Thanksgiving in the Lake District

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is celebrated every year in the United States of America on the fourth Thursday in November. It’s a much grander, more socially important version of the Harvest Festival that is celebrated here in the UK. Unlike in the UK, where Harvest Festival has largely become the preserve of schools and churches, Thanksgiving is almost universally celebrated across the United States and has evolved into a more secular occasion.

Its origins can be traced back to the 17th century, when the early pilgrims who made the treacherous journey from Europe across the Atlantic to the new country celebrated their safe arrival and a successful harvest by holding a day of thanksgiving to honour God. In 1789, following the American Revolution, President George Washington declared November 26th to be the first nationwide Thanksgiving day. It is now one of the biggest fixtures on the American social calendar and typically celebrated with a large turkey dinner shared between friends and family.

Where to Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Lake District

Whilst many restaurants in London now offer a Thanksgiving meal, this is largely driven by a significant American immigrant population. Outside of London, and specifically here in the Lake District, you are very unlikely to find anywhere that is holding a formal celebration in honour of the event.

However, with that in mind, we do have a number of restaurants that serve up some amazing roast dinners, so if you are visiting from the states or wanting to celebrate Thanksgiving for other reasons, there is nothing to stop you from booking a table and enjoying a hearty Cumbrian roast dinner. Furthermore, with it being fairly close to Christmas, there’s a good chance that many restaurants will be offering Christmas turkey dinners for groups during that week, so it is certainly worth contacting a few venues beforehand to see if anything is available.

We have put together a list of popular restaurants in the Lake District that serve some spectacular meals, with many offering traditional roast dinners. They are some of the best places to eat in Cumbria, so even if you do end up missing out on your traditional Thanksgiving turkey, you are still guaranteed a great meal and evening out.

The Wasdale Head Inn

Wasdale Inn
  • Address: Wasdale Head, Gosforth, CA20 1EX
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Traditional English Inn
  • Average Main Course Cost: £10-15

You might not find a traditional turkey dinner here, but there are plenty of reasons to be thankful at the Wasdale Head Inn. Located at the eastern end of Wastwater, miles from the nearest main road or large town, this is an idyllic setting for a traditional English Inn.

It’s very popular with walkers, being situated at the foot of Scafell Pike. You could start your Thanksgiving day with a walk up England’s highest mountain, taking time to appreciate the stunning natural landscape and finish in the pub with a traditional Herdwick Lamb dinner with all the trimmings.

 

The Old Dungeon Ghyll

Old Dungeon Ghyll
  • Address: Great Langdale, Ambleside, LA22 9JY
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Traditional English Inn
  • Average Main Course Cost: £10-15

This inn’s remote setting in the Great Langdale valley adds to its charm. The Old Dungeon Ghyll has been providing shelter for travellers in the valley for over 300 years and it brims with character. Evening meals are served daily between 6pm and 9pm, and it’s best to book in advance as the pub is a popular choice for diners. Whilst you won’t get turkey here outside of Christmas, you will find delicious lamb and duck with all the trimmings.

 

The Royal Oak

Royal Oak
  • Address: Main St, Keswick, CA12 5HZ
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Traditional English Inn
  • Average Main Course Cost: £10-23

The Royal Oak is located in the centre of Keswick, so is an ideal place to eat if you are staying in town. It’s a family friendly restaurant, with plenty of options for kids. The food is delicious, traditional style pub grub and it’s popular with local residents. Roast chicken is on the menu or you could go for one of the delicious steaks.

 

The Pheasant

The Pheasant
  • Address: Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth, CA13 9YE
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Upmarket English Inn
  • Average Main Course Cost: £12-23

The Pheasant Inn is one of the Lake District’s hidden gems. Tucked away below Sale Fell, near Bassenthwaite, this former coaching house has two restaurants, both serving magnificent food. The Bistro is a more informal affair, and popular with walkers in the area, whilst the Fell Restaurant offers a fine dining experience. However, for Thanksgiving, you might want to check out the hotel’s private dining option. Accommodating up to 20 people, a private dining room is available with a menu of your choosing.

 

The Drunken Duck Inn

The Drunken Duck Inn
  • Address: Barngates, Ambleside, LA22 0NG
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Upmarket English Inn
  • Average Main Course Cost: £23-30

The Drunken Duck is featured in the Michelin Guide and is well known locally for its exquisite and imaginative food. Reservations are not available for lunch time service, but you do need to book well in advance for evening meals. The menu varies with the season as the restaurant relies heavily on local produce, but you can typically expect to find a roasted joint available. The inn is close to the beautiful Tarn Hows and is a popular choice for visiting celebrities.

 

Black Bull Inn

Black Bull Inn
  • Address: 1 Yewdale Rd, Coniston, LA21 8DU
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Traditional English Inn
  • Average Main Course Cost: £10-15

With its own micro-brewery attached, brewing the famous Coniston Bluebird Bitter, the Black Bull Inn is a great choice for ale aficionados. Furthermore, alongside the pub’s dining options in the main dining room and bar area, the pub has a smaller dining room that can accommodate up to 20 people, and can be booked privately with set menus available.

 

Porto Restaurant

Porto Restaurant
  • Address: 3 Ash St, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere, LA23 3EB
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Upmarket restaurant
  • Average Main Course Cost: £12-18

Porto Restaurant is just a stone’s throw from the shores of Lake Windermere, and has been awarded two AA rosettes for its popular dining experience. The menu changes seasonally, and generally combines the best of British food with international cuisine. However, there is also a private dining option available for up to 20 people with the ability to design a menu that suits your needs, giving you the option to hold a truly special Thanksgiving dinner.

 

The Forest Side

Forest Side
  • Address: Keswick Road, Grasmere, LA22 9RN
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Michelin starred restaurant
  • Average Main Course Cost: £60-100

The Forest Side is something special. A Michelin starred restaurant in a gothic mansion, with a tasting menu inspired by the very best of Cumbrian produce. Although you won’t find a traditional roast dinner here, you can book a private dining experience for up to ten people, and the chef will work with you to create your menu. It’s a way to celebrate Thanksgiving in style.

 

Crooklands Hotel

Crooklands Hotel
  • Address: Crooklands, Nr Kendal, LA7 7NW
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Contemporary hotel restaurant
  • Average Main Course Cost: £12-24

We have included Crooklands on this list partly because of its reputation for providing good food at a reasonable price, and partly because it offers a “Roast of the Day”, which comes with all of the trimmings. It’s therefore a great choice if you are looking for a restaurant offering something similar to a traditional style Thanksgiving meal. It’s also conveniently located, being just a few miles outside of Kendal.

 

Romneys Kendal

Romney Kendal
  • Address: Milnthorpe Road, Kendal, LA9 5HG
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Family friendly pub
  • Average Main Course Cost: £9-15

Romney’s is perfect for families with young children, as it has its own outdoor play area and plenty of options for children on the menu. Furthermore, it has a carvery every day of the week with turkey, lamb, ham, and beef all available, plus all the trimmings.

 

The Dining Room – Daffodil Hotel

Daffodil Hotel's Dining Room
  • Address: By The Lake, Keswick Road, Grasmere, LA22 9PR
  • Open: Daily
  • Venue Type: Upmarket, contemporary hotel restaurant
  • Average Main Course Cost: £15-35

The best thing about the Dining Room at the Daffodil Hotel is the view of Grasmere it offers diners. Until that is, you start tucking into the extraordinary food that is available. We have included this restaurant on our list because it has some pretty tempting choices on the menu for Thanksgiving, including roast chicken, roast lamb and braised pork belly. Alternatively, for an extra special treat, try the tasting menu for £65 per person.