The saying “there’s nowt so queer as folk” basically means there’s nothing as strange as people, but trust us, there’s nothing strange about the ‘folk’ who run Folk in Bowness-on-Windermere in the heart of the Lake District! Paul and Georgia bought Folk on a bit of a whim when they were house hunting in the Lake District in early 2018. They then spent a month – during the freezing temperatures and severe weather brought about by the Beast from the East no less – ripping everything out and refurbishing and redecorating to bring their exciting new venture to life.
Where is it?
Tucked away on a peaceful lane running parallel to the main street through the popular tourist town of Bowness-on-Windermere. Folk is literally just minutes from the lakeshore.
How long has it been there?
Folk opened on Friday 13th April 2018.
Who’s in charge?
Owned and run by Paul and partner, Georgia and overseen by 2-year-old, daughter Juno who was born just four months after opening Folk! The couple moved house, started a new business from scratch, and had their first baby all within a six-month period. Just a few life-changing events to deal with then!
What’s the vibe?
Think Manchester Northern Quarter, neighbourhood watering hole and you wouldn’t be too far wrong. In fact, you could pick Folk up and pop it into any vibrant village, trendy town, or cool city in the UK and it wouldn’t feel out of place, which is a great compliment to Paul & Georgia. The easy option would have been to style it around the Lake District, but Paul was keen for them to establish their own distinct personality – even down to the music – so don’t expect lots of popular chart hits. It’s new, it’s bright, it’s airy, it’s clean and it’s fresh. There’s lots of eye-catching artwork and fashionable plants dotted around, and a brand spanking new bold, colourful bar featuring an abstract design by talented Manchester artist, Caroline Dowsett.
Who goes there?
With Bowness-on-Windermere being a tourist mecca, it’s no surprise that a lot of Folk customers are visitors to the town who have explored outside of the busy main street and bypassed the high street coffee chains. They have a strong local following (they operate a loyalty scheme for locals), and with such a friendly welcome, you’ll soon feel like part of the Folk family.
What’s the food like?
There’s no scrimping on quality ingredients with excellent breads from More! Bakery and meats from local butchers, Hayton’s – both just a few miles away in Staveley. They do great breakfast sandwiches with their own recipe hot sauce and the Crispy Korean BBQ Chicken is a delectable feast of fried buttermilk chicken tossed with sticky Korean BBQ sauce, spring onion and sesame. Halloumi is also a popular choice. They’re always experimenting with new dishes and their menus change with the seasons – as does their coffee – to keep their offering interesting. There’s also a kids menu including rolls, waffles, and babycino’s and being dog-friendly, they’ve been known to give a few bacon bits to four-legged friends.
What should we order if we’re feeling really hungry?
The burgers are pretty special – we’d struggle to choose between the chicken burger and bacon cheeseburger! Combine with either the Buffalo cauliflower wings, tagine topped chips, or for even more indulgence, choose from a selection of four different loaded fries! Their Angel fries are gluten free and come with parmesan, truffle oil, three cheese mix, parsley, & truffle mayo dip. Oh, and all their sauces are vegan and homemade.
And washed down with…?
During the day, flat whites are their most popular coffee choice followed closely by lattes and cappuccinos. Paul’s a fan of the jammy, blueberry fruity blends and Georgia prefers a slightly darker roast. If you fancy something a little stronger, they do a mean espresso martini alongside other imaginative cocktails and have introduced a range of natural wines as well as draught and craft beer. They serve until 9pm and drinks are also available to take away.
Why Carvetii Coffee?
As it says on the board outside, they are proud to serve ‘proper coffee’. In the first year of opening, while trying to find their feet, Paul and Georgia tried a couple of other roasters before Carvetii was recommended. Since then, they haven’t looked back and even during a pandemic have managed to triple their coffee sales. Folk share a similar, refreshing mindset to Carvetii about competition being healthy and appreciate people who aren’t shy about their passion. Where Folk have stood by their principles of what they want their business to look like, Carvetii have done the same with the quality of their coffee. There’s no compromising on quality. Crucially for Paul and Georgia, Carvetii’s passion, professionalism, and customer service also more than matches their excellent quality coffee.
What do people say about Folk?
When you consider that you have to want to find Folk (people often say they ‘stumbled across’ it), coupled with the volume of other coffee, lunch, brunch and food spots in the small footprint of Bowness, it’s no mean feat that they’re sitting proudly as one of TripAdvisor’s top two places to eat & drink in the town. People regularly compliment them on the service and décor, and ask about the coffee, often saying it’s the best they’ve had.
Any interesting facts about Folk?
