We caught up with Sam, our marketing assistant, to find out what he loves most about summer in the Lake District and where he’s heading for the best vegan and vegetarian dishes.
I grew up in Cheshire but have been visiting the Lake District with my family for as long as I can remember. We spent many weekends and school holidays walking, cycling and exploring all that the Lake District has to offer. About 5 years ago we were lucky enough to buy a lodge just outside of Bowness and since then the Lake District has become a second home to my family. For the last three years, I have been studying design at Northumbria University and have been fortunate enough to spend this last year living and working in the Lake District, in this time my love and knowledge of the Lake District has continued to grow. As myself and my brother have grown up and moved out of our family home in Cheshire the Lake District has become the place that we get together. When we are all together we spend all of our time outdoors doing all the same things we loved to do when we were growing up, continuing to discover more of the incredible possibilities that the Lake District has to offer.
Summer is my absolute favourite time of year to be in the Lake District, the long days and better weather allow you to be out for longer. Whether I am out hiking up some of the incredible peaks, riding my bike on the fantastic trails or sitting in a beer garden soaking up the sun. As me and my friends from school have grown up we have spread out over the country with some people living in Exeter all the way up to Scotland. For the last couple of years in summer all of my friends have come up to stay with me at our lodge, it is an amazing way for us to all keep in touch and with so many possibilities of things to do we never find ourselves bored.
My biggest passion is mountain biking so on a nice day I would be throwing my bike on the car and getting out on a ride. Grizedale Forest is my favourite place to go, with well maintained trails for all riding abilities and the option of bike hire. There is no one I haven’t convinced to go for a ride with me here. After you have finished your ride there is also a fantastic cafe to sit down, let your legs recover and soak up the last of the sun.
In my opinion, the Lake District has some of the best vegan food you can find. There are not many places I have been where I am so spoiled for choice. Ambleside is the hub for veggie/vegan food in the Lake District, so on an evening going to Zeffirelli’s is always a favourite for me. Their all-vegetarian menu is extensive and the menus are really well labelled helping you find all of the vegan options. It isn’t often that you will be as spoiled for choice as you will be here.
If it is brunch you are after, you absolutely have to visit Chesters by the River. Their mostly vegan menu is packed with flavour and you will be drooling looking at all of the fresh dishes being served around you, my stomach is rumbling now just thinking about it! If you find yourself looking for somewhere to have a Sunday dinner then the Drunken Duck is a must visit. This is, without doubt, the best Sunday dinner I have had as a vegan or otherwise. They serve a fantastic nut roast with all of the trimmings and even vegan Yorkshire puddings! Not only is the food fantastic but the views from outside are breathtaking and the beer selection is second to none.
I absolutely love cooking and the Lake District offers some of the freshest veg you can get your hands on. Low Sizergh Barn has a fantastic farm shop that offers home-grown veggies and also local eggs and bread. It’s also lovely to be able to explore the craft and gift galleries, and their farm trail from the barn. The Lakes is also great to discover foraging, every type of landscape in Cumbria has its own food and during the summer months, there’s plenty of damsons, elderberries and raspberries which are great for making your own damson gin or raspberry lemonade. Just make sure you follow the guidelines for responsible foraging.