CIDER and ale lovers can get steamed at a unique festival of trains and tankards this bank holiday weekend.

Saturday, May 24 will see the start of the eighth Swindon & Cricklade Railway Real Ale & Cider Festival, which continues over the three days of the bank holiday weekend.

Sponsored by Pewsey’s Three Castles Brewery, and in association with CAMRA, the sixteen ales come from Cirencester Brewery, Box Steam Brewery, the Hop Kettle Brewery based at the Red Lion pub in Cricklade, Mr Grundy’s Brewery (Derby), Milestone Brewery (Nottinghamshire), and Three Castles itself.

Meanwhile, the five ciders are from Lilleys, Broad Oak and Thatchers, all in Somerset, and from Westons in Much Marcle, Herefordshire.

Hundreds of people are expected to flock to the festival, held at Blunsdon Station, Wiltshire’s only standard gauge Heritage Railway.

A spokesman for the event said: “It will be a good family affair, with something for everyone; a great way to experience the railway first hand as well as the opportunity to taste different or locally produced ales in a unique setting.”

Visitors have the options of enjoying train rides only, on all three days, enjoying the beer and cider festival only, or doing a combination of both.

Trains will run from 10.30am to 4.30pm on all days, with steam trains running on the Saturday and Sunday, and diesel trains on the Monday.

The steam locomotive will be the Met 1, a 1898-built Metropolitan Railway 0-4-4 tank locomotive, which has returned to the railway for a further short stay as a guest locomotive.

The Beer & Cider Festival is open from 11am to 11pm on the Saturday and Sunday, and 11am to 5pm on the Monday.

A live band will be offering up entertainment on the Saturday and Sunday evenings, and on all three days, a selection of BBQ food, along with cafe fare will be available.

Alternatively, visitors are welcome bring their own picnic. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will also be available.

Drivers and those who wish to carry on the beer festival at home will be able to take away beer or cider in ‘carry-outs’.

  • For more information, call 01793 771615, email or visit