Festival fun for all

Liz Nicholls

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Festivals are back on! Yes, after two fretful years of disrupted fun & frolics, there’s a summer sizzler of festivals ready to rock your world, whatever you’re into… writes Liz Nicholls

Close your eyes and imagine you’re in your happy place… Maybe you and your tots are wafting amid rainbow bubbles, singing along to Justin Fletcher, deluxe doughnut in hand? Are you waiting for the bass to drop beneath the strobe lights as the stage is set for Pete Tong or Orbital? Supping a craft ale getting crafty on your village green? Getting grimy at Reading..? We all have different ideas of a good time.

Whatever your jam, there’s a festival for you.

The excitement among musicians, as well as everyone involved in the festival scene, is palpable

Ronan Keating, who stars at this year’s Cornbury, tells us: “It’s just great to be back on stage with my band again. After the last couple of years I think everyone feels a huge sigh of relief that we can all get back together again to do something we truly love. I was due to perform at Cornbury in 2020 but understandably everything had to be moved. It’s a great line-up with Bryan Adams, James Blunt and then me on the Sunday. I was lucky to be able to release two albums during the pandemic, Twenty Twenty and Songs From Home.

“It will be great to be back on stage and play some of the new tracks along with all the hits from my solo years as well as a few of the great Boyzone hits that everyone loves. I’m still loving being live on Magic Radio every week day morning, along with Harriet Scott, and you’ll still be able to see me each week on the sofa co-hosting The  One Show. I feel very lucky to be in people’s homes across the UK each day on TV and radio but finally  being back on stage is the thing that’s making this year so special.”

Kaleidoscope – credit Lloyd Winters

So, here’s a round-up of the big & small gems which are all set to dazzle between now & the end of summer…

The Investec International Music Festival celebrates composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ 150th birthday and strong local connections with world-class concerts, walks and talks across the Surrey Hills, 5th-14th May. Featuring Sitkovetsky Trio at Charterhouse in Godalming, Modigliani Quartet & cellist Gary Hoffman with Wu Qian at Cobham’s Menuhin Hall, and clarinettist Michael Collins with an all-star chamber ensemble at RHS Garden Wisley. Please visit iimf.co.uk

Cookham Festival in Bucks is a celebration of the arts by the village for the village, 6th to 22nd May. You can enjoy music, spoken word, workshops, kids’ fun, sculpture & more; visit cookhamfestival.co.uk

Are You Listening? Alfie Templeman, Pip Blom, Pixey & dozens more will rock Reading in aid of Mencap on 7th May; areyoulistening.org.uk. And there are classical delights aplenty at Newbury Spring Festival, 7th-21st May; newburyspringfestival.org.uk

Join beloved local legend Tom Kerridge & his foodie friends for Pub In The Park Marlow, 12th-15th May, for Rag’n’Bone Man, Sister Sledge, Sophie Ellis-Bextor & lots more talent; pubintheparkuk.com. And if you love the 1980s, Let’s Rock the Moor in Cookham on 21st May offers Wet Wet Wet, Squeeze, The Selecter, Jason Donovan, Sonique & more; letsrockthemoor.com

Family & planet-friendly WOOD returns to Ipsden near Wallingford, 20th-22nd May; woodfestival.com

Amesbury Arts Festival has two performances open to the public: Scouting for Girls, Indie-pop, 25th May, 7.30pm, and live stand-up comedy from Iain Stirling on 26th May, 7.30pm. Both be held in the school’s magnificent grounds in Hindhead. But tickets via EventBrite, visit amesburyschool.co.uk/artsfestival2022

Celebrate Britain’s rich musical heritage

The 15th English Music Festival at Dorchester Abbey, 27th-29th May, stars Coleridge-Taylor’s Violin Concerto, Holst’s The Cloud Messenger, Vaughan Williams’s Willow Wood sung by Roderick Williams; a song showcase by Havergal Brian; and A Garland for the Queen, commissioned specially for the Jubilee. englishmusicfestival.org.uk

