So most people visit the Lake District for the hiking and the lakes (though I feel "lake" is a very generous term for some of the bodies of water within the Lake District). I, however, visited the Lake District for a restaurant.
When my foodie friend Lisa proposed a bank holiday trip to the Lake District, essentially with the sole purpose of eating at L'Enclume, I was obviously keen. If you know me at all, or even if you've read a couple of Lozidaze posts, you'll know that I'm kind of (a lot) obsessed with food. Note, I will travel for food (have also been known to work for food).
Obviously, the other benefit of this weekend away was the fresh air. I love London, but its air quality isn't exactly pristine. A 4.5 hour train journey later and the air was so clean, it was delicious. My time living in London definitely made me a lot more appreciative of nature (though you are still highly unlikely to find me camping). The scenery of the Lake District is literally breathtaking, in a quintessentially English countryside kind of way, L x
When the purpose of your holiday is to dine at a 2 Michelin star restaurant, something has got to give budget wise! We stayed in a little lodge in a holiday park in Troutbeck, which was really perfect for our weekend. There are a bunch of accommodation options and it probably comes down to which activities you are planning to do, as unless you’re planning to hike everywhere, you need a car in the Lake District.
We found there aren’t may hire car options in the Lake District, so we actually ended up joining a share car club for the month and booked in the one car they had in Windermere.
SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES
The Lake District is really all about exploring and experiencing its natural beauty, whether that be by foot, car, or boat, they all have their advantages. I found the walks/hikes most rewarding, particularly the climb of Wansfell Pike from Troutbeck to Ambleside and the loop back through the pretty Skeghyll woods. I’d love to visit again some day to climb England’s tallest peak, Scafell Pike.
I love a drive through the countryside, I think some of the best scenery is to be had on the road. This was certainly true when we stumbled across the most photogenic horse of all time in a roadside paddock (I may or may not have said the same thing about a horse in the Cotswolds, so we’ll say equal most photogenic).
It wouldn’t be a visit to the Lake District without getting out onto the water and there are many watersports to choose from. Luckily we had a couple of experienced sailors (shoutout to Kyle and Rose) in our little group, so we spent a couple of glorious sunshine hours tacking and jibing across Lake Windermere in a sailboat hired from Low Wood Bay.
The little villages should also not be missed, they’re just as beautiful as the scenery!
FOOD & DRINK
Recently, I’ve been a little disappointed with hyped up fine dining experiences (Doot Doot Doot at Jackalope). Places that come highly recommended have extra pressure to not only be good, but live up to expectation. Fortunately, in this instance, L’Enclume, delivered on all counts. Simon Rogan has a farm to table approach to food, focussing on local and homegrown/picked ingredients. The result is stunningly plated food, with honest yet complex flavours. This is one of the best tasting menus I’ve had the privilege to enjoy. And as if they hadn’t won me over already, wheeling over the cheese trolley as an optional extra cheese course was an excellent move. You’re in for the long haul with this menu; I think we were at L’Enclume for the better part of 3 hours, so clear your diary for the day. I’d recommend visiting for lunch over dinner, though if you are planning to overindulge at dinner they have rooms so you can stay on site!
Even if you’re not a massive foodie, the village of Cartmel (where L’Enclume is situated) is a must visit for the sweet tooths. Cartmel is famous for its sticky toffee puddings, which are made locally and then sold in fine food delis all over the country. The Cartmel Village Shop is the spot to stock up - the Sticky Ginger Pudding is my favourite, so much so I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day!
For the cheese lovers, head to Cartmel Cheeses, where you’ll find incredibly knowledgable cheesemongers who can recommend you just the cheese to hit the spot.
Few things are more English than spending quality time at the pub. Set high above Ambleside, The Drunken Duck is a pub with some of the most dramatic views in the district. A pub lunch as you enjoy the scenery is about as good as it gets.