Best Food & Drink Experiences & Tours in The Lake District

Besides taking to Cumbria by foot or paddle, one of the best ways to experience The Lake District is with your taste buds. Indeed, with a vibrant local scene for markets, producers and events, our food and drink scene is in rude health at present. Guests can always get a fresh taste of the best local and seasonal ingredients in our Garden Restaurant, or even indulge in one of our dedicated gourmet breaks. But where else would we recommend for an authentic taste of Cumbrian cuisine? Here are some great food and drink tours and experiences to savour on your next visit:

The Lakes Distillery

Potent tours and a taste of Cumbria’s spiritual side (Image: The Lakes Distillery Facebook page)

Producing a heady range of drinks potent in both flavour and proof, The Lakes Distillery is a fantastic site for any lover of craft spirits. Whisky, gin and vodka are all part of the company’s acclaimed repertoire; The Lakes Spirit, for example, has won rave reviews and featured in the 2017 Whisky Bible. Or, for a true taste of Cumbria, The Lakes Gin is a fine example of innovation, with a novel combination of locally sourced ingredients including bilberry, heather and meadowsweet.  

The site itself is also a fascinating stop off in the Northern Lake District, with a fine gift shop and distillery tours that include an intimate behind-the-scenes journey and guided tasting. Heady stuff and a sure way to enhance your enjoyment of British made spirits. See

Hawkshead Brewery & the Beer Hall

Good times brewing at Hawkshead’s Beer Hall (Image: Hawkshead Brewery Facebook page)

Successfully straddling both Britain’s proud brewing traditions, but also embracing new and exciting journeys in beer, Hawkshead Brewery makes a great place to visit for the travelling ale lover. Craft lagers and bitters make easy drinking for anyone who appreciates a good beer, while the more adventurous will love the range of new world brews and bold twists.

Besides regularly hosting one of the best brewery tours in The Lake District, you can also enjoy a fine drop in The Beer Hall, which also hosts special beer festivals every year (including one from 20-22 July in 2017) and a regular Sunday Session which combines great ales with live music. For more information, see

Keswick Market

Good tastes galore at Keswick Street Market (Image: Keswick Market Facebook page )

Previously voted as the “UK’s Best Outdoor Market” (2015), this unique gathering of great food producers and local crafts has been running for an astonishing seven and a half centuries! Should you want to pick up a gift or perhaps a treat to take home with you, this is an excellent place to go shopping for something special.

From cured meats to artisan baking, preserves and just about anything delicious produced locally, you will find it here on most Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the year (opening times: 08:00-16:30). Nor is this just about the food however, because you’ll find a range of crafts and classic diversions from folk music to street entertainers . Highly recommended for anyone who would like to see a living and breathing slice of Lake District tradition.

Keswick Brewery Tours

Artisan ales and visitor tours await in (Image: The Keswick Brewing Company)

Also in Keswick, this most cunning of Lake District breweries have established a great reputation for not only excellent ales, but a great little bar and visitor centre. In actual fact, the Keswick Brewing Company site was once the home of the oldest brewery in the locality, the Keswick Brewery Company.

“Thirst Run” is the original and best loved beer (the “thirst” in the title was actually born of a misunderstanding of the word “first” during a phone call). That said there is always welcome variety and imagination in the range. Keswick Gold, Keswick Bitter and Thirst Celebration IPA are all worth imbibing, while site tours run every week to provide beer lovers a deeper understanding of the craft. See

Simply Good Taste Cookery School, Keswick

Have you ever wanted to learn how to add an extra flair to your cooking directly from top chefs? This centre of excellence runs a rich variety of food and cookery courses that always prove popular with Lake District visitors. Nor do you need to stay an age to pick up new skills, because there are plenty of one day workshops and shorter courses on offer.

Sessions running throughout the year provide the chance to learn how to make perfect bread, cook Italian food or even take up the challenge of foraging and outdoor cooking. Top chefs and a relaxed atmosphere ensure that everyone is made welcome and food enthusiasts of all abilities are welcome. Find out more on cooking courses and workshops for 2017 at

Lake District Food & Drink Events and Festivals for 2017

In addition to the many food and drink suppliers, restaurants and venues that make The Lake District one of the best foodie destinations in the UK, each year also sees a special selection of festivals and events. 2017 is all set for an exceptional summer and autumn for all guests who love fine food, including the Keswick Beer Festival, Cumberland Country Show and many others. For an extensive list of 2017 events, visit:

Foodie Breaks in The Lake District at Rothay Garden Hotel

Here at Rothay Garden Hotel, we are passionate about delicious, locally sourced food. Led by Head Chefs Andrew Burton and Adrian Kneeshaw, The Garden Restaurant produces award-winning dishes that capture the best of every season. Open to both hotel residents and non-residents alike, we also run special gourmet breaks every year, offering guests the chance to experience the very best in Lake District fine dining, with an exciting menu of specially selected dishes and carefully pared wines. See our sample menus for a taste of what we offer or see our speciality breaks page for details of our next gourmet stay package (currently November 2017).

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