“Probably the finest free music and beer festival in the world…” Rokefest will rock The Home Sweet Home in the glorious Oxfordshire countryside, 27th-29th May, starring Bottle Kids, The Skandal, the MFU & more, all for great causes; rokefest.com

Among the many festivals DJ Yoda, AKA Duncan Beiny, will perform at this year is the fabulous Great Estate in Cornwall, 2nd-5th June which also stars Manic Street Preachers, Electric Six, The Sugarhill Gang and more; greatestatefestival.co.uk. The turntablist is looking forward to this summer…. “Oh god I’m champing at the bit!” he says. “If anything I feel a bit nervous about it.  I’m even seriously getting myself in physical shape for it with diet and exercise. The pandemic ruled travel out for ages which was grim for me; I’m looking forward to getting to New York, Austria, Portugal, Ireland. Kaleidoscope festival at Ally Pally is near where I grew up so I’ll see a lot of old friends, that will be really special for me. Musically there’s Mostly Jazz in Birmingham [8th-10th July; mostlyjazz.co.uk]. Standon Calling [Hertfordshire, 21st-24th July; standon-calling.com] is always good, Y Not? is always good… [Derbyshire, 29th-31st July; ynotfestival.com]. It’s going to be week-in, week-out party times. As a DJ I’m constantly checking out new artists. My favourite rappers at the moment are Roc Marciano and Your Old Droog and I really rate the singer Grace Lightman. I love seeing other acts at festivals so this quest lives in my head very much, I can’t wait!”

Jubilee joy awaits at Shynefest at Merrist Wood College in Worplesdon, on 3rd & 4th June. The Lightning Seeds top the live music bill & you’ll find bucketloads of family-friendly fun such as escape room games & animal encounters, food, plus there are camping & glamping options; shynefest.uk

Enjoy a folk, doo-wop & jive weekend at the Fleur De Lys in East Hagbourne near Didcot, 3rd-5th June; thefleurdelyspub.co.uk

And Wychwood Festival will rock Cheltenham racecourse, 3rd-5th June, with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Levellers, Boney M, comedy, a kids’ lit fest, headphone disco & idyllic camping beneath the Prestbury Hills; wychwoodfestival.com

Hampton Court Palace Festival offers legends including Elbow, George Benson, Jack Savoretti, Ministry of Sound classical mash-ups, The Human League, Crowded House, Michael Ball & Alfie Boe, 8th-16th June. With Fortnum & Mason picnics & bouji hospitality packages, this is a classy affair… hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com for all you need to know.

Richard Dawkins (on defying gravity), Delia Smith, Jarvis Cocker, David Miliband, William Dalrymple & David Olusoga are some of the mind-expanding stars at KITE, a new festival of ideas & music in Kirtlington, near Oxford, 10th-12th June, with Grace Jones, no less, topping the music bill! kitefestival.co.uk

All hail the return of The Isle of Wight Festival!

The iconic shindig just over the Solent stars Lewis Capaldi, Madness, Nile & Chic, Kasabian, Pete Tong, Muse & more, 16th-19th June. isleofwightfestival.com

Blenheim Palace is the superb backdrop for the Nocturne Live performances from the likes of David Gray, Lionel Richie, Simply Red, Simple Minds & UB40 starring Ali Astro, 16th-19th June; nocturnelive.com

Beacon Festival returns to raise funds and spirits in Watlington on 17th & 18th June, with a Queen tribute, Noble Jack, Kioko, Fontana, SkaSouls UK, Chic to Chic and lots more across four stages. Over the last decade the eco-friendly festival with a free shuttle bus & camping has raised more than £25,500 for local charities; beaconfestival.net

We can’t not mention Glastonbury in a festivals special… If you’re lucky enough to have bagged a golden ticket, at the end of June, you can enjoy Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, Diana Ross and legions more… If not, watch from the sofa!

