THE GREEN HOP & MALVERN HILLS EXPLORER
Thursday 3rd to Monday 7th October 2019
London Marylebone – Warwick Parkway
o Hop Shed
o Friday Beer
Severn Valley Railway
Green Hop Festival
Good Beer Guide pubs
The Scenic Malvern Hills
Gloucester – London Paddington
The Malverns are a very pleasant region of our country which I am sure you would enjoy especially with the remarkably reasonable prices of a pint of real ale. During my research I never paid more than £3.50 and many were less than that. Even a couple of city places had some for £2.90. Our chosen breweries are certainly not a list of industrial units, more a selection of farm properties or converted buildings. The Sunday suggestion is able to include plenty of real ale along the Severn Valley Railway, as well as their classic steam trains. So, let’s now move into the tour detail…..
THURSDAY 3rd OCTOBER 2019
Our mid-morning departure by Chiltern trains at 11:10 from Marylebone station to Warwick Parkway due 12:31 can be obtained for £5.50 advance (less with a Card). We shall then join our coach for the indirect journey to the hotel in Worcester. Our first stop (with lunch) will be at the Broom Tavern in that village. Next comes the Tap Room at the small Weatheroak brewery at Studley. Then we plan to visit Ambridge – not the soap village but the brewery of that name near Inkberrow. Close by is the next call at the Bulls Head in the High Street. Finally the coach will head for the City of Worcester and the Fownes Hotel, built out of the renowned leather glove factory of that name where we plan to be by 18:45.
FRIDAY 4th OCTOBER
This is walkabout day – or at least morning - around the quite compact city centre. No walk between venues is longer than 12-15 minutes. First call is at the Sociable Brewery where an early open should see us inside by 10:30. An hour or so here will see us trot off to Firefly Brewpub where the cask beer is reasonably priced but their own product is infrequently brewed. We shall remind the owner of our visit and he may be able to provide some of his making.
An attractive recent addition to the micro scene is at Hartlebury station where part of the building has been converted into a popular eatery alongside the new microbrewery. We shall pop up there by train at 14:35, enjoy a baguette lunch and local beer, returning at 16:52 to Foregate Street by 17:20. A suggested visit now would be to the Windtrip brewpub in the town. Evening free.
SATURDAY 5th OCTOBER
The first cry today is “Back on the Bus” so that it can take you on a tour of the Marches countryside during its journey to the Teme Valley and Knightwick, home to the first Green Hop Festival. We have been trying to get here for some years – now we will have achieved this long-held aim. The Talbot Hotel and Teme Valley brewery here is the home of the popular event and we shall have an early opening so that we can see the brewery and its brewer as well as enjoying some the fresh ales. 90 minutes is planned here before we head into the narrow lanes to reach the Hop Shed brewery itself located in a hop field store. We may well have a short talk from the Hop Manager during the visit. Next stop will be at Hanbury Broadheath for the Fox Inn, for lunch and ales. Final stop will be in Pensax with an early opening to enjoy beer from the seven hand pumps at the West Midlands CAMRA Pub of the Year, The Bell. The plan is to be back in Worcester by 18:00
SUNDAY 6th OCTOBER
The magic words – Steam and Real Ale – feature today with a visit to the Severn Valley Railway and a brewery. Departure from Foregate Street is at 1026 to Kidderminster, arriving 1045 for the 1120 Train to Bewdley arriving 1134. Here we shall wander down into the small Georgian town and fetch up at the tap for the town’s Bewdley Brewery. Time here for drink(s), a peep at the installation and any lunch you require. Our next train leaves Bewdley at 1414 to Bridgnorth due 1508. Time here for a visit to the station platform pub before departing south at 1550, arriving back at Kidderminster about 1710. An immediate return to Worcester is possible at 1733, or 1759, 1859, 1957 with the final one at 2057, journey time approx 20/25 minutes.
MONDAY 7th OCTOBER
The final day of this fulsome tour will take you properly into the Malvern Hills when we use the spine road through them from north to south. Firstly though, we shall call at Friday Beer Brewery, Malvern, then head for the Lakehouse Brewery, situated in the grounds of a country house below the Hills. To reach our lunch stop in Ledbury we now have to run the gauntlet of traffic on the narrow main road through and under the Hills to reach Ledbury. There will be two hours here for your pre-ordered lunch choice (all local or homemade food) at the Prince of Wales before heading west for the final brewery visit - at Ledbury Ales on the edge of town. The final stop before reaching Gloucester about 1825 will be at the Red Lion on the edge of the River Severn at Waindon. Our train leaves Gloucester station at 1850 for Reading and Paddington where it is due at 2043 to end this tour.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
The cost of this tour cannot yet be completely finalised as due to my absence of nearly one month this Prospectus had to be sent out now to secure hotel rooms before all locations had responded. You may rest assured that the value for money in this event will match all those of years past. I am expecting it to come out at a little less than £525 single and £490 twin/double. There are no less than 25 price points in the tour.
Standard class return rail travel from London at cost – approx £20 (if requested and booked by CT)
· Four nights B&B at Fownes Hotel with optional three course dinner on Thursday (£13.00)
· Up to ten brewery visits
· First pint in five GBG pubs
· Lunches on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday
· Three days’ coaching
· Severn Valley Railway return ticket
· Service and VAT at current rate
· IPP financial insurance cover
· Crookham Travel courier throughout
HOW TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE
In order to be sure of securing rooms prompt booking is earnestly requested. After the end of June, bookings will be accepted on an as-available basis. Please complete the booking form and send it with your deposit of £100 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 GHP. The balance will be required about five weeks before departure.
FOWNES HOTEL, City Walls Road, Worcester WR1 2AP
The impressive building was originally built in 1882 as a glove factory. Various artefacts of this era are on display around the hotel which now has 61 stylish en-suite bedrooms. These have TV, telephone, tea and coffee making facilities, trouser press, hair dryer, toiletries, wi-fi. It is just two minutes walk to the historic part of the city and about 12 minutes walk from either railway station.
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