Hole in t' Wall (New Hall Inn), Bowness-on-Windermere

#8 of 64 in Nightlife in Lake District
Nightlife · Bar / Club
As its name suggests, this is not an easy pub to find....

To track down this 401-year-old inn, you have to turn off down a narrow little Windermere lane called Low Side, and, at the point where it meets another narrow lane called Low Fold, look sharply to the right and keep an eye out for wooden tables.

On the outer wall, there's a mural depicting Thomas Longmire, who was in charge here from 1852 to 1862, at the same time as being champion wrestler of all England ("a quiet-looking giant", observed Charles Dickens, who drank here in 1857).

Inside, there are fireplaces, both active with flames, and dormant and rusting, in the form of ancient stoves. Some are in the ground-floor bar, others down the little staircase in the lower Smithy Bar.

Here, a large sign bears witness to the days when this part of the pub was a forge, with the words: "The blacksmith he did sweat in here, and slake his thirst with Hartley's beer".

This, it turns out, is how the pub got its name. Known originally as the New Hall Inn, it became the Hole in t'Wall thanks to the gap in the brickwork that was knocked through so that the blacksmith could be served a beer while at his anvil.

These days, of course, it's not just large men with hammers who can have a pint of Hartley's. The firm's XB bitter (4.0% abv) is a regular fixture, as are fellow ales Dizzy Blonde (a gentle 3.8%) and the slightly more urgent Unicorn (4.2%), both from Robinsons, who took over Hartley's 30 years ago.

The food is unfussy and Cumbrian. First prize for unpretentiousness goes to the tasty, fried potato "spirals" served in a large pile with tomato chutney.

This truly is a great authentic blast from the past, filled with local real ale, good banter, great food and a warm heart that other establishments only dream of owning.
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Hole in t' Wall (New Hall Inn) reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
164 reviews
  • This pub is very well set up on the current situation with Covid 19. They have restricted numbers inside and on their patio. They had a system of when a table was free outside, you could have it...  more »
  • Best bar in bowness , very friendly staff and reasonably priced drinks and food . Not as busy as last time we visited due to current restrictions , but well organised . Good selection of beers and...  more »
  • If I was recommending this place for a drink I would give it a 4. The guy behind the bar was good pleasant and knowledgeable. The other staff also seemed nice. However I was not impressed with my food. The mustard mash was lumpy and tasted sour?? Some of it was very hot, but most of it tepid cool..... Microwave? Anyway my partners meal was OK, apart from the mash in her fish pie, which was also very lumpy. Try buying a potato ricer.... Anyway other people's meals we saw, did look very good and the comments I heard were good too. So to judge this solely on my experience would be unfair. I think a score of 3 will balance out my disappointment. Sorry but my meal wasn't great.
  • One of the most attractive and characterful town centre pubs I have ever found. It dates from 1612 and has lovely rooms, as well as a wide range of Robinson's beers, plentiful pub food which is very promptly served and especially friendly staff. I went there with 3 friends and we all fell in love with it on the spot, to the point that we returned there three times over the weekend.
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