Autumn in the Lakes is all about comfort. Oversized socks, lots of layers, films in bed, warming food, bubbling hot tubs and roaring open fires. This is, of course, after the adventure of puddle splashing, a muddy woodland walk or a relaxing cycle ride.
Here we guide you through our favourite coffee hangouts, local pubs with open fires and top comfort food haunts that are sure to warm your autumn spirits following lots of lovely Lake District fresh air.
Whether this is an artisan coffee after a trip to your lodge leisure club or a velvety hot choc once dry from a bracing wild swim in Lake Windermere, comfort follows adventure. There’s little better than hearty, homemade chilli and chips after a family cycle ride. Perhaps cosy to you is a bottle of Rioja with the Sunday papers next to an open fire, or maybe it’s a warming pint after an autumn walk. Let’s cosy on up and take a look.
Local Pubs with Open Fires
A welcoming pub with good local ales on handpump and a roaring open fire is pretty much the most welcoming thing when you come down from a fresh autumn walk. Here are three of our favourites.
The Black Bull, Coniston
The Black Bull is not only located right at the foot of The Old Man of Coniston fell walk, but it is also home to Coniston Brewing Company microbrewery, where we recommend the award-winning Bluebird Bitter. Alternatively, sample a few of their craft ales with the tasting pours option, where you choose three thirds instead of a single pint. Plus, as it is at the foot of one of the top walks in the Lake District, muddy boots, paws and wet gear is standard attire. The Black Bull has been brewing their own beer since 1995 and is a real mix of locals and walkers with a very friendly atmosphere.
For a rural lodge holiday this autumn, browse our Hawkshead lodges.
The Drunken Duck, Outgate
Located off the beaten track, high above Ambleside on the way to Hawkshead, ‘The Duck’ as this pub is known locally is a stylish-looking gastropub, with a fine-dining restaurant yet it has a very laid-back atmosphere. You’ll find local workmen enjoying a pint of beer from the onsite microbrewery, Barngates, as well as dining guests sipping a chablis as they wait for their table. The open fire is always on and it is the first thing you notice when you walk in the door. The comfy leather chairs here are a prime spot on a frosty autumn day.
The Drunken Duck is an ideal choice if you’re staying in one of our Hawkshead lodges.
The Punch Bowl, Lyth Valley
For a dressier affair, head into the Lyth Valley where you’re spoilt for gastro pubs that at this time of year are filled with a fab autumnal candlelight and crackly fire ambience. These are the kind of places you perhaps want to share a bottle of Rioja by the fireside whilst enjoying the Sunday newspaper and magazines. The Punch Bowl Inn is in the village of Crosthwaite and this sheltered, pastoral valley is a great place to enjoy an autumn walk. A circular walk from Crosthwaite to Winster takes about 2 ¼ hours and the Brown Horse Inn at Winster also has a roaring log fire.
The Lyth Valley is only 7 miles from Bowness-on-Windermere where you can book your Autumn break in Fallbarrow Park, a beautiful woodland lodge resort on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere.
Now for our warming coffee fix and hearty menus, filled with seasonal the best of autumn like soups, stews and pies. Ooh, we love this time of year in the Lakes. Here we look at three of the best spots for coffee and hearty food in the Lake District.
Drink in the Cafe Culture, Windermere and Bowness
Coffee has become something of a style statement and the place to be seen having a coffee in the Lakes is Homeground Coffee and Kitchen in Windermere. The ‘Flat White’ first originated in Australia and has quickly spread in popularity here in the UK. It is an espresso shot of coffee with a velvety ‘microfoam’ top of creamy milk, finished off with its famous Fleurette pattern. Get to #HG before 10:30am to enjoy a delicious Flat White in a lovely laid-back atmosphere. It then gets busy for brunch. Opposite, Cafe Italia occupies a great location at the top end of Windermere and is the place to go for that wonderful European pavement cafe culture. And don’t worry about nippy autumn weather, outdoor knee blankets are de-rigueur and there are plenty of outdoor heaters, so no fighting for the ‘warm table’.
Just down the road is Bowness, which runs right down to the shore of Lake Windermere. Here the artisan coffee house culture is superb offering a range of different styles for getting your coffee bean fix. For the unadventurous, there’s a Costa Coffee, and for those that like to support independents, there’s so much choice – Dr Brews Coffee, The Country Hut, to name two. The Choccobar in Bowness is an ideal autumn indulgent haunt and as the name suggests is the place to go for a luxury hot chocolate. Take your thermos with you and they will fill it up for your walk.
We have been offering Windermere and Bowness lodges for over nine years and this collection is on some of the nicest lakeshore holiday parks in the UK. See for yourself!
Cycle, Coffee & Craic, Staveley
You’ll find the cool cycling crowd at Wilfs Cafe, Staveley. The village of Staveley is a bit of a mecca itself, with cool hangout places like More? The Artisan Bakery and Hawkshead Brewery Beer Hall. More? are not your ordinary bakery, they also serve delicious award-winning pastries and quality coffee too. For something hearty to take on a walk to Kentmere, pick up one of their seasonal Lyth Valley Damson Pies.
Staveley sits at the entrance to the Kentmere valley, which is the cycling capital of the Lake District, where the route to Kentmere village is not to be missed for anyone into cycling. For walkers, the Kentmere Horseshoe is a classic ridge walk. Not only is the coffee and ‘craic’ good at Wilfs, but their famous chilli is perfect after a day on the fells.
Staveley is only a 15-minute drive from Bowness and Windermere where you can choose from the best selection of lodges in the south Lakes.
Cafe Connoisseur, Kendal
Less trendy and more coffee connoisseur is Farrer’s in Kendal, home to the Lake District’s longest-established coffee brand. The black Edwardian facade is a far cry from the exposed wood and polished concrete of modern coffee houses, but Farrer’s are actually one of the oldest coffee roasting merchants in the UK and you can smell this heritage as soon as you step inside. Within the shop and cafe, there’s a wall of coffee beans to choose from, including all strengths and a variety of bean types. We like the Westmorland Blend.
For home comfort and no-frills coffee and tucker, the vegetarian ‘canteen’ Baba Ganoush in Kendal is a must. Don’t get us wrong, the food and drinks are excellent, but the style is laid-back, with a focus on hearty, slow-cooked dishes. It is daytime only eatery and the prices are very reasonable and there’s no waiting around for your winter warmer. Check out the blackboard for seasonal temptations and if you’re wanting something on the go, their takeaway soups are a perfect autumn warmer whilst you explore the market town of Kendal.
We hope we’ve warmed you up ready for an autumn break here in the Lake District, where all adventures either begin or end with some wonderful seasonal good cheer.