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Golden Rule, Ambleside

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user reviews of the Golden Rule, Ambleside

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Full range of Robinsons beers, all in tip top condition as always. From Old Tom at 8.5% down, including a very nice seasonal traditional bitter. What's not to like! AND they even had one of the legendary pork pies from the local butcher, just up the hill
And it is fantastic to see that the local CAMRA group have considered their selections and restored this gem of a pub to the GBG 2020 - well done, my job is done!
TonyMitch - 2 Nov 2019 21:34
The local CAMRA branch have finally decided to agree with us and the Golden Rule is now back in the 2020 Good Beer Guide.

It has also just won the accolade of the "Britain's Best Post Walk Pint" award, breaking the competition's record for the highest number of public votes in the process.
Stamfordian - 25 Sep 2019 16:31
So, I'm back again and this pub, in my humble opinion, is still the best pub/bar in the town by a mile.
Friendly, welcoming pub, used by locals, students and visitors alike.
Full range of Robinsons ales and a draught cider.
Beer always well kept.
TonyMitch - 12 May 2019 19:04
As ever, excellent selection of Robinsons beers, the full range and over the last 3 evenings, they have all been in top condition. The pork pies and scotch eggs are very tasty but go far too quickly. This remains the top pub in the area and clearly should be in the Good Beer Guide. It still features in the top 20 pubs on this website, so what are the local CAMRA group playing at?
TonyMitch - 8 May 2017 21:59
My Golden Rule is "never drink before midday" !

Occasionally broken ...

Never been to this pub, but it's on my list for the future
Martinsh - 16 Apr 2017 23:38
There are only two known pubs in Britain called the Golden Rule. One is in Edinburgh and one is in Ambleside
The question is - what is the Golden Rule?
for the religious - "do unto others as you would do unto yourself"
for the underdog - "he who has the gold rules"
for the sceptic - "the golden rule is that there is no golden rule"
for the landlord - "a load of hard work"
for the local and the visitor - "a very good pub!"
TonyMitch - 16 Apr 2017 22:56
Back again, walked past all the high street pubs to get to the best bar none. This gem still features in BITEs top 20 pubs and yet is still not back in the Good Beer Guide. Madness, come on local CAMRA group, do your job. Full range of Robinsons beers and guests and as ALWAYS in tip top condition.
TonyMitch - 29 Oct 2016 21:26
Have to agree with yesterday's review by TonyMitch - I have been an occasional visitor (several times a year) for about 40 years now and the Golden Rule has always been an excellent and very well run pub throughout that time. I called in for a pint this afternoon and at 17.00 on a November Monday there were 17 mostly local people in the main bar and more in the other rooms, with customers coming and going all the while, giving the place a warm and friendly atmosphere. My beer (Robinson's Blonde) was on top form. The pub was a GBG regular when it belonged to Hartley's and for many years thereafter and if I had my way it would be a fixture now; I would have no argument with a second GBG pub in this busy holiday town (the Lily or Queen's for example) but unless there is radical change the Rule will always be Number One for me.
Stamfordian - 2 Nov 2015 22:30
Cracking pub . The best by a military mile in the town. Full range of Robinsons/Hartleys beers and every single one well kept. Draft cider on too. Real fire, a number of different areas to drink, talk and relax. Can there be any sense in the local CAMRA group that I understand refuses to put it into the GBG because it won't carry any guest beers. Plain crazy decision by that CAMRA committee. It is a quiet Sunday and there are 7 real ales being served.
TonyMitch - 1 Nov 2015 20:52
Fairfield round + golden rule = great day!
kip2011 - 16 Sep 2015 13:18
First class visit on Sunday, the landlord is a fine chap and we washed down some lovely ales with sandwiches, pork pie and scotch eggs.
BothamsAshes - 20 May 2015 12:32
Good place, made better by the quantity of games in the back room. Get in there and enjoy some brain exercise on Connect 4 or Scruples, or get physical with Kerplunk.
Beer ok, punters friendly, toilet tested, all satisfactory.

