Coulomb blockade thermometry (CBT) provides a simple method for absolute thermometry in every day laboratory use at cryogenic temperatures. CBT has been found insensitive to even high magnetic fields. We review the principles and the operation of CBT and the fabrication of the sensors, and present new data on radiation hardness and stability of the sensors. We describe the instrumentation of CBT in detail. We have developed two signal conditioning units for CBT measurements. One is a modified alternating current resistance bridge, a versatile laboratory instrument operating with a PC computer, and the other one is a simple stand-alone instrument for direct temperature reading. Test results on their performance are also presented. Both prototypes have a short-term reproducibility of 0.3% or better in temperature measurement.