Fancy a little opera? After wowing thousands since 2018, Scherzo Ensemble return to Longhope Opera in Newton Valence, near Alton, 2nd & Sunday, 3rd July, to perform L’elisir d’Amore by Donizetti. longhopesummeropera.com

A$AP Rocky & Tyler, the Creator star at Wireless Crystal Palace, 1st to 3rd July and Cardi B & Nicki Minaj at Finsbury Park (8th-10th July); wirelessfestival.co.uk. And BST Hyde Park is the glorious setting, 24th June to 10th July, for Pearl Jam, Robert Plant, Pixies, Stereophonics, Rolling Stones & more, bst-hydepark.com

Haslemere Fringe Festival, 1st-3rd July, has music, comedy, dance and more, 1st to 3rd July. Sleeper, Sophie Ellis-Bextor & The Feeling will star, along with so many more stars, at this community highlight with heart; haslemerefringe.co.uk

A trip to Devon is always a mood-booster

Powderham Castle near Exeter is the suitably stunning setting, on Sunday, 3rd July, for A Perfect Day. The line-up will include our former cover star & crush David Gray performing his White Ladder 20th anniversary Show, James Morrison, Tom Odell, Gabrielle, The Shires & Wildwood Kin; aperfectdayfestival.com

Morcheeba, Sugar Hill Gang, Badly Drawn Boy, DJ Format & many more will dazzle at Readipop in Caversham, 8th-10th July. Established in 1998, party while helping vulnerable young people and older folk, as well as aspiring artists; readipop.co.uk

Hugh Phillimore has confirmed that it’s officially the final Cornbury (sniff) at The Great Tew Park, 8th-10th July. And it’s a fittingly great line-up starring Bryan Adams, James Blunt, the aforementioned Ronan Keating, The Darkness, The Magic Numbers & many more; cornburyfestival.com

And if you’ve got a ticket to sold-out “Godfather of the small festival scene,” Truck in Steventon enjoy Sam Fender, Blossoms, Kelis, Black Honey & more; see truckfestival.com for resales.

Pete Tong, Craig David, Katherine Jenkins, Jack Savoretti & Tom Jones are among the legends at the smart riverside Henley Festival 6th-10th July; henley-festival.co.uk. Get your glad rags on!

Henley Festival

Our very witty cover star James Blunt will star, alongside Cameo, the Specials, Human League & more at the stunning Rochester Castle Concerts in Kent 6th-9th July; rochestercastleconcerts.com

Reef, The Hoosiers, the Leylines & Dodgy will star at Fi.Fest in Maidenhead on 9th July; fifest.co.uk. And arrive thristy for Twyford Beer Festival, which is alweays fun, and raises money for male cancer charity Orchid, 10th & 11th July; twyfordbeerfest.co.uk

On 16th July head to Newbury to enjoy Weatherby’s Super Sprint Day & Party in the Paddock with the one and only Craig David; newburyracecourse.co.uk

Set within the stunning Henham Park in Suffolk, let your curiosity guide you at Latitude, 21st to 24th July. This East Anglian wonderland offers great music, dance, comedy, poetry, theatre, literature, family fun and wellness such as wild swimming and paddleboarding. This year’s line-up includes Foals, Groove Armada, Fontaines DC & many more; latitudefestival.com

Pennfest near Beaconsfield is one of our favourites here at Round & About Towers The funfest on 22nd & 23rd July has another banging line-up to rev up the Bucks countryside, including Clean Bandit, Sugar Hill Gang, Rudimental, Grandmaster Flash, Shola Ama, The Hoosiers & more; pennfest.net.

Enter our competition to win Pennfest tickets!

Kaleidoscope lands at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, 23rd July, with Orbital, Happy Mondays, Dom Joly, a circus, theatre & more… And Patty Smith will star, alongside Nadine Shah, at Higher Ground, also at Ally Pally on 24th July; higherground.london

Beloved Berkshire beauty Marvellous will offer mighty more tribute acts & fun, 23rd & 24th July in Hurst; marvellousfestivals.com.

