Grasmere, it can be argued, is one of the prettiest places in the Lake District – indeed, romantic poet William Wordsworth certainly thought so, describing his home there in his poem A Farewell as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”.
Wordsworth lived in the village, at Dove Cottage, which, along with the Wordsworth Museum next door, is well worth a visit. Other writers and artists shared his opinion on this jewel in the heart of the Lake District, including luminaries such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Constable and Sir Walter Scott, who also stayed here and found inspiration among the crags and cairns
When it comes to food, there’s no shortage of restaurants and pubs in Grasmere – for such a small village, it has an abundance of restaurants, traditional pubs and cafés all with menus to tempt the most fastidious palate. In fact, your biggest decision may not be what to eat, but rather where to eat in Grasmere!
The best Grasmere restaurants
The Forest Side
Image credit: The Forest Side
Grasmere may be small, but it boasts a Michelin-star restaurant – The Forest Side – which is something eateries in many much larger towns don’t have. The Forest Side offers fine dining at its best, with dishes inspired by local produce in season, or from its own kitchen garden. Choose from the 4- and 6-course lunch and dinner menus or, for non-meat eaters, the 4- and 6-course vegetarian lunch and dinner menus.
For an intimate dinner à deux then head for Lewis’s Bistro, which seats a maximum of 24 customers, with dishes such as Cumbrian fillet steak and Cumbrian pork belly freshly cooked to order. Vegetarians are catered for also with delicacies such as wok-fried tofu salt and pepper strips, as well as mixed bean and vegan chorizo tomato stew.
The Yan at Broadrayne
The Yan at Broadrayne is another bijou bistro, situated on a farm a 5-minute drive from the centre of Grasmere. Its menu – which it describes as casual dining – includes shepherd’s pie with Grasmere Herdwick lamb, Cumbrian fried chicken and summer seafood stew with seafood from Morecambe Bay.
The Jumble Room
Image credit: The Jumble Room
If meat is off the menu for you then you might also like to try The Jumble Room, which goes the extra mile when it comes to vegetarian food, offering crispy beetroot and goat’s cheese gnocchi, baked courgettes stuffed with roast carrot tahini, and butternut squash, roast vegetable and cashew curry. Don’t worry, non-veggies will also find a varied selection of meat and fish dishes on the menu.
Walkers on their way to Helm Crag and Easedale Tarn, will pass by Lancrigg. This country house hotel is situated on 30 acres of gardens, the perfect place to stop awhile and enjoy the views from the terrace over a cup of tea. As well as à la carte, Lancrigg offers mezze dishes you can mix and match to suit your mood and hunger levels!
Other restaurants in and near Grasmere include:
The best Grasmere pubs
Tweedies Bar & Lodge
Image credit: Tweedies Bar & Lodge
Tweedies Bar & Lodge has a garden providing panoramic views of the surrounding hills to be enjoyed alongside its range of craft beers, as well as a menu of seasonal dishes. It also hosts live music at the weekend if you’re after entertainment with your meal.
The Traveller's Rest
On the edge of Grasmere off the A591, The Traveller’s Rest is a 16th-century coaching inn that offers a selection of wines, spirits and real ales brewed locally, as well as a lunch and dinner menu.
The Swan Grasmere
Mentioned by William Wordsworth in his poem The Wagonner, The Swan is located under the dramatic fells surrounding Grasmere and serves a seasonal menu of pub classics and smaller light bites that you can tuck into while enjoying the view while in the heart of the village.
The Inn at Grasmere
Image credit: The Inn at Grasmere
Located in the heart of the village, The Inn at Grasmere serves traditional pub food and real ale in the 1769 Bar & Restaurant. Local Lake District ales available to sup include Hawkeshead Windermere Pale and Tirril Grasmere Gold.
The Good Sport
The Good Sport is a dog-friendly pub that's located next to Grasmere’s shore, so you and your pooch can relax and recharge your batteries together before tackling your next Lake District walk. It's the taproom for Grasmere Brewery & Distillery and you can sample their full range of drinks in the cosy bar.
