We recently returned from a wonderful week in Cumbria - the Southern Lake District to be exact. I'd never visited this part of Britain before and left wondering why I'd let so many years go by without seeing it. It's truly an amazing place - not least for the quality of local produce and food in the area. It is the only holiday we've been on where we've walked (literally) miles every day - up hill too - and actually put weight ON! It was worth it, though. I would heartily recommend the area for a gourmet break that would be hard to surpass in the UK, combined with the most beautiful countryside....true foodie heaven!
The Angel Inn in Bowness on Windermere, which was a lovely mile walk from where we were staying (this walk helped burn at least SOME of the calories....)
Especially good for a wonderful brunch on Sundays....lovely Bloody (or virgin) Marys, friendly staff and gorgeous food!
The Drunken Duck at Barngates, Ambleside
which boasts one of the most amazing views I've ever seen from it's garden tables. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera!! The bar was cosy and just modern enough but with plenty of tradition intact.
Great wine selection too!
The Samling is a super- luxurious hotel with fantastic service. We only went for dinner but were bowled over by the beautiful interiors, superb food and little extras like the canapes served to us in the garden overlooking Lake Windermere while we mused over the menu...
The service was young and friendly but impeccably professional too.
Finally, my favourite (I think - so hard to choose!) It was extravagant and total luxury but we had a truly wonderful evening at Gilpin Lodge
It helped that we were joined by our great friend David and his new partner - we always laugh so much when we're together and the wine flows - ahem - generously! But everything about Gilpin was superb. Service - immaculate, lovely french and local waiting staff with a touch of humour too! The restaurant was so beautiful,-there was also a zen-like garden (although sadly it was too chilly to sit outside)
We sat in the conservatory
at the far table in this picture.
Of course, the food is what made it an unforgettable experience. David is a restaurateur with two successful businesses and, as you know, I've been in the professional food world for a long time too....but the two of us are still waxing lyrical over this meal, especially the pre-dessert we were given. This was a shot glass of intense, deepest purple blackcurrant mousse topped with an aniseed granita. It may sound a little strange, but it worked so well that I was surprised to see my 'real' pudding arrive, so happy was I with that little piece of heaven in a glass!
We could have eaten out every night, easily, but restricted ourselves to these 4 divine places as our wallets, livers & waistlines wouldn't have stood much more.
It wasn't only the restaurants & inns that were marvellous either. There were superb independent butchers, grocers...and a family-owned supermarket chain called Booths which supports local producers and has the most fantastic range of goods.
Truly a region to be savoured in more ways than one!
The English Lake District - 10/10