Do people not have jobs in Ambleside, why was the place still going at 12pm on a Sunday. Will have to move there, and drop out.
Juanfortheroad - 11 Mar 2014 20:21
same old `rule` i found last week.robinsons XB & blonde etc can lose their appeal after a couple of pints or 4 but you cannot but say this is the best pub in ambleside as the number of locals you meet in there testify god that fire gets hot
damocles11 - 1 Oct 2012 22:13
Still same great pub, well kept Robinsons' beers (yes I know), however, I feel that I must gurn about the cost of crisps, ordinary fried potato crisps, not gold plated or served on a silver platter, just crisps. 95p is beyond extortionate. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.
killip_ian - 16 Sep 2012 16:18
Wonderful, characterful pub, pretty much unchanged since my previous visit 10 years ago. Very good beer and a fantastic interior, not to be missed by the discerning drinker. Plus my children were made welcome.
edchambers - 18 Aug 2012 21:36
very pleasant ambleside pub, off the main road. Interesting mix of locals and visitors and very friendly and helpful barstaff.

Added bonus which isn't mentioned in the pub facilities is that it has free wifi, and a number of powerpoints you can use to charge laptops, phones etc.

No food except crisps and the odd pork pie, but great selection of ales. And a roaring fire. recommended.
feedthedude - 21 Apr 2012 10:42
This is where the ambleside characters go. We met a man with an eye patch, several people with dogs and then bizarrely, a group of students dressed as golfers. Is this a university town? The beers were unusual - Hanibals Nectar anyone? but all well served.
Mappiman - 3 Feb 2012 20:46
i paid a few visits to the g`rule the other week and found it to be a good traditional pub,no music,footy on the telly etc.its a great favourite with dog owners and gives off a nice family atmosphere.only downside is the real ale is all robinsons as it is a tied house.i stuck to the black beauty which was a nice pint but i prefer my ale a bit lighter
damocles11 - 5 Nov 2011 08:29
Proper traditional pub; these days let down by the beer which is mediocre at best. I'm not sure whether Robinsons beer always tasted this bad or whether it's just that the new micros are just so much better at their game.
Beerwulf - 26 Oct 2011 00:33
This was our favourite pub in Ambleside; excellent beers, well kept; free wifi; a covered smoking area; friendly bar staff. In addition, the pub is more spacious than first appearances would suggest, with three seperate rooms in the bar, including a games room.
StephanB - 23 Sep 2011 17:21
Called in again in July. Cracking pub, long a favourite of mine and have been calling in for the past 20 years. As per my previous comment I'm not a fan of their Robinsons beers, but they are well kept you cannot argue with that. I tried the Robinsons Crusoe. Not too bad.
Mothbag - 12 Aug 2011 15:06
Best pub in Ambleside. No food just good beer, open fire and plenty of locals.
CaptainDave - 2 Dec 2010 12:14
Great pub and one I always seek out when in Ambleside. Not a fan of Robinson beers to be honest so tend to stick to the mild.
Ayresomeangel - 4 Aug 2010 13:50
A wonderfully warm and welcoming genuine pub. Always friendly, both the staff and other customers, you can be sure of having a chat, even if you've come in on your own. Always half a dozen well-kept cask beers on (all from Robinsons though as it's a tied house). I make a point of visiting every time I'm in Ambleside and have even been known to go out of my way to visit Ambleside just to call into the Rule! It really is that good.
strephon - 26 Jul 2010 16:34
Called in several times recently and been here plenty of times before. Great as always. Never been a fan of the Hartleys / Robinsons beers, but the Dizzy Blonde was ok - the beer wasn�t bad either ;-) We even got to watch some of the golf in the back room, which led to several ales being consumed pre 6pm.
Mothbag - 21 Jul 2010 12:03
Best pub in terms of atmosphere in Ambleside - always friendly, and a good place if you just fancy a drink or two. Never seems to be too busy either, well recommended
BrucetheMoose - 18 Jul 2010 22:40
