Real Ale Festival20, 21, 22 July
With a theme of the end of steam in 1968, our 6th Real Ale Festival will be held between 20 and 22 July, in association with the Campaign for Real Ale.
The event has grown over the years and we expect this trend to continue - expect more beers, lots of trains and more fun in 2018!
We will be featuring over 75 different beers, over 20 ciders and the popular real ale trains where the on-board bars allow passengers to buy a beer on the move.
The festival has built its success on buying from small independent brewers across London and Essex. This year, the festival has branched out further to the North West as a tip to the end of steam on British Rail in 1968 when the very last ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ ran from Liverpool via Manchester and Carlisle and back.
As well as the main marquee we plan to have bars with at least 10 real ales onboard the trains which will continue to run until closing time.
Steam and Diesel trains will be in operation and your ticket is valid for unlimited travel.
Leave the car behind!
It's easy to get to us, connecting heritage buses will link North Weald station with Epping Underground (Central Line) and Shenfield (National Rail) stations. Last bus to Epping will be at 2200 hours (but we won't leave anyone behind!!) - see below for times.
New for 2018! There will also be an inclusive bus connection from Harlow Town station enabling easy access from as far afield as Cambridge. Buses will depart Harlow Town station at 11.15 and 12.15, returning from North Weald at 16.45 (Fri, Sat and Sun) and 18.45 (Fri and Sat only). Journey time approximately 30 minutes.
Want to download our event flyer? You can do so here. (pdf file)
You can download the full festival programme! Follow this link. (pdf file)
Real Ales and Ciders
With up to 75 real ales and 20 ciders to choose from you can download the Real Ale tasting notes here. (pdf file) As well as real ale and cider in the marquee, our on train bars will have at least 10 real ales available (subject to stocks!)
We will operate a token system; tokens can be purchased by cash or card at the shop at North Weald or at the token sales point; trains will take cash only.
As well as our usual catering outlets, Hopleaf will be serving a range of Chilli, Curry, burgers and suasages.
Folk music will play around the marquee and trains both Friday and Saturday evenings, with a choir on Sunday afternoon.
Stumblefingers and the Dogjammers (Folk) - on board the 19.15 and 19.45 services from North Weald and the 20.15 service from Ongar.
Al Neville, Rachel Eyres and Sally Vinson (Folk) entertain us onboard the 19.15 and 19.45 services from North Weald and the 20.15 service from Ongar. To quote Al, "Once again we're doing our now legendary booking at the Real Ale festival. We love doing this one - we'll play in or outside the beer tent at North Weald before boarding the "music train" for a great singalong as we chug up and down the line! I can't promise it will end there - we'll sing and play for as long as we can!" One not to be missed!
London City Voices will perform on platform 2 at North Weald at 13:00; 14:30 and 16:00
The Penny Salon Gallery at Ongar Station
The Penny Salon Gallery at Ongar station will have a photographic display of pub signs - some no longer extant. How many can you spot or have you visited?
Follow the links for the timetables that apply for both connecting buses and the train service:
Trains between Epping Forest, North Weald and Ongar
(Note that there is no boarding or alighting at Epping Forest. For Epping station use the heritage bus from North Weald)
Buses will depart Harlow Town station at 11.15 and 12.15, returning from North Weald at 16.45 (Fri, Sat and Sun) and 18.45 (Fri and Sat only). Journey time approximately 30 minutes.
The following great value fares apply, with discounts for card carrying CAMRA members, giving unlimited travel on trains and buses all day long. Book your tickets online, below.
Adult £14; CAMRA Member £13; Concessions £13; Child £7; Family (up to 2 adults and 3 children) £36.
Real Ale Trains
In addition to the Real Ale Festival we are running a series of Real Ale trains this year. Follow the links for further details.
10 August | 15 September
This year we are proud to support the Essex Air Ambulance, whose aim is to save lives, reduce or prevent disability or suffering from critical illness and injury, by delivering a first class pre-hospital emergency medical service to the people of Essex, Hertfordshire and surrounding areas.