WOMAD letters – credit Brenna Duncan

WOMAD, the World of Music, Arts and Dance Music festival, returns to delight Charlton Park near Marlborough, 28th-31st July. Kae Tempest, A Certain Ratio, The Dhol Foundation, Greentea Peng & Nitin Sawhney will star; womad.co.uk

Curated by Josie & Rob Da Bank, Camp Bestival at Dorset’s Lulworth Castle. This year’s line-up includes Rag ‘n’Bone Man, Rudimental, Earth, WInd & Fire, Example, a DJ set from Faithless, Mr Tumble, spas, workshop, and lots of family fun, 28th-31st July; dorset.campbestival.net

Cornbury Park is the wondrous setting for the thrilling Wilderness Festival, 4th-7th August. Wellbeing, theatre, thought-provoking workshops and more will keep you stimulated, and Underworld, Years & Years and Roisin Murphy are some of the gems on the musical line-up; wildernessfestival.com

The brilliantly bonkers Boomtown Fair team are building the Main City for a revitalised living theatre festival on the theme of The Gathering, 10th-14th August in Hampshire’s Matterley Estate, boomtownfair.co.uk

Enjoy wings, wheels and steam with your bands with Retrofestival in Newbury, 12th-14th August; retrofestival.co.uk

Billy Ocean, Cast, Del Amitri, Stereo MCs & The Christians will star at Weyfest, the boutique festival held in Tilford near Farnham since 2007. This year’s family-friendly highlight 19th-21st August will rock The Rural Life Museum, with dancing Daleks, Laserquest, “posh loos” & great food; weyfest.co.uk

Stowaway Festival

Another Bucks beauty, Stowaway near Buckingham will star Orbital, a DJ set from Quantic, Norman Jay, Erol Alkan, The Staves, Roni Size & more, 19th-21st August; stowawayfestival.co.uk.

Enter our competition to win Stowaway tickets!

And Rewind South in Henley 19th-21st August will star Holly Johnson, Kim Wilde, The Human League and Pat Sharp; south.rewindfestival.com

Reading (& Leeds) is back to rock the August bank holiday. Arctic Monkeys, Dave, Rage Against The Machine, Megan Thee Stallion, Joy Crookes, Run the Jewels, Griff, Pale Waves & Wolf Alice star; readingfestival.com/tickets

Still rocking near Thame after 58 fun-filled years, Towersey Festival brings you comedy, music & fun, 26th-29th August; towerseyfestival.com

Love cars, love music? Then you’ll love cinch presents CarFest, the family music & motoring festival founded by Chris Evans in 2011, that raises fun levels and funds for children’s charities. Catch Paloma Faith, Rag’n’Bone Man, Kaiser Chiefs, Steps & so many more at Laverstoke Park, 26th-28th August, carfest.org

Finally, 2nd-4th September, community favourite Bunkfest in Wallingford will serve up its beloved brew of music, dance & beer; bunkfest.co.uk

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Beacon Hill Beer Festival is back!

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After two years the popular beer festival returns to Hindhead Royal British Legion Club with an amazing array of beers for you to enjoy

Get a head start on the Platinum Jubilee celebrations by sampling a selection of beers themed around the occasion, as well as a selection of British ciders, and a handful of international lagers as part of the Beacon Hill Beer Festival.

On Friday 13th May from 5pm we will be open to everyone to kick off the celebrations with live music from The Bierkeller Boys, a Bavarian Oompah band who are ready to get everyone on their feet with plenty of clapping, swaying and thigh slapping.

Saturday 14th won’t be any less exciting! Organizers say: “We open at 1pm for an afternoon of beer, lager and cider tasting. Shortly followed by what is sure to be a fiery FA Cup Final with Liverpool vs Chelsea on our big screen, with Liverpool aiming to become the first English team to win the quadruple, so we are sure to be in for an exciting game before we get right into the evening. There will be live music from The Noize to get us up on that dance floor for the night.”