A decent traditional back street pub, very busy with a good cross-section of locals. A decent pint of Robinsons Mild - I'm not a fan of their other beers but the Mild was so nice we went in here several times during the week.
Old_King_Cole - 15 May 2010 17:58
Most of the pubs in town Ambleside are awful, soulless places that just cater for tourists. I was a tourist but felt welcome in this place among the regulars. It�s a proper pub, and a bloody good one at that.
Counce - 12 Mar 2010 17:11
Called in a couple of times whilst celebrating New Year in The Lakes. Excellent as ever. Great atmosphere 'early doors' and very cosy sitting near the front door and log fire. Good beer selection, but from one brewer - Robinsons (Hartley's). Nice pint of Hartleys XB.
Mothbag - 6 Jan 2010 09:40
Friendly pub with a good mix of visitors and locals providing banter and conversation. Hartley's XB was available alongside Robinsons Unicorn, Hatters & Dissy Blonde. Slightly off the main drag, but worth seeking out.
blue_scrumpy - 26 Nov 2009 17:21
Characterful Robinsons pub hidden away from Ambleside's main drag, yet still highly popular as it features in the GBG and GPG. It's a rambling place with a cosy main room at the bar with a great real fire, low beams and a lshelf of beer-related literature. Beyond this are other less remarkable rooms, one of which has a TV. Beer range good, aside from the usual Robinsons range there was the seasonal Dizzy Blonde (out of season I may add) and Hartley's XB and Cumbria Way. Both in good form. Many were sheltering from the weather on my visit and a friendly atmosphere prevailed. Landlord is a bit of an old-stlye one- no nonsense tolerated, a good thing. Was telling how he is the last original Hartley's of Ulverston tenant left since the 1983 takeover by Robinsons. All in all a good boozer, attracts tourists but not aimed at them, probably Ambleside's best.
Carlurmston - 16 Nov 2009 12:07
Ambleside's best pub in our humble opinion and very welcoming in the early evening after a day spent stumbling around the fells. The Dizzy Blonde more than satisfied my current penchant for lighter ales (not lager). Don't mind the dated decor either but wish they would dim the lights a bit - why so bright?
kestrel - 16 Oct 2009 21:44
Went in here again during a recent trip in July 09 always a regular when I'm in the area. Great cosy pub (always good on New Year's Eve at around 3pm - great atmosphere as it's getting dark outside). Getting tired of Hartleys / Robinsons beers though especially as there are so many great micro brewery beers to be had in the area, but alas no guests. Cannot seem to get on with their beers, but the Dizy Blonde isn't too bad and I found it to be better than the Hartleys XB or Cumbria Way. A great pub especially when all the walkers and locals get in around 4pm.
Mothbag - 27 Jul 2009 14:58
This is all a traditional pub should be. If you can spare an hour in Ambleside, make it two...the beer is always well kept and staff have are welcoming and friendly. Decor is dated (in a good way) and don't expect flash food - I went during the week and what was on offer was a pork pie and/or crisps. The pie was very nice, thank you.

Personally I like a pint of the Robinson's Double Hop but there are usually about 5 beers on (including a mild).

The place is very dog friendly, by the way, and full of local characters. A fine Cumbrian pub, kept with real pride.
thebishofbeer - 20 Jul 2009 18:47
Welcoming comfortable pub with a friendly landlord(?) and a decent range of Robinson's beers including the Hatters mild which I tried. Price range went from �2.40 upwards so not expensive at all. Hopefully I'll be back again next Easter.
Booze_Allen - 15 Apr 2009 15:15
been in here a few times. although the pub has that robinsons' "look" about it (ie not redecorated since the 70s) the beer was excellent and the staff friendly. proper pub, no pretensions, no food, just decent real ale and some good decent locals. must be doing something right if it's been in the real ale guide for years on end.
killip_ian - 6 Apr 2009 14:00
I would agree this is the best pub in Ambleside, but from my experience that isn't saying all that much.

