As Delicious as it is Beautiful - We Take You on a Tour of Cumbria’s Sweetest Spots
We sent Chuckie on a Microgap to Cumbria where he sampled some of the regions’ finest gingerbread, but that’s not all Cumbria has to offer when it comes to delicious sweet things.
Cumbria: home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the UK and some pretty decent poets. An ideal destination if you’re looking to get off the grid for a bit; leave your phone on dry land and try out some water sports on one of the famous lakes, brave the local caves or get lost in nature on one of the region’s fantastic walking routes. And while you’re at it, make sure you sample some of the yummy local sweet treats that the region has to offer:
Sticky Toffee Pudding, Location : Cartmel
The sleepy little village of Cartmel in the south of Cumbria has become a bit of a foodie destination in recent years, with two of the county’s four Michelin-starred restaurants found right here. But you don’t have to break the bank (or even really plan ahead) to sample the village’s best known sweet treat; just stop by Cartmel Village Shop for a generous portion of their legendary sticky toffee pud. In fact, you might want to stock up while you’re there; it’s one of those life-altering desserts you’ll find yourself daydreaming about at random for the rest of your life. Just as well that they do deliveries too.
Kendal Mint Cake, Location : Kendal
The town of Kendal in South Lakeland is best known for its mint ‘cake’, which isn’t actually a cake at all, but a deliciously sugary chocolate-covered peppermint tablet. The ‘original energy bar’ is a beloved source of sustenance for intrepid explorers the world over, including the first people to successfully climb Mount Everest back in 1953. Best enjoyed during a moment of quiet contemplation while surveying the stunning vistas after conquering one of the nearby peaks. And then Instagramming them, obvs. It’s what the other famous Kendall would do.
Cumberland Rum Nicky, Location : Whitehaven
Made with dates, dark rum and a host of exotic spices, recipes for this decadent pastry have been found in Cumbrian cookbooks since the coastal town of Whitehaven became the centre of the UK’s rum trade in the 1700s. Nobody’s sure where the name comes from - the most likely guess is that a lot of its luxurious ingredients would have been ‘nicked’. Check out Whitehaven’s Rum Story to learn more about the area’s rich history, and pick up a slice of nicky from the bakery counter at branches of Cumbrian grocery shop Booth’s, where the recipe has been revived with the help of local artisanal bakers.
Sarah Nelson's' Grasmere Gingerbread, Location : Grasmere
After hiring a boat for a leisurely day out on Lake Grasmere or paying a visit to Wordsworth’s nearby gaff, stop by The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop for a slice of this much-loved local delicacy. Not quite a biscuit and not quite a cake, this unique and deliciously spicy gingerbread was invented by Grasmere resident Sarah Nelson in the 1850s, quickly gained fame during the area’s Victorian tourist boom and is still made to the same recipe today.
English Lakes Ice Cream, Location : Various
This Cumbrian ice cream company have been using local ingredients to make their incredibly creamy ice cream for the past twenty years. Manufactured in Kendal but found all over Cumbria, try a tub of their plum and damson flavour - made using local Westmorland damsons - while catching a show at Keswick’s delightful little Theatre by the Lake or a screening at the award-winning independent cinema Zeffirellis in Ambleside.
Writer : Rosie Hewitson
Illustrator : Furze Chan
Start planning your microgap now
- Try out some water sports on one of the famous lakes
- Brave the local caves
- Get lost in nature on one of the region’s fantastic walking routes
- Catch a show at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake
- Watch a screening at Zeffirellis in Ambleside
Cumbria is easily accessible from within the UK by train or road. The three main train stations in Cumbria are Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme, and a connecting service runs from Oxenholme to Kendal and Windermere.
By car, typical journey times to the centre of Cumbria are 5 hours from London, 3 hours from Birmingham, 2 hours from Manchester, 1.5 hours from Newcastle and 2 hours from Glasgow.