Cafés and tearooms

One thing’s for certain in the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria. You won’t have to travel far for a cup of tea or coffee, a sandwich, a scone or a slice of cake. Cafés and tea rooms abound and you’ll find them in all sorts of places.

Some are in shops and galleries, a few are by the water (lake or sea), many are in lovely countryside, one or two are run by the community. Most museums, historic homes and other visitor attractions have a café or tearoom (although not all listed below), some are on farms and there’s even one on a train. A handful are seasonal, so it’s best to check opening times, if travelling far.

Don’t forget that a number of pubs and hotels offer tea and coffee while a full traditional afternoon tea is also served by some hotels. 

Below are 130 places to choose from, grouped according to towns and villages. The order will change every so often, to give everyone a chance of being near the top.

Grasmere. Mathilde’s

The ‘incarnation of a truly remarkable love story, a love of both landscape and of the heart.’ With a story and a setting like that, how could you resist a visit to this rather special café, right next door to the Heaton Cooper Studio, opposite the village green in Grasmere?

Penrith. Café Oswald's, Cranstons

Upstairs from Cranstons Cumbrian Food Hall, with a view to the Ullswater fells, is this bright, friendly café where ‘whether you’re looking for a quick coffee and ‘baked by us’ cake or something more substantial, we’ve got you covered,’ says the family business.

More cafés in Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness

A large majority of people visiting the Lake District make a beeline for this part of Cumbria, so expect plenty of choice when it comes to cafés and tearooms. Don’t forget that museums, historic homes and other attractions have cafés too while Windermere Lake Cruises offers evening buffet cruises over the summer.  

More cafés in Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Places overlooking lakes and fells, one linked to journalist and writer Arthur Ransome and another in the old home of the great Victorian John Ruskin are amongst those mentioned below. Don’t forget that museums, historic homes and other attractions have cafés and tearooms too but do check opening times.

More cafés in Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

A café in one of Cumbria’s most unusual settings, tearooms on farms, a couple of places run by the community and a seasonal one in a Quaker meeting house are some of the places mentioned below. Museums, historic homes and other attractions have cafés and tearooms too but do check opening times.

More cafés in Ullswater, Eden Valley and the North Pennines

A community hub, a station café, a finalist for Café of the Year at the Cumbria Food Awards 2022 and a couple of places at a major visitor attraction are amongst those mentioned below. Don’t forget that museums, historic homes and other attractions have tearooms too but do check opening times.

More cafés in Kendal, Sedbergh and Cartmel

The Café of the Year at the Cumbria Food Awards 2022, a finalist for the same award, a couple of places on farms, a number in Kendal and Ulverston are some of those listed below. Don’t forget that museums, historic homes and other attractions have tearooms too but do check opening times.

More cafés in Carlisle, Hadrian’s Wall and Solway Coast

A café beside a cathedral and one close to a priory, two or three near Hadrian’s Wall, one in a bookshop and another linked to the great contralto, Kathleen Ferrier are a few of those listed below. Don’t forget that museums, historic homes and other attractions have tearooms too but do check opening times.

Stay connected

Keep up to date with all the latest news from the LAKE DISTRICT travel guide.