Manchester Beer & Cider Festival

Hi guys!

I´m planning a short trip to U.K. on January 2018. I have a friend living in Leamington Spa and that´s the excuse to finally doing a beer trip around there.

My doubt is about the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival. This festival is precisely the weekend that I will be in England…but my first idea was fly to London not Manchester. I checked the public transport from both cities to Leamington Spa and London is closer (and also I have direct flights from my city while Manchester or Birmingham no)…but a beer festival in Manchester sounds like a good plan. Anyone knows something about this festival?? I visited their web page ( but there´s not a beer list or much information about the participating breweries.

So…guys what do you think??
Option 1: London (Day 1 - Wed.) - Leamington Spa/Birmingham (Day 2. - Thur.) - Manchester (Day 3 - Friday) - Manchester (Day 4 - Saturday) - Train to London and flight (Day 5 - Sun.).
Option 2 London pub-crawl (Day 1 - Wed.) - Leamington Spa/Birmingham (Day 2. - Thur.) - London (Day 3 - Friday) - London (Day 4 - Saturday) - London (Day 5 - Sun.).

I’ve never been to that festival, but the beer list is unlikely to be out until the week before.

Not been recently but unless youve a lot of UK beer, your gonna get a decent range and WAY more than you can drink.

Saying that. Beer is generally better quality in Bars and your prob gonna see more than you can drink in the bars

There are direct trains to both London or Manchester from Leamington Spa although London is obviously quicker. The Festival in Manchester is very good.
You ought to take in Warwick if you are doing Leamington, much nicer and a visit to the Castle is excellent. Birmingham is well worth it.

Manchester airport is extremely easy to fly into and out of, compared to Heathrow, even taking a connection into consideration. So I use it even when London is on my itinerary. And Manchester has a solid beer scene. So I vote option 3, starting and ending in Manchester.

Thank you all for your answers:

@Mr_Pink_152 I´m afraid you are right. So I checked the 2017 edition beer list and almost all the breweries would be a new tick for me. I dind´t visited England since many years ago…I´m more concerned about the festival ambiance itself.

@cgarvieuk Yeah. That´s true!! The idea is combining 2 days of festival with 2 days of pub-crawl in Manchester. As I can see in the festival webpage It will be 14 brewery bars…so just with this brewery bars i will be wasted :slight_smile:

@imdownthepub Thank you!! Warwick is near Leamington so I can visit the castle. This will report me a couple of pictures to show the family beyond beer :slight_smile:

@Travlr I have checked all the options but London is very cheap and reachable from my city. One way flight on Thursday it´s right now from 17 €!! But, I checked again because you are right London Stansted is away from the city and it´s umconfortable doing all the way back from Manchester to London. And there´s another Option 3: London (Thursday) - London (Friday until train to Birmingham. I meet my friend at Birmingham) - Manchester (Saturday - Sunday - Monday) - Flight back to Porto on Tuesday. I think that this option could be the better option to seize my time in England

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Stansted is an easy airport too, and just a short train ride into the city, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that

Manchester is a terrific festival. I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed. However (as with most UK festivals), Saturday may not be the best day to go - generally more crowded and with a less beer geeky crowd, plus you may find beers beginning to run out later on.

Whatever you decide, one thing I would suggest is that, if train travel is involved, you book your tickets as early as possible & get an “advance” ticket. That ties you to a particular train - so is no good if you want to retain some flexibility in your travel times - but is invariably far cheaper than buying a ticket on the day.

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@chriso My flight arrives to Stansted airport at 18:25. My first idea is book a hotel near Marylebone station, doing some pubs in this neighborhood and then take the train (thank you for your advice about advance tickets, I checked and one advance ticket to Leamington Spa could be 6€) on friday morning.
You are suggesting that maybe is better doing Manchester festival on friday than Birmingham. And maybe doing Birmingham pub-crawl on sunday instead of friday. It sounds good to me but I need to talk with my friend because of his working hours.

Thank you for your advices.

Ok. After a long talk with my friend, there´s some alterations in the Plan.

Day 1: Thursday 25th January 2018. Arrives to Stansted at 18:25. My friend will meet me at Cambridge, around 21:00. If the flight arrives on time and I´m capable to caught the correct bus at correct time…I will have enough time to have a couple of beers at Pint Shop ( and Cambridge Brew House ( Arrives to Leamington Spa and drink another couple at the Fizzy Moon (

Day 2: Friday 26th January 2018. My friends works until 15:00, but his girlfriend kindly offers to give me a tour by car around Leamington-Coventry Area. So, the plan is going to Warwick castle and then Wild Boar Slaughterhouse ( After Warwick, she says going to Kenilworth Castle and then going to Coventry area where I can take a couple of beers at Gonzo Taproom ( and Broomfield Tavern ( Any other recommendation on this route??
After that, it´s time to train on our direction to Manchester…possibly we can make it and go to Manchester Beer Festival around 19:00. Doing Manchester festival and pub-crawl until late.