An incredible weekend awaits at Hindhead Royal British Legion, Beacon Hill Road, Hindhead, GU26 6QB with a variety of breweries already lined up to take part:

Breweries:

Brolly Brewery

Crafty Brewery

Greene King

Longdog Brewery

Siren Craft Brewery

Surrey Hills Brewery

TripleFFF

Windsor & Eton Brewery

Elusive Brewery

Flack Brewery

Ciders supplied by:

Hogs Back Brewery

Mr Whiteheads Cider Co

Lagers from around the world:

Kirin (Japan); Pacifico Clara (Mexico); Moosehead (Canada); Sagres Export (Portugal), and Tusker (Kenya).

Join Beacon Hill Beer Festival on Facebook and Twitter

Tell us your local news here

Hoppy ever after

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Danielle Bekker explains more about her journey to set up her award-winning local business Binary Botanical & how Woking has inspired her

I love beer but I have never enjoyed having beer with food and would typically switch to wine to have with dinner, which is far more alcoholic. So the original idea was to come up with beer that would go well with food and we have done everything to turn beer on its head. We infuse it with hop leaves (which are normally a waste product) and brew with a wine yeast to give a product which is aromatic, tangy like prosecco aromatic but not at all bitter. We have a 4% ABV version which is the low alcohol alternative to wine and the 0.5% which is the perfect adult drink when you aren’t drinking.

My real passion is the 0.5% ABV – it took a lot longer to get this recipe right . A lot of non-alcoholic beers are quite bitter and it took a lot of experimentation to develop something which was aromatic and flavourful but without the bitterness.

My favourite tipple at the moment is actually the binary 0.5.  I don’t drink very much and I love having an adult alternative to lime and soda.

In terms of inspiration there are quite a few – the range of delicious gins that are out there with the various botanical infusions  shows the range of flavours that can be achieved with different botanicals.   I think Seedlip have paved the way for elevating the non-alcoholic cocktail.

Because binary is so different biggest it is not aimed at the traditional beer consumer  – when people taste the liquid the invariably love it but it does confuse the brain – Is it a low alcohol sparkling wine? Is it a beer?.    Beer can be premium, drunk out of a wine glass with a meal by men and women.  It can make delicious low calorie cocktails.   Secondly – you have to get involved in so many different areas of the business  – from sourcing ingredients to packing boxes and trying to understand how to post a story on Instagram (I didn’t have an Instagram account before starting binary!)

Our highlights have been our listing in Harvey Nichols and Ocado – who both said they were excited to genuine new news and innovation in beer.  The second highlight would be being included in craft gin club as the cocktail mixer for their cocktail of the month – they took a big risk including us as their first ever beer and the feedback has been really positive.  And then lastly any time someone says – I don’t like beer and ends up loving binary is probably the biggest highlight of all.

On a more personal level, in my previous role in corporate I had to travel a lot so was away from home a lot so felt as though I missed out a lot on every day family life like hearing about the day at school.  So although I probably work harder now – I am home for dinner every day and see the kids off for school in the morning which is a real privilege.

My favourite part of Woking is probably Horsell Common (thanks to War of the Worlds –  nearly as famous as the Pizza express is now) – the perfect place to re-charge and go for a walk.  I think we are very lucky to live in a town which is so close to London but still has a great village feel about it.

It is so amazing to see how people want to support local businesses – the people we meet at Farmers Markets and festivals are all very passionate about supporting small, local businesses and events like Woking Food Festival go a long way to show casing local businesses in an affordable way.  I am always humbled by how many volunteers  give their time to the various events.   Locally, our aim is to convince more restaurants that innovation doesn’t just have to be in London.  With this in mind we are running a unique Cocktailcompetition for mixologists and bartenders to mark Dry January by creating a new low alcohol cocktail to demonstrate that no/low alcohol drinks can be exciting and delicious  and its only open to for people in the South East.

