Warwick Pub Walk

The landlords of the five Warwick pubs in the 2024 Good Beer Guide have worked together to produce a leaflet describing a walk around them. The pubs are:

The leaflet is available from each of the pubs and can be downloaded here. Tim Maccabee’s description of the inaugural walk by the landlords and a couple of guests in March 2024 is below (Tim is landlord of the Eagle and the Old Post Office):

Warwick might be world-famous for its castle, but the town itself has many more accolades – including more than its fair share of treats for today’s ale drinker. For a relatively small town, Warwick is blessed with no fewer than five pubs in the 2024 Good Beer Guide (GBG) and plenty more good real ale pubs worth a visit. This means the big question when it comes to a pub walk isn’t whether you have enough pubs – more whether you have enough time to get to them all.

The team (without Simon Garwood) outside the Old Post Office.
Tom Buxton (left) and Simon Garwood behind the bar at the Cape of Good Hope.

To celebrate their inclusion in the GBG, the landlords of the five pubs listed in the highly-respected publication joined Sally-Jane Downes, from Heart of Warwickshire CAMRA, and Simon Garwood, the official Warwick Court Leet Ale Taster, to test out a pub walk around the town, enjoying Warwick’s ale offering firsthand.

Emerging from the train station and, thirsty for a drink, the Wild Boar, just a couple of minutes away from the exit on the northern side of the station, was the first port of call as it probably would be for any train-bound visitor to Warwick.

The Wild Boar is the home-base for Warwick’s longest standing microbrewery, The Slaughterhouse Brewery (est. 2003). Housed in a traditional Victorian pub, featuring wooden floors, real fires, comfortable snug, sun trapped beer garden and a large function room to the rear, the pub features six real ale hand pulls and four craft taps including their own and guest beers. I opted for a pint of Slaughterhouse “Can You Dig It” an English IPA at 6% ABV living up to the more traditional style of IPA but (far too) easy to drink and full of flavour.

Decently refreshed, the group took a walk along the Coventry Road directly towards the Grand Union Canal, joining that Victorian highway for a stroll towards the Cape of Good Hope.

Dating from 1798, the Cape of Good Hope is beautifully situated at Cape Top Lock (lock 25) on the Grand Union Canal. With two bars and Warwick’s only canalside beer garden, perfect to watch the boats go by. Six hand pulls feature here, with local ales from Hook Norton, Church Farm and others, the Cape has featured in the GBG every year for over 25 years. I sampled a pint of Wye Valley Butty Bach accompanied by their famous Scotch Egg which is available all day every day. Like the other pubs in the list, there’s also a fine selection of Craft Ales and low/no alcohol alternatives to keep any designated driver happy. There is also a delightful canalside cottage next door which is available for accommodation.

Departing again, the group headed towards the town centre. There are several routes available, but we found our way alongside the edge of the renowned Warwick Racecourse. Not only a racecourse, there are also caravan facilities here for those wanting to make a longer visit, adding to Warwick’s appeal as a weekend break spot as well as a day-trip destination.

Next call was The Old Fourpenny Shop Pub. Legend has it that when the Warwick section of The Grand Union Canal was being built in the early 1800s the Tavern on Crompton Street was charging a mere four pence for a cup of coffee and a tot of rum. Other inns were charging an “outrageous” six pence! Hence, The Fourpenny Shop. Still offering food and rooms, The Fourpenny won the coveted Heart of Warwickshire CAMRA 2024 Pub of the Year award following a lovely refit with possibly the best beer garden in the centre of Warwick. Again six hand pulls feature with Hook Norton “Hooky” being the starting point for the regular beers. This time, the choice was Hobson’s Spring Break American Pale Ale which at 3.4% – a nice interlude from the stronger ales of the day.

Just two minutes around the corner is the Old Post Office, which was in full swing with its regular Saturday afternoon music session. Runner up in the Pub of the Year (together with The Eagle) the OPO is just coming up to its tenth anniversary and has been a firm local favourite for all of those years, winning pub of the year or runner up every eligible year. Just one regular beer here (Phipps IPA) shares the bar with four other ales. While North Cotswold and Church End are regular visitors, each of the four guest pumps changes ale every single barrel, with a good selection of craft and real cider also on offer. A top choice here is the excellently-named 4.5% Shagweaver, from North Cotswold brewery.

From the Old Post Office, a walk through Warwick’s historic West Gate and past the medieval Lord Leycester Hospital takes you through the traditional Market Square to find the hidden gem that is The Eagle. The youngest and smallest of the pubs in Warwick, The Eagle is also possibly the oldest! It was established in a historic vaulted cellar back in 2018, undergoing a change of ownership, a complete refurb and a change of name in 2022. Here, the three hand pulls are made to work hard and in those two years, over 350 different ales have featured again with a policy of constant rotation. With a capacity of just 34 people, summer drinkers make the most of the outside pavement space which is shared with the Globe Hotel, just a couple of metres away. Music plays, background in the day but rising in volume a little on a weekend evening.

This total tour of Warwick’s lauded Good Beer Guide pubs includes around an hour of walking time, making it more than manageable for most. It also passes near to some excellent other pubs amongst the 25-plus that Warwick has to offer, making it a great destination for ale-lovers from far and wide. On top of this, many of the hostelries in the town centre have rooms available, and the addition of independent shops, restaurants and bars, a Saturday market and a packed events calendar means there is plenty on offer to keep a visitor well satisfied on a short break.

Here are some other photos from the day (The Wild Boar, The Old Post Office and the Old Fourpenny shop):

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