Buttermere a western lake and village in North Cumbria has been feted by A-list celebrities of late.

If it's not Tom Cruise paragliding off Honister Pass then it's Grand Tour and former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond waxing lyrical about his love for his adopted village.

“My favorite place on the planet” he said.

As secret diner lives 30 minutes away it seemed like the perfect chance for a short leisurely drive to see what’s causing all the fuss. 

West Cumbrians can pinch themselves that this hidden gem, tucked away in the far north of the Lake District National Park is a 20 minute drive from Cockermouth which given the scale of Cumbria is a stone's throw away.  

A cloudless sunny March Friday afternoon seemed a good moment to visit Buttermere in all its glory and drop in at the Bridge Hotel. 

It is a worthy stopover for motorists - the B5289 is famed as one of Britain’s most scenic drives whose many dips, steep rises and hairpin bends take in Honister Pass and Borrowdale valley.

There are three car parks in Buttermere including a National Trust which forms the start of a 10 minute trail to Crummock Water. 

Parking in Buttermere was reasonable and evidently not off-putting as all spaces were full. 

Four hours cost £4.

An ample time slot to eat and drink in a highly respected eaterie and take in the iconic scenery by walking around the lake shoreline trail. 

The hotel also has a walk-in restaurant where you can book at the door and even bring your dogs! 

The front of house ushered us in and we perched up at a booth style table for four. 

The Tables were spacious and there was a pleasant  woodburner which given it was chilly outside warmed the cockles.

The restaurant is practical and stylish. It has a good bar with an excellent variety of local ales including Loweswater Gold.

It was 2pm the restaurant was busy but not full with an infectious 'happy friday' feeling.

Diners all seemed cheerful - always a good sign - as busy staff skillfully skirted around dogs including a dalmation, Cocapoo and an Irish Setter that was getting toasty by the fire.

There is a Junior menu for children and house menu and even a menu for dogs. 

News and Star: Broccoli and Stilton SoupBroccoli and Stilton Soup (Image: Newsquest)

We ordered a hearty bowl of hot soup, Brocolli Stilton with Ciabatta and a side dish of roast beef with watercress in ciabatta rolls. 


We also ordered two signature bridge Inn Burgers with french fries, chicken burgers and chips, with fruit juice, a pint of pepsi max and pot of tea for two.  

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A cozy array of condiments with potted ketchups, mayonnaise, salad cream and salsa were quickly despatched with drinks. 

Chicken burger with home made chunky chips were ‘absolutely fabulous’ and Cheese-Burger with salad, bacon were enjoyed with zingy barbecue style 

There was a lot to like. Staff were accommodating, warm. It was dog friendly. Tables were available. It seemed relaxed and convivial. We picked a good time. 

The bill came to £71.80

The dogs were getting restless and despite a few eye-catching delights on the menu we didn’t stay for dessert.

We had 2 hours 30 minutes to get around Buttermere lake and take in the scenery. Speed walking would rather defeat the purpose. 

It is a stunning setting. 360 degree mountains panoramic views. Everywhere you look…just flawless beauty. 

You can well imagine that lightning strike moment when Richard Hammond discovered his Shangri-la. 

News and Star: ButtermereButtermere (Image: (Image: Heather Colletta Ella Pieri))

Buttermere was busy with tourists, hikers, families, courting couples - everyone lapping up the atmosphere.

Of course Buttermere needs no buttering up -as part of the Lake District National Park it’s a World Heritage Site famed for its unspoilt roving mountains, with an enchanting village cushioned between resplendent Crummock Water and Buttermere. Its serenity rivals the Dordogne region of France and its jagged twisting peaks reminiscent of Italy’s Dolomites.

News and Star: ButtermereButtermere (Image: Newsquest)

Buttermere does not court the level of publicity that say Windermere, Grasmere or Keswick does.

There are no wooden Peter Rabbit sculptures skulking around, nor Gruffalo trails.

I also welcomed the fact there were no dogpoo bins, trail around the lake seemed carefully preserved - wooden signposts, bridges,  stone walls, woodlands, streams cascading down the valley from the imperious peaks towering above. 

The trail around the shoreline was comfortable there are testier, more adventurous paths where you can venture up to Red Pike, High Stile or Haystacks.

We managed to walk around the shimmering lake in time to get back to the car with 2 minutes to spare. Yes! We had done it 

A very charming Friday afternoon was had by all ending in a pleasant drive home as the sunset over the valley...Takeaway Fish and Chips in Cockermouth beckoned. 

Decades ago whilst living in Llanberis, Snowdonia - a farmer once told me that you can’t eat scenery’. Very true. Life in these remote spectacles can be harsh and unforgiving.

But maybe this place feels a little less forbidding, more settled in its glamor. Actually here you can feast on the beauty.

In Buttermere the view is the dessert.