In the last few years a number of new restaurants and bars have opened in the Lake District offering everything from fine dining to cocktails in beautifully designed interiors.

Today’s visitors, who travel to the region from across the globe, demand the best quality and they will be rewarded with the range of cuisine on offer.

For a fine dining experience, book a table at Forest Side in Grasmere. With a host of awards already under its belt, this new Lake District Hotel has been restored and furnished to the highest standard. Forest Side has its own kitchen garden so ingredients are grown to enhance dishes throughout the changing seasons with an array of fruit, vegetables and flowering plants and herbs. The award-winning head chef ,Kevin Tickle, is also a keen forager in the hedgerows and on the seashore.

Another award-winning eatery is The Flying Pig in Bowness-on-Windermere. The recently refurbished interior is contemporary, yet retains that traditional British pub feel, giving it a great balance of comfort and modernity. The owners of The Flying Pig are also the people behind the new quirky Arts Bar, also in Bowness, where you can choose to have cocktails by the neon bar or sit down for a family meal in the spacious interior.

Head towards Workington to the region’s newest community pub, The Galloping Horse at High Harrington. The pub was saved from closure by a group of locals and it is now the hub of the community.

When designing new dishes, the region's chefs have a wealth of produce to choose from.

Sheep graze high on the open fells and around the coastal saltmarshes, and the most iconic Lakeland breed is now sought after by chefs in London’s top restaurants. Herdwick mutton, cooked long and slow has undergone a recent revival in popularity and more and more farmers are choosing to keep rare breeds for the quality of the cuts of meat.

There are rare breed pigs and wild boar for sausage and ham, and ancient breeds of cattle for beef and dairy products. The moors and mountains provide wild game including pheasant, duck, rabbits and deer whilst the seas and lakes are abundant with herring, char, shrimp, cockles, trout and salmon.

The region boasts many award winning butchers so you can be assured that the meat you buy has travelled only a short distance from the farm to your fork and it’s fantastic that the Traditional Cumberland Sausage has been awarded protected origin status. This is a great boost to a very local product, which can only be made in Cumbria. These thick, spicy, sausage rings are high in meat content and are absolutely delicious.

Cheeses are produced on a large scale at places like the Wensleydale Creamery, but on a smaller scale a few local cheesemakers are making their mark. Martin Gott and Nicola Robinson have a flock of around 100 Lacaune sheep at Cartmel, where they work their magic turning the flavoursome ewes milk into their award-winning St James cheese, which is sold at Cartmel Cheeses in Cartmel, at The Courtyard Dairy near Settle (another wonderful place to find fine cheeses), and through a few other outlets and at a few Farmers’ Markets and country shows.

If you visit Cartmel Cheeses, you will not be disappointed by the comprehensive selection of quality British and European cheeses on offer and visitors are always encouraged to taste before they buy. Fresh brad is sold next door to the cheese shop, so you can put together the perfect picnic and head out onto the fells.

Craft breweries

The region is home to a growing number of more than 30 artisan micro-breweries, run by a new generation of real beer enthusiasts, each with a passion to craft their own distinct styles of beer.

At Staveley there’s Hawkshead Brewery with its impressive Beer Hall, where you can have a meal and a beer and there’s often live music. Coniston Brewery produce the award-winning Bluebird. Cumbrian Legendary Ales are also award winners for Loweswater Gold made at Esthwaite Water and in Cartmel there’s Unsworth’s Yard Brewery. There are breweries in Kirkby Lonsdale and Dent and one of the newest is the Old School Brewery situated at the foot of Warton Crag in north Lancashire.

Chocolate delights

The Lake District is blessed with many independent chocolate makers, who produce miniature works of art from top quality cocoa, ganache, toffee and milk chocolate. Today you can select an assortment of lovingly hand-made delights with wonderful and unusual flavours.

Kennedy's Fine Chocolates, based in the village of Orton, offer Sloe Gin, Violet Crème and Rhubarb Crumble chocs, as well as many more old and new favourites. They also make novelty shapes including ducks, dogs, horses and footballs! True chocoholics make a beeline for coffee and chocolates in Kennedy's conservatory-style Coffee House.

Richard and Angela Barker trained with expert Belgian chocolatiers before returning home to Grasmere to set up the Chocolate Cottage over three years ago. The couple love multitasking and create a whole range of colourful and flavoursome delights in between welcoming and serving customers who travel to Wordsworth country from all over the globe. Their flavours have quirky Lakeland themed names such as Rydal Raspberry fondant cup and Helvellyn Hazelnut praline!