Forget the ale trail you think you know; the ORIGINAL Real Ale Trail is back, and it’s got ‘Christmas do’ written all over it!

Remember the Original Ale Trail as seen on Oz and James Drink to Britain back in the late 2000s? The idea being that real ale lovers would travel by train along the Transpennine route, stopping off at historic real ale station pubs and enjoying a drink of something beautifully brewed and well-kept in each one. What a way to spend an afternoon!

Over time, the ale trail was hijacked somewhat by those who were there for the ale in volume and not quality and it all got a little rowdy. Thankfully, that’s now a thing of the past and we are reclaiming the Original Real Ale Trail for what it was always intended to be – a celebration of real ale, brewed by passionate, independent businesses and a chance to visit some proper pubs that each have their own history and character on display.

Our Real Ale Trail – keeping it simple

Now, of course, an ale trail can encompass as many stops as you want/can manage but we think simple is best, so our Real Ale Trail consists of just 3 stops: Dewsbury, Huddersfield, and Stalybridge. You can do it in any direction you like (though it is customary to go to the furthest point first and work your way back, so you finish close to home!). All three stations have pubs right on the platform so you definitely can’t get lost:

Dewsbury – The West Riding Refreshment Rooms, celebrating its 30th anniversary next year.

Huddersfield – The King’s Head, formerly a Victorian waiting room at the station.

Stalybridge – The Stalybridge Buffet Bar, the original Victorian buffet bar in England and one of the last few remaining, complete with original marble bar.

All 3 pubs consistently appear in the Good Beer Guide.

How to make it a great Christmas event

We think the Real Ale Trail is amazing at any time of the year but it’s a great way to have a different kind of Christmas pub crawl and, of course, all these pubs have lovely open fires to toast yourself in front of as you enjoy your pint.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start at the West Riding at Dewsbury for a Real Ale Breakfast – the full works to line your stomach ready for the day
  • Take the train through to Stalybridge and marvel at all the railway memorabilia and original features in The Stalybridge Buffet Bar. You could even try local delicacy, a bowl of black peas, if you have room after that breakfast!
  • Work your way back and remember to check in on Facebook at each pub (we really want to see photos of everyone in their Christmas jumpers!)

There will be a great selection of beers on at each pub, with something to please everyone, as well as knowledgeable staff who can help you choose.

We hope to see you soon!