We are fortunate in our part of the world, as is the case elsewhere, we have several interesting beer places on the line. It is perfectly possible to hop on a train, travel to one pub, back on the next train and off at the next beery station and so on.
On our line there is the infamous Prince of Wales at Foxfield. Well known, and just recently awarded CAMRA pub of the year for Cumbria. A fair way down the line is another cask orientated place called The Snug and is located on Carnforth Station and is certainly worth a visit.
Less well known, but in my view worth a visit are The Ship at Kirkby-in-Furness, The Miners Arms at Silecroft and The Ratty Arms at Ravenglass. All of these are so close to the station you could almost have time to down your pint as the train is arriving and be able to hop on the train1.
I'm sure there are others on the track, and I'd love to hear any beery recommendations. Ulverston, for instance, has a great selection of pubs, only they are all a little walk from the station. However, even if you do this lot in one day it's 6 separate journeys. There are enough trains in the day, but how much will it cost?
Well, lets suppose you start at Carnforth and get a return ticket to Ravenglass. There is a train sets off at 10:09 and gets in at 12:06 - yeah, OK, that's two hours, but I'm assuming our beery traveller is then going to start a leisurely set of short trips back home. If this is too daunting, there is also the chance to break the journey on the way out. I'll get to that later. This will cost £15.40 according to The Train Line.
The trip around the coast, with views across the Morecambe bay whilst crossing Kent's Channel, can be quite stunning the first time you do it.2. Train travel isn't to everyone's taste, although apparently there is more train travel now than there has been since the 1920's, I can't seem to think that this is a bad thing.
"But does this allow you to get off at any station on the way back?" I can hear you say. Well, I wasn't sure either. There has been quite a bit of questioning at our local ticket office and further up the line of communication. Yes, very much the case, so long as you have an "anytime return" you can get off at any station on your way back and rejoin a later train. According to them, you can't get off on your outward journey, but according to Network rails T&Cs this is actually not true either, as you will see.
Now, I wanted to check this in writing. If you paid for all 5 journeys needed here, remember the sixth would be a joining together of all your return tickets, the trip would cost £25.50. Likewise, shorter journeys with stops are less, but still more if you buy individual tickets. I know that sometimes guards can be quite tenacious about tackling anyone trying to dodge the fares as they are all paid a commission, so I understand. It's wise to get the right ticket.
So, these T&Cs I am telling you about, well, Good old Google came to the rescue here. National Rail Conditions of Carriage became most useful here.
16. Starting, breaking or ending a journey at intermediate stations
You may start, or break and resume, a journey (in either direction in the case of a return ticket) at any intermediate station, as long as the ticket you hold is valid for the trains you want to use. You may also end your journey (in either direction in the case of a return ticket) before the destination shown on the ticket. However, these rights may not apply to some types of tickets for which a break of journey is prohibited, in which case the Ticket Seller must make this clear when you buy your ticket.
More specifically, anytime ticket's terms and conditions.
Break of journey
You may start, break and resume, or end your journey at any intermediate station along the route of travel.
All the ticket prices I mention here are for anytime day return tickets. Advance tickets do not permit breaking the journey. So, make sure you get an anytime return ticket (day or open, as you please) and save money. Don't let the guard tell you it's not OK.
Incidentally, by my reckoning, if you do this journey from Carnforth to Ravenglass setting off at 11am you will get about an hour in every hostelry, including ours, and still be back at Carnforth for about 7pm, not including whatever time you spend in The Snug either before the start or at the end of the journey.
Either way, just under 4 hours on a train and nearly 5 hours in some interesting beery places. Just take some bottles for the train, or even some craft cans, what could be better? Of course a longer journey is possible, with a later return, but my advice is to look north of us for your earlier stops. The last train from the north arrives at Hardknott OnTrack at 19:25. However the last train south from us is 22:08.
1I'm not recommending doing this mind. If you fall over in your drunken state and fall under the wheels as you are running madly to catch the train, which has already set off, please don't blame me.
2I've done it quite a few times now. It's more likely I'll be playing on twitter. Although, normally there is no signal either.