Our favourite places to eat near Windermere

Places to eat near Windermere

Recently, we were discussing our favourite places to eat near Windermere, and it turns out the list is a long one. From small cafés to Michelin Star restaurants, we’ve all got our favourites. Some are great for a light lunch, others perfect for a celebration evening out.

Of course, once upon a time, a trip to the Lake District was all about adventure and the breath-taking scenery. And while that’s still very much the case today, with seven Michelin Star restaurants, you’re just as likely to visit for the fantastic food, as you are to scale a summit.

Given the current situation, it’s more important than ever to support our local businesses. So, we thought we’d share five of our favourites with you, covering everything from a special occasion to a catch-up brunch, and everything in between. What’s even better about this list, is that they are all within five miles of our Windermere cottages.

HRiSHi

First on our list is the Michelin starred, four AA rosette HRiSHi, where Head Chef, Hrishikesh Desai, uses locally sourced ingredients to create modern British cuisine with a twist.

Diners can choose from a variety of modern British menus, including plant-based options, with a delicate hint of Indian influence in some of the dishes.

Whether you opt for a traditional three course meal, a stunning seven-course tasting menu, or a decadent take on afternoon tea, you will be captivated by the wonderful array of flavours.

Gilpin Spice

Next door to HRiSHi is the two AA rosette Gilpin Spice, a more informal dining experience boasting an open kitchen serving tapas-style pan-Asian sharing dishes.

The menu at Gilpin Spice is inspired by Cumbria’s rich history as a centre of the spice trade, with influences picked up along the spice trail including the Philippines, the Indian sub-continent, Malaysia and Japan.

Gilpin Spice is well worth a visit – wonderful, creative dishes and fantastic service.

The Brown Horse Inn, Winster

Nestled in the beautiful Winster Valley, the Brown Horse Inn is cosy and welcoming in all seasons. This 1850’s coaching inn has been beautifully decorated, retaining the original features, giving it a warm, traditional feel.

On warm, summer days, you can sit outside and soak up the wonderful views. When the nights draw in, enjoy comfort dishes with a touch of elegance, including slow-cooked meats, Stornoway black pudding or Thai green curry.

The owners try to keep the menu as local and as close to nature as possible. And you will definitely receive a warm welcome.

The Angel Inn, Bowness

In the centre of Bowness is the Angel Inn, a firm favourite with families, serving fantastic locally sourced beers, a superb range of wines and freshly prepared food.

The Angel Inn was ‘born’ in 2005 and has been run by the same family since it opened. Their ethos is to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere and welcome for all ages, whether you’re sitting down to eat or just popping in for a quick drink.

Homeground

Our final choice is Homeground in Windermere. Established in 2015, Homeground is a boutique coffee house which was winner of Cumbria Food and Drink Awards ‘Best Café’ in 2016 and 2018.

Open during the day for walk-ins only, this is the place to go for a skinny flat white, a slice of cake and warm, friendly service. It does a great brunch too. It’s our go to for important meetings!

Of course, we’ve barely touched the surface when it comes to great places to eat near Windermere, let alone the rest of the Lake District. I’m sure we’ll get on to them at some stage. But rest assured, if you are visiting, give one of the above a go. You won’t be disappointed.

Fell Pony Adventures at Matson Ground

Fell pony adventures on the Matson Ground Estate

Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to enjoy a fell pony adventure on the Matson Ground Estate, courtesy of Tom Lloyd, owner of Fell Pony Adventures. This is just one of the tailormade activities we offer our guests, and we had the opportunity to experience it first-hand. And what a fabulous day it was.

This is an adventure suitable for families and groups of all ages, and the perfect way to introduce people to horses. Tom is very patient, so even if you’ve had no experience of horses, you’ll soon feel at ease. Tom is also all geared up for social distancing, as everything takes place in open spaces – a chance to breathe in some fresh, clean air.

What’s more, it’s an absolute treat at any time of the year. The stunning Lake District scenery is never the same from one day to the next, so you’re guaranteed a different view every time. It’s even great fun in the rain, as we found out on our fell pony adventure.

As the saying goes; “There’s no such thing as bad weather. Only unsuitable clothing.”

This is what memories are made of

We began our fell pony adventure at Birkdale House, where we met Tom and his daughter, Flo, along with Faye and Pansy, our fell ponies for the day. Once we had loaded them up with the essentials for the day – picnic, shelter, camping stove, spare harnesses and tethers – we set off.

We gently led the ponies along the byways and lanes of the estate, stopping in an organic hay meadow for lunch. We tethered the horses, put up the waterproof shelter and settled back to take in the breath-taking views.

Tom had prepared our lunch – cranberry balsamic vinegar, Appleby Brie, Garstang Blue, mixed olives, smoked humous, homemade leek and potato soup (his own family recipe) and artisan bread. Absolutely delicious.

