View Full Version : The Great Wetherspoons Escape

23-10-2012, 22:21
More than two years on from The Great Inter-County Pub Crawl (http://forums.pubsgalore.co.uk/showthread.php?2556-The-Great-Inter-County-Pub-Crawl&highlight=) I thought it was time to do something similar. As the current London Midland Great Escape offer coincides with the Wetherspoons Beer festival it seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so this endeavor will be the, imaginatively named, Great Wetherspoons Escape. It will take place over two days this coming Friday and Saturday. As the cheap tickets can't be used during the morning peak, the first train North I could get from Watford would be at 10:00am so I plan to use my annual ticket and get a head start in London. The, aspirational and weather permitting, plan is to visit 3 JDW's in London, 3 at the other end of the line in Liverpool and as many in between as I can manage in two days :nishelypished:

Provided I get up in time I plan to be at the Hamilton Hall Liverpool Street around 7am and meet any early birds from the office for breakfast. Then a couple more JDW's, perhaps around Holborn, before getting the first cheap train North from Euston. I think I could do Rugby, Tamworth and Stafford on the way up to an overnight in Crewe. The Liverpool ones can be ticked off Friday night or Saturday morning before heading back via the Wolverhampton and Birmingham line and doing a couple more close to home. I'm not going to go mad but am hoping to get to at least 15.

Wish me luck, and I'll try to keep you updated on the way courtesy of JDW's free Wi-Fi.

23-10-2012, 22:27
Keep an eye on the London Midland website for the daily cancellations! Wednesday looks OK, but it varies day-by-day.

24-10-2012, 06:00
That's what put me off doing it Saturday and Sunday Paul, wasn't sure I'd be able to get back ! Should have a better chance of getting around easier on Fri and Sat.

25-10-2012, 12:29
Friday night in Crewe eh !
I remember years ago a few of us spent a saturday night there after an afternoon game at Gresty Road.
After the game we went back to the hotel to change and met at hotel reception at 7.00 ready for a good night out.
When I asked the receptionist for directions to the town centre she looked at me in amazement and said ''what do you want to go there for ? You'll be on your own !''

Good luck with the trip. Sure it will be fun.

25-10-2012, 12:36
I too stayed a night in Crewe - we took one look and went to Nantwich instead.

25-10-2012, 13:07
Oh Gawd yes, I would second Nantwich over Crewe any day...
A previous company had a sales office in Nantwich and I spent many a good evening there.
The locals told us not to bother with Crewe, but we had to do it once, just to confirm they were right.
My experiences are from over 20 years ago, but nothing I have heard has indicated times have changed..
I used to frequent a couple of pubs called the Bowling Green and the Vine, and I believe they are still going

25-10-2012, 21:25
I too stayed a night in Crewe - we took one look and went to Nantwich instead.

Now I'm really worried, if even you wouldn't go there Roger. Just as well it's only an overnight, and it does give me the option of doing Liverpool on either the Friday or Saturday.

Need to sort out tickets, maps etc and set the alarm for an early start tomorrow.

25-10-2012, 23:28
So much for an early night. Just spent the last hour poring over timetables working out route options and contingency plans. Think I'm sorted now though. Off for a few hours kip.

26-10-2012, 06:03
Right, do i have everything? Tickets,maps, timetables, check. Change of underwear, check. Phone and charger,check. A sense that this might not be a good idea afterall,check.

Too late now anyway, I'm on a train whizzing to London for the first leg of this crazy stunt already.

26-10-2012, 07:12
The Hamilton Hall opened right on time at 7am and I've ordered breakfast
t and risked a half of the Tree Brewery Thirsty Beaver from Canada. Selby from work has just joined and there may be a couple more arriving to provide a grand send off.

26-10-2012, 08:04
So let's get this right - London to Crewe (and yep I can confirm things haven't changed too much in the last 20 years) then to Liverpool and then back home. This has the ring of a 'Wallace and Gromit' style Great Adventure.http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ76SlF6jJphloBzanOV9qsBXW0ObJ6_ HSsCIga8JY9cKWKF5D7

You could always call at Warrington and then go across to Liverpool - will add about 1 hour to the journey however one more JDW to tick off.

Also have a look for the Virgin 1st Class Ghost Carriages on the Edinburgh service - located next to the real (over priced) first class carriages however without the at seat service but you do get free wi-fi.

26-10-2012, 08:29
Can't get to Warrington with London Midland trains Lons , otherwise i would of course have included it, even if i did risk bumping in to you !

Pub no 2 and one of JDWS more decorative ones, Penderels Oak on High Holborn. Have gone across the border beer wise with the American one Avery 3 point 5.

26-10-2012, 09:08
To prove I'm not cheating I'll try to check in on Facebook at each pub i visit. This is number 3, The Shakespeares Head but just a soft drink here need to be sensible. To Euston n
next for a long journey north.

26-10-2012, 09:43
I can maybe catch up on a little sleep now as i have around 90 mins on the train. Next stop off will be Rugby or Nuneaton, haven't made my mind up yet.

