22 Counties- January -19

Had a great trip this January around England, but we (Holmen2 and me) did miss some counties, so we will be back in January to do the rest, that should be 22 counties.

Fly in/out of London and heading west first, with sleepovers in Reading, Bristol, Exeter and Brighton before we head to London for 3 nights. Day trips to the rest of the counties from there.

Ian will guide us in Kent, so that county should be an easy task:joy:

I have looked in the places section, but am interested in recommendations from you as well.

Struggeling with Surrey, initial plan was to stop in Guildford, and visit Inn at Home, but they are out of business, so I am looking for a proper pub there. Also interested in suggestions in:
Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex ( Norwich-Ipswich-Colchester), Bedford +++

It will be a pleasure to see you and to hear about your travels around our country.

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Looking forward to read about your progress!

Buckinghamshire is straight forward.

Fast train from London Marylebone to High Wycombe (22 minutes).

I’ll be happy to take you on a pub crawl … everything is within 10 minutes of the station.

Saturday you could hit Fishers brewery also.

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Plenty of pubs to visit in Norwich in the centre about 10 minutes walk from the train station

Gardeners Arms
Sir Garnet
Belgian Monk
Mash Tun
Norwich Tap House
BrewDog Norwich
St Andrews Brewhouse
Adam and Eve just a bit out
North of the river are even more
Plasterers Arms
Kings Head is well worth going to
Norwich Cottage
You can easily spend 2 days in Norwich
Not even counting The Fat Cat, Fat Cat Brewery, Whalebone, Duke of Wellington

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Surrey. Worth considering depending on your travel plans is The Garland, a Harveys tied house in Redhill. Less than 10 minutes walk from the train Station, and on the main Brighton Road, so easy to find. Redhill has decent train connections with London / Brighton and some connections with Reading & Tonbridge (Kent).


When we did 11 counties in 7 hours by car last january, overlapping a bunch of your counties, most of the planning was done using a bought-just-for-the-purpose Good Pub Guide 2017 which was next to nothing on amazon second hand, and google maps for the measurements. Trains of course put you at the mercy of timetables, so it’s less sensible to just pick off the nearest town or village in a county, sticking to regular commuter routes will make more sense.

I hate to say it, but if you’re looking for places easy to get to, then probably JDWs will solve that problem in most commuter towns, as they generally plonk themselves on well-trodden paths. They always provided multiple ticks on our tour too, and the cask quality was generally good. However, the long-standing tradition to have a pub near the station is a strong one, so there ought to be not-rampantly-pro-brexit options too.

Good luck!

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Colchester I visited last November and had a great time

Victoria Inn
Three Wise Monkeys
Queen Street Brewhouse
Foresters Arms
South of city ring road
Odd One Out
New Inn
Fat Cat
Ale House

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Chelmsford Ale house is underneath the station and a great venue for scooping.

Surrey has a brewpub on the station at Clandon but check the opening times. Spoons at Woking is OK and is close to the station if your heading out to Hampshire that way.

In Devon then Totnes has a couple of decent pubs near to the station including a brewery tap. Exeter is also pretty good.

Depends really on which routes you are taking where you hop on and off trains.

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Thanks, this is a much better choice, we are leaving Brighton Sunday morning and will do Redhill instead of Guildford, before we head into London.

Will do Exeter, with a proper crawl and sleep.
Initial route is: 2.1 Overnight Reading.
3.1 Oxford-Swindon-Bath-Bristol
4.1 Falmouth-Exeter
5.1 Dorchester-Portsmouth-Ryde-Brighton
6.1 Redhill-London-Kent
One day for Norwich-Ipswich and Colchester
One day for Northampton and Buckingham
One day for Hertforshire and Bedfordsh
West Sussex (Gatwick) on the way home

In Reading, the best three pubs these days are:
Nags Head (traditional, loads of taps)
Castle Tap (craft)
Alehouse (traditional, loads of character).

There’s a superb (if bijou) bottle shop called the Grumpy Goat (which also has excellent cheese!)

There’s two brewpubs, beer from both is pretty average:
Great Expectations (Dickens brewery and Dickens theme)
Zerodegrees (modern, restaurant-oriented with superb pizzas)

Here’s a few of my off-the-radar Reading faves:
Greyfriars (comfortable, centesl, friendly, usually a few rates)
Fisherman’s Cottage (overlooking the canal, ultra-friendly, usually a few rates)
Fox & Hounds, Caversham (decent beer selection, good for pub games, Beatles-related history)

There’s a Brewdog bar, but they’re two a penny nowadays
There’s a couple of town centre Wetherspoons (if you want cheap food & cheap local rates)

Finally, the new Double Barrelled brewery may have opened their tap room by the time of your visit (although that’ll be a little out of town).

Hope you have a great trip, make sure you post trip reports as you go!

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Just noticed that the following is irrelevant due to the plan to go via Redhill but hopefully someone else finds it useful:

Surrey: the main issue with Surrey is that the better options are not necessarily near a railway station.

Pubs in Guildford are a tad lacking. The Lloyds Bar/Spoons will probably have some Surrey beers. Otherwise some nice enough Fuller’s and a couple of what I believe are freehouses that may have a local beer on: The Keep, Kings Head, Robin

Woking is on the mainline from Waterloo to Southampton. If you don’t mind a walk/taxi, The Crown in Horsell (part of Woking) was the original home of Thurstons brewery and will have up to three of their beers on.

Farnham has some nice enough pubs and The Wheatsheaf will have a beer or two from Tilford, one of the newer breweries around this way.

The brewpub is Brightwater’s tap at Claygate station. If you go there… It’s somewhere I’ve been meaning to go to but not got to yet.

Big Smoke have just opened (as of today!) a 28 taps pub in Weybridge but may not have Surrey ticks.

Are Dickens brewing again? Had stopped back in April.

For Buckinghamshire, as The Bois says, Wycombe is a good bet - Mad Squirrel, Heidrun & Bootlegger are all within five minutes walk of the station. If you’re there on a midweek evening I’d be up for meeting up.

If, however, you’re going up the other side of Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes us no longer the beer desert it used to be; my brother recommends the Brewhouse & Kitchen brewpub, Brewdog, the Craft & Cleaver and (especially ) the Biergarten.

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Ach, didn’t know that Dickens had stopped. Don’t think I’ve been there since the start of the year. Take Great Expectations off the Reading list then! No big loss, their beers weren’t great anyway! However, it does mean I’ll never now overtake @berkshirejohn as top rater of their beers!

In Norwich, I’d back up Ian’s recommendation of St Andrew’s Brewhouse not least because the food’s been excellent both times I’ve visited.

In Wiltshire, Chippenham’s Three Crowns pub is one of my all time favourite pubs - great beer, great landlord, and one of the friendliest community pubs going - about 10 mins walk from Chippenham station. If you went there you could call into the Flying Monk Tavern (brewery tap for Flying Monkey) en route.

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You mentioned Dorchester (presumably the Dorset one, not the one on the Thames) - I really liked the Brewhouse and Kitchen there (which if you fancy some history is just a short walk from the small free-to-access Roman amphitheatre where my wife managed to bizarrely injure herself by falling into it - she’s never heard the end of that one!).