Wheelchair Accessible, Delicious Food, Friendly Staff
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Assistance Dog, Walking Aid, Mobility Scooter
The Chalet tearoom / restaurant is wheelchair accessible, with a large wheelchair accessible toilet, friendly staff and a lovely atmosphere. Personally I go here for the cakes (they are delicious!) but all of their food comes highly recommended. There are large wooden tables and chairs inside, and some seating outside. The outside seating area is less accessible, but there is plenty of room inside and no problem to have a chair moved if required to allow wheelchair space. This tearoom is very popular so can get busy, particularly during peak times, so if you want to go for lunch then I would suggest going before or after peak lunchtime periods (or phone in advance). Parking is on-street and can be busy and congested. Options are to park a bit further away or to travel from Keswick which takes around 20 minutes on a mobility scooter via the traffic-free Keswick to Portinscale path (see photo).
Transport & Parking
I did not see any designated disabled parking bays as parking is free on-street parking immediately outside the tearoom. During busy times you may need to park a bit further away, but outside of peak times there is usually space available on the road. I travelled from Keswick on my mobility scooter via the traffic-free Keswick to Portinscale path which took around 20mins. In my opinion, this route is fine for mobility scooters and powerchairs, but may be challenging for self-propelled wheelchairs as it is uneven and gravelly in places. It is also worth noting that during wet weather this path can become quite muddy. However the views are pretty spectacular (see photo). An alternative good tarmac path runs alongside the road out of Keswick to Portinscale and is wide enough for a standard wheelchair, but I have found it too narrow to go that way with my assistance dog alongside me as well. I parked my mobility scooter outside the tearoom next to a wall.
There are two entrances to the tearooms. The first entrance has one small step of approx 10cm. The second entrance has level access. Signage was not clear, so it would be easy to think that the first entrance was the only entrance, but the main entrance is just a few metres further along. The tearoom is all on the one level. Staff are happy to help with menu choices and answer any questions. I did not see alternative formats such as braille, large print or BSL when I visited. The tearoom is dog friendly and provides towels to dry off wet / muddy dogs, dog biscuits and water bowls.
There is one larger than average accessible loo with grab rails and plenty of space to manoeuvre a wheelchair and space for a carer. The toilet was very clean and tidy.
I have always found the staff to be very pleasant, friendly and helpful. On this visit a member of staff offered to take my order from the table, even although I was supposed to order at the counter. I was offered water for my assistance dog and asked if there was anything else they could do to help. Staff can make or break a customer experience, and I have always found the staff here to be consistently good.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
I would definitely highly recommend this tearoom. I awarded 4.5 stars overall because, from an accessibility point of view, the on-street parking can get very busy making off-loading a wheelchair more difficult. Other than that, I love the access, food, cakes, large loo, staff and environment. It also makes for a lovely trip from Keswick with spectacular views. I will be visiting again. And again. And again!