Keswick is a popular town for walkers, climbers, families and couples and offers something for absolutely everyone. The town caters well for a wide range of tastes, with ample places to eat and drink; you'll find a good mix of modern bars, traditional pet-friendly pubs, and cafes that have excellent reputations. Here are some of our favourite places to eat in Keswick, tried and tested by the staff at Sally’s Cottages and perfect to visit if you're staying at one of our Keswick cottages!
The Market Square is lined with pubs and The Dog & Gun is possibly the best known dog-friendly pub in the Lake District. On a typical night, you can expect to be outnumbered on the dog to people ratio. The pub's speciality is Hungarian goulash, a legendary dish that is deservedly popular. This pub is frequented by local Cumbrians and holidaymakers alike and has a warm welcoming atmosphere.
The George is another local favourite and is renowned for its ‘cow pie’, a huge slab of pie that should only be taken on after a full day out on the fells! The Pheasant Inn is a hidden gem, a 15-minute stroll out of the town centre but certainly worth the walk. It has a traditional cosy feel, with great food and a good selection of ales, not to mention a particularly delicious fish pie! Other recommend pubs are The Royal Oak and the Bank Tavern. The Oddfellows is worth a visit if you are interested in horses; the interior is decorated with racing silks, photos and memorabilia!
If you are looking for something a bit more modern and contemporary, try the Lakes Bar and Bistro on Station Street or Magnolia’s on Lake Road. Both serve an interesting menu that strikes a balance between pub and restaurant. Magnolia is truly eclectic when it comes to drinks, with a menu that ranges from global beers to cordials. There is also Bar 26 on Lake Road, which has the feel of a wine bar with comfortable, relaxed seating and a delicious tapas menu. If you enjoy a more formal dining experience and like an opportunity to dress up, there is Merrells on Lake Road or Inn on the Square in the Town Centre.
For an upmarket Burger and Chips and an exciting range of cocktails, you can try The Round. This hip bar embraces the mountain culture of the town and is located next to the start/finish point of the legendary Bob Graeme Round, a 24 hour running challenge in the Lake District Mountains
For those wanting to extend the Lake District's spirit of adventure and healthy living into their eating choices, you may want to try Merienda, Fellpack or Kat's Kitchen. Merienda has a relaxed café vibe but offers an exciting menu packed full of superfoods. Fellpack embraces the mountain culture of the town and is located next to the start/finish point of the legendary Bob Graeme Round, a 24 hour running challenge in the Lake District Mountains. The food is seasonal and healthy and the menu is changed quarterly, with an aim to match the weather conditions for those venturing out into the mountains. Kat’s kitchen is a vegan café but is great for all, with lots of healthy choices and a constantly changing menu as well as an eco-friendly approach to everything. The opening hours for each day can vary, so check their website before going.
A Taste of Italy
The town has two excellent pizzerias, the Loose Box and Woodstone Pizza and Flamegrill. The Loose Box is long established, having been converted from the horse stabling for the Skiddaw Hotel. Woodstone is a newer pizza joint but is particularly popular, with its open-plan kitchen, stone fired oven and extensive menu.
A British Classic
Fancy some traditional fish and chips? There are three chippies in Keswick town: the Old Keswickian in the market square, The Kingfisher on Main Street and The Lakes on Bank Street.
As well as the more traditional establishments, Keswick offers a good mix of world cuisine including Italian at Casa Bella, Indian at Lakeland Spice or Sultan of Keswick, Chinese at Golden Hills and Thai cuisine at Asaya Thai Restaurant. For a truly authentic experience, there is A Taste of Thailand Restaurant at Shemara Guesthouse, where a mother and daughter team cook a range of delicious Thai dishes. Space is very limited here, so booking is essential. They also don't serve alcohol, but you can bring your own and just pay a small corkage fee.
Keswick is also full of coffee shops for those looking for a quick bite to eat. There is Java (featuring a chocolate fountain, which is used to drizzle chocolate on drinks and deserts alike!), The Wild Strawberry (great breakfasts) and Treeby and Bolton (part of a contemporary art gallery and shop). The Square Orange Café is virtually opposite our Keswick office and serves excellent tapas and thin-crust pizza as well has hosting regular live music evenings. Abraham’s Tea Room is on the third floor of the George Fisher outdoor shop and offers homemade food and stunning views across the rooftops to the Coledale Fells. This is a must-visit for those interested in the climbing history of Keswick, as the 1887 building was originally purposed as George Abraham’s Photographic Shop. It was then taken over by his climbing sons, the Abraham Brothers, who are well known for photographing the exploits of the great climbing pioneers including Owen Glynne Jones.
The Lake District is a beautiful place for exploration on foot and there are many stunning picnic spots for those wishing to eat on the go. A picnic is not complete without some local produce, such as a Cranston’s pork pie, Hawkshead Cumbrian Relish or a slice of cheese from the Cheese Deli in Packhorse Court!
Here are some of our recommendations for picnic supplies:
Booth’s supermarket is part of a small regional chain selling eclectic local foods. The Keswick branch has a cosmopolitan deli counter and a great selection of self service salad items.
Bryson’s supply a vast selection of local cakes, bread and pastries. I recommend the Lakeland Plum Bread, simply divine with lashings of butter!
The Cheese Shop in Packhorse Court is well stocked with every variety of cheese available plus imaginative local pâtés, olives, garlic and continental dried meats.
Keswick Market (Thursdays and Saturdays) has a number of food stalls offering fresh fruit, homemade pies, cheese, baked goods and fabulous Indian food.
Thompsons Butchers and Deli on Station Street has a great selection of pies that they make in-house, as well as a legendary scotch egg. They also make home cooked food, such as lasagne and quiche for those wanting to take food back to their self-catering apartment.
For more ideas for local munchies that are perfect for a picnic, check out our blog: The Great Lake District Picnic.
…and finally, I know we’re not supposed to eat sweets these days, but we have to mention Keswick’s famous sweet emporium, Ye Olde Friar’s! This is very much a local family business, established in 1927 and remaining in the same family to this day.
You might also be interested in: