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The Golden Rule, Ambleside

Smithy Brow
Ambleside
LA22 9AS

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines


Will Larter left this review about The Golden Rule

My favourite pub in Ambleside, despite not being a big fan of Robinson's beers. It's a traditional, multi-roomed pub with beers always in great condition. On recent winter visits I've been alternating Old Tom 8.5% with what is a fairly new beer to me, their Cascade IPA 4.8%. A half of each - not in the same glass - comes to £5.80 and is usually good for an hour or more, so not bad value. It seems to be a busy pub at most times, and is always pleasant, unless too many dogs have turned up at the same time.

On 26th January 2024 - rating: 9
[User has posted 3795 recommendations about 3523 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Old Boots left this review about The Golden Rule

Very traditional long, low pub with about four rooms, the centre room where the main entrance is, has the counter. Mostly Robinsons beers with a couple of guests, there is a rake of eight pulls. Carpeted rooms with bench seating and old photos, there is grey plague on the walls but we’ll let them off as it’s such a good pub. GBG 2021 listed.

On 26th September 2021 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 3284 recommendations about 2990 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Will Larter left this review about The Golden Rule

A full, or nearly full, range of seven or eight Robinsons beers, but instead of Unicorn they have a beer called Bridge House Bitter, named for the tourist attraction at the bottom of the hill. Apparently the locals wouldn't drink Unicorn out of loyalty to the pub - the nearby rival pub is called the Unicorn! This one sells well, I was told.

On 23rd August 2020 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3795 recommendations about 3523 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Al Bundy left this review about The Golden Rule

I think they're saying its ok and quite nice. And they'd be correct.

On 3rd March 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3487 recommendations about 3390 pubs]


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John Bonser left this review about The Golden Rule

In the heart of the bustling Lakeside town of Ambleside is The Golden Rule, a fine traditional, relatively unspoilt pub that, seemingly unusual for the Lake District, appears to rely more on locals than visitors for its custom.

It’s situated 100 yards or so up a short steepish hill off the main road through town and, with no external hanging pub sign, it’s not immediately noticeable to the casual passer by on the main road as being a pub.

It’s a longish whitewashed building with a number of adjoining rooms on slightly different levels, reflecting the gradient of the hill.

The main room, where the bar counter is situated, features black beams, horse brasses, traditional perimeter red velour seating, bar stools and a decent carpet. There’s also a collection of copper plates, old prints and local paintings to admire. There’s something of a granny’s living room look to this room and, on my mid September early Saturday lunchtime visit, it initially felt a bit like being an extra in an episode of Last of the Summer Wine as several groups of elderly locals were sat around discussing their ailments, drinking halves of bitter shandy, or sharing a pot of tea complete with the best china and all served on a silver tray. I initially attracted some mild curiosity, but not at all in an unfriendly way and I received a warm welcome from John, the long serving landlord, who I later learnt, has been running the show here since 1981.

Off the main room are a number of other traditionally furnished cosy and comfortable rooms. On the left is a smaller basic room with a dartboard and a ghastly, electronic games machine, looking rather out of place, but silent on my visit. On the right hand side, down several steps, a larger room is decorated with a collection of old Lakeland postcards and prints. Within this room is an unusual snug, not much bigger than a broom cupboard, with room realistically for no more than half a dozen people at most. A further room, set further back, features a large TV and a collection of board games. The TV was not in use during my visit and I didn’t see any adverts or posters for live sport anywhere.

A narrow corridor near the bar counter leads to an outside seating area behind the pub. On the wall of this corridor is a fine old black and white photo showing a previous landlord outside the pub with a sign in the background advertising “good stabling”, which would appear to have been at the rear of the pub, where there is a separate entrance from another street.

The Golden Rule is a Robinsons pub, formerly Hartleys, which, on my visit, was offering Hartleys XB, Cumbria Way, Dizzy Blonde, 1892, Citra and Double Hop. Both the Hartleys XB and Cumbria Way - £ 3.10p – were in decent shape. A 3 x 1/3 pint tray is offered at £ 3.30p.

There was nothing to indicate that any food was ever on and, in this respect, it bucks the trend of Lake District pubs.

It’s a fine, traditional, community orientated local – worth calling in if you’re in the area.

On 17th October 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Will Larter left this review about The Golden Rule

Like the nearby Unicorn a former Hartleys pub, it still features XB and Cumbrian Way, though these are both brewed by Robinsons these days; the other four hand pumps had the parent brewery's product on. Situated on a steep hill, the start of the road up The Struggle to Kirkstone Pass, the pub's three rooms are not all on a level. To the right there are steps down to a room which is at street level, while to the left is a room that is level with the bar yet below the street outside.

The walls of the lower room are adorned by a collection of old Lakes postcards: water colours by W Heaton Cooper, and there are also some climbing photos by Bill Birkett. This room also features what would have to be described as a snug, but which the doorway and wall furnishings suggest was probably once a cloakroom. There's a coal fire in the bar, and my favourite pub feature: no music!

On 5th January 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3795 recommendations about 3523 pubs]


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Graham Coombs left this review about The Golden Rule

Cosy and well-run drinkers pub managing to avoid food trade, apart from the occasional pork pie. Most activity around bar, with a couple of rooms off and outdoor area at rear. Good selection of Robinsons beers. Nice.

On 31st August 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3353 recommendations about 3290 pubs]


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peter ashworth left this review about The Golden Rule

Delightful no frills pub hidden away just outside the town centre,that seems popular with walkers, climbers,tourists and locals alike.Pleasingly the pub is void of any pool tables,juke boxes and all that modern stuff,but does have a great selection of cask ales one of which was Robinsons Ginger Tom which was top notch.Worth a visit

On 25th April 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2321 recommendations about 2277 pubs]


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Gary Seymour left this review about The Golden Rule

Excellent traditional town pub. Choice of six real ales. Dogs welcome.

On 30th May 2008 - rating: 10
[User has posted 38 recommendations about 38 pubs]