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Picture of The Black Bull
Image posted by Ian Mapp
Submitted on Tuesday, 23rd May 2017
With picture contributions to 137 other pubs
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The Black Bull, Coniston

Coppermines Road
LA21 8HL
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Reviews of The Black Bull (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about The Black Bull

First time back in nearly 10 years.

Beer - as you would expect from a brewery - is first class.

The rooms have been spruced up to a very high standard too.

Everything was great about our Visit, Blogged at

On 23rd May 2017 - rating: 10
[User has posted 277 recommendations about 276 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

John Bonser left this review about The Black Bull

Occupying a prominent position on Coniston’s main street is The Black Bull, a white washed traditional old looking building. An old pub sign on a wall tells us that it is a “16th Century Historic Coaching Inn. Serving fine food and real ales brewed on the premises”. The Black Bull is of course the home of Coniston Brewery and a large tarpaulin banner draped across one of the front walls reminds us that Coniston Brewery’s Bluebird Bitter was Champion Beer of Britain in 1998 and is on sale here.

It’s an unusual building in what I would describe as a double L shape with a number of different entrances. Half way down the main room is a long attractive shiny mahogany bar counter. On the wall opposite ( and close by, because it’s quite narrow here ), are a fine collection of CAMRA award certificates and a tube map style poster entitled Pub Stops of the Lake District. Hops adorn the wall high up here. At both ends of the bar, the interior widens out. It’s a traditional comfortable interior with the usual low black beams, red velour padded seating and bar stools. Horse brasses and decorative plates feature, as do a number of brewery / beer related posters. Perhaps inevitably, one area features a few old black and white framed photos of Donald Campbell and his craft. An attractive mahogany mantelpiece and shelving with the date 1712 and surrounding an old fireplace also catches the eye, although there’s now a woodburner here.

A further area at the back very much resembles a converted barn with a high vaulted ceiling and exposed stonework and an emphasis on diners. Set into the wall here, through a glass viewing panel is a large piece of stone, unnamed, but which I later learnt to be the Big Toe of the Old Man of Coniston ( which is not a local OAP, but a well known mountain overlooking the town attracting walkers and climbers with considerably more energy than me ).

There’s a separate residents lounge and two outside drinking areas at the front where you can sit and watch the passing traffic. 15 rooms are available for overnight stays, but this is more a pub with rooms than a hotel with a bar.

The interior is pleasingly free of music and electronic games machines and, whilst there’s salt and pepper pots on each table, there isn’t the food emphasis to the extent that you might expect. For instance, large leatherbound menus are kept on a smallish table at the end of the bar, rather than on each table, and are not as immediately noticeable as you might expect.

The Black Bull is the home of Coniston Brewery ( hidden away around the back of the building ) and, on the bar counter, a prominently displayed colourful leaflet details the beers with full tasting notes and a list of awards and accolades won to date.

I was fortunate enough to get to sample most of the Bluebird beers during my stay in the village. Whilst both the Bluebird Bitter and the XB Premium Bitter were pleasant, tasty pints, the Special Oatmeal Stout ( 4.5% ABV - £ 3.80p ) stole the show as far as I was concerned. A strong IPA ( Infinity IPA – 6% ) was also pretty good. Interestingly, on only one of 3 visits was there a non – Coniston real ale on – a stout from Barngates ( Drunken Duck ) when the aforementioned Oatmeal Stout had run out.

This visit was also memorable for my first sighting of a CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2015 sticker- proudly and prominently displayed along with those of previous years. A large poster for the 2011 edition reflects the fact that The Black Bull features on the front cover.

Various bottle presentation packs, branded baseball caps, T shirts etc are on sale should you feel the need to purchase a memento of your visit.

For various reasons, I didn’t get to visit all the Lake District pubs that were on my shortlist to try to do, but, of the ones, I did get to do, this was probably the pick of the bunch.

On 20th October 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Will Larter left this review about The Black Bull

This is the home of Coniston Brewery, and the 11 hand pumps proudly serve all of their beers, including a cask lager. The long bar (it has to be, to accommodate all those hand pumps) recedes into the rear of the pub, making the area around it slightly awkward, especially when it's busy.

The wooden fire-surround is dated 1712 and there are many pictures on the walls of Donald Campbell's attempt at the world speed record on water that ended fatally for him in 1967.

A big plus: no music; a minus: the strong smell of fried food noticed on entering. Despite the pub's status as a brewery tap, I feel it is aiming more at the tourist trade than beer aficionados.

On 17th January 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2653 recommendations about 2500 pubs]

View more reviews of The Black Bull (5)
This pub features in the following crawls:
Central Lake District by bus (winter) by Will Larter
External web links for The Black Bull

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by BEN UNSWORTH
Windermere, 9.55 miles, 3 hr 4 min walk (show)
Foxfield, 10.82 miles, 3 hr 29 min walk (show)
Staveley, 13.2 miles, 4 hr 14 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Black Bull, Coniston
14th Oct 2018, 22:23
Picture submitted by Will Larter approved
14th Oct 2018, 22:23
Picture submitted by Will Larter approved

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 30 July 2013 by Will Larter
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