 

Q. What would be your dream for Binary Botanical?

My dream would be that we can exemplify a business which integrates its purpose and product into a single story.  By using a waste product (the hop leaf) as a core ingredient, not only are we are driving sustainability in the supply chain and revenue for local farmers we are also championing  the trend for moderation – drinking less or not drinking at all doesn’t mean a compromise on flavour.  We believe that the joyful wellbeing and sociability of beer can be enjoyed by many more people than it is today…. And we plan to convince people of this one sample cup at a time!

More info

To try these wonderful beverages or to find out more about the business head to the Binary Botanical website

Beer-fuelled Bard

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Peter Anderson catches up with Stacey & Saul of Sh*tfaced Shakespeare which lands at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre on Tuesday, 12th November

A smash-hit, internationally acclaimed, award-winning, multi sell-out fringe phenomenon comes to Swindon this month presenting Shakespeare in a way none of us remember it from our schooldays. We all know about pre-show drinks, but what if it is a random member of the cast who spends the four hours before a show having the pre-show drinks? Welcome to Sh*t-faced Shakespeare and their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With a gin in one hand, a cup of wine in the other and a flagon of ale in the other… What could possibly go wrong?

I catch up with Stacey & Saul from the group to find out this combination of beer and the Bard, came about. “We had one of those sessions where we all put our heads together and came up with ideas on how we can make the improv different. This was the suggestion that someone came up with. I don’t remember whether we said yes or no to it at the time, but it was a little while later that in a radio interview someone mentioned that this was something, we had thought of doing. From then on, we had to it, and it seems to have been well received as we are still filling theatres after some years.”

Is there a chance the plot could change? “Oh yes, when you are one of the sober cast you have to be ready for just about anything, from Juliet deciding she is not going to commit suicide to characters appearing in the wrong play which adds to the spice and fun – for both us and the audience especially. There are rules that we use in improvisation and these can usually keep the play flowing. The important thing is that we are providing something enjoyable for the audience, there is no question of deliberately making one of the cast look stupid.”

You are quite a close-knit group of actors to be able to do improv, especially with the additional jeopardy of alcohol, but if you could have a famous actor join you for a show, who would you love? “Now, there’s a thought! I think the one actress who always seems good fun in the things she does is Helena Bonham-Carter, I am sure she would be up for it and extremely good fun whether she was drunk or sober.”

The Evening Standard said of this show “There is no doubt this is a hoot to watch”. To get your chance to see what could be subtitled for one actor A Midsummer Morning’s Hangover the show is on Tuesday 12th November at the Wyvern Theatre

Want to go?

Get your tickets here

Good Beer Guide

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The latest edition of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide has just been released and there are plenty of reasons to raise a glass in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

The local brewing and pub scene is booming in the area and as well as the hundreds of pubs worth visiting, there are also plenty of breweries springing up.

New ones it notes can be found at:

Brewery58, Wallingford – started in summer 2017 with a home brew kit, now produces Wallingford Bridge IPA, 3.9% www.brewery58.com

Elements Brewing Co, Upton, Burford – selection of craft beers, tap room  offering food to enjoy the brews www.elementsbrewery.co.uk

Wantage Brewery – microbrewery started at outbuildings at The King’s Arms, Wantage in spring 2019 www.kingsarmswantage.co.uk

Saviour Brewery, Hampstead Marshall – brewery in grounds of The White Hart pub, only available on the premises with special brews to match the season including Boozer 3.5%, Gold 5% and Tipple 4.2% www.saviourwhitehart.co.uk

Old Windsor Brewery, Windsor – craft brewery specialising in creating small batches of quality, full flavoured, craft beers notably The Duke’s Hart which boasts a dark rich colour and smooth texture 4.8% www.owbrewery.com

Bad Joke Brew Co, Amersham –  began brewed in spring 2018, produces five beers

The Bell Inn in Aldworth, pictured, has been named one of the best pubs in the UK and is through to the next stage of the competition, hoping to be one of four finalists in the search for CAMRA’s best pub of the year, which was revealed in February.