It is a nice cosy little place, I found the staff were friendly on a couple of visit's, I wanted to like the place, it was really just the Robinson's beer that let the place down. I tried 4 out of 6 of the beers on offer over two evenings, having found them all pretty unpleasant I was forced to throw the towel in on this one.
Klaude_Martner - 3 Apr 2009 11:04
Have been going to this pub for 25 years or more now and apart from the toilets(for the better) it has not changed,nor has the landlord who was still there on a recent visit.I have never known this pub to be anything other than friendly never mind rude staff,I hope this was a one off because as far as I am concerned this is one of the lakes last unspoilt alehouses.Probably my favourite.
canigou - 27 Nov 2008 15:46
Yesterday, 4th August 2008 at about 17:15 I entered this establishment with my partner. We were looking for somewhere to sit. The individual behind the bar asked what we were doing. I answered looking for somewhere to sit - did they have a lounge for instance? What I cannot now post is the exact wording but to be told to 'p^ss off back where you come from' without provocation in a pub is not my sort of place. Needless to say our party of four went elsewhere. I will be writing to CAMRA about this too.

MikeGoode - 5 Aug 2008 10:02
Great pub with atmosphere.Was treated to an impromptu performance of Beatles songs by a couple of guys with cello and guitar.Range of Robinsons beers which were ok.

captainblah - 16 Sep 2007 17:17
Whilst one shouldn't pick a pub on this basis, I was impressed, on my last visit, by how nicely refurbished the loos were. In the Lake District even an old man's pub can have posh loos!
drtimthornton - 20 Jun 2007 18:30
Very friendly pub.Lovely real fire. Robinsons isnt the worlds best beer but they always keep it as good as it's going to get. Best pub in Amleside by a long way.
GeorgeXXIII - 14 Jan 2007 08:03
A regular in the Camra Good Beer Guide, this little pub is well placed for the paths off Red Screes and Dove Crag. I have three slight qualms: it can be quite smokey; there can be a surprisingly large number of dogs; and it is a Robinson�s pub. That said, it has pleasant atmosphere, six beers (so you can pick the best of the Robinson�s beers: I think Double Hop) and is cosy if you can get near the fire. (Not a food pub although I may have once seen a roll on the bar.)
drtimthornton - 10 Dec 2006 14:47
Agree with all below, by far the best pub in Ambleside. Funny how most of us "visitors" always prefer a good old local's pub rather than the formulaic tourist pubs offered to us.
malgrey - 5 Apr 2006 14:59
Certainly the best proper pub in Ambleside,full of walkers and (mountain) bikers. Good number of real ales, but you'll need to like Robinson's beers to drink here, no guests visible when I called in last week.
ChrissG - 26 Feb 2006 17:32
This is a great pub, not only the best pub in Ambleside but also one of the best in Lakeland. Positioned perfectly for fellwalkers completing the Fairfield Horseshoe, a pint in here really is a great end to a great day on the fells. Sounds too good to be true? Go there!
Terry_W - 17 Nov 2005 00:51
Been going to the Lakes for years now and this has to be one of the best. I really like the atmosphere here. It might seem a bit localsy but it's really friendly. Highly recommended. I like the fact that it isn't a food pub. All you'll get here is a bap and great beer
adrianstevenson - 1 Sep 2005 12:37
We like the local feel when stopping off for a beer & after a gruelling hike up loughrigg Fell a nice pint of real ale did the business.

Ta D & S
D & S - 18 May 2004 22:50
Love this place. Spent many hours there over the years when walking in the Lakes. A friend, Christine lives across the back yard. If she reads this, all the best from FrankW. Glossop.
frank - 2 Dec 2002 19:19
Great old pub with real ale, open fire, pork pies and lots of old people falling asleep. There's generally a dog or two as well. Can be over run with people who want to impress the world with their average mountaineering exploits.
Dave Gatward - 13 Aug 2002 13:59

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