The Rail Ale Ramble People

Crookham Travel

Quality Tours with Taste since 1977


Prospectus for:






Friday 27th to Monday 30th March 2020


·        Chester (& its walls)

·        Breweries:

o   Brimstage

o   Peerless

o   Oaks

o   Chapter

·        Brewery Taps:

o   Pied Bull

o   Red Willow

·        Good Beer Guide and National Inventory pubs,

·        Anderton Lift & Cruise

·        Wirral Transport Museum & Tram Ride

·        Macclesfield (& its pubs)




The Wirral? Yes there’s far more to that peninsula than Birkenhead and New Brighton. We shall be staying at its southerly end in the grand city of Chester at one of its oldest and finest hotels of the “railway era”, The Queen, which is located right opposite the still large rail station. During its long history the hotel has been a Trust House (we used in the 1970s on a CCA tour). Now part of the Hallmark group it is a very comfortable place with local real ale and a good base for our activities. On this tour we are pleased to be able to include not one but two very interesting transport visits, namely the Anderton boat lift, known as the Cathedral of the Canals. Apart from the huge iron and steel construction it now has an interesting visitor centre along with a cruise boat that immerses you wholly in the experience. In Birkenhead the transport museum has had a big makeover in 2018 and is again worth a visit plus a ride on its tracks to the ferry.

After feedback and recent initiatives in recent programmes this tour has more time in nice pubs, as well as some usual brewery visits with ample time to properly “do things” in our base city.



A departure at 11.10 from London Euston to Chester will arrive in time for lunch (after booking in at the hotel) at the Deva Tap (GBG) once home to the famed Chester Cocoa Rooms, of which there were 18 trying to expand abstinence around the city. In the Tap a ploughmen’s plate (of food) will be served along with your first pint. When everyone is done here, we shall walk (or bus) into the city to The Pied Bull brewpub to sample some of their wares and hopefully meet the brewer. Thereafter time is yours. It is about a 10 minute walk back to the hotel but plenty of buses make the journey to the station.



This is our Wirral day and begins by leaving the hotel at 09:30 in our private 35 seat coach for the first stop of the day at Brimstage Brewery located in a farm building conversion. 75 minutes will be spent here to enjoy the chat and their beers. Then we make use of the Wirral Motorway to reach Birkenhead and the Peerless Brewery.

After this stop it will be time for lunch which we shall take in Gallaghers Traditional Pub (GBG), A typical Liverpudlian dish of Scouse will be provided for us along with a beer from their large range. “Scouse” is the local name for a Hotpot of beef and veggies. Any non-meat eaters can be provided with a “blind Scouse”.

At 1430 we shall head for the historic tram nearby to take us to the Wirral Transport Museum for an approximately one hour visit. We return by tram to the ferry bus terminal to regain our coach which will then head inland to the village of Greasby and its Coach & Horses pub (GBG). Visitors to this 300 year old hostelry are welcomed by real fires on cold days. Just over one hour here before we then head for the final call on our route, in Little Neston, at the remote Harp Inn (GBG), situated by the Dee Marshes with great views on fine days. This pub has, unusually, a beer from Joseph Holt. Their beers are rarely found so far from their place of origin (Manchester). Up to 90 minutes can be spent here before the coach returns to Chester city and hotel arriving around 1935, where this day tour ends.



A leisurely plan today begins at 0950 by coach from the hotel to Northwich and a visit to the “Cathedral of the Canals”, the Anderton boat Lift. Since being in the jurisdiction of the Canal & River Trust it has expanded considerably and now sports a very interesting Visitor Centre as well as a collection of 1950s slot machines – which can be played! Our visit includes a short cruise at 1045 from river level which then ends with a lift up to sluice level ending about 1130. We shall depart at 1235 and head for Frodsham for a sandwich lunch and drink stop at the Helter Skelter, an award-winning GBG pub. There will be time after lunch for a visit to the nearby Sam Smith pub for those aficionados amongst you. Next we shall move to Ellesmere Port to find Oaks brewery. After the usual hour or so there (as required) we shall return to the City of Chester to give you time to enjoy the evening there in a calmer atmosphere than one would the night before.



The final day will begin at 0930 after your luggage has been stowed in our 49 seat coach, firstly heading east to Sutton Weaver and the Chapter Brewery. During the research visit the interesting brewer revealed he lives on a narrow boat berthed in Liverpool’s Albert Dock, just yards where the SIBA AGM is held! Our final plans will be completed by meeting him one evening on his boat! Our next call will be at the village of Gawsworth, south of Macclesfield, to enjoy the hospitality at The Harrington Arms NI/GBG. Our next stop will then be at the GBG “street” pub in Macclesfield, the Wharf – not sure exactly where that is as the pub is near the top of a hill!

Next we move down the hill to the famous Waters Green street adjacent to Macclesfield station, which we first visited in 1979! Then there were five good pubs in the area and today there are still four. Your hot lunch will be found at the GBG Waters Green Tavern – a very long entry in the GBG with a good selection of ales. Our final official visit is possible only with the willing consent of the Red Willow brewery team as their Tap will be opened specially for us from 1530. Your final first included pint will be available here along with their range of real ales. It is a shortish walk from there to Macclesfield station for Aventi (the new name for West Coast) and Cross Country trains home from around 1730. The cheapest will be at 1856 due London Euston 2041.



The cost of this tour should not exceed £455 single occupancy and £425 twin/double with three nights B&B at The Queen Hotel with (optional at extra cost) dinner. A wine & two-course food package is usually offered for £20.

Items included are:-

·        Five brewery/tap visits

·        Seven first pints in pubs

·        Lunches on all four days

·        Three days’ coaching

·        Anderton Lift visit and cruise

·        Wirral Transport Museum and tram rides

·        Service and VAT at current rate;

·        IPP financial insurance cover;

·        Crookham Travel courier throughout.

·        (Optional) standard class rail travel from and to London available at cost (if requested and booked by CT). Currently +/- £46-50 return using railcard.



In order to be sure of securing rooms prompt booking is recommended. 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 WIR. 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 four weeks before departure.



City Road (opposite station), Chester CH1 3AH

Tel: 01244 318483

Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include coffee/tea makers and irons/ironing boards and housekeeping is provided daily.

Very comfortable beds, free wi-fi, TV, internal garden.



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





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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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