Spa Valley Railway » Family Events

Real Ale & Cider Festival!

17th, 18th, 19th and 20th October 2024

Our world renowned and Kent's biggest Beer & Cider Festival is back for its 13th year from 17th to 20th October – in association with West Kent CAMRA!

The South Easts original railway and Kent's largest Beer Festival is back this October with over 160 real ales, including a fair number that are Green Hop and over 50 ciders! These are perfectly complimented by live entertainment at Tunbridge Wells West, a range of food stalls and of course our steam and heritage diesel trains! The main "Real Ale & Cider bar" will be at Tunbridge Wells West and additional bars can be found at Groombridge, Eridge and on two of the three trains that will be in operation.
Entry into the main festival at Tunbridge Wells West is FREE all four days and you can purchase a starter pack which includes a glass, bingo card and event guide upon arrival from the sales desk located inside the engine shed.
At our 2024 event you can enjoy the sights and sounds of more steam than ever as BR Standard 4MT 80078 and Bulleid Pacific 34053 'Sir Keith Park' joining two of our heritage diesels hauling trains between Tunbridge Wells West and Eridge plus a shuttle train between Eridge and Groombridge with Class 207 DEMU 1317!
Train tickets are now on sale, you do not need to purchase a train ticket unless you want to travel on the train. Entry to Tunbridge Wells West, Groombridge and Eridge stations is FREE and you only have to pay for a ticket if you want to travel on the train. You can purchase a 'Starter Pack' which consists of a glass, beer card and event guide at all of our stations.
Beer Cards – these are your payment for beer and cider (not food or train travel):
Following on from its success in 2024 is the 'beer card' which are replacing tokens. No tokens from previous events are valid and beer cards are non-refundable so make sure you purchase them for what you wish to buy beer or cider wise.
You can buy your beer card from the sales desks at each station, on the card will be an overall value e.g., £5 which will be split into 10p and 20ps.
Simply select the drink you'd like, hand the card to the person serving you and they will cross off the amount your drink comes to. So if your drink came to £4 and you had a card to the value of £5 you would see 20x 20p boxes crossed off and 10x 10p boxes remaining. No need to count out those tokens anymore! 
A beer card will be included with the starter packs and you'll be able to purchase additional beer cards as the day goes on, please note they are non-refundable though so only buy as many as you need, don't buy £50 worth and only spend £20 as we won't be able to refund you!
What to expect? Well, click on this link for a taste of what we offered during 2023 – BEER LIST & TASTING NOTES FROM 2023

Note – the above file is low res to enable uploading to our website, the printed copies are in high res.

The numbering system used is taken from the master beer list which plays a vital role in the accounting and labeling beer for this event, if a number is skipped e.g. 110 it is because the brewery withdrew their beer at the last minute and it would impact on the master beer list by renumbering the other beers. 

Barrel ends will be numbered for ease of ordering your drink in 2024.

Event Opening Times:

  • Thursday 17th October
    • 18:00 to 22:00 (Tunbridge Wells West only, no trains are operating)
  • Friday 18th October
    • Trains from 09:00 until 22:30
    • Tunbridge Wells West bar 11:00 until 22:30
    • Groombridge bar 11:00 until 20:30
    • Eridge bar 11:00 until 21:30 
  • Saturday 19th October
    • Trains from 09:00 until 22:30
    • Tunbridge Wells West bar 11:00 until 22:30
    • Groombridge bar 11:00 until 20:30
    • Eridge bar 11:00 until 21:30
  • Sunday 20th October
    • Trains from 09:00 until 17:30
    • Tunbridge Wells West bar 11:00 until 18:00
    • Groombridge bar 11:00 until 16:00
    • Eridge bar 11:00 until 16:00

Live Bands:
To be confirmed, these are provided by Tunbridge Wells Music Production Ltd. 

Trains will operate from early until late on Friday 18th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October, NO trains will operate on Thursday 17th October. Trains will be top and tailed with the steam locomotive on the Tunbridge Wells West end of the train and the diesel locomotive on the Eridge end of the train.

Locomotives in use:

  • BR Standard 4MT 80078
  • Bulleid Pacific 34053 '303 Squadron'
  • Class 25 D7535 - Friday & Sunday
  • Class 31 31430 'Sister Dora' – Saturday & Sunday
  • Class 50 50021 'Rodney' – Friday & Saturday
  • Class 207 DEMU 1317

Food Stalls – Tunbridge Wells West:

  • Fullers Butcher BBQ
  • Thai Food Stand

Catering kiosks will be open at Groombridge and Eridge selling a selection of sandwiches, hot and cold drinks, crisps, chocolate and other light refreshments. 

This event is supported by:

Book tickets

Thu 17 Oct 2024
Open Day Event departing from: Travel All Day, Any Train!
Fri 18 Oct 2024
Open Day Event departing from: Travel All Day, Any Train!
Sat 19 Oct 2024
Open Day Event departing from: Travel All Day, Any Train!
Sun 20 Oct 2024
Open Day Event departing from: Travel All Day, Any Train!

Booking information

Tickets booked using the links are for rail travel - entry to the Beer Festival is Free as per guidance above (except for Thursday's Preview Event where tickets are required)

Entry to stations is FREE on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there is no charge to access the festival sites at Tunbridge Wells West, Groombridge or Eridge, tickets are required for train travel. 
No trains will operate on Thursday 19th October, only Tunbridge Wells West is open between 18:00 and 22:00 for the sale of beer, entry tickets are just £5 per person, this does not include any drinks or glasses. The £5 charge applies to Thursday 19th October only.
The only tickets required are to travel on the trains. If you are a member of CAMRA you will receive a £5 discount on train travel upon production of your in date membership card. This can only be done on the day and not in advance online.

Note that a £10 admin fee applies to all booking alterations.

Click here to view our refund, cancellation and alterations policy