This summer we embraced the staycation and headed to the Lake District for a few days, choosing to stay in Keswick. Despite this beautiful part of the world being just a couple of hours away from home, I still needed to make sure that I could eat safely whilst I was there. After all, nobody wants to do a 10 mile walk on an empty stomach, do they?
I stumbled across Leonard’s Field House on a Facebook group, of which myself and the B&B’s owners, Neil and Theresa, (herself coeliac) are members. A quick look at their website and TripAdvisor convinced me that this was definitely the place to go. An award winning gluten free breakfast each morning, the option for a gluten free packed lunch each day and all the local knowledge of people who understand the importance of eating gluten free without cross-contamination … perfect!
We were not disappointed. Even before we arrived, Neil and Theresa had helped us out with gluten free options, recommending several places to eat in Keswick which had varied menus and could be trusted to serve coeliac-safe food. They had also warned us that Keswick was exceptionally busy and that, with restaurants running at 50% capacity due to social distancing rules, we should really book in advance to ensure we got a table. When we arrived in Keswick and saw just how busy it was, we were really grateful for this advice.
The options available at breakfast were fantastic. All of the breakfast items, except the cereals and toast, were gluten free, which meant that I could have exactly the same breakfast as my fiancé. I also had the choice of 3 different gluten free cereals (I’m not sure I’ve had cereal on holiday since going GF and so I was bowled over to be given a choice of 3!) and there was gluten free toast each morning. My place at the table was labelled ‘gluten free’ and it was so reassuring to know that I was being looked after by people who really understood what they were doing.
We ordered a sandwich lunch from the B&B each day. It was nice to have a fresh, gluten free sandwich made and not have to go to the hassle of trying to find a supermarket with GF sandwiches in stock. I’ve made that mistake before and it usually ends badly! On this trip, we were handed well-filled sandwiches, carefully wrapped each morning at breakfast. Mine was always clearly labelled GF so we knew whose was whose. We could also have ordered a full packed lunch from them if we had wanted to.
On our first morning, we were offered a piece of tea bread to take out with us as Neil had just baked it. Normally I’d have to turn this kind of thing down but it was gluten free! It was also very tasty! The next day we came back to find some fudge in our room – also gluten free and very nice indeed! It’s also worth noting that, unlike anywhere else I’ve stayed, there were gluten free biscuits in our room each day, as well as normal biscuits for my muggle fiancé.
If you’re visiting the Lake District and needing a gluten free diet, I really cannot recommend Leonard’s Field House highly enough. Their website is here: https://leonardsfieldhouse.com
Whilst we were in Keswick, we ate at 2 different restaurants:
This is an Italian restaurant in Keswick town centre. The gluten free options were varied and the pizza I had was one of the best GF pizzas I’ve had outside of Italy. My only complaint would be that the surcharge for GF pizza is £2 which I do think is excessive. That said, it was a full size pizza and really was delicious. I couldn’t manage dessert straight after my meal here so we went for a walk and then came back to get ice cream from their counter. The vast majority of the flavours were gluten free and the member of staff I asked was able to double-check my chosen flavours were safe in a matter of seconds. I’d definitely eat here again.
Their website is https://casabellakeswick.co.uk
This is a pub which, sadly, has been stripped of most of its charm by the Covid-19 restrictions which were in place when we visited. Huge white dividers separated tables where, I expect, there used to be a friendly and open atmosphere. The biggest issue I had here was caused by their solution to the social distancing requirements – namely their contactless QR ordering system. Don’t get me wrong, it worked really well, but it did make it much harder for me to do my usual ‘due diligence’ questioning about the meal I’m about to order. I wasn’t able to chat easily to staff about how meals could be adapted to be gluten free and they were also struggling to get hold of the necessary ingredients to make everything labelled as GF on their menu. This is all a result of the current situation though and it certainly wouldn’t put me off returning in the future. Our meals were very tasty and the portions were huge. I mean really huge! Also, I had the choice of 4 different gluten free beers which was absolutely brilliant.
The George’s website is http://georgehotelkeswick.co.uk
If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a few days, eating gluten free in the Lake District, I can definitely recommend Keswick.