26-10-2012, 11:39
A little further Northfor pub number 4, the Felix Holt in Nuneaton. Went for the Pinnacle Porter only to find its not in the festival so may have to have another half of something. I may just have time to do that and find the other Spoons and get back to the station by 12:15!!

26-10-2012, 12:03
Found the other one William White. Going to be tight as got caught behind two blokes ordering coffee !!!! But have halves of the Japanese one and Wadsworth Blunder Buss . Now a run (sort of) back to the station.

Next stop Tamworth.

26-10-2012, 13:19
Is Tamworth some sort of twilight zone for internet. Neither my 3g more Wifi wotkd that well. The Bole Bridge was rubbish but the Silk kite is better. Gone for two of the big hitters GK Reserve and the Dutch one with the green label that i can't pronounce. Struggling with trains with all this sodding about.

26-10-2012, 14:31
Thankfully the train was late so I have made it to Stafford on schedule. Realised a big flaw in my carefully constructed plan in that I didn't factor in any time to eat !! So Stafford will be a one pub stop and i am currently in the Picture House with a pint of the Steenbrugge Blonde and a very reasonable £2.49 plate of curry. Watch out Liverpool.

26-10-2012, 16:40
And rest....but not just yet. I have located and checked in to my overnight repose in Crewe but there are still beers to be drunk. There's a 5pm train to Liverpool and I intend to be on it.

26-10-2012, 17:06
There's a 5pm train to Liverpool and I intend to be on it.

I see Liverpool CAMRA are continuing their WTF with the GBG, the Fall Well and the Richard John Blacker are both in, the Welkin seems to have been missed this year :evilgrin: At least the first two aren't too far from the station, enjoy.

26-10-2012, 18:33
I've done the R J Blackler and ticked off the Rooster Franklin and the Old Bailly. Now in the Fall Well, strange place very few festival beers, found the Adams Fisherman one, and seems to be primarily lager based. But they offer a 20p a pint discount for CAMRA cards.

Think I may give up on JDW in Liverpool now and go to some of my favourites.

26-10-2012, 19:04
Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I'm in the Vernon Arms and it's not a Wetherspoons. It is however one of my favourite Liverpool pubs and they still have the Bogarts Rum Porter, which is like angels dancing on ones tongue.

26-10-2012, 19:34
In the Ship & Mitre another old favourite with a porter from Tryst i think.

26-10-2012, 20:45
From BBC news (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20093690):
London Midland, which has cancelled more than 400 trains in three weeks because of a driver shortage, plans to cancel 133 more on Saturday. ... many trains between Birmingham New Street and London Euston will be running only shorter distances.

Good luck! Hope you don't get stranded! Glad I made my trip last Saturday - my disruptions (and there were several) were all due to other causes.

26-10-2012, 21:17
Millay - i had planned on joining you however i'm still sat on the train from Edinburgh:moremad:.

enjoy the North

26-10-2012, 21:50
From BBC news (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20093690):
London Midland, which has cancelled more than 400 trains in three weeks because of a driver shortage, plans to cancel 133 more on Saturday. ... many trains between Birmingham New Street and London Euston will be running only shorter distances.

Good luck! Hope you don't get stranded! Glad I made my trip last Saturday - my disruptions (and there were several) were all due to other causes.

Thanks Paul, I'll need to study that it will undoubtedly affect the plans i had for tomorrow. Might need an earlier start.

26-10-2012, 21:53
Millay - i had planned on joining you however i'm still sat on the train from Edinburgh:moremad:.

enjoy the North

Every cloud.....

Hope you get home OK. That's a big patch you've got or was it another off site strategic planning meeting ?

27-10-2012, 06:27
I very nearly gave up on this thing after reading the article about train cancellations that Paul helpfully provided . Well that and the fact that my legs feel particularly heavy this morning after yesterday's walking. But the head is fine and a rejuvenating shower has lifted my spirits.

So i have reworked my schedule around the known cancellations and hopefully i can get back close to home before the main trouble starts. It does mean an early start an i am aiming to be on the 07:49 out of Crewe. Should just have time for a bit of breakfast.

Don't think i will be able to match yesterday's tally of 10 but we'll see how we go. Hearing it's snowing dahn sarf !!

27-10-2012, 08:03
O Mr Porter, what shall I do. I wanted to go to Wetherspoons, but I'm still stuck here at Crewe .

First it was signal problems now it's overhead line damage. I think they're going through their book of excuses. What i do know is that nothing is moving out of Crewe. I think this may be a long and frustrating day. And it's bloody cold.

27-10-2012, 09:10
Finally got moving but train terminated at Wolverhampton so decided to tick off the Wetherspoons in the hope they will sort things out soon. In the Moon under Water charging the phone and checking the departures board. Aiming for Birmingham if i can. Ticked off the Australian IPA from Feral.