A former Pub of the Year winner, it is the only pub with a heritage interior in Berkshire. The large open garden and excellent beer attract walker and drinkers from far and wide.

The Good Beer Guide reviews more than 4,500 pubs nationwide to find the best outlets in the country.

CAMRA’s chief executive Tom Stainer said: “The Good Beer Guide has always had an important role in acting as a barometer of the beer and pub industry. We believe information gleaned from the Guide is absolutely vital in the drive to save our pubs from closure and campaign for policies that better support pubs, local brewers and their customers.”

Across the Southern Central area, the guide includes 69 from Oxfordshire, 54 from Berkshire and 54 from Buckinghamshire in addition to 65 breweries across the area.

New additions to the Good Beer Guide in Surrey include:

The Anchor, High Street, Ripley GU23 6AE – a Grade II listed pub, parts of the building date back to the 1500s (be sure to duck in places), The contemporary meets the historic

The Bulls Head, The Street, West Clandon GU4 7ST – 16th century village inn near Clandon Park. Many original features, oak beams, low ceilings and cosy log fire

The Drummond, Woodbrige Road, Guildford GU1 4RF – large open-plan with eclectic range of furniture, modern art and several chandeliers. Classic pub food and modern dishes.

The Grantley Arms, The Street, Wonersh, GU5 0PE – half-timbered village pub dating from late 16th or early 17th century, cheerful interior

The Half Moon, High Street, Ripley GU23 6AN – 18th century building with the feel of a café-cum-pub, stripped wood floor and bare brick walls contrast well with painted ones

The Rodboro Buildings, Bridge Street, Guildford GU1 4RY – Wetherspoons pub spread over three levels in a Grade II listed former industrial building

The Running Stream, Weybourne Road, Farnham GU9 9HE – old-fashioned locals pub, horseshoe shaped room surrounds central bar

The Sandrock, Sandrock Hill Road, Wrecclesham GU10 4NS – reopened after almost a year, refurbished and relaunched as a traditional pub with contemporary feel late last year

Thirsty?

Read about more local breweries, producers, foodies and restaurateurs across our readership patch

Reading beer & cider festival

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We’re here for the beer and much, much more at Reading Beer & Cider Festival

It’s summer – well the sun’s out at least or trying its best – and one of the best ways to celebrate is at the ever-popular Reading Beer & Cider Festival.

Located in Christchurch Meadows, its fully accessible and home to one of the largest beer festivals in the country from 2nd to 5th May.

Visitors can enjoy more than 450 real ales as well as a large range of ciders, perries, foreign beers, UK wines and mead, many from local breweries – a full list can be found online and during the festival a live beer list will offer an up-to-the-minute update on what’s available.

In addition to the great range of drinks there are a variety of food vendors – some newcomers and some returning favourites with everything from Cornish pasties, curry and kebabs and a hog roast to German bratwurst and olives and chocolates and truffles for the sweeter toothed.

It’s not all about the beer though – ok, it is mainly all about the beer – but starting on Thursday and throughout the festival there’ll be a range of traditional pub games to enjoy. Long alley skittles, shuttleboard, table skittles and toad in the hole are on offer for £1 a go or enjoy six for £5.

The outdoor games area will be back with great prizes to be won and if you’re feeling lucky have a go at the tombola for the chance to win beer and pub-oriented prizes.

Ticket prices vary depending on day and session required. Sunday is the family day and you can buy a season ticket for access to all festival sessions over the four days.

Posted by Reading Beer and Cider Festival on Saturday, 12 January 2019

For more details, the list of beers and to buy tickets visit the Reading Beer Festival website