Monopoly pub crawl, London
The mother of all pub crawls takes in all 26 London streets and stations on the Monopoly board. Much like the game, it takes all day to complete. Attempted in board order, it begins south of the river at 11am and finishes at around 11pm in, of course, Mayfair. The pub crawl is so popular that the George (40 Tower Bridge Road, close to Old Kent Road, the first property on the board, opens at 10.30am on a Saturday especially.
Twenty stops in you’ll hit Biagio at 189 Piccadilly, said to be where many a pub crawl founders: you have to go upstairs to the bar, and the cocktails have been many a participant’s downfall. Probably the most recognisable stop is Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (145 Fleet Street), a haunt of literary figures including Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.
After 12 hours of drinking, you may need a get-out-of-jail-free card to make it to the final stop, Ye Grapes, in Mayfair (16 Shepherd Market), where you can sample the in-house bitter – if your competitive streak can defeat the beverage overload.
Seven-Legged bar crawl, Nottingham
This annual Nottingham extravaganza happens at the end of October. Legend has it that when Sir Jesse Boot donated the land that would eventually become Nottingham University to the city in 1921, he passed on one tradition: that the students forfeit their studies once a year to partake in frivolous fun. Almost 100 years later, the tradition is a phenomenon. The rules are simple: teams of six, all in matching fancy dress, are tied together while a seventh member is charged with dashing to the bar. Last year more than 6,000 people took part: mostly students, who are encouraged to raise money for charity.
Transpennine real ale trail, Yorkshire and Lancashire
This is a pub crawl in the real sense: a leisurely six-stop excursion taking in some of the best real ale pubs of the north, all accessible by train. The Yorkshire and Lancashire railway pubs were featured on BBC2’s Oz and James Drink to Britain in 2009. All the pubs are close to their respective stations, so finding your way there and back should be straightforward.
In Stalybridge, you can visit one of the few remaining Victorian station buffet bars, which dates from 1885. The Commercial in Slaithwaite, offers eight hand-pulled beers from local breweries and six rotating guest beers from microbreweries, including Moonraker Mild and Commerciale, brewed exclusively for the pub. Trains run hourly, so there is time to settle in at each pub and enjoy the atmosphere.
Otley Run, Leeds
Initially, this route started in Otley, passed Leeds University playing fields at Bodington Hall and Weetwood, and stopped at all the university pubs on the way. Now it begins almost five miles from the centre, at Woodies Ale House in Headingley (104 Otley Road). There are 16 pubs on the list. Traditionally, it begins at 3pm. If you are unsure of what to drink, you can choose your tipple by spinning a wheel behind the bar at Woodies. It isn’t much of a gamble: the pub serves a variety of local and real ales, including Deuchars.
King Street Run, Cambridge
This twice-yearly combined run and pub crawl became so popular that one of the pubs on the route actually changed its name to The King Street Run (86 King Street). The run was banned in 1964 by Cambridge University proctors, and restarted by the Cantabrigensis Hash House Harriers in 1982. In the past, the run included eight pubs but, fortunately for some, that’s now down to four.
Proceedings kick off at the King Street Run pub and then move on to The Champion of the Thames (68 King Street) – mentioned in Tom Sharpe’s novel Porterhouse Blue, although with the name changed to The Thames Boatman. Runners down a pint in each pub and usually attempt to complete it in under an hour.
Mumbles Mile, Swansea
Mumbles Mile is actually a two-mile stretch on Mumbles Road that once housed more than 20 drinking establishments. Now there are just nine pubs along the route. The mile is still popular with crawlers and locals, thanks to fantastic pubs such as the William Hancock (2 Western Lane), 160 years old and supposedly haunted. Locals hang out at The Village Inn (580 Mumbles Road), where you can soak up some of the beer you’ve downed with a portion of hand-cut chips.