Does a day out travelling by train through great countryside and stopping off trying some equally great real ales en route appeal to you, then the East Lancashire Rail Ale Trail is an option you need to consider.
The East Lancashire Railway (ELR) is a lovingly restored 12-mile rail experience offering visitors the chance to ride classic steam and diesel-fuelled locomotives. There are 7 stops to choose from along the route and tickets allow you to hop on and off as you wish all day. The stops (with postcodes) are Heywood (OL10 1NL) -> Bury (BL9 0EY) -> Burrs Country Park (BL8 1DA) -> Summerseat (BL9 5QY) -> Ramsbottom (BL0 9AL) -> Irwell Vale (BL0 0QG) -> Rawtenstall (BB4 6AG).
So back to real ales and craft beers, you can either participate in an ELR organised hosted Rail Ale Trail Tour or just buy a ticket and go at your own pace.
Wichever option, the two key locations you want to stop off for some great beers are:
- 1. The historic village of Ramsbottom with a great pub scene and home to the Irwell Works Brewery and Taproom.
- 2. Then Rawtenstall is the next must-do stop, a former mill town with cobbled streets hosting cafes, bars, shops and restaurants. If you get tired of the beer then you can stop off at Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar, the last original Temperance Bar (an alcohol-free bar, sober bar, or dry bar) in Britain.
Norther Whisper Brewing has taprooms at both Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall.
Parking is available at all stations, for more information visit East Lancashire Railway.