Cartmel – The Food Lovers Village
15th February 2022
Over the last few years, Cartmel has become THE place in Northern England to visit for food lovers.
The village has been famed for years for the Cartmel village shop, home to the famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee pudding and North West England’s best restaurant, L’Enclume.
However, in February 2022, Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume restaurant was awarded its 3rd Michelin star.
At the time of writing this article, L’Enclume is the only UK restaurant outside of the southeast of England to have 3 Michelin stars. There are only 2 other 3 Michelin star restaurants outside of London – Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and the Roux families Waterside Inn, both are located in Bray in Berkshire.
Rogan & Co. is Simon Rogan’s second restaurant in Cartmel and offers “a more relaxed approach to Simon’s cooking serving great local produce in a beautiful setting in the heart of Cartmel village”.
This ‘more affordable’ restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2018. Rogan & Co is 1 of the most inexpensive Michelin starred restaurants in the UK. Currently prices average about £45 for 2 courses or £57 with desert.
Thanks to Simon Rogan and his hugely skilled team, our little village of Cartmel at the southern tip of the English Lake District has been transformed into a food lover’s hot spot.
The village also has a ‘Rogan’ Shop that sells a range of L’Enclume keepsakes as well as a selection of appetising L’Enclume and regional produce.
CARTMEL ISN’T JUST ALL ABOUT SIMON ROGAN!
A great village isn’t complete without a good pub and Cartmel has five of them!!
An old favourite with locals and holidaymakers is the ‘Cavendish Arms’ in Cavendish Street-close to L’Enclume. The ‘Cavendish’ serve very popular pub food using local ingredients, a good selection of local ales and a great selection of gin too!
Cartmel village square is host to 3 pubs. The Royal Oak and The Kings Arms both gained new owners in 2021 and these 2 pubs are now thriving again. Both are very popular for food and drink.
The Kings Arms has several tables at the front overlooking Cartmel Village Square. This is a great place to sit on a sunny day ‘people watching’ in Cumbria’s most stylish village.
Stargazing in Cartmel has two meanings. The lack of ‘light pollution’ offers clear skies for star gazing at night. It’s not uncommon to see the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis. Our country house, Cartmel Hill is a great location for observing starry skies.
Back in the village square, star gazing usually means looking out for the rich and famous on their way to L’Enclume 🤣 I’m not a name-dropper so I won’t name names 👍
The Royal Oak has a couple of tables at the front on the Square but its trump card is a beautiful, large garden at the rear alongside one of Cartmel’s 3 streams.
The ‘Priory Hotel’ and bar also has outdoor seating in the Square and is next door to Cartmel Coffee and their tables and chairs.
On warm sunny days, Cartmel Square feels quite cosmopolitan with so many people sitting outside eating, drinking and savouring English village life.
The 5th Cartmel pub is the ‘Pig & Whistle’ on the edge of the village. The bar area is small but they have 2 other larger rooms for their much liked pub food. The ‘Pig & Whistle’ has a lovely, peaceful beer garden overlooking fields, and Cartmel Priory. It’s somewhere where I love to relax after a hard day.
Real ale drinkers are spoilt for choice with most of the five pubs offering at least 4 different real ales, some of which are brewed in Cartmel at ‘Unsworth’s Yard Brewery’.
Every great village has a great café too and Cartmel is no exception. Our favourite cafe in Cartmel is the award-winning ‘Cartmel Coffee’ in the village square. This is a great place to relax, read the newspapers or do a spot of people watching.
Cartmel Village Shop is a haven of foodie treasures including a selection of the best local artisan producers and a well-stocked deli counter. You’ll find everything from homemade quiches, scones, cakes, their own famous pork pies and of course-their famous Sticky Toffee Puddings.
The shop also offers takeaway sandwiches, drinks and coffee. Open every day including most Bank Holidays.
There are several other lovely, independent, village shops too including Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume shop and a handmade chocolate shop too.
Then we come to Unsworth’s Yard, a wonderful 21st-century addition to the village.
At the front of the yard is the excellent ‘Cartmel Cheese shop,’ one of the very best cheese shops, cellars and cheese producers in the North of England.
The top-quality cheese on sale here is handpicked and bought when they are at their best (cheese quality varies throughout the year as does the grass that the livestock grazes on).
The cheese is stored in a precise temperature and humidity-controlled environment at the shop and their selection includes superb local, British and European cheeses, as well as their own sheep and goats cheese, made a mile down the road at Holker Farm.
Cartmel Cheese shop also has a great selection of local artisan bread, freshly baked a mile down the valley.
Naturally the shop also stocks an excellent selection of the best biscuits and chutneys to accompany your cheese.
……….and what’s the perfect accompaniment with bread and cheese? Yes, wine!
Opposite Cartmel Cheese shop is a great wine bar and shop. Cartmel Wine Bar & Drink Shop has a concise but very well-chosen selection of quality wines, gin, vodka and spirits. You can even sample many of their wines before you buy. That’s what I call good service!
The Wine Bar also has several tables, chairs and parasols outside (heaters in colder months) where 7 different wines by the glass are available plus cocktails, gin, malt whisky and other quality spirits. You can also buy any bottle of wine or spirits from the shop and pay a small ‘corkage’ charge to drink in the Wine Snug or the tables outside.
Peckish? You can order a selection of cheese to go with your wine and on Friday and Saturday evenings, Cartmel Cheese shop even make and bake their own delicious pizzas. The smell of freshly baked pizzas and garlic pizza bread wafting around Unsworth’s Yard on Friday and Saturday evenings is so mouth-watering!
Unsworth’s Yard itself has several tables, chairs and parasols where customers from the Wine Bar and Unsworth’s Yard Brewery can enjoy their drinks in a lovely peaceful location.
Unsworth’s Yard Brewery is an ‘open door’ microbrewery that sells its own craft real ales, keg beers and craft lagers until 6pm during the week and 9pm at weekends.
The summer of 2021 saw yet another great addition to Cartmel’s food scene. David Unsworth opened a wonderful bistro called Oscars, upstairs above his wine bar.
Oscars serves great ‘small and sharing plates’. We like it so much we had our staff Christmas party there. We had such a great evening that we hope to make this our Christmas party venue for at least the next few years………….if we can get in 😁
It’s hard to imagine that all of these wonderful places to eat, drink and buy great local produce can be crammed into such a small but beautiful, quintessentially English village, but this is Cartmel, the best village in Cumbria.
Cartmel is a truly wonderful village and in many people’s opinion, it is now the best village in Cumbria. You’d be hard pushed to find such a beautiful small village that isn’t too busy, not at all commercialised and has so many great places to eat drink and buy wonderful local food and drink. There’s even free parking for a couple of hours!
You can see our lovely cottages in the Cartmel area here
You can also download my current ‘Food & Drink Guide’ for the Cartmel Valley here
This was another gorgeous dollop of indulgence brought to you by the providers of luxury Lake District Cottages and a food loving Simon Cleasby.