The best vegan and vegetarian places to eat in the Lake District

May 16, 2024

Veganism and plant-based diets are undoubtedly on the rise across the UK, with events like Veganuary bringing more awareness than ever to the benefits of going meat-free, and the Lake District is no exception.

The likes of Keswick, Penrith, Ambleside and Windermere alone have seen more vegan and vegetarian options added to their eatery offerings, and some have even committed fully to a meat-free dining experience. We’re lucky enough to be spoilt for choice with high-quality bistros, restaurants and cafes that offer far more than your run-of-the-mill vegetarian staples, we just had to recommend some of our favourites!

Not only has the variety of food offerings changed, Cumbria has also seen a huge increase in demand for more sustainable offerings, from eco-friendly holidays to plastic-free shops including Another Weigh and the Zero Pantry. All of these are values we can most certainly get on board with, having been recently awarded a bronze Green Tourism award this year. If you’d like to know more about our green ethos, head over to our sustainability page.

Or, keep reading to find out our favourite vegan and vegetarian eateries in the Lake District…


La Casa Verde, Penrith

La Casa Verde is situated at Larch Cottage Nurseries just outside of Clifton, Penrith and is only a 5-minute drive from Lowther Castle & Gardens. La Casa Verde is an Italian-inspired eatery nestled away within an eclectic garden centre (a great day out in itself!), and in the springtime boasts a beautiful veranda that comes alive with wisteria for whimsical al fresco dining. 

Using fresh ingredients from their organic vegetable garden which provides an abundance of seasonal home-grown fruit, salad, herbs and vegetables, La Casa Verde serves light bites and delicious stone-baked pizzas and everything in between. Fresh cakes are available daily on the counter too, as well as an extensive offering of hot and soft drinks with plant-based milk alternatives available.

Be sure to stop by the Abbott Lodge Jersey farm for an ice cream dessert on your way home, situated just down the road from Larch Cottage Nurseries – perfect on those sunny spring days.

Dog friendly: Not currently

La Casa Verde at Larch Cottage 

Upfront Gallery

Upfront Gallery is an art gallery,  puppet theatre, music venue and vegetarian restaurant all rolled into one, located near Penrith and not far from Hutton John Estates. A great day out for adults and children alike, the exhibitions are regularly updated and their extensive offering of delicious, vegetarian lunchtime bites makes for the perfect day out.

Dog friendly: An area of the cafe is dog friendly

Zeffirellis, Ambleside

For those looking to explore the delightful village of Ambleisde, Zefferellis is an ideal eatery for vegans and vegetarians in the Lake District. Located in the heart of Ambleside, this restaurant, like La Casa Verde, offers an extensive Italian-inspired menu with delicious plant-based options. From mouthwatering vegan pizzas to vegetarian pasta dishes, Zefferellis caters to a range of dietary preferences.

Not only is Zeffirellis an excellent eatery, it also offers family-friendly entertainment in buckets with a cinema on-site, and, on Friday and Saturday evenings, the upstairs of Zeffirellis also doubles up as a jazz bar.

Dog friendly: Not currently

Basecamp North Lakes, Keswick

Located just a 5-minute drive from Hutton John Estate’s various properties, Basecamp boasts a lovely cafe with plenty of delicious meat-free options, plus a farm shop stocking locally sourced fresh produce and supplies you might need while holidaying. 

Their menu consists of everything from hearty breakfasts to grazing deli boards and delicious Sunday roasts – with veggie options galore of course!

Not only that, visitors may spot a few fluffy folk around, as it’s one of Alpacaly Ever After’s stomping grounds – and you can even get up close with guided walks available to book every single day.

Dog friendly: Yes, in the cafe’s greenhouse seating


The Botanical Kitchen, Windermere

The latest addition to the vegan and vegetarian eatery game, The Botanical Kitchen officially opened on 1st May, bringing an entirely plant-based offering to the shores of Windermere. Offering everything from tasty brunches and Sunday roasts to incredible charcuterie boards and a Kentucky Tofu Fried burger, their menu is full to the brim with fast food inspired cuisine with a veggie twist and relaxed dining experience.

Dog friendly: The outdoor seating area is dog friendly


Simple Goodness Bistro, Penrith

Simple Goodness opened back in 2019, when owners Laszlo and Kriszti saw an opportunity to open a bistro that reflected their own values, beliefs and principles when it comes to protecting our planet. Ever since, Simple Goodness has continued to produce just that: simple, good and honest vegetarian food that is hearty and delicious.

All items on their menu are 100% plant-based (and 100% tasty!), with a selection of cakes, sandwiches, soups and salads available. Perfect for those lazy picnic days where you need something to go, Simple Goodness takeaway bistro is a must-visit.

Dog friendly: Not currently


Undercrag, Torver

For guests staying on the Hutton John Estate, this eatery is a little further afield, but most definitely a must-visit for those who love wholesome, hearty and sometimes experimental vegetarian and vegan dishes. 

Tucked away in Torver on the edge of Coniston village, Undercrag is equal parts art studio and vegan/vegetarian cafe, making it a great pit stop for those exploring this side of the Lakes. From cardamom and white chocolate cake to rhubarb and custard Bakewells, they produce a selection of quirky cakes and bakes on-site every day. If you fancy something more substantial, toasties, soups and salads are on the menu with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options to choose from.

On a sunny day, visitors can sit out on their various picnic tables in the spring sunshine before heading off to complete their walk, full and fuelled. Alternatively, Undercrag regularly hosts special supper evenings and workshops for those looking to try something entirely new.

Dog friendly: Yes


Chesters By The River, Skelwith Bridge

Chesters by the River sits on the banks of the River Brathay, just a couple of minutes’ walk away from the impressive Skelwith Force. Chesters is a brilliant spot to sit and soak up the view with a fully vegetarian and vegan seasonal menu to enjoy.

Though Chesters typically operates as takeaway-only with a selection of coffee, cakes and savoury light bites, it’s well worth the trip, especially when combined with a lovely stroll from Skelwith Bridge to Elterwater followed by a trip to their stunning homeware shop full of knick-knacks to take home as a souvenir.

Dog friendly: Yes

Or, if a home-cooked vegan or vegetarian meal is more to your taste, here at Hutton John Estate we can arrange for delicious gourmet dishes to be delivered straight to your door from The Lakes Catering Company. Or, if you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to indulge, we can arrange for a private chef to cook up a storm, with a cuisine offering to suit every palate and budget, from affordable options to Michelin-star chefs. Visit our little extras page to find out more.

Three beautiful and lovingly restored cottages. Where heritage meets modern-day living. 

Sleeps 4, 6, or 10.

Four contemporary cabins, immersed in nature. Where the outdoors meets luxury. 

Sleeps 2.

Passed down through generations, our family and history are at the heart of the approximately 300 acre Hutton John Estate.

any questions?

If you have any questions or queries about the Estate, or our Accommodation, get in touch.