It’s days like this when we realise just how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country. This is what memories are made of.

With the packsaddles loaded up, we set off back to Birkdale House. What a wonderful way to spend a day. For a few hours we had been transported to a different time entirely, far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Fell Pony Adventures

Fell Pony Adventures is based at the southern end of Lake Windermere, where Tom keeps a herd of about a dozen semi-feral ponies.

The herd was originally established by Tom’s father, Walter, but Tom made the decision a few years ago to switch careers – he had been a film producer – so that he could keep the herd going. He took his mountain leadership course and set up Fell Pony Adventures.

Nowadays, Tom works the ponies, leading families and groups on day trips around Windermere, following old pack-horse routes through meadows, woods and fells.

For our guests, the Matson Ground Estate provides a ready-made route. What a perfect day out.

Huge thanks to Tom, Faye and Pansy.

Attractions and Activities near Windermere

Attractions and activities near Windermere

In October, Cumbria Tourism launched its #AttractionsActivitiesMonth, and while October may have been and gone, we thought we would share some of our favourite attractions and activities near Windermere. Now, more than ever, it’s so important to support our local businesses.

To include all the amazing attractions on offer to visitors to the Lake District would be a very long read, so we’ve focused on just five, but all within easy reach of our Windermere cottages.

What’s more, there’s something for all ages, something for the more adventurous among us, and something for those who prefer it a little calmer.

Let’s start with the World of Beatrix Potter and our favourite character, Peter Rabbit.

The World of Beatrix Potter

Located right in the middle of Bowness-on-Windermere, the World of Beatrix Potter is an exciting family attraction and an absolute must if you’ve got young children.

Here, the author’s best-loved characters are brought wonderfully to life through a series of charming sets, including Jemima Puddleduck’s woodland glade, Squirrel Nutkin on his raft and Mr McGregor’s garden, complete with Peter Rabbit’s coat.

As the website says, “you’ll feel as though you are walking through the pages of the little books”.

At the end of your visit, pop into the world-famous giftshop and take home a piece of Beatrix Potter magic, followed by a tasty treat in the family café?

Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House

Designed by noted architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and built at the turn of the twentieth century, Blackwell is a stunning grade one listed property and one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts and Crafts architecture.

The house, which overlooks Lake Windermere and the Lake District Fells, is nothing short of awe-inspiring, retaining almost all of its original Arts and Crafts features. It’s also home to a wonderful collection of furniture and objects from some of the Arts and Crafts period’s leading designers and studios, including William de Morgan and Simpsons of Kendal.

From stained glass windows to inglenook fireplaces, carved wooden panelling to rare hessian wall hangings, Blackwell is definitely one of the most interesting, not to mention enchanting, houses in the Lake District.

Windermere Jetty

Just a few hundred yards from The World of Beatrix Potter is Windermere Jetty, a museum of boats, steam and stories.

Located right on the shores of Lake Windermere, this spectacular new museum boasts a stunning collection of around forty boats and sailing vessels, including steam launches, record-breaking speed boats and motorboats. These boats cover the history of sailing on Windermere from as far back as the late eighteenth century. You will also have an opportunity to see ongoing restoration projects and to chat with the restorers.

Other vessels include Swallow and Amazon, the boat used in the BBC film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s famous book; Osprey (1902), one of the museum’s fully-restored Edwardian steam launches; SL Dolly (1850), the oldest mechanically powered boat in the world, and still in running order; and TSSY Esperance, owned by a chap called Henry Schneider who used it every day to take him to Lakeside, where he boarded the train to Barrow.

Before you leave, why not enjoy some of the delicious food available in the museum café. The café itself overlooks Lake Windermere and has arguably one of the most stunning views in the Lake District.

Brockhole and Tree Top Treks

A short drive towards Ambleside brings you to Brockhole House and Gardens. Brockhole is another stunning Arts and Crafts house set in extensive grounds on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Built at the end of the nineteenth century, Brockhole enjoys breath-taking views of Lake Windermere and the Langdale Pikes. The gardens were created by renowned landscape designer Thomas Mawson and are well worth exploring, as are the art gallery and gift shop.

And if gentle strolls and careful perusing are not everyone’s cup of tea, you can always visit Treetop Trek and swing, climb, balance and fly across the thirty-five exciting treetop challenges, including rope bridges, wobbly logs and an adrenalin-fuelled 250 metre zip wire on the shores of the lake. What a way to end your treetop trek.

Brant Fell and Orrest Head

Not all attractions and activities near Windermere require booking. If you fancy getting away from it all, escaping the crowds, then Brant Fell, which sits at the heart of the Matson Ground Estate, is a relatively easy climb.

