• Robinsons Brewery’s longest serving landlords celebrate double milestones
  • Celebrating 42 years in a pub which has reached 300 years old
  • The Grade II listed pub was created from 16th century stone scavenged from Galava Roman Fort at Waterhead
  • One of two pubs in the UK to be named “The Golden Rule”
  • The last existing Hartley’s tenants in Robinsons pub estate

Current licensees, John and Margaret, have run the Golden Rule for over 40 years, and have just celebrated an impressive 42 years at the pub. Coincidentally the duo also remain the 42nd landlords of the 300 year old pub. This year The Rule celebrates an incredible 300-year milestone of serving real ale in the heart of Cumbria, starting life as a brewery in 1721.

Since 1981 the joyful duo have remained committed to preserving the character and charm of this delightful pub, and gave a richer insight into their journey over their years. They explained:

“We both began working here in April 1981, just before Robinsons acquired Ulverston Brewery Hartley’s. Back then, we had huge peaks and troughs of trade, good Friday we opened at 12pm closed at 2am then opened again at 7am and closed at 10pm, and the queue was all the way up the road with people waiting to come in! It’s fascinating to see how things have changed now. Trade has stabilised, and we’re busy all year round and every single weekend due to increased tourism to the area.

As we’re a Grade II listed building, there’s not much we’re able to change to the structure of the pub, although we wouldn’t want to as we love the traditional charm it offers, it’s just a pub that works. There’s been a few slight changes and decorations, and the servery behind bar used to be the landlords sitting room. But over the 42 years, things such as compliances and administrative work has changed a lot, it’s interesting to see how the ways of running a pub has changed over time.

We’re not quite sure where the name of the pub came from. We asked for a hanging sign when we started, and everybody takes pictures of the sign till today as it pictures the Good Samaritan from the bible. As alcohol and whiskey wasn’t supposed to be served on a Sunday due to impairments at work on the Monday, we think it was “the golden rule” to not serve alcohol on a Sunday. Only one other pub has this name in the UK, which is situated in Edinburgh.

We have lots of committee meetings here from the local community too, the local gardeners, allotment owners, Ambleside sports committee and just all of the local committees come here in large groups for their meetings. It’s a great meeting spot for the Ambleside community.

We are very lucky, we attract such a great clientele, with myself, Margaret and our staff being the catalyst. We are so blessed with good staff, we don’t know where we would be without the staff we’ve got, they’re fantastic.”

About the Golden Rule:

One of Ambleside’s most hidden gems and Grade II listed pub, owned by Stockport based Robinsons Brewery, is located in the heart of the Lake District - popular with residents and visitors, the young and old, walkers, climbers and mountain bikers, artists and writers.

Obtaining a wealth of history along it’s years and leading up to the pub’s tercentenary, the pub’s building (and those surrounding it) were initially created from stone scavenged from the nearby Galava Roman Fort at Waterhead in the 16th century. The pub become a public house in the early 18th century, and was purchased by Hartley’s Brewery 100 years ago. In 1982, Robinsons acquired Hartley’s, taking the Golden Rule under its wing.

With no background music, no games machines, no big screen televisions, and no meals, the Rule is just the place to relax and have a drink and a chat. Enjoy the extensive range of cask beers, draught lagers and ciders, fine wines, malt whiskies, gins, and other spirits in comfortable traditionally furnished rooms, in the secluded suntrap beer garden, or by the open crackling fire.