This is not a circular tour and the crawl is from Sydenham station via Kirkdale and Dartmouth road finishing at Forest Hill station. Whilst the distance is quite long the pubs in the main are reasonably distanced apart and the choice of beer is good.
Travel - Both stations are on the same line and there is a frequent service up to very late. Coming into London all trains go to London Bridge and some continue to Waterloo East and Charing Cross. In the other direction the trains go to East or West Croydon and beyond via Norwood Junction.
On leaving the station turn right to the main road and then right again over the bridge. Go past the Railway Tavern (hand pumps but no real ale) and you should come on your right:-
A large and at the time we call a pretty empty pub with function room and outside area. Also has a dining room although it is unlikely that will be open. Numerous different rooms and a real fire. Has Juke Box, quiz machines and one arm bandits but also at times has live 'alternative' entertainment. Note original tiling and glass.
On leaving pub turn right and continue along Kirkdale crossing the road when convenient. You should come to:-
Two bar pub with two markedly different bars. Public is basic with television and darts. Lounge bar rather posher with table lamps, a garden with a lily pond and background music. Subdued lighting and very roomy. Has a grand piano and separate childrens room. No food.
On leaving turn left on same side of road to:-
A recent convert to real ale and also moved into the catering business only a short time ago. Has a separate dining area although the food may be limited if a large number turn up. Has a juke box. Lots of wood panelling. Garden. A very nice friendly pub.
On leaving the pub attempt to cross the road turn left and at next turning turn right down main road (Dartmouth Road) just down on right is:-
A basic small two bar pub that can get a bit crowded. Excellent beer and a pub that fully deserves being in the National Beer Guide. Juke box and darts in the public bar. No other machines in the pub. Has a upright piano and if you are really unlucky the pianist may be in as well. May have some snacks.
On leaving turn right and continue down hill (quite a long walk) to:-
Two bars both dealing with totally different clientele. Upstairs more like a restaurant with candles on tables and the beer on gravity. Downstairs a disco like cellar but not as bad as you may think. Not always busy but can be noisy (most of the kids go next door). Even the food varies as whilst the upstairs does a considerable range of more exotic food, downstairs they specialize in pizzas. You can also purchase the full range of New Quay bottled Steam beer which I can heartily recommend. Prices are from £1.20 to £1.80 for a large bottle. The only cautionary note I would make about this pub is the beer is not always up to standard. However when I took my beer back last time it was changed with no fuss.
On leaving turn right down the hill passing the Bird in Hand (It does real ale but seems to cater for the 14s and under). On the corner you should come to:-
Excellent if very basic pub with three bars one of which is so basic it is virtually bereft of any furniture. Has a good jukebox with Irish music on. A good description is tatty but I like it (so much for my taste). Very handy for Forest Hill station. If the thought of the dry journey terrifies you it does two pint take aways.
This concludes the trip bit for those of you with only short journeys or for those who have a time to wait for a train or bus we have included one more mainly for novelty purposes. For those who leave after the Dartmouth Arms turn right out of the pub walk a few yards and there is the station. For those who have the time cross over the road when you get to the station and proceed into the:-
Defies description. Has been modernised to look like a Victorian pharmacy, all timbers and little alcoves. Lots of shelves with books, plates etc. A real mishmash but not totally spoilt. Does not seem very frequented even late on a Friday. If you have the time well worth a visit and nowhere near the worst pub I have been in.Back to 1988 Trips