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I am heading to the UK for a 2 week tour and besides fitting in some official duties at a wedding I’ll be dedicating most of the time to breweries, public houses and ale. I am after your collective wisdom on places to go…

I have lived in London before but at the time never really woke up to real ale (regretting this now big time). I will be based in London but also planning to do an ale trail/ramble – most likely South Down Way or North Yorkshire.

I plan to study up a bit on CAMRA website, traditional pub websites and the like but if anyone has some first hand experiences of place to go, people to talk that you recommend that would be appreciated.

Cheers

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If you're doing the south downs there's loads of great pubs down there and you should visit Harvey's and Dark Star!
Find a copy of the CAMRA good pub guide. Well worth the money
To be a bit pedantic you probably mean the Good Beer Guide. The Good Pub Guide is a different publication.
Check out www.fancyapint.com it lists all the pubs near tube and railway stations and then gives each pub a rating, the best rated pubs are the old school ones with no loud music or Tvs and decent real ales on tap.
Just saw this one in there top 10 monthly pubs and its in North Yorkshire
http://www.fancyapint.com/pubs/pub4140.html
Agree, can't go wrong with the CAMRA good pub guide (especially for South Downs or North Yorkshire). Well, that's not entirely true, there are a few 'interesting' places. But they've all got top beer, and if you read it carefully enough, some real beauties.

But some must sees in London...

London
- The Bricklayers Arms (Putney), the best Timothy Taylors in town
- Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell (a must!)
- pub crawl around London Borough
- Greenwich Union (in Greenwich funnily enought) for the Meantime beers
- if you have time, get the train up to St Albans for a pub crawl
- Churchill Arms in Notting Hill for some very good Thai (trust me)
- the White Horse in Parsons Green to laugh at the Sloany Ponies
- the Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street
- the Olde Mitre near Holborn (if you can find it)

North Yorkshire - go to Malham to visit Black Sheep Brewery and the Yorkshire Squares. Drive out to Robin Hood's Bay through the North Yorkshire Moors, both the drive and the destination are pretty spectacular.

South Downs covers a pretty big area - but the Evening Star in Brighton a good stop for the Dark Star beers. If you know more specifically where you might go, I can have a better think about it.

I could go on and on to be honest. Are you going over soon? The Battersea Beer Festival is usually early/mid February.
Thanks GM1 (and others) - I have most those London place on my list already so it's good to get them them seconded. I'm not heading over until May just getting prepared early and swatting up pub guide websites like it is School Cert. tomorrow.

I reckon I can do 3-4 pubs in a day (in London) - but will need to do a bit of training between now and May to get my drinking fitness up.
Just go to York and drink in any non-chain pub that has beer engines. Beer heaven :-) I lived there for six happy years.......it wasn't until I left that I realised I'd taken decent beer for granted.
Yep, if you're in York, do NOT leave without visiting The Blue Bell, and the Minster Inn. The latter is a real locals pub, but my wife and I just loved the place. The Blue Bell is tiny, and so great to just sit with a pint and a book and waste time. Heaven.
I'm back for a holiday in July/August too - my taste buds can't wait!
The Black Sheep Brewery is in Masham and is a good tour with a nice resaurant also. Theakstons brewery is across the road from them which may also do tours/tastings. Look at Wetherspoons which is a pub chain that supports local and national microbrewerys, they have a website with all the locations so you could call at several on your way north, this should give you a good selection of beers as you travel around. As mentioned above Robin hoods bay and Whitby from the Yorkshire moors is a stunning drive with good beer to be found.
Not many good pubs in Whitby though. Not a single entry in the GBG (2008). We did manage to get a cracking pint of Taylor's Golden Best, but I forget the name of the pub. It was OKish. Great place though.

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