Taking place over the weekend of 12th/13th October, this event is eagerly anticipated by bus enthusiasts and drinkers alike.
A collaboration between the Island’s branch of CAMRA and the Isle of Wight Bus Museum, more than 120 pubs, clubs and other licensed venues will be participating in the weekend-long festival. They will be linked by a network of 19 special free bus services. At least 110 preserved buses and coaches will be taking part, dating from the 1930s through to the early years of the 21st century.
The buses will operate from 2 major hubs: Newport Quay, Newport and the Bus Museum, Ryde. The services radiate from these 2 points and link as many real ale pubs as possible. The services also offer options for those who like to walk, using the island’s network of footpaths. Last year’s event attracted around 17,000 visitors with Island residents being joined by large numbers of people from the mainland.
Now an established and significant event in the Island’s tourism calendar, it is organised and operated entirely by volunteers. The preserved buses and coaches coming from the mainland do so at the owners’ expense, with some travelling considerable distances.
The IW Bus Museum chairman, Bill Ackroyd, says:
“While similar events operate elsewhere, the Isle of Wight event is often said to be the best. We have a winning combination of attractive pubs and fantastic scenery.”
No fares are charged on the special bus services, but users are encouraged to purchase a programme for £7. This includes timetables, as well as discounts or special offers at some participating venues which allow purchasers to recoup some or all of their outlay. Programme holders will also be able to travel free on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
Any profit from the event is used for the upkeep of the IW Bus Museum and its expanding collection of vehicles.
Further information can be found on the dedicated website at www.iwbeerandbuses.co.uk.