This last weekend myself and my boyfriend went up to the lake district for a couple of nights. We had a great time relaxing, walking and enjoying delicious food. I thought I would share with you my photos and thoughts on some of the places we visited and/or ate.
We stayed at a very nice little B&B in the heart of Ambleside (stumbling distance from the pubs, restaurants and shops). The owners were really friendly and helpful, the breakfasts used local products where ever possible and our room was lovely and perfect for our needs.
We arrived Friday afternoon and after unpacking we set out to explore Ambleside and book somewhere to eat Friday and Saturday evening. Whilst wandering round Ambleside we discovered a fantastic specialist food shop – Lucy’s Specialist Grocers. It stocks a wide range of food from around Cumbria including, breads, cheeses, fruit and veg and a vast selection of jams and chutneys. We bought a selection of spices shown below, all for under £2.50 (much more reasonable than the supermarket and you can control how much you buy).They also have two restaurants in Ambleside (but you really need to book ahead) and also a cooking school near Kendal.
Friday night we ate at The Glass House Restaurant and I really wish I hadn’t left my camera in the B&B. The restaurant is a listed building, a converted mill and still has a working waterwheel (although it wasn’t on when we were there). The restaurant is on a series of mezzanine flours and we were right at the top where all the machinery that powers the waterwheel are still visible on the ceiling. The food was delicious and reasonably priced for the lake district. Starters were around £5-6 and mains ranged from £10-14 (with the exception of a couple of more expensive dishes like fillet steak). I had the Caesar salad with warm poached egg and maple glazed pancetta to start and char grilled pork chop with bubble and squeak and courgette ribbons served with a creamy mustard sauce. My boyfriend started with crispy duck, bean sprouts, water chestnut and white radish salad and had the fish pie as a main. All the food was delicious including the complimentary bread basket to start with which I believe was home made.
On Saturday the weather started out wet and windy but if your going to the lakes you expect this. So we put on our walking boots and waterproofs and headed off to Grizedale Forest hoping the weather would improve. Thankfully it did, but not before pouring down on us! We had a good long walk through parts of the forest looking at the sculptures and as an added bonus we picked lots of blackberries.
By early afternoon we were starving so headed back to the visitors centre where there was a fantastic cafe. I don’t know about anyone else but I find canteen style cafes at popular local attractions are either really bad (school dinner like, over cooked or simply prepacked sandwiches) or really good (local produce, flavourful and a reasonable amount of choice). Thankfully The Cafe in the Forrest at Grizdale fell in to the later category. The menu consisted of the usual burgers, sausages and chips but there were also casserole of the day (beef, mushrooms and Hawskhead ale) and venison burgers. I had the casserole of the day and my boyfriend had the pie of the day (Coniston beef and red wine) both cost approximately £7. Both dishes were very generous in size (the pie looks a lot smaller in this picture than it was), packed with flavour and perfect warming comfort food after a long walk. To finish with we shared a slice of their homemade toffee fudge cake. Again the portion size was very generous (more than enough to share) and the cake delicious. The only problem was it looked so delicious we forgot to take a photo!
Saturday evening we ate at Zeffirellis restaurant, a Mediterranean inspired vegetarian restaurant, cinema and jazz bar. Most Friday and Saturday evenings they have free live music upstairs in the jazz bar. We went both nights and really enjoyed ourselves. The food again was delicious and reasonably priced (around £9 for mains and pizza’s). I had aubergine and mozzarella parmigiana and my boyfriend had vegetarian red bean chilli. Both dishes were very good portion sizes and full of flavour and neither of us missed the meat (a sign of a good vegeterian meal in my eyes). To finish with decided to spoil ourselves with a dessert each. I had their speciality chocolate sundae (all I can say is it was truly delicious) and my boyfriend had the tiramisu.
On Sunday it was time to pack up and head off home but not before spending the morning in Keswick followed by lunch and a spot of shopping at the Rhedged centre. They have 3 cafes and a selection of shops most selling local products. In the food shop we picked up a jar of Westmoorland’s chutney and some diced shoulder of venison. If any one has any good recipes for venison stew/casserole which would be good for someone whose never cooked or eaten venison please let me know! The chutney was delicious in a simple cheese sandwich when we got home on Sunday evening. The bread is homemade Irish Blaas which I made before going away using Eat like a girls recipe. The bread is delicious with a soft light texture. I will certainly be making them again.