Classic Beer & Buses Weekend

The eagerly awaited annual Classic Beer, Buses and Walks Weekend is on October 14th and 15th, and this year promises to be a fabulous event with over 100 vintage buses and dozens of pubs to be visited, with a huge range of beers.

This is a wonderful opportunity to travel on buses that haven’t been seen on the road for quite a few years. The oldest are 80 years old, with one dating from 1937, and the most recent are from the late 1990s. You can see photographs of all of the buses on the event website.

Of course the even better bit is that the bus travel is all for free, although donations are encouraged, and you can hop on and off at each pub stop, catching the next vintage bus after a few bevies in each of the pubs en route.

But organisers do ask that you support the event by buying a programme, which are available from the website or from the Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum in Ryde, and priced at just £6.  

Not only do these include details of the pubs, town maps, the routes and timetables, they also contain a selection of special offers worth over £40 from participating pubs and great deals from Southern Vectis, the IW Steam Railway and the Classic Boat Museum. 

There are 14 routes that go all around the island, but the circular stretches are probably the most popular. Of the two that begin at Newport , one navigates the West Wight taking in pubs such as the Crown Inn in Shorwell, the Sun Inn in Hulverstone and on to Yarmouth, taking in the Horse and Groom in Ningwood and the New Inn at Shalfleet on the way back. 

The other from Newport makes a tour around Godshill to Ventnor and back through Whitwell, Niton, Chale and Rookley to Newport, taking detours to pubs on Ventnor seafront and the Buddle in Niton Undercliff.

In the East Wight you have a selection of options, with one tour taking you from Ryde to the Culver Haven Inn on top of Culver Down, or you can take another that takes a circular route through Bembridge and St Helen’s, through Nettlestone and Seaview to Ryde. And the beauty of all of these routes is that you can jump from one to another - just get on the next bus.

The buses range from a former London Transport AEC Regent One from 1937, in red and white livery complete with an advert for Crosse and Blackwell’s Branston Pickle, to the most modern buses for the weekend, which date from 1998. Some have been loaned from London Bus Museum, such as traditional Routemaster buses, many are from the IW Bus Museum and others are from around the country, both from museums and private collections.

If you prefer to walk your beers off between pubs you can take one of the weekend’s pub walks that have been specially devised by the Rambler’s Association for the event. These either begin at one of the featured pubs or finish at one – or both – and most of the pubs on the tour are included in the walks. You have to buy a programme and then enter the code on page 4 to access the programme of walks.

Jo Macaulay

2 October 2017

By Jo Macaulay in Articles