It’s a real ale right of passage — eight train stops, eight pubs, eight chances to sample a nice beer.

The Transpennine Real Ale Trail is a pub crawl with a difference, transporting you to eight real ale havens along a single train line.

It’s thought the trail was first described in an article in the Independent in 1998 by Stephen O’Loughlin, before featuring on the small screen in the BBC series Oz and James Drink to Britain.

Whether you’re a ale trail veteran or fancy riding the rails to ale for the first time, we’ve got all the details you need — and of course, you must follow the Real Ale Trail 10 Commandments...

What is it?

The Real Ale Trail is the chance to sample quality real ales in selected pubs along a section of the Transpennine railway line. Eight stops, eight pubs (and the return journey if you’re brave). All the pubs are mere yards from their respective railway stations (so you can’t get lost), so all you need to do is keep an eye on the time and make sure you don’t miss your connections!

Real ale trail participants get off the train from Slaithwaite
Real ale trail participants get off the train from Slaithwaite

Where does it run?

From Batley to Stalybridge — some argue it’s Stalybridge to Batley. Which end of the trail you start from is up to you of course — if you live in Huddersfield, in the middle, it’s even more complicated. Do you work your way up one side then double back? Travel to Batley and begin officially there? Half the fun is arguimg about which pub to start in — and where you’ll end up.

READ MORE: The Real Ale Trail 10 Commandments: Thou shalt not drink lager and other rules

The pubs of the Real Ale Trail

Starting from Batley, here are the eight pubs of the Real Ale Trail:

  • Batley — Cellar Bar: Real ales from across Yorkshire and beyong, with two permanent real ale pumps and three guest beers. It also has a pool table and dartboard.
  • Dewsbury — West Riding: The old rail station waiting rooms are home to the West Riding pub, offering a cosy atmosphere and impressive range of ales. It also serves food, and based in the station itself, you’re mere paces from the train to the next stop.
  • Mirfield — Navigation Tavern: An ambassador for Theakston beers, the Navigation is by the canal and also hosts its ownbeer festivals.
  • Huddersfield — King’s Head: The King’s Head always offers a few local brews, with Golcar Brewery, Magic Rock and Elland Brewery regularly on the pumps. You might catch some live music too.
  • Slaithwaite — The Commercial: Based in the centre of the village, the Commercial boasts eight hand pulled ales, some from Empire Brewery, located just down the road.
  • Marsden — The Riverhead Brewery Tap: The Riverhead has 10 real ale hand pumps — some of which serve the pub’s own ales, made in the microbrewery in the cellar. Food is served in the upstairs dining room.
  • Greenfield — The Railway Inn: The first stop outside of Yorkshire, the Railway Inn offers real ales, live music and a games room — and it’s directly opposite the train station.
  • Stalybridge — Station Buffet Bar: One of the few remaining Victorian station buffet bars, Station Buffet Bar is the end of the trail (or the start, for some!), with a rotating beer menu of eight real ales and foreign bottled beers.
Time Line

The pubs of the Real Ale Trail

  1. Batley

    Cellar Bar

  2. Dewsbury

    West Riding Refreshment Rooms

  3. Mirfield

    Navigation Tavern

  4. Huddersfield

    King's Head

  5. Slaithwaite

    The Commercial

  6. Marsden

    The Riverhead Brewery Tap

  7. Greenfield

    The Railway

  8. Stalybridge

    Station Buffet Bar

Always drink responsibly

Special officers Sophie Hanley and Martin Fishpool watch real ale trail drinkers get off the train on their way to Marsden's pubs

While you’ll be spoiled for choice along the trail, please drink responsibly — while there are eight pubs, you don’t have to have a pint in each one. Make sure you drink water in between alcoholic drinks and spread them out along the trail — remember, you still need to make it home from the other end of the trail!