The Old Crown (Hesket Newmarket)

Hesket Newmarket, CA7 8JG
The Old Crown (Hesket Newmarket) Outside

Hesket Newmarket is a small village on the very northern edges of the Lake District with just a handful of houses and a unique pub. The Old Crown was England’s first co-operatively pub and is also home to a micro-brewery, the Hesket Newmarket Brewery.

This small pub is a local favourite and is a great place to enjoy a bit of chat (or crack as it’s known in Cumbria) with local residents. It’s a typical English pub, with a cosy interior that benefits from a real log fire in the winter. Opening times do vary with the seasons so it’s best to check in advance of your visit.

Food & Drink

It’s all about the ale at the Old Crown. With the Hesket Newmarket Brewery located on the same site it stands to reason that the bar serves up a number of ales produced by the brewery. The bar has six handpulls and all of them are used for a changing selection of ales supplied by the brewery, with various varieties, including IPA, stout, blonde, and bitter available. Patrons can also purchase the brewery’s ales in bottles here. The small bar also stocks a selection of draught lagers, as well as the standard range of wines and spirits.

Food service times can vary with the seasons and it’s always best to book your table in advance. Food is not available on Mondays, and evenings, only Tuesdays to Thursdays. Food is served twice a day Fridays to Saturdays. It’s typical pub grub. It’s not fancy but it tastes good and will leave you feeling satisfied with generous portions that use locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. Typical dishes include steak and ale pie, lasagne, and scampi. Baguettes are available during the lunch time service and there are a couple of options for vegetarians. A traditional roast dinner is served each Sunday.

Other Features

The Old Crown has a small, separate games room that houses a pool table and darts board. Dogs are welcome in the bar and the pub has a beer garden to the rear. The pub is very much at the heart of its community and hosts regular events, including live music nights, occasional charity quiz nights, and seasonal parties and fun days.


The Old Crown (Hesket Newmarket)

Michael Graham /

It’s thought that the pub dates back to the 18th century, but it is in the late 20th century and early 21st century when the pub began to make history. The brewery was originally opened in 1988 by Jim Fearnley, who had purchased the pub the year before, along with a barn at the back of the building that he converted into the brewery. He later sold the pub to concentrate all his efforts on the increasingly successful brewery, and when he later decided to retire in 1999, the brewery was bought by a co-operative of villagers who were determined to see the brewery remain independent and in local hands.

Two years later, the pub, that was then owned by Kim and Lyn Matthews, began to face financial difficulties with the foot and mouth outbreak that led to far fewer visitors to the area. Tragically, in the same year Lyn Matthews died and Kim Matthews chose to sell the pub. Again, concerned that the pub could be closed or be bought by a major chain, a group of local residents came together to purchase the pub, becoming the first co-operatively owned pub in England. The pub was visited by Prince Charles in 2004 who came to recognise the efforts of the cooperative and to sample a pint of the brewery’s ale.


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