Old Dungeon Ghyll (Great Langdale)

Great Langdale, Ambleside, LA22 9JY
Old Dungeon Ghyll (Great Langdale) Outside

Nestled in the heart of the Langdale Valley, the Old Dungeon Ghyll has been a social hub for climbers for over a century. Chris Bonnington tested out his lectures in the Hiker’s Bar, which today still offers walkers a respite from the blustery fells along with a well-deserved pint of real ale.

Traditional, simple, with no fuss or frills, the Old Dungeon Ghyll has stuck to a successful formula throughout the years of providing good, wholesome food washed down with ale, whisky, or wine. Muddy boots and paws are welcome, and thanks to the large National Trust campsite over the road, the inn is often lively during peak tourist periods.

Food & Drink

Old Dungeon Ghyll (Great Langdale) pub

The cosy Hiker’s Bar, with its stone floors, exposed beams, and roaring fire, was once the cow stalls for the old building, and many of the dividing walls are still there, creating cosy, snug corners where you can sit an enjoy a pint of real ale. There are six ales on handpump, all sourced from various breweries across Cumbria.

The bar also stocks farm ciders and a fine range of over 15 single malt whiskies. The wine list is reasonable, with around 35 varieties available, although this is stock dependent, and there is something to cater for most budgets and tastes.

Wholesome Menu

The food is hearty and wholesome, with generous portions of homecooked dishes and not a frozen chip in sight. It is traditional bar fodder, but it is bar fodder that done properly. In the Hiker’s Bar, food is served all day between noon and 9pm. A lunch time menu is in operation between 12pm and 2pm, with a limited number of substantial main dishes, including fish and chips.

The lunch time menu also has a choice of sandwiches, jacket potatoes, snacks, and these continue to be available until 5.30pm. In the evenings, the menu has a greater choice of main meals with all the pub favourites covered and there are daily specials. The children’s menu has a good selection of dishes on it, with the option to change some of the sides.

The Dining Room

The inn has a more formal dining room with tables adorned with crisp white linen. Non-residents are welcome here for both breakfast and evening meals, with a full English breakfast available between 8.30am and 9.30am, perfect if you are planning a day’s worth of walking. Booking is advised. For guests staying at the inn, there is the option to enjoy an afternoon tea in the resident’s lounge.

Other Features

Old Dungeon Ghyll (Great Langdale) beer garden

Image thanks to the Old Dungeon Ghyll

Dogs are permitted in the Hiker’s Bar and in the beer garden. Additionally the bar hosts weekly music nights on Wednesday evenings. Bring your own instruments and join in with the singing. There is also free Wi-Fi in all of the public areas.


The exact date of the building of the inn is unknown, but it was originally a farm and an inn, noted in 1885 as being known as Middlefell Inn. The farm buildings have since been incorporated into the main inn building, with the cow stalls forming the Hiker’s Bar. At the start of the 20th century, horse drawn vehicles would bring tourists to the inn via Blea Tarn Pass and at the top of the pass they would blow a loud horn to indicate to those working at the inn that they should prepare a meal.

The number of horn blasts indicated how many guests would be attending. In the early twentieth century, the inn was given to the National Trust, who still retain ownership to this day but are not involved in the day to day running of the pub. The inn has been a popular meeting point for climbing clubs over the years, and many famous climbers have met here to hold talks and discuss their exploits, including Sir Chris Bonnington who has summited Everest four times.


Old Dungeon Ghyll (Great Langdale) accommodation

There are twelve rooms at the Old Dungeon Ghyll. Six have en-suite bathroom facilities, whilst the remaining six have private bathrooms that are adjacent to the rooms. There are a choice of single, double, and family rooms available, and all are presented in a traditional country inn style with floral décor and simple furnishings. Many rooms have fell views and all have tea and coffee making facilities. There are no televisions in the rooms, as this is a place to escape modern life.


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