Beer Festivals don’t feature heavily on my itinerary , (IndyMan and Manchester Fest apart, and I need little excuse to visit the 1st City). My disinterest in Fests is largely a simple matter that they’re not pubs, and pub life is what my travels are about.  I also don’t need a choice of more than three beers in an evening, thank you.

But having booked a night away with our campervan (and Mrs RM) in Peterborough, it seemed a bit churlish not to at least say hello to the 2nd biggest UK festival.  The 90 minute walk from Ferry Meadows (we got lost) in 30 degrees heat was all the additional incentive we needed.

Good weather always helps, and tipping up at 3pm on a Wednesday (all day opening here) means quick service and plenty of space.  A pleasant breeze from the river really made this a pleasant afternoon, capped off by being able to get the new copy of Heritage Pubs.

This festival is a big event in a city otherwise reliant on Wurzels tribute bands and Barry Fry meltdowns for its entertainment.  (I may have something to say about their pubs tomorrow).


What you notice, in comparison with the trendy Mancs or Cambridge students of other big festivals, is the age range of folk at Peterborough.  With a funfair in the riverside grounds, and an impressive collection of pub games in the tent, there were plenty of grandparents looking after holidaying children. I liked that atmosphere a lot.  In that sense it’s got more in common with Nuremberg’s family event.

I personally vetted the T-shirts, and failed to find an offensive one for Mrs RM to burn.  She was very taken with the whole shebang, and we stayed rather longer than the planned 27 minutes (the portion of olives was enormous).

While Mrs RM chose the food ;

Donaldson’s Seafood

I fetched her a selection of beers.  We find that beer is an ideal accompaniment for food, and vice versa.  The highlights were all taken from the Key Keg bar, with the two Cloudwaters and a dark Moor winning Mrs RM’s own Beers of the Day contest. The Sorachi IPA seemed to go down very quickly.


This Key Keg beer was noticeably less carbonated than I’ve had elsewhere, and frankly was a lot cooler.

Ignoring most of the new breweries, we tried some old favourites from the brewery bars (Adnams, Woodfordes and Marstons), hoping to taste beer at it’s best.  It was all good, but also a degree or two above my preferred temperature. The strongest beers (Bexar’s Papa Steve a standout) survived the heat best.

Well done on getting Marston’s Pedigree on the bar at a beer fest by the way; their team were very engaging.

Highly recommended, though I suspect all the Cloudwater has already gone.


  1. I understand your getting lost in Ferry Meadows, Martin. I think if I didn’t have somebody who new what they were doing with me I would have got lost permanently there looking for the railway station from the bus stop. Both of which are alternatives to walking if you can find them.

    The seafood prices are shocking to one used to walking past the bloke with his whelks and whatever else in his Cleethorpes seafront caravan.

    Just to demonstrate the power of your website, you have managed to lead me to watch a video of ‘You cannae shove your granny of the bus’.


  2. “My disinterest in fests is largely a simple matter that they’re not pubs, and pub life is what my travels are about. I also don’t need a choice of more than three beers in an evening, thank you.”

    You’ve summed up my attitude to beer festivals there 😀


    1. That might have sounded a bit “I know what I like”, but most of the beers there will be minor variations on what I know by home brewers.

      Mrs RM would have been happy just to drink the Moor and I’d have stuck to Cloudwater.


  3. In what way is Peterborough the second largest fest in the country? Number of visitors? Certainly not number of beers, as Nottingham has over 1100 casks on at once, I’ll have you know.

    Beer and food? Crazy talk.

    KeyKeg and then Pedigree. What a constellation.

    You know, you can download a free mapping app on your smartphone, doesn’t even need to be online to work outdoors: http://osmand.net/ Now, it’s open source mapping, not your native Ordinance Survey, but it might help save you an hour’s trudging around lost once in a while.


    1. Peterborough, far as I know, is second in visitors to GBBF with Cambridge 3rd. Certainly it looks it, though Nottm may be catching up.

      I did match beer with no food once, at Manc Fesr, with disastrous results.

      We got lost in t’woods Nick, it were proper wild.


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