The mid-west in aug/sept

Anna and I are over in the London area at the very end of august and thinking of augmenting that trip with a week on one side or the other elsewhere in the country. Someone suggested Bristol to us a few days ago, and the idea appealed. What other towns in the region are within easy public-transport range of Bristol, and have a good beer scene and a bit of culture?


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I’d also say Newport only for tiny rebel. But my first thought was Bath.

As for Culture it’s all a state of mind…

Isn’t Newport where Monsanto let Agent Orange give everything cancer?

[And my pronunciation of Pwllheli is better than that "singer"s!]

Was Cardiff a sensible suggestion, or did you just want to force me to go through Newport? It would be a country place tick, so is worth internet points. We’ll probably have several days to do short day-trips, or fewer longer trips, so it’s not absurd - what’s the public transport connection like?

Bath is an absolutely perfect suggestion - thank you! Culture aplenty, I’m sure. And I notice it seemsto be near some county borders, so I could even do some sneaky extra county place ticks too - more internet points!

The map makes it look like anything from Gloucester to Southampton to Exeter would be “in range” for a longer trip, so please keep the suggestions coming! (Suggestions of Burnham-on-Sea will be met with glares… that was a “popular” holiday destination when I was young.)

My Cardiff suggestion was for real, some good pubs in and around the center of the city.


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My Newport suggestion was tongue in cheek. I’d recommend Cheltenham, and Exeter (as well as Bath). @LazyPyro would be able to recommend places in Cheltenham. Not been to Cardiff recently but i’m sure the beers scene is good.

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Bristol has a huge amount to see in terms of beer, and Cheltenham/Gloucester are easily accessible by train.

I probably wouldn’t bother with Gloucester unless you happen to pass through. Other than TANK (Gloucester Brewery) and the Brewhouse & Kitchen I don’t think there’s much of interest there beer-wise, and other than Gloucester Docks I’m not sure they have any culture there.

Cheltenham’s definitely a good shout though. On the beer front I’d of course recommend Deya but it looks like you’re not much of a fan of NEIPAs so probably not a lot on offer to your liking.
Sandford Park Alehouse is probably the best for cask and keg offerings, and some bottles. Cheltenham Motor Club too.
We have two excellent bottleshops, Favourite Beers, and Bath Road Beers. Favourite Beers in particular has a superb selection of beers, ciders, plus some local wines and local-ish meads, plenty of Gloucestershire ticks to be had, also 10 beers on keg. Bath Road Beers has a smaller selection, plus 4 kegs, 1 cask. Plenty of pubs and a Brewhouse & Kitchen in town too for some less exciting ticks.

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You told me you were thinking of coming to the Midlands !:face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

We still don’t have or flight dates, so don’t know exactly where we’ll be heading. It won’t be east, that’s all we know. We’ll try to get at least our dates sorted by the weekend.

Cardiff is a good shout - lots of good drinking to be done there now.

Wildcard option - Hereford. Up and coming for both beer (trad and craft) and food at the moment, not to mention cider, plenty of history, beautiful countryside. 1.5 hours from Bristol by train with a change in Newport so you could tick the Tiny Rebel bar there while you’re at it.

I could get to Hereford …

From your list in email, I will admit that a complete change of plan and hitting something like Chester would also be very tempting. Bristol was a last minute suggestion from a local we met up with just last week, but he has a tricky timetable, and it might not be even possible to coordinate with him.

If you are going to Chester, stop off at Shrewsbury too (if you get the slow train Oakengates is also worth the effort if you want cask ales).


Yup, the south-west will have to wait for another trip. We’re definitely thinking of focussing on Chester as a 2-day stop probably 4th-6th Sept, and therefore looking for things to hit on the way there and on the way back. On the way back to Heathrow, we were thinking of a stop in Crewe, as there’s a beer festival on 6th-8th. Shrewsbury on the way to Chester seems possible, certainly, it might even furnish a place tick in Wales as it goes through Wrexham! Any ideas for a hop or two on the way to Shrewsbury?

I still need to fill 28th/29th with something close to London too. I wonder if something south coasty might be good (we did Brighton+Lewes last trip)

South coast: Portsmouth (with potential ferry trip to Gosport) or Southampton (and I would also take in Eastleigh and Chandler’s Ford but they’re on my trainline). Or southernly but not so coasterly you’ve got Reading. Winchester’s also OK for cask ticking.

The trouble with midweek will be opening times.

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Portsmouth/IoW were on my shortlist of ideas, but Winchester is a good suggestion too, comrade, as we love cathetrals? Did you know it’s over 170m long!

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If you’re going to Chester via Shrewsbury, the obvious answer for a tick in Wales is the Bridge End Inn at Ruabon (3 mins from station). You might get a brewery tick as well as they brew their own sometimes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to open till 5pm on weekdays …

If you’re going through Wolverhampton, pop off there and visit the Great Western (basically underneath station) and absolutely stunning pub. They may have Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby on tap as well …