The top beer, cider and wine festivals in the Cotswolds
- Credit: Archant
Whether you’re a connoisseur or just fancy a tipple, there are ample festivals across the Cotswolds catering for beer, cider and wine lovers. Here’s our pick of the best, in chronological order.
Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse | June 12-13
2015 will mark the 9th year of the Stratford-upon-Avon Beer & Cider Festival, featuring over 70 beers and 30 ciders available to visitors. There will also be live music from the Worcester Ukes, Swing from Paris and 4More. A wide variety of food will be provided by Stable Lads Canteen, as well as 1diamond catering and Lazy Pig Co. The Bard of Avon himself penned this rather apt idiom: “Do you think because you are virtuous, that there shall be no more cakes and ale?” There may not be cake, but there will at the very least be ale; so this June, drink and be merry!
Charlbury, Oxfordshire | June 27
The Charlbury Beer Festival returns this year for another day of good beer and good fun, all for a good cause. There will be 50 beers and real ales to sample, as well as live music, talks, drop-in workshops and the Aunt Sally World Championship. This year the festival will be celebrating the signing of the Magna Carta, sourcing beers from along the length of the river Thames (including Runnymede, where a draft of the historic document was first presented to King John). Proceeds from the event will go to the local primary school, as well as to community projects in the local area and the developing world.
Slimbridge Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust | June 27
Over 40 beers will be available for visitors to sample at the Slimbridge Beer Festival, along with a selection of ciders, perries and wines. There will also be live music and food available on the day. All proceeds from the festival go to local Scout organisations, so be prepared... to drink plenty of fantastic local beer!
Postlip Hall | July 17-18
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The Cotswold Beer Festival has been celebrating great beer since its inaugral year in 1977! 2015 will include around 90 real ales and 20 ciders; plus live music to enjoy whilst you sip. The event takes place at Postlip Hall near Winchcombe, and there’s a festival bus to ferry visitors from Cheltenham to the venue.
Hook Norton | July 18
The 21-year-old Hook Norton Festival of Fine Ales is an annual celebration of the best in locally brewed beverages. Since its inception, the event has raised in excess of £240,000 for national and local charities; so every pint poured comes guilt-free! There will be over 60 beers on offer to visitors, as well as a dedicated cider bar.
Worcester Racecourse | August 6-8
Organised by Worcester CAMRA, the three-day Worcester Beer, Cider and Perry Festival will once again welcome around twelve thousand people keen to sample the impressive 200+ types of beer and 100+ ciders and perries. That’s more on offer than any other festival in this list! There will also be hot and cold food to line your stomach, live music and other entertainment.
Cheltenham Town Hall | August 14-15
The first ever Cheltenham Real Ale Festival will take place this August at the Cheltenham Town Hall, featuring over 100 ales, ciders and perries, live music and entertainment - plus food and snacks on site. Ahead of the event, the organisers are offering prospective visitors the chance to nominate a beer, cider or perry for inclusion in the festival line-up. Click here for details.
Oxford Union building | August 21-22
In August, the world of wine will descend upon the city of Oxford, with over 40 of the UK’s leading wine merchants and regional specialists celebrating hundreds of award-winning and rare wines from over twenty countries. The Oxford Wine Festival takes place at the iconic Oxford Union building, and will feature live music, food and tutored tastings, alongside the usual opportunities to sample and purchase the wine on offer.
The Wharf House, Over Basin and Vineyard Hill stretch of H&G canal | August 22-23
As part of the annual H&G Canal Festival, the H&G Canal Beer, Cider & Perry Festival is returning to the restored stretch of canal, with thousands of visitors expected to attend. In addition to the large range of beer, cider and perry on offer, visitors can enjoy other festival entertainment including demonstrations by boat horse Gypsy Queen, heritage boat processions and rides, live music, local stalls, classic cars and more.
Frocester Cricket Club | August 28-29
This summer, the Frocester Beer Festival will give visitors the opportunity to sample over one hundred types of beer, a dozen ciders and a range of wine from around the world in the pretty location of Frocester in Gloucestershire. There’s free car parking and camping available, a BBQ area and live music to make every pint that little bit sweeter; fingers crossed for warm weather!
Witcombe | August 29-30
The UK’s biggest cider festival not only boasts over 50 ciders for visitors to enjoy and plenty of tasty food on site, but some pretty high profile musical acts with the likes of Tinchy Stryder, Heather Small of M People and multi-talented local trio Duke taking to the stage this year.
Moreton-in-Marsh Cricket Club | September 11-12
With typically around 40 real ales being showcased, as well as a selection of ciders, the North Cotswold CAMRA Beer Festival will return this year to delight beer lovers. 2015 will be the 8th year of the festival, and visitors can expect live music as well as fresh food to accompany the amber nectar.
Bath Guildhall | October 31
Five of the UK’s top wine experts will be on hand during The Wine Gang’s Christmas Wine Fair to answer questions and make recommendations, as visitors take to the fair designed ‘for lovers of wine - from novice to aficionado’ in Bath. There will be three hundred wines to sample, ranging from the perfect tipple for someone on a tight budget, to a great bottle for oenophiles willing to splash out a little. There will also be food, Wine Walks, and discounts for those looking to buy an early Christmas present.
The George Watson Memorial Hall, Tewkesbury | February 4-6 (2016)
Showcasing 80+ of the best ales brewed during the winter months, ciders and perries to take the edge off that chilly weather, the Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival returns in 2016 for its 21st year. This year’s event raised over £900 for the Midlands Air Ambulance.
Fancy yourself as a foodie? Have a look at our pick of the best food and drink festivals around the Cotswolds.
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