Stockport & South Manchester

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Weekday Wander - A return to Rochdale

Tuesday 3 September 2024 11:25

Rochdale is on the borderline of Weekday Wander or Saturday Day Out, there are enough outlets to make this into a ten pub outing, but the four we will visit were chosen to give a representative cross section. Travel from Stockport can be simplified by using a train direct to Salford Crescent then changing to the stopping train to Rochdale. This offers a easy and step free alternative.

Our first location, the Flying Horse Inn opposite the Town Hall, was Greater Manchester Pub Of The Year back in 2019 and will not disappoint. A multitude of ales are available along with honest, home cooked meals including, on my last visit, that fabled local delicacy, rag pudding! Look out for the meal deals and CAMRA discount. Another point of interest is the real log fires — which will not be required today, we hope!

Our next venue will be Wetherspoon's Regal Moon which entails crossing the Esplanade [bit posh sounding for Rochdale!] to enter this large former cinema in the Art Deco style. Unlike the cinema it was, this is anything but a quiet place, but the dimmed lighting does seem to reflec what you would expected in a picture house. Can you spot the mannequin organist on his perch above the bar? There are no ladies with ice cream and lolly trays, but there are numerous references to a local clog wearing lass, Gracy Fields. You a unlikely to meet any Sallys, but we will be making use of several alleys on our way to our next outlet.

Had we been visiting on Wednesday there are three worthy local outlets, Pint Pot, Our Gracies and D'Ale House - none of which open on Tuesdays! Such is life.

Wending or way around the modern shopping centre [there may be a way through, but it is a maze with many dead ends!] we will making use of a few ginnels before reaching the heritage area of Rochdale. The Baum is laid out in a way that is quite intimate, with bare wood floors and a traditional feel to it. For those still hungry food is served daily and is excellent quality at a reasonable price. Awards here go one better than Greater Manchester, as the Baum was the National Pub Of The Year in 2013. The nearby Rochdale Pioneers [the kernel of the Co-Op movement] museum is well worth a visit in its own respect, but not today.

We will now be striking out a little way to the west to visit the Cemetery Hotel which is located at <old joke warning> the dead centre of Rochdale!</old joke> next to the (you guessed it) Borough Cemetery. Internally there are three separate rooms off a main bar area, with the front left room having impressive tiles and splendid mahogany seating areas. This Edwardian décor is one reason the Cemetery is recognised by CAMRA as having a nationally important historic pub interior. As Rochdale AFC's ground is close by, one room displays club memorabilia. When your author regularly visited the Cemetery in the 80s, it sold Taylors Porter – a rare brew in Keighley, let alone Rochdale – but was well worth the ten mile detour.

There are several methods of returning home, the favourite options is making our way back to Rochdale Rail Station then train to Victoria, but there is an alternative, using a nearby bus direct back to Manchester. There is also the option of using the tram all the way, especially to Didsbury, but takes around 1½ hours as opposed to an hour via the train. If heading to Stockport an alternative to travelling between Victoria and Piccadilly using a tram (or simply walking), from Rochdale station connections can be made via Salford Crescent.

11:2511:25Meet at Manchester Victoria by the thicket barrier
11:35am11:51pmTrain Victoria (platform 6?) to Rochdale
11:51am12:05pmWalk from rail station to first pub
12:05pm1:30pmFlying Horse Hotel37 Packer Street, Rochdale OL16 1NJFood
1:35pm2:35pmRegal MoonThe Butts, Rochdale OL16 1HBFood
2:45pm4:00pmBaum35 Toad Lane, Rochdale OL12 0NUFood
Walk to Hopwood Hall bus stop then 468/442 bus
4:25pm5:35pmCemetery Hotel470 Bury Road, Rochdale OL11 5EUFood
Here are three options for return to Manchester Victoria
5:39pm6:25pm5:39 bus 468 then 5:47 walk to station and 6:10 --> 6:25 train to Victoria
5:50pm6:34pm5:50 bus 442 then 5:59 walk to station and 6:19 --> 6:34 train to Victoria
6:07pm6:52pm6:07 bus 468 then 6:17 walk to station and 6:37 --> 6:52 train to Victoria
If returning to Stockport there may be better connections by travelling via Salford Crescent