27-10-2012, 10:32
The assault on Birmingham's Wetherspoons starts here at the Briar Rose. Not too impressed with the American Heather Ale but the Liberation Rouge is OK.

27-10-2012, 11:41
Whistlestop visits to the Paradise Forum Wetherspoons which is a bit like a Tesco Express. No new ales so went for the Strawberry Lane cider. Then the Solomon Cutler which was like a lager factory , only blue labelled Lithuanian beer on.

Now in the Figure of Eight which given it's location in the middle of Broad Streets clubs I always thought this would be like a war zone. But it's quite a decent pub and they have a lot of the strong ales on. May stay here a little longer. Currently have halves of the Steenebruge Bruin and the St Peters fruit beer. The Moorhouse one and the unpronouncable green labelled Dutch one are also on. Makes me grateful that I rushed through the others.

Also found a power point to re charge the phone which is getting a fair bit of use.

27-10-2012, 14:41
OK, a race down to New Street and a train to Rugby and I've done both the Spoons there. First the Lawrence Sheriff where I found two new festival ales the Shepherd Neame one and the Italian one. Then on to the Rupert Brooke , If I should die (doing this) think only this of me that there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.

I next had thoughts of doing Milton Keynes and/or Berkhamsted but frankly these trains are so poor that I don't think it's worth it. The actual runnings don't seem to correlate with either the timetable, the departure board or the announcements. I got on this one thinking it would go as far as Northampton but they now say it's going to Watford , so i think i will stay on it.

27-10-2012, 14:57
As if to prove my point we've just been thrown off that train at Northampton and need to catch a different one. I'm just going to get back to Watford as best I can. There are a couple of JDW there if I still have the energy.

27-10-2012, 16:52
Back in Watford and a pint of the Japanese Minagof in the Colombia press. Now in the Moon under Water which will be the 19th hole , so to speak, and the final JDW of the tour. Some new festival ales here, I have the Bath wheat beer and one from Woodfordes . I can see the Titanic Golden Porter is on so that will be the crowning glory to this crazy stunt. Never seen David bloody Blaine do something like this !!

27-10-2012, 20:47
strategic planning meeting ?

Clearly it was all work with no time for any play - well maybe a hour or so!

28-10-2012, 06:54
So, what to do with this extra hour. There's the start of a nice pink sunrise on the horizon so I may go out for a walk, and see if there is any energy left in these tired old legs. But first I need to finish this thing off with a few stats, memories and things I left out. The Brittas Empire is on UK Gold, they don't make TV like that anymore.

28-10-2012, 07:15
First the statistics.

Pubs - A total of 19 different Wetherspoons (10 of which were new to me) and 3 'guest' pubs.

Drinks - 5 pints, 26 halves and 3 'others'.

Festival ales - 23 new festival ales ticked off. Favourite the Steenbrugge Blond, least favourite Cambridge Heather Ale. Most expensive £2.99 London), cheapest £1.59 (Wolverhampton)

Places - 10 different towns and cities.London, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Stafford, Crewe (overnight), Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Rugby and finally Watford.

Trains - 12 separate journeys with a total time of just over 7 and a half hours.

Walking - Just under 7 hours, but feels like more.

28-10-2012, 07:43
Thanks Millay. Really enjoyed your journey.

28-10-2012, 07:47
And what have I learned during this two day adventure?

It's a far easier journey into the City on the 6am train.

If you want to be first in the Hamilton Hall at Liverpool St you'll need to be queuing by 06:45. The sight of the barstaff hurriedly serving half a dozen regulars with 'the usual' was quite astounding.

As coffee seems to take Wetherspoon's staff three times as long to prepare as pulling a pint does, perhaps they should charge more for it.

The Internet doesn't seem to have reached Tamworth yet. Spent most of my time there trying to get a connection :pray:

The Picture House in Stafford was one of the most enjoyable stop offs. The excellent Steenbrugge Blond, a £2.49 plate of curry and a really wonderful building. I suspect it may be an old picture house :whistle:

Liverpool on a Friday night doesn't get any better.

The more beer you have the more lyrical you wax (see post nos. 22 and 33)

In general Wetherspoons proper pubs are better than the old Lloyds No 1 branded bars.

I've learned that the second thing to look for when you enter a Wetherspoons is somewhere to charge the phone. The first being the beer range, in case anyone was in doubt.

Tesco does 'Express' far better than Wetherspoons.

No contingency plan can anticipate the inefficiencies of London Midland and their ability to screw up your journey. When they advertise The Great Escape by saying you could 'Go Anywhere' they're right, but not neccesarily where you wanted to :moremad:

Crewe is still rubbish.

28-10-2012, 07:57
An interesting couple of days Millay, probably more Wetherspoons than Iv'e ever been to in my life, hats off to you.

29-10-2012, 07:51
well done a good read

29-10-2012, 14:28
Sounded a bit frantic at times, a bit 'Around The Wetherpoons in Eighty Days' sort of thing. No doubt the recovery is continuing with several soothing ales. A good read.