Bright Lights

For Bon Vivants...

Lounge on the Green, Carlisle

This former furniture shop on the outskirts of Carlisle was recently described by Guardian critic Grace Dent as "unpretentious but forward-reaching", in a review in which she also promised that it could "salvage your love life for £30". Come to try experimental offerings from a chef who really knows what he's doing.  

Pentonbridge Inn, Penton

There's an option for all occasions at this cosy inn in rural Cumbria. Come for the laid-back dining options in the proper pub; go fine dining in the restaurant; or do all of the above during a stay in one of their nine impeccably designed rooms. And don't miss a trip to the nearby Netherby Hall for a stroll through the kitchen gardens. 


The Chalet, Portinscale

Grace Dent is a native Cumbrian and since being passed critic's mantle at The Guardian she has made it her mission to eke out the very best in face-filling opportunities that her area has to offer. She gave recent special mention to this classic Catbells tearooms.

The Lingholm Kitchen, Catbells

The Lingholm Estate, on the western shore of Derwentwater, has been a Cumbrian icon since the late 1800’s. It houses a gallery, rooms and a restaurant that is gaining a reputation for serving some of the best lunch and afternoon teas in the area. And that walled garden was Betrix Potter's inspiration for Mr McGregor's garden, so its offerings are not to be missed.       

Fellpack, Keswick

The group of friends behind Fellpack may have unwittingly invented an enteirely new restaurant genre - the walker's bistro. But never fear, there is nothing gimmicky about this cosy upstairs spot serving top notch food to mountain-bound ramblers that's so much more than fuel. 

Tast, Manchester

Pep Guardiola has decided that Manchester deserves a Spanish restaurnt that goes far beyond sangria and bravas. This three-storey ode to Catalan cuisine asks guests to come and 'try something new, something unexpectedly good'. Head chef Paco Pérez offers up complex small plates that hint at his two Michelin-starred experience.  

Angkor Soul, Stockport

Y Sok is a Cambodian who found love and a home in a small village outside Manchester. Nestled below her husband's record shop is her unassuming restaurant serving up food that Jay Rayner recently described as "vivid, extremely fresh Cambodian home cooking with soul". Don't miss those "six-napkin job" crispy chicken wings. 

20 Stories, Manchester

Aiden Byrne dispells the myth that no truly good food has ever been served in a restaurant with a view with his new city centre venture. Twenty stories up, he sends out lovingly sourced meals, recently described by a critic as "thoughtful plates of non-cynical loveliness".   

The Twisted Meal, Altrincham

Hand-pressed tacos are enragingly hard to come by on our fair isle. That's one of a plethora of reasons why The Twisted Meal is a welcome new addition to Alty Market's stellar line-up. Each made-to-order taco is piled high with triumphant combos of quality ingredients.

Mackie Mayor, Manchester

The Alty Market formula took the area by storm and Manchester's city centre has now been blessed with a stunning offering from the same team. Lurking inside a 1858 Grade II listed market building in the Northern Quarter, a pick n mix of epicurean perfection offers the dream night out for indecisive diners.       

For Your Reading Pleasure...

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin is considered to be one of the most important novels of our time. Read it before Moonlight's Barry Jenkins' film adaptation emerges.   

Portrait of Cumbria is a pictoral homage to the area, through portraits of the characters who make The Lakes great. 

Brick Magazine is an exciting and forward-facing guide to the most impoartant and exciting hip hop of 2018 and beyond

For Time Travellers: Venice...

Cantine Schiavi is a Venetian institution - a tiny wine shop that also sells stunning crostini to locals and in-the-know internationals.    

Alle Testiere is a 24-seater seafood institution with an electric atmosphere that's made it almost impossible to bag a booking.

Ai Artisti is proud of its lack of freezer. Come to this dinky local spot for hyper-fresh ingredients handled with love.   

Pensione Seguso is cited by Polpo's Russell Norman as the only place to stay in the city.