Newsletter signup

* Email
* First Name
* Last Name
Post Code
Lakes Guide

Vegetarian Guide to the Lake District

Now in its 24th year – the guide includes guest houses, hotels, restaurants, pubs and shops that cater for vegetarians and vegans.

Tony Wardle, Associate Director, Viva!

When I go to the Lake District I do very little. I don’t exhaust myself by climbing up to the high places but I do stroll leisurely beside the water, hoping to see a speckled trout rise to take a fly. I meander through the woods in anticipation of confronting a majestic red deer – and sometimes do. I potter through numerous stone-built High streets looking for nothing in particular and being totally satisfied when that’s what I find.

For me the Lakes are about reflection, contemplation, sensory satisfaction and even their history and historical places now wash over me without the need to revisit them. I know that I walk in the footprints of Wordsworth and the Lakeland poets; that Beatrix Potter beavered away here coyly immortalising little local animals; and that John Ruskin perfected his ideas for a fairer society in a truly perfect setting.

Reminders of them all survive and prosper for you to see – but there is much more beside. You can rattle and shake from Ravensglass to Eskdale and the railway of the same name. La'al Ratty, as it is affectionately known, once used to transport slate down from the hills on its narrow gauge. Children love it.

Or you can go up the hills to see the slate at home in Honister slate mine, using the only Via Ferrata (iron road) in the UK. Neither its pretty Italian nor the harness that links you to a steel cable can disguise the vertiginous fact that this ascent is terrifying for someone like me, who finds standing on a table challenging.

Much more to my taste is the National Trust’s steam yacht Gondola. You can cruise over the beauty of Coniston Water and immerse yourself in the reproduced upholstered luxury and elegance of Victorian nostalgia, or even call in at Ruskin’s historic Brantwood house and gardens.

So it follows that I also love the most popular Lakeland attraction of all – a cruise on Lake Windermere lasting anything from 45 minutes to three hours. Not only is Windermere the largest lake, it is the only one in the whole of the district to be called a lake – the rest being ‘meres’ or ‘waters.’

With its 70 acres of breathtaking Himalyan gardens and meadow vole maze, Muncaster Castle boasts 800 years of history. Its wild and untamed setting of ancient woodlands and soaring mountains provides such a remote and dramatic setting that it takes a hard pinch to remind you that this is still Britain.

A Georgian villa on the banks of the river Kent in the market town of Kendal, Abbot Hall Art Gallery is beautiful in its own right. A wonderful collection of paintings and sculptures by British artists amplifies it. Then of course there is Blackwell, at Bowness, a staggering example of arts and crafts architecture built between 1898 and 1900.

These are merely little samples of the glory of the Lake District. If your intentions to visit have not yet been fulfilled, go now – don’t wait any longer. I say this because I know you will say: “I wish I had come before this!” There is another great attraction - it’s easy to be vegetarian or vegan, with many dedicated cafes, restaurants and b&b places, others which understand the concepts, and a great choice of health food shops. They’re all in this guide and with your Viva! supporter’s card you can claim a healthy discount in many of them.

Tony Wardle
Associate Director, Viva!

  Do you have a favourite veggie-friendly café or B&B? If so, post details here and let others know what they’re missing.

Quick links:

Welcome to the Lake District
Discounts for Viva! Supporters
Places to Stay
Places to Eat
Health Food Shops
Cruelty-Free Cosmetics & Toiletries
Tourist Information Centres
Tourist Attractions
Outdoor/Camping Equipment
Organic Box Schemes


* Exclusively vegetarian
** Exclusive vegan
V Vegan meals with advance notice
VV Vegan meals on request
+ At least one vegetarian proprietor
++ At least one vegan proprietor
Dogs Dogs welcome
D Disabled access

See also:

Click here for a map of the area

Don’t forget to mention the Vegetarian Guide to the Lake District when making an enquiry of booking

To buy this guide click here...

Vegetarian Guide to the Lake District
19th edition. ISBN 0-9547216-4-0
Compiled by Angie Greenaway.
Published by Viva!, 8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH
Tel: 0117 944 1000 Fax: 0117 924 4646

Map and photos courtesy of Cultural & Tourism Services, South Lakeland District Council.

All rights reserved.
No part of this guide may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the publisher.

Viva! is a registered charity 1037486


Viva!, 8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: