A.J. Walker




I went to Lancaster last June and decided to go again this week. It's a good place for a few beers as there are enough different venues for a good walk and the city is small, so getting around in good time is easy. Went on Trainline the evening before and booked my tickets and was good to go the next morning.

I went into town by my (not so) trusty No.17 and time knew time was going to be tight to get the train. Decided to get the train one hour later and it'd give me the time for a proper Full English at the (always) trusty Shiraz Palace. The later train would get me in for noon anyway, which is early enough. And the breakfast was way better than a sandwich Meal Deal. It only actually takes about an hour and quarter to get from Liverpool to Lancaster (including the change at Preston), which is pretty damn fine in my book.

Got some reading in 'The Subtle Knife' Phil Pullman (the second of the HDM trilogy, my third book of the year. Didn't need to spend the time researching where to go having been there last year. I was aiming to go to several of those same pubs (especially those in close proximity to the station) in any case and then throw in a few new ones for good measure. Decisions to be made on the hoof; with the knowledge you can always stick with exactly the same route (which was excellent) in any case.


The first three pubs ended up being the same as last time. The 'Tite & Locke' which is a Lancaster Brewery pub accessible from the station itself: me Twitter buddy had been passing through the station on a journey southward earlier and said it'd be waiting for me. So first up was a
Lancaster IPA. There were several people already in there and a large group of men expanded on the adjoining table every time a train arrived.

I walked out and across the bridge towards the centre and inevitably headed into the Merchants for the next one, a Bank Top '
Palomino. At 5% or so I was wondering about it if I was to do eight pubs or so, but with too many Xmas beers on the options although numerous were limited. Unfortunately it coincided with a sudden sneezing fit. I get them rarely, but when they do they can last rather long. Suffice to say I was annoyed with it, as I dare say others were too. But what can you do? Asked about other pub options for cask and they pointed me to the places I knew, but always worth asking in case something new has popped up or a pub has changed. One of them was The Sun, which I hadn't gone to last time.

The John O'Gaunt isn't far away and is a proper old pub - so of course I headed there. There were a few people in there. There weren't too many ale options, but I was happy enough as there was
JHB from Oakham. Had a look at Google Maps and figured out my next couple of pubs, namely the nearby Sun Hotel and then the Three Mariners. Both of which looked decidedly good options - and it'd be nice to go to some new venues for me.

In the
Sun I had another Lancaster 'Snowdrop'. It's another Lancaster Brewery pub. Just a wee bit of reading of the Knife. The walk to the Three Mariners is short from there just over the main road towards the River Lune. In the Mariners I sat near the wood fire which was warm and smelt lovely. It's a Robinsons pub. I ended up drinking a Robinsons brew for the pub (aka' The Three Mariners' of course). There was a good number of people in there including a few American students from the Uni talking football - it was good to hear they were going to watch lots of lower league matches around the country.


At this point I was beginning to worry about my phone battery. My ridiculously heavy battery pack was charged up but either the cable wasn't working or the charging point was all linted up. I needed to get it sorted - and soon; the downside of having your train tickets (or any tickets for that matter) on your phone is if it dies. More stressful than you need.

I decided to head back into the town centre and find a place selling a cheap cable: and hope. Walked around the main road a little and headed into the Bobbin. An old, large pub., Had an interesting time in there watching and listening to some of the customers there (I could tell you some things I saw there: flipping 'eck!). The barman helpfully rooted out a pin for me to have a dig at the charging port but whilst some lint did reveal itself the charger still wasn't working. It was defo the cable that needed replacing. Had enough charge left to check out Google Maps again and find where the Poundland was. It'd have to be the next place before the pub. To be sure I could keep it going. And thankfully Poundland and the cable worked out pretty damn fine. I was saved.


Next up I went along to the
White Cross where I was able to discover the cable worked; thank you Poundland and cheap Chinese cable makers! Again there were a few Christmas beers on, which wasn't what anybody really needs, so I ended up with in a Salopian 'Shropshire Gold'. After here I was aiming for the Accidental Brewery which was advertised as opening at 6pm. Headed down there about ten minutes early, but there was no lights on. So I popped around the corner to The Borough, where I went for a dark beer for a change; a Swan Black from Bowness Bay Brewery. It was very quiet in there (though a few people had just left as I was getting in). Back around the corner and the Accidental Brewery was still not open and no lights on. Perhaps the January opening was a little different than the norm.

Decided to head back home, unless I passed a pub that screamed at me to get in there. So hopped on over to the station (without seeing said screaming pub) and took the next train home. When I'd left Liverpool it had been a beautiful blue sky morning, it was grey all day in Lancaster, and then on my return it was biblical rain. Could have done with waders. Ran through the deluge into Dr Duncan's and caught Man City on the telly box losing in the League Cup, which was nice. And what did I end up drinking? A pint of Lancaster. In all I'd visited eight pubs in Lancaster having got a train one hour later than I'd originally booked and got the return an hour earlier than booked too.

  • Tite & Locke
  • Merchants
  • John O'Gaunt
  • Sun Hotel
  • Three Mariners
  • The Bobbin
  • White Cross
  • The Borough
(and Dr Duncan's!)

Was another excellent trip. I'll be back again before too long - probably with a few mates too.

A Day Out in Lancaster

With the unique (dare I say unprecedented?) double Bank Holiday of Thursday and Friday this week I decided to go on a day trip to make the most of it. For no particular reason I came up with the imaginary £20 and 2 hours each way limit for transport. This actually gave a few options but meant that other than Manchester, which I'd been to twice recently there was nowhere particularly good eastwards. For some (money grabbing) reason everywhere along the M62 corridor east of Manchester was dearer than £20 return. That left me with a few options north and west (and Wales), including; Conway, Lytham St Annes and Lancaster. I went for the latter, with more pub options when I got there. I'd been a couple of times before on CAMRA coach trips (back when they used to happen). It's a small city centre with loads of options and so it was that I made my last minute plan to go.

Asked Dr. Google and found a few choice places and knew I'd just wander into a few more. Seven or eight pubs was on the cards. And so it proved.



First up was the
Lancaster Brewery tap house at the railway station itself called the 'Tite & Locke.' They had three of four hand pulls on – and I went for a 'Lancaster Red' to commence the trip, sitting outside at the front of the station (there was another drinking area in a cordoned off area on the platform itself – if you wanted to watch trains coming and going. Or if it was raining.).


Had a gander at the phone and made sure I knew where I was heading. Couldn't be more simple: out the station then left when you hit the road to cross the bridge back over the railway line then down the hill… and in all of a hundred metres or so you'd be in town. After not even leaving the station and getting my first pint in I was prepared for a longer walk to get the second. But it was the first pub I hit that I went for: the
Merchants 1688. Ended up with a hoppy choice from a brewery I hadn't had before: a 'Duo DDH' from Gan Yam Brewery. It was pretty busy out the front, where there was plenty of seating and it was nice day. There was a very big group on a mage crawl of their own (they'd been sat outside the Tite & Locke too). Heard them say they were going to The Pub next, so made a mental more to go elsewhere – as getting served behind them could have been painful.



Third up was another stone's throw away and a nice old pub: the
Olde John O'Gaunt. Ended up with the Oakham classic 'JHB.' Got asked if I was a CAMRA member for a discount. I thought I'd rid myself of the look, but apparently the look sticks. When I pointed that out she said I didn't look like I was, so I guess she just thought I was off the age. Ho hum.


Had to pop into a shop next to get some cards to send (not postcards, it wasn't a holiday). I crossed the road after that to go into the
Brown Cow. It was a Thwaites pub. Choice was maybe a bit limited, including an 'IPA' that was 4% - my nemesis. It's just a pale as far as I'm concerned when the abv is so low. Anyway, I did go for it as the choices were pretty limited and in any case a session beer was wise when I was after all on a session. Had a nice chat with the Canadian barmaid. There were no other customers in at the time, but she said it did get very busy at night (partly at least due to Karaoke – I'd evidently timed my visit perfectly).


I then proceeded to walk in and out of two pubs without partaking (same ole beers) in the Pendle Witch and the Toll House. Next up was then the
Water Witch where I sat by the canal watching barges go by, whilst supping on a Durham Brewery 'Saison D'Oligana.' Five pubs in and I hardly broken a sweat – if I was a step counter then 10k steps was going to be a push.



Pub 6 was the White Cross, further back up the canal from the Water Witch, which would allow me to swing back into town over the bridge to make a good circuit. It was nice to sit outside by the canal once more and watch the steady foot traffic go by along the tow path. Wrote out my cards to send all the way back home whilst drinking a Wye Valley 'HPA'. For a change I had stamps: miracles do happen.



I only had two pubs to go (on the basis I find nine pubs sound a bit much, even though I could easily have programmed them in). And I really enjoyed the next one, which was a little first floor brewery tap for the
Accidental Brewery. The owner was working there and was a nice guy to chat to. He even follows me on Twitter apparently. The brewery is not from Lancaster but from Morecambe. There's a few more people in and around Lancaster than Morecambe so he rightly reasons it has more chance of a going concern in the city. Good luck to them. It was keg only but I survived it.


Eighth and last up was on the way towards the station and another old one: The Borough. Had a Bowland 'Mosaic Pale' – another 4%: just what's needed on a long day out. Session over… well until a final pint in Dr Duncan's on my return to Liverpool. All in all I most enjoyable day.