Day 3: Saturday 27th January 2018. Visit Cloudwater (, Alphabet Brewing ( and Track Brewing ( before going to festival. Then doing, festival and pub-crawl.

Day 4. Sunday 28th January 2018. Visit Manchester city and have a couple of pints on city centre. After lunch, go to Birmingham. Any recommendation about a must place in Birmingham on a sunday afternoon??

Day 5. Monday 29th January 2018. Train to London and spend the day and night there. (I need to check the London places but…there are so many :slight_smile:

Day 6. Tuesday 30th January 2018. Visit London city centre, Camden…and drink the last couple of pints before going to Stansted. My plane leaves at 18:50.

Busy days!!! Now i need to book the hotel in Manchester and London.

Hope you have a great trip, looks like a very full itinerary.

Trains, festival tickets and hotels booked.

Cider and International Beer list is ready.
A good range of Belgium and Germany classics. Also, a couple of beers that I want to try, one from Australia (Prancing Pony Black Ale - A 6% Black I.P.A.) and one from the Netherlands (Het Uiltje In Between Agenda’s - Collaboration with Pohjala 7% Black I.P.A.).
Talking about cider and perry the range is 77 ciders and 26 perrys…I´m not a big fan but I see a lot of Wales ciders. Maybe I could give a try but my first idea is to be focused on U.K. and Irish beers.
Let´s wait for the big beer list :slight_smile:

Good choice! Nothing wrong with the two places you’ve selected, but if you’re interested in real ales more than craft muck, then you might want to try /The Maypole/ (, which I consider the best real ale venue in town by far. The train to Cambridge is about the same price as the bus, and if you wish to stay closer to the station, then there’s a little cluster that side of town - the /Live and Let Live/ (; the /Kingston Arms/; and the /Devonshire Arms/ ( (and many more)

(I can also possibly work out the best pubs near to the bus station too, that might take more thought…)


The Wellington and The Post Office Vaults are both close to the station and offer the biggest selection of beers. For the ambience include The Old Joint Stock and The Bacchus, again close to the station.

Enjoy your trip.


@fatphil1 Thank you. Lot of options in Cambridge! Maypole looks awesome.

@BlackHaddock Thank you very much! Finally I think that we will have only 2 hours in Birmingham so your recomendations near station sounds perfect for us. I was checking a webpage with craft beer events across U.K. in the month of January, and there is one event (Battle of the Brewers - Green Duck vs Burning Soul) at the Paper Duck, a pub located in the surroundings of Birmingham but sadly I think we have not enough time for a visit there.

I´m really excited about the trip. Never been in England for a beer travel, so I´m counting the days :slight_smile:

Full beer and cider list is ready.

I really like the option of Excel download. Only had time for a quickly check but I have selected 26 u.k. beers for my hunting:

Brewery Beer
Blue Monkey Bonobo
Bollington Eastern Nights
Brightwater Ernest
Cloudwater DDH Pale NZ Chinook
Cloudwater IPA Simcoe Chinook
Cloudwater Session IPA Vic Secret Mosaic
Cloudwater Small Nelson Sauvin Rye Pale
Cloudwater / Lervig Bourbon Black Forest Stout
Cloudwater / PSBH Wizard King
Cwrw Iâl Isthmus of Darien
Fixed Wheel Blackheath Stout
Hawkshead Cumbrian Five Hop
Hawkshead Northern Imperial Stout
Hopcraft / Steel City / Waen Jumping Someone else’s Bandwagon
Loch Lomond Silkie Stout
Moorhouses Black Cat Reserve
Purple Moose Dark Side Of The Moose
Purple Moose Elderflower Ale (Ysgawen)
Salopian Kashmir
Shindigger Mango Unchained
Tiny Rebel Cerial Killer
Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropicana
Tiny Rebel Imperial Puft
Track / Northern Monk Circle Works
Vibrant Forest Metropolis
Waen Pamplemousse

Many more to come on my list :joy::joy:

8 days to go! cheers.

The Battle of the Brewers sounds fun; Green Duck is a cask/real ale brewery and the Burning Soul guys are more ‘New wave’ and keg Brewers. I like both brewery’s beers too.


Flying tomorrow to England. Finally we are going from Stansted to Royal Leamington Spa through the West route (Oxfordshire instead of Cambridgeshire). Our 3 planned pit stops are:

  • The Land of Liberty, Peace & Plentry. Heronsgate, Hertfordshire.

  • The Bootlegger, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

  • The Cross Keys, Thame, Oxfordshire

I can´t wait! Cheers!

Doing some ticks until the last round, here in Leamington Spa

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London Howling hops flight before coming back to Spain tomorrow

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