The Rail Ale Ramble People

Crookham Travel

Quality Tours with Taste since 1977


Prospectus for:



The Suffolk County Explorer

Thursday 7th to Monday 11th March 2019



London – Ipswich - Lowestoft

Woodbridge Tide Mill

Muntons Maltings

Up to twelve breweries:

·        Uffa

·        Ampersand

·        Grain

·        St Peter’s

·        Waveney

·        Peoples

·        Opa Hay

·        Adnams

·        Station 1-1-9

·        Old Chimneys

·        Star Wing

·        Calvors

Good Beer Guide Pubs

Free time in Southwold, Lowestoft and Norwich

Stowmarket - London


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Woodbridge Tide Mill

Photo with permission, Circuitsight at English Wikipedia

Muntons Maltings

Photo: Wikimedia Commons



Why Suffolk (again?) you may well ask. It’s because of a special request from a few members to return to – or visit for the first time - St. Peters and Adnams breweries – the former due to its superb location and successful expansion world-wide and the latter because of its amazing success in “going green” whilst diversifying in all directions – and still producing fine ales. Our only visit to Adnams was in 1995 and to St. Peters in 2001. Since then many new breweries have emerged whilst local pubs have in many places retained their local charm. 560 miles in three days were recently driven in order to provide the itinerary below. Group accommodation in the area seems to be located at both ends of what is a surprisingly large county; the ’Spoons hotel at Beccles was seriously considered but without a lift it would be difficult for some and the lack of a group rate has pushed the base to a more suitable hotel at Lowestoft in a sea-front property.


A mid-morning departure at 11:00 from Liverpool Street (connection from Stratford is by the 10:30 service) gives the nod to those who have a time restriction on reduced fares to London. The train is fast to Colchester, arriving Ipswich at 12:07 where our private coach will be waiting. In our usual way there will be productive calls en route to Lowestoft the first being at Woodbridge Tide Mill, one of only two in Britain. Second call is at the White Lion in Ufford village for its brewery and a ploughman’s lunch. After a ride through some country lanes we shall pause at the specially-opening White House in Sweffling, an historic pub with a very friendly management. The final call en route Lowestoft is at Shadingfield where the award-winning Fox Inn awaits. Arrival at the Best Western Hatfield Hotel, where you will be based for four nights, will be around 19:45. A “welcome” evening meal (optional) will be provided at the hotel.


Whilst the day might be considered somewhat beery by some it has to be done otherwise many will be disappointed! It will be noted that during the weekend many breweries lie on farms with “spare” buildings, amid pleasant scenery, rather than in industrial units.

Subject to final decisions, the route will be via the breweries of Ampersand, Waveney (brewpub), St. Peters with lunch in the chapel hall, Grain, Peoples (and village pub tap) and last but certainly not least, a return to Opa Hay’s, (in the anaesthetist’s garage), where the charming lady was very disappointed that I did not get round to actually calling on her!. She is so pleased that we are returning – she has two new dogs to amuse us! It is only four miles from Beccles but in Norfolk so it was overlooked – this is one of our forays into that county, hence the suffix in the tour title! It is planned to be back in Lowestoft by 20:00.


Today is Southwold Day, plus… We shall depart Lowestoft by bus 99 to Southwold due 10:50. We have a booking at Adnams for two groups at 11:00 and 11:30 tours, after which you have free time until 14:30 (or later if you prefer) before riding the 99 bus to Pakefield for a short walk to The Oddfellows Arms (GBG), situated close to the cliff top at the most easterly part of England. Regular buses back to Lowestoft are available. Details later. Bus passes or on-the-day fares are required for today’s – and Sunday’s – road transport.


This is a day when you can make your own foray in the region’s capital; Norwich, the drinker’s mecca, as well as having lots of other interesting venues. Regular X2/22 buses run between Norwich and Lowestoft, as well as a train.


The final day of this event will end at Stowmarket but not before you have visited the following en route: Station 1-1-9, so named after a USAF base here. The owners are very proud of their production and are eager to share their story – and their key keg beers – with us. Then we shall meet an old friend at his Old Chimneys brewery. He may well then join us for part of our tour to Star Wing brewery, sited in a former saw mill and with a new on-site tap. Lunchtime will be at The Rampton House pub, connected to the owner of Calvors brewery, our final stop after the visit to Muntons Maltings, where they have a pilot brewery – we are currently unsure whether their licence allows them to serve us any samples, they will let us know nearer the time. The planned train home is at 18:48 from Stowmarket via Ipswich or possibly the 19:29 direct, due Liverpool St 20:20 and 20:55 respectively


The cost of this tour cannot yet be completely finalised (some locations are not yet geared up for 2019) but based on past experience and rooms at The Hatfield House Hotel, it is expected to be around £520 person single and £495 for twin or double occupancy. Yes, a few may say “It’s too expensive” but it must be recorded that the tour is around a very affluent region and is of five days, four nights which includes no less than twenty-one paid events, (with two breweries at £20 each) and three days of coach travel.

Standard class return rail travel from London at cost (if requested and booked by CT)

·      Four nights B&B at The Hatfield Hotel with optional dinner on Thursday;

·      Up to twelve brewery visits plus Maltings;

·      First pint in five GBG pubs; NOTE: Places in italics include some beer

·      Lunches on Thursday, Friday and Monday;

·      Three days’ coaching;

·      Admission to Tide Mill;

·      Service and VAT at current rate;

·      IPP financial insurance cover;

·      Crookham Travel courier throughout.


In order to be sure of securing rooms prompt booking is earnestly requested. After the end of November, bookings will be accepted on an as-available basis. Please complete the booking form and send it with your deposit of £150 per person, payable to Crookham Travel, or send it by bank transfer to Crookham Travel a/c No. 87825884 sort code 09-01-27 at Santander using reference SUF. You may be signed up for payments via mobile phones – this can be used for your deposit by sending it to my number 077 6666 3579. The balance will be required about five weeks before departure


The Esplanade, Lowestoft NR33 0QG

Tel: 01502 565337

Following a recent refurbishment program, the hotel is able to offer a unique blend of contemporary, modern style and traditional features. The hotel has two bars which both face the sea and offer traditional ales as well as home cooked food.

Free wi-fi, restaurants, twenty-four hour service, lift to all floors. Free internet available throughout the hotel.

A member of the Best Western group



Most of the arrangements have already been confirmed but some are still outstanding, so the right is reserved to amend the programme should this be unavoidable.


Click HERE for the BOOKING FORM in easily printable MS Word format

Click HERE to read Crookham Travel's Booking Conditions





11 Attlee Gardens, Church Crookham, Fleet, Hampshire GU52 6PH
Telephone & Fax: 01252 66 56 52


In accordance with "The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992" all passengers booking with Crookham Travel are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Crookham Travel. There is no requirement for Financial Protection of day trips, and none is provided. This insurance is only valid for packages booked that DO NOT include flights. Consumer aware: Your booking is insured by IPP Ltd and its panel of insurers. - This insurance is only valid for passengers who book and pay directly with/to Crookham Travel. For further information please go to This Insurance has been arranged by International Passenger Protection Limited and underwritten by Insurers who are members of the Association of British Insurers & Lloyds




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