The best Grasmere food to takeaway
Image credit: Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread shop
Sometimes you don’t want to sit down in a pub or restaurant. Sometimes you just want to pack up a picnic and explore the countryside, or you simply want something quick and easy to eat on the run (or walk). There are plenty of places where you can lay down a rug near Grasmere and enjoy an alfresco lunch with a selection of sandwiches and sweet treats including the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden and the Grasmere Waterfall Walkways.
Shops and cafes where you can pick up takeaway food in Grasmere include:
- Lucia’s in Grasmere is a bakery and takeaway coffee shop that sells a range of easy-to-eat food, such as pastries, sausage rolls and sandwiches, as well as cakes, bread, tray bakes, muffins and, of course, coffee. It’s all homemade and the ideal place to grab a quick bite.
- After a walk in the sunshine, why not chill with an ice cream from Emma’s Dell creperie, or pick up a cuppa from Grasmere Tea Gardens and perk yourself up ready for your next hike? A small Co-op store in the village is a handy place to buy snacks, sweets, fruit and groceries.
- And while we’re on the subject of takeaways, don’t forget to visit Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread shop. This tiny store has been making and selling its famous gingerbread since the 1850s, with customers coming from around the world to see what all the fuss is about.
- Or indulge your sweet tooth at The Chocolate Cottage, just down the road, which handcrafts its chocolates, vegan chocolates and fudge, boasting more than 30 flavours!
The best Grasmere cafés
The Café at Dove Cottage
If you’re following in Wordsworth’s footsteps visiting Dove Cottage and the museum or exploring the lake and its surroundings, then The Café offers both eat-in and takeaway options – and it’s dog friendly!
Image credit: Faeryland Grasmere
Right at the northernmost tip of Grasmere Lake, you can hire a rowing boat at Faeryland Grasmere and afterwards regain your strength in the Tea Garden, which serves almost 50 loose-leaf teas, as well as coffee, hot chocolate, scones and cake.
Baldry's Tea Room
Baldry’s Tea Room has been serving teas in the village for over 25 years and bakes cakes and bread each morning on the premises. It offers more than 30 different speciality teas, including loose-leaf black, green and herbal varieties.
Grasmere Tea Gardens
Grasmere Tea Gardens serves homemade cake, breakfasts and lunches, as well as tea and coffee. It has a lovely location overlooking the River Rothay, which flows through the village. Greens Café & Bistro also serves homemade cakes, as well as a selection of breakfast dishes, desserts and lunches, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
If you’re visiting the gallery at Heaton Cooper Studio, why not pop into Mathilde’s Café? Here you’ll find Scandinavian-inspired dishes and cakes, as well as tea and coffee. Or eat à la française and choose savoury and sweet crêpes from Emma’s Dell.
Best places for breakfast in Grasmere
Image credit: Grasmere Tea Gardens
Hiking on the fells, meandering around the lake, or simply exploring the shops means you’ll be walking a great deal and you’ll need lots of energy to see you through your day. So why not set yourself up with a hearty breakfast in Grasmere? Greens Café & Bistro, Heidi’s Café, Baldry’s Tearoom, Grasmere Tea Gardens, and The Good Sport all have breakfast menus. Emma’s Dell even serves breakfast crêpes!
The best places for Sunday lunch in Grasmere
If you’re visiting Grasmere on a Sunday then why not indulge in a traditional Sunday lunch? You’ll be spoilt for choice as so many restaurants and pubs offer this British staple. However, for a super Sunday lunch in Grasmere, try The Swan (with its crispy roasties and hand-carved meats), The Travellers Rest and Tweedies Bar & Lodge, where the Yorkshire puddings are massive.
Plan your visit to Grasmere
Grasmere really does present a smorgasbord of places to eat, with something for everybody, from breakfast first thing to dinner in the evening, fine dining and Michelin-starred cuisine to casual lunches and takeaways. And, after a day discovering Grasmere, exploring the lake and walking in the historical footprints of cultural icons, you’ll need a place to relax and recharge before heading back to your home-from-home.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.