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Nov 22, 2012 10:49 AM

Better food around Xmas/NYE: Cumbria or Cornwall?

any thoughts to those who may know which is a better destination around the holidays? Looking for great local food and of course things to do. Wife and I in our mid 30's plan on training from London and then renting a car at our destination.


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  1. Both are good foody counties. I know Cumbria better as it's part of our region.

    Much depends on what you're looking for. Restaurants range from one of the UK's best restaurants to decent dining pubs. You'll need to make early reservations and it's possible some of the hotels may close their restaurants to non-residents over the festive season. Here we go

    L'Enclume, Cartmel - I dont know anywhere better in the UK and the Good Food Guide only lists the Fat Duck more highly. I've been to both and L'Enclume wa sthe one I went back to and will be going back again

    Drunken Duck, Ambleside - decent dining pub

    Linthwaite House, Bowness - my favourite of the country house hotel restaurants. Hotel side of things is lovely.

    Farlam Hall, Brampton - quaint. Classic country house hotel food. Great experience which old gits like me are bound to like but may be a bit too old-fashioned for young folk like you.

    Rogan & Co, Cartmel - L'Enclume's little brother

    Punch Bowl, Crosthwaite - my favourite of the county's dining pubs

    Sharrow Bay, Ullswater - the original country house hotel and home to sticky toffee pudding. Just lost its Michelin star but I'm sure there will have been no lessening of the good experience we've had there

    Gilpin, Windermere - Another of the country house hotel experiences.

    Holbeck Ghyll, Windermere - Michelin starred and possibly the best views of any restaurant in the county. Restaurant has a French slant to its menu which makes a change from just about everywhere else in the county which is heavily "modern British" and local ingredients.

    Brown Horse, Winster - traditional dining pub. Should be big on game at this time of year.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      I've been to both places and thought we had some good meals in both. I'm not sure if these places are like London with very high prices for holiday meals, but it's something to keep in mind. I think our favorite in Cornwall was Paul Ainsworth's Number 6 in Padstow.. really delicious and creative cooking. Nathan Outlaw's place is also worth looking into, plus Padstow had some very down-to-earth and less formal places such as Margie's. I think that may have closed, but I'm not sure.

      Both areas are scenically beautiful, but I think I'd prefer Cornwall as it can get very cold and wintry in the Lake District, and it's better seen, at least for me, in good weather. Of course, we know that's hard to predict here. :-)

      1. re: zuriga1

        Margot's (not Margies) in Padstow is stil going strong and Adrian ha not sold the place yet.

        I agree with both the above posts, one other factor is Cornwall is quite spread out except for the concentration in Padstow. The Lakes are a little more contained. Both are fantastic but Christmas opening hours may be the key to the choice as both are best in the summer.

        1. re: PhilD

          Thanks for the correction, Phil. Somehow, the name Margie always seems more 'homey' to me - as is the restaurant. I'm really glad it's still up and running. It's probably time for another trip to Cornwall one of these days.