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Why Warwick is the perfect place for beer-lovers

Warwick beer trail

Warwick is world-famous for its castle, not to mention its cobbled streets, quintessential English feel, and many attractions.

But an often-overlooked asset for this historic town is its unrivalled collection of humble hostelries, making it a beer-lover’s paradise.

The claim isn’t just one from ale fans in Warwick, but is backed up by the fact the town is blessed with no fewer than five pubs in the 2024 Good Beer Guide (GBG) – plus more than 20 others that are well worth a visit.

To celebrate its brilliant beer scene – which would be a draw for any destination but even more so for a town of its size – a group of Warwick landlords have mapped out a pub walk that can be replicated by punters keen to try the town’s hostelries and their excellent ales.

They have produced a map to help newcomers to the town, as well as pointing out a few highlights along the way.

Warwick beer trail

The route, tested firsthand by the landlords of the five pubs listed in the Good Beer Guide, along with a representative from CAMRA and the official Warwick Court Leet Ale Taster, starts at the train station – where day-trippers might arrive in Warwick. 

From there, the first port of call is the Wild Boar. Home to the Slaughterhouse Brewery, the traditional Victorian pub has wooden floors, real fires and a comfortable snug with a secluded beer garden to the rear. It features six hand pulls including Slaughterhouse Brewery’s own, as well as guest beers. 

A stroll along the Grand Union Canal then leads to the Cape of Good Hope. Dating from around the start of the 19th Century, the Cape is beautifully situated at Cape Top Lock on the Grand Union Canal. With two bars and a large outdoor area adjacent to the canal-lock, there’s plenty of room to relax. Six hand pulls feature here, with Wye Valley Butty Bach being a firm favourite alongside local ales from Hook Norton, Church Farm and others. 

Heading back towards the town centre, thirsty tourists can veer off and skirt the edge of the renowned Warwick Racecourse which also offers caravan camping facilities to those wanting to make a longer visit – allowing more than enough time to explore all of Warwick’s pubs over a weekend, as well as a day trip.

Close to the racecourse is 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 pennce’ for a cup of coffee and a tot of rum. Other inns were charging an “outrageous” six pennce! Hence, The Fourpenny Shop. Still offering food and rooms, The Fourpenny won the coveted Pub of the Year award for Heart of CAMRA 2024 following a refit and features six hand pulls with Hook Norton ‘Hooky’ the starting point for the regular beers.

Around the corner from here is the Old Post Office. Runner up in Pub of the Year, The OPO is approaching its 10th anniversary and is a firm local favourite. Just one regular beer here (Phipps IPA) shares the bar with four other ales and each of the four guest pumps changes ale every single barrel, with a good selection of craft and real cider also on offer.

The route heads back into the heart of Warwick, through the town’s historic West Gate and past the medieval Lord Leycester Hospital to the traditional Market Square to find the hidden gem that is The Eagle. The smallest of the pubs in Warwick, The Eagle is simultaneously the youngest pub in the town, yet 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. 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. 

While the five pubs formed a few highlights of the easy walk around Warwick, the route can easily incorporate many of the excellent 20-plus pubs that Warwick has to offer, making it a great destination for ale-lovers from far and wide.

Warwick beer trail

Tim Maccabbee, landlord of The Eagle, said: “Our 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 20-plus that Warwick has to offer – a reminder that the town really is a great destination for ale-lovers from far and wide.

“Warwick is known for many things, but we’re of the humble opinion that one of those things should be its better-than-average offering when it comes to great pubs – each with their own unique personality and draw – serving top quality beer and contributing to what really is an excellent ale scene. 

“On top of this, many of the hostelries have room in the town centre, 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.”