Hassrale Trips: Alton/Farnham

Date: 28th July 1990

Trains to Alton leave Waterloo hourly. I suggest we catch the 9.55am which arrives in Alton rather conveniently, at 10.59am.

Alton is an historic town with a number of surviving Georgian buildings. It has a history of brewing going back many years. Sadly there is now only one brewery left, run by Bass.

Times of leaving pubs are in (-).

Our first pub is the farthest away from the station - about a 10 minute walk - on this trip.

1. Hop Poles, Mount Pleasant Road (11.45)

Beers: Ruddles Best, Websters Yorkshire Bitter

Attractive pub with long bar. Has appeared in the Good Beer Guide.

2. White Horse, High Street (12.15)

Beers: Courage Best & Directors

14th century low beamed one bar pub, reputedly the oldest building in the town. Piano available for those so inclined.

3. Kings Head, Market Street (12.45)

Beers: Courage Best & Directors

Over 300 years old locals pub. Doorstopper sandwiches. Seats may be at a premium but there is a beer garden. A regular in the Good Beer Guide.

4. Eight Bells, Church Street (13.30)

Beers: London Pride, Bass, Ringwood Best, Flowers

Excellent local which is off the beaten track and as far as I know the only free house in Alton. There are elements of torture adorning the walls and for those unable to make it to the WC chamber pots can be had although some difficulty may be encountered given their position! I'm afraid Egon has been to this one too and recommends it. The food is very good and it is probably the best place to eat.

5. Railway, Anstey Road (14.10)

Beers: Courage Best, Directors (possibly gravity dispensed)

Typical 'railway' local. Books can be bought for 10p, the proceeds going towards Guide dogs. They have obviously sold quite a few as an array of pictures of guide dogs are over the bar. Pub sign shows the loco once used on the local brewery railway.

We now head back to the station, which is close by, for a trip on the Mid Hants Steam railway to Alresford. If anybody wants to opt out of this part the Hop Poles, White Horse and Crown are open all day. The Eight Bells may stay open if there is sufficient business. The train leaves at 14.20pm from platform 3. Those of you with NSE cards will probably be able to obtain a discount on the fare. We arrive in Alresford at 14.55pm. We will have around an hour in Alresford which those survivors of the recent charabanc trip will remember (possibly?) as being an attractive market town with many Georgian buildings. There are two pubs worth visiting which are open all day.

6. Peaceful Home, East Street (15.30)

Beers: Bass, Ringwood Best

One bar unpretentious village local. Very friendly bar staff. Good range of food which seems reasonable.

7. The Globe, The Stoke (15.55)

Beers: Gales HSB, Websters, Ruddles Best

17th century inn overlooking wildfowl reserve (we can kill two birds with one stone!). There has been a pub here since the Middle Ages. Plenty of seats in the beer garden. We now head back to the station passing the charmingly preserved fire station which looks like a set from "Camberwick Green" (for those who remember it).

The train leaves at 16.08. PLEASE DO NOT MISS IT AS IT IS THE LAST TRAIN OF THE DAY! We arrive back in Alton at 16.49 in time to catch the 17.13 to Farnham (arrival time 17.25). Having spent over 300 years as a major hop growing centre Farnham, at the turn of the century, could boast five breweries and one pub per 24 men in town. Pubs are now more sparsely scattered but still in sufficient numbers for our needs. Again we head for the most distant pub and work our way back to the station.

8. Plough, West St. (18.15)

Beers: Ruddles Best, County

Big unspoiled pub which fortunately, opens at 5.30pm. Until 1880s had its own brewhouse and profitable dairy business. Good juke box.

9. Queens Head, The Borough (19.00)

Beers: Gales Best, Butser & HSB

A pub for over 200 years and a Gales house since 1888. Cosy pub which has been in the Good Beer Guide for many years. Beer garden.

10. Hop Blossom, Long Garden Walk (off Castle St.) (19.30)

Beers: Fullers London Pride & ESB

The only Fullers pub in Farnham. A one bar pub which tends to get very busy. We will be arriving as it opens so hopefully it will be rather quieter. Meeting place of the Farnham yuppies, on both sides of the bar!

11. William Cobbett, Bridge Square (20.15)

Beers: Courage Best, Directors

Birthplace of the 18th century politician whose name the pub carries. The pub is a warren of rooms and features include a pinball machine and a room upstairs for pool. Although there is no food in the evening you could have a tarantula sandwich!

12. Lamb, Abbey Street (20.45)

Beers: Shepherd Neame Best, Master Brew

Recently refurbished and changed to a Shepherd Neame pub, one of the few in the area. Originally had four rooms but unfortunately has been opened up and now has a L-shaped bar. Still quite attractive though. Plenty of wildlife!

13. Waverley Arms, Station Hill

Beers: Courage Best, Directors

Comfortable pub close to the station. Friendly bar staff. May still be doing food by the time we arrive.

Well it's all over now. Trains back to Waterloo leave Farnham at 25 and 48 minutes past the hour.

Survey Team: Geoff Wilson, Dave Saffery, Martin Williams

Survey Date: 16th June 1990

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