wines and service charge (well-deserved), came to £115.
The Angel Inn in Bowness-on-Windermere (Helm Road; 0151394 44080; www.the-angelinn.com) was quite a find for us on a hot early-summer afternoon. You’ll be lucky to find a table, but some might argue it is even nicer to make yourself comfy on the grass. Be sure to order a pint of the award-winning Bluebird Bitter, brewed nearby in Coniston. This pub and hotel also boasts a welcoming interior, with plush couches where many a winter’s night could be cosily whiled away.
There are plenty of perfect picnic spots along the lake at Bowness-on-Windermere (under 30 minutes' walk from the town of Windermere, which is, confusingly, not on the shores of the lake). Before heading to the shore for an al fresco lunch, my suggestion would be to pick up some sandwiches, pork pies, ham, bread or your picnic treats of choice at Butterworth’s deli (50 Quarry Rig; 015394 43119).
Incredible ice cream
Get your sweet fix with locally-made Cumbrian ice cream, sold at various shops near the lake. My favourite was the raspberry ripple, but “Lightening Strikes” also comes highly rated. There are enough options, though, to warrant several scoops/visits during your Windermere stay.
It helps that so many of these culinary delights are in Bowness, rather than in Windermere itself. The walk from Windermere station to Bowness takes about 30 minutes and is a leisurely downhill stroll. Walking back on the incline helps you justify a second scoop of ice cream or another helping of Cumbrian food!