The Lake District – with its penchant for sheep farming and Cumberland sausage – might not seem like the most likely place to cater for vegetarians and vegans. But prepare to be surprised! We've put together a list of tried and tested meat-free and vegan-friendly restaurants and cafés in the Lake District. From fine dining to quirky eateries, you'll never have to settle for bland veggie lasagne again!
Kat's Kitchen, Keswick
Overlooking the River Greta and a skyline of mountains, Kat's Kitchen in Keswick is a cosy café offering a wide choice of homemade vegan dishes. The staff are a lovely, friendly bunch: everyone from omnivores, thirsty cyclists, and dogs are given a warm welcome inside to sample their plant-based meals and drinks.
Kat's menu has plenty of choice, including hearty full English breakfasts, tasty curries and homemade gluten-free cakes. There’s also a great list of Fairtrade loose leaf teas and locally roasted coffee. Be sure to check out the burger menu: they're all delicious, but the Moving Mountains burger is a tasty meat imitation without the guilt!
Kat’s Kitchen is also dedicated to cleaning up the planet and uses organic ingredients as well as plastic-free packaging.
Fancy staying in Keswick? Take a look at our Keswick cottages.
The Garden Cafe, Kendal
The Garden Café and Takeaway has humble beginnings, starting life as a garden food truck before moving into its own premises in Kendal. Located in the quiet courtyard of the Quaker Tapestry Museum, this is a lovely spot to enjoy a homemade lunch with the sound of the town bells in the distance.
The café is entirely vegan, operating with a zero-waste ethos and an emphasis on using local speciality ingredients.
Have a browse of our Kendal cottages.
Serving contemporary Vietnamese and Japanese fusion dishes, Graze is one of the top coffee shops in Bowness-on-Windermere - but it’s not all about caffeinated beverages! They have a good choice of delicious options for vegetarian diets from an ever-changing menu that evolves with the season. For a relaxed atmosphere and high-quality dishes, Graze is just the ticket!
Stay nearby at one of our holiday cottages in Bowness-on-Windermere.
Fancy a good night out after dinner? With a state-of-the-art cinema, live music, and great veggie food, Fellini's in Ambleside is wonderful! Describing itself as a 'Vegeterranian' restaurant, the modern and seasonal menu offers Mediterranian-style meals catering to both vegetarians and vegans.
Post dinner, head upstairs to the five-screen cinema playing the latest blockbusters along with critically acclaimed arthouse films and live arts screenings. If you’re feeling energetic, head to the jazz bar for a drink and a dance to some fabulous live music!
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Quince and Medlar, Cockermouth
Set inside a beautiful old building near Cockermouth's high street, the Quince and Medlar provides vegetarian fine dining in a cosy, intimate atmosphere. The menu also offers vegan options as well as a fantastic drinks list featuring organic vegan wines and beers.
Making good use of fresh, seasonal ingredients, the dishes here are really creative. It's perfect for those who fancy something a bit different to the usual staples (sorry falafel and hummus, we still love you!).
Have a look at our cottages in Cockermouth.
The Yard Kitchen, Penrith
Penrith is a bustling little market town in the Eden Valley, situated on the fringes of the Lake District. It's also home to The Yard Kitchen, a popular café that offers plenty of choices for vegetarians and vegans. Along with dairy-free lunches – often made with ingredients grown on-site – visitors can enjoy homemade vegan cakes and a selection of plant-based milks in their tea and coffee.
The café is located in Brunswick Court, a courtyard packed with independent shops including a bookshop, grocers and a wine merchant. It includes a lovely terrace where you can enjoy lunch when the weather’s being kind, or even when it’s not thanks to their cosy heaters and overhead shelter!
Why not take a look at some of our cottages near Penrith?
Grasmere Gingerbread, Grasmere
Here's one for the 'surprisingly vegan' list! The original recipe is top-secret, but Grasmere Gingerbread® has no nasty surprises as it’s dairy-free and devoid of animal derivatives.
This sweet treat is something of a Lake District legend, going back to 1834 when Victorian cook Sarah Nelson began baking in her tiny schoolhouse home in Grasmere. The building is now home to the official Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, filling the village air with its warm, delicious smell.
Check out our holiday cottages in Grasmere.
Café Bar 26, Keswick
In the heart of Keswick, Café Bar 26 on Lake Road offers 100% plant-based food and drink in a cosy setting that includes a crackling wood burner. A bar nibbles menu is perfect if you’re a bit peckish, while the coffees are a big hit with everyone who visits. Don’t miss a trip in the evening to sample their range of fancy cocktails!
Just make sure you’re in walking distance by staying at one of our Keswick holiday cottages.
Tucked away in the maze of Ambleside's side streets is the wonderfully quirky Gandhi's. With locally sourced homemade food, Fairtrade teas and vegan beer, this ethical café is the perfect antidote to today’s processed fast food trends.
Even on the dreariest days, Gandhi's provides an instant mood boost, with its reputation for a friendly atmosphere and good music. Feeling particularly ravenous? Go for the Gandhi Burger, a hemp-based burger that comes with the full works of tasty sauces, fries and coleslaw.
Take a look at our Ambleside holiday cottages.
For generous portions in the heart of the South Lakes, look no further than Green’s! Sitting in the pretty village of Grasmere, there’s a choice-filled menu of mouth-watering vegetarian treats. Particularly popular are the Buddha bowls and falafel and halloumi wraps. They also have plenty of gluten-free options and gluten- and dairy-free sweet treats that will give you a well-needed sugar rush after a day on the fells!
Green's also provides private catering through their sister company, Karen Healy Catering. If you fancy a night in your cosy holiday cottage with a restaurant-quality meal, then they'll bring their delectable veggie delights to your door! We love the sound of that!
Browse our cottages in Grasmere.
Cakes and Ale, Carlisle
Love books, tea and cake? Us too! Just north of the Lakes is the historical Cumbrian city of Carlisle, home to Cakes and Ale. Located near Carlisle Cathedral, this bustling café offers plenty of veggie and vegan lunches, as well as afternoon tea and homemade gluten-free cakes.
The café shares a building with Bookends, an impressive independent bookshop comprising of four floors of books. But this isn't your average bookshop coffee shop: in the evenings, it becomes a lively hotspot for open mic nights, live music and author events.
Stay in one of our cottages around Carlisle.
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please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.