Folk tries (and succeeds) not to be pigeon-holed. Whether you want breakfast, brunch, dinner, coffee, a refreshing craft beer or a creative cocktail, it ticks lots of boxes. The sign says, ‘Coffee Spot, Brunch, Watering Hole’ and it’s all of those and much more, but why not pay a visit and make your own mind up. It’s not a gallery but they have regularly changing exhibitions of quirky artwork that customers can buy. And naturally there’s no Cumbrian watercolours, lakes or sheep in sight! The last art and photography exhibition was a celebration of old shop fronts from around North West England that you don’t see any more. From Lancashire launderettes and gift shops to age-old Manchester booksellers, there’s normally a few surprises on the wall to stimulate customer conversation.
What should people do in Bowness-on-Windermere?
The friendly folk at Folk are always ready to pass on suggestions of the best places to visit in and around Bowness-on-Windermere. Although Paul does take a bit of ribbing for regularly sending people up Orrest Head at the top of Windermere! Mainly because he’s sharing the coffee love as he knows his customers can enjoy another Carvetii coffee at nearby Homeground before starting the fairly easy climb revealing panoramic views across Windermere. They’ll also let you know the places to go to get the best photographs of the lake, and you don’t have to follow the hordes of tourists to get them.
Paul & Georgia agreed on the name ‘Folk’ because it’s about people and that’s their point of service. For a business that prides itself on welcoming and talking to people, it’s the perfect choice so it’s nothing to do with folk music, even if they do sometimes play it! We also think it’s worth noting that Paul & Georgia treat their staff the same way they treat their customers. They do all they can to make sure their staff enjoy coming to work; from having them create their own playlists of songs for background music, to getting involved in social media. If Paul & Georgia also feel like the tips aren’t quite where they should be after a busy day, they won’t think twice about topping them up to show their appreciation. They all pitch in, work hard, but still have a laugh and enjoy their jobs.
What Folk say about us…
“When Carvetii came to see us, they were uber-professional and uber passionate and I felt like Gareth took us under his wing a little, which, after struggling through the first winter, was a really nice feeling to have. As well as giving us business advice, we’ve also had good personal advice from Angharad and its heartwarming to have that relationship. But it’s not just Gareth and Angharad. I’m a firm believer you can tell a good company by the people who work for them and Sam and Byron are both great too. They’re working at Carvetii because they really want to, not just because they applied for some job from a website. They follow the same philosophy and that shines through in the extra level of care, love and attention you get from them all.
“I love to chat to customers about Carvetii and I’m proud to get our coffee from a local Cumbrian producer and not some big company in London. I could order our coffee online, but I always ring them to have a chat because it’s nice to do that – that’s part of their service and that’s important to me. They genuinely care about their customers.”
What customers say about Folk…
Really friendly welcome. We were looking for somewhere for coffee and the hope of a light bite to eat and were really happy to see they had oat milk available, plus a vegan option of ALT – avocado lettuce and tomato. It might not sound much but the bread was delicious, and it was seasoned to perfection, with beautiful vegan mayo on it too.
Amazing food, fresh and tasty. Lovely coffee and nice, welcoming energy of the owners. Really could not ask for more.
What a hidden little gem this is
Best coffee in Bowness by far. Lovely friendly staff. Check it out it’s behind the church.
Delicious food, great atmosphere
Very welcoming to my 15-month-old and the best service we have experienced in the Lake District! Simply brilliant, highly recommend. The owners couldn’t have been nicer, and nothing was too much trouble!
Best coffee on the lake 100%! Folk is a favourite of ours in The Lake District. Great coffee, food, cakes and service!
We came across Folk and we’re so glad we did. We sat outside momentarily whilst the lovely couple running it did everything, they could to get us inside (it was slightly chilly out), ten minutes later we were sat in the warm ordering delicious breakfast rolls.
I have a bit of a thing for bread, and they use toasted ciabatta rolls which were so nice I had to ask where they were from and was told they use a local bakery about 15 minutes away.
Lovely atmosphere, great quality food. I would definitely come back here again when I visit the area next.
Had the BLT for breakfast which is up there with the best I’ve had. Coffee is great. Brilliant place to go if in Bowness-on-Windermere
We called in here after seeing the appeal from the outside. A fantastic place for a snack and a good coffee – we love our coffee, and this place does the best flat whites we’ve had! Brilliantly caters for gluten-free. Lovely to sit outside and watch the world go by, and we liked the fact it was tucked behind the main busy hustle and bustle of the town. A hidden gem – highly recommend!
Lovely relaxed lunch with great food and beer! Service was excellent and super friendly. Highly recommend!
Folk is open Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat, Sun from 11am-9pm. Closed Wed & Thurs.
Folk, 4 St Martin’s Parade, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3DY. 07454 615 133.
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