Overlooking Bowness-on-Windermere, the trek to the summit of Brant Fell is a little steep in places, but well worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with views of Lake Windermere, glistening in the sunshine (obviously we can’t guarantee the sun), and the Lake District fells beyond. To the north you’ll be able to spot Orrest Head, from where Alfred Wainwright was treated to his first view of the Lake District fells and the inspiration for his series of books.

Orrest Head is an easy walk, although you will have to head up to Windermere. But, as it’s a little over a mile, why not take a stroll, browse the various shops on the way, or stop for coffee and a cake – there’s plenty of choice.

The climb itself starts on the A591 by the large Orrest Head signpost and follows a narrow lane for most of the way. At the summit the views are incredible, especially on a clear day – no wonder Wainwright fell in love with the Lake District.

Just remember to bring your camera.

If you would like any information about attractions and activities near Windermere, please get in touch. Our friendly team will be more than happy to make any recommendations.

Vies Jamaican Rum Cakes

7th August 2020

We are delighted to have teamed up with fledgling local business, Vies Jamaican Rum Cakes. Based right here in Cumbria, these delicious treats offer cake lovers a true taste of Jamaica.

Owner of Vies Jamaican Rum Cakes, Elaine, recently launched her #ViesNeedsAVan crowdfunding campaign, and we were only too happy to support her. In total, 131 supporters stepped up to help Elaine, with Matson Ground Holidays and Birkdale House becoming her new corporate sponsor. Make sure you look out for her van next time you’re in the Lake District.

The Rummiest Cake in the Lake District

Vie’s Jamaican Rum Cakes are made using a secret recipe handed down through generations. Brim full of juicy fruits and Jamaican rum, Elaine uses her mother’s closely guarded recipes to produce this delicacy. And she does it all here in the Lake District, with a strong commitment to sustainability.

All her cakes are made with local free-range eggs and flour. The special edition Christmas cake is made with Jefferson’s Extra Fine Dark Rum from the Rum Story in Whitehaven.

What’s more, the cakes are baked in a local, award-winning bakery which has achieved ‘green certification’ and has a gluten-free kitchen. And the icing on the cake (pardon the pun), is that they are packaged using biodegradable, compostable food grade bags and raffia.

Traditionally, the gift of Rum Cake is a token of friendship and respect, so we have decided to include this delicious treat in all of our welcome packs. The perfect start to your Lake District break.

The History

Vie’s Jamaican Rum Cakes are named after Elaine’s mother, Agnes Viola Henry, aka ‘Vie’. Like many Jamaicans who travelled to Britain in the 1960’s in search of a better life, Vie settled down and worked hard for her family. But she never forgot her Jamaican heritage.

Sadly, Vie passed away in 2018. However, Elaine vowed to create a legacy and Vie’s Jamaican Rum Cake was born, not only a fitting tribute to her inspirational mother but also to her Jamaican heritage.

The Cakes

There are six cakes from which to choose. Three original options and three gluten free options. For more details on the rummy, rummier and rummiest cakes and how to buy them, please click here.

If you would like to get in touch with us, please click here.

We’re off for some cake!

Accommodation for Key Workers

Matson Ground Offers Accommodations to Key Workers

At Matson Ground, we want to do our bit to help tackle Coronavirus, so we have recently answered Cumbria Tourism’s plea to provide cottages for key frontline workers, such as those working for the NHS.

Matson Ground Lodge, Helm Mint, Helm Kent, Helm Eden and Helm Lune, all of which are situated a stone’s throw from Windermere, have been made available for key workers.

We felt that with our holiday cottages closed to visitors during this difficult time, rather than seeing them sit empty and unloved, we wanted to share them with the people who are keeping this country on its feet.

Obviously, we are all hoping that this crisis shows signs of improving at the earliest possible date but, in the meantime, we wanted to say a huge thank you from everybody at the Matson Ground Estate Company.

We have been in touch with Morecambe Bay Hospital Trust, providing them with details of the accommodation. However, we are keen to spread the word that we have these properties available, so if you know of any key workers who may require accommodation, please do ask them to contact us.

For more information on the cottages and their availability, please email  [email protected] or visit https://www.cumbriatourism.org/who-we-are/resource-hub/coronavirus-advice/key-worker-accommodation/

Elm How and Cruck Barn heating improvements

We have recently installed a water source heat pump, giving much improved central heating and hot water to both the Elm How and Cruck Barn houses.  The pumps are installed in a new building adjacent to Cruck Barn, and use water from the river nearby.

grisedale-beck-1 heatpumpinstallation elm-how-small

Nurture Lakeland

We continue to support Nurture Lakeland and Red Squirrel Conservation.  We invite clients to contribute £1 to red squirrel conservation.  Donations are sent on to Nurture Lakeland and to date our clients have raised £1391.