CAMRA news and events – May 2024

CAMRA’s Kingston & Leatherhead branch are delighted to announce that the joint winners of their Pub of The Year award for 2024 are the Lamb in Surbiton and the Walton Village in Walton on Thames. Congratulations go to both pubs who are worthy winners, always serving an excellent range of well kept beers. Both pubs also have a huge focus on being community hubs. We will arrange presentation evenings later in the year, once the regional pub of the year judging has been completed.

  • Lamb, 73 Brighton Road, Surbiton KT6 5NF
  • Walton Village, 29 High Street, Walton On Thames KT12 1DG

This year’s CAMRA North London branch’s Pub of the Year is the Southampton Arms in Kentish Town, a previous winner in 2011. Colin Coyne, the branch chairman, said, “The CAMRA North London Pub of the Year award is determined by CAMRA members voting for a list of pubs selling real ale in North London. It may have been some time since the Southampton has got the top spot but the pub has appeared on the short list on numerous occasions and, during this last decade, it has won the branch’s Cider Pub of the Year a staggering five times. It is probably no wonder that our branch members have voted it as winner again; it reflects its continuing commitment to consistency and quality of good traditional real ale and cider.”

Colin (centre) with Glenn and the assistant manager, James

The Southampton Arms is a traditional ale house with an old wooden bar and walls adorned with memorabilia. It is a community pub and its focus is on conversation and excellent ale and cider from independent producers. The Southampton came runner-up in our recent ‘Pub of Pubs’ competition, held to celebrate the branch’s 50th anniversary. The pub’s general manager, Glenn Murphy, said, “It’s a great honour to be voted Pub of the Year by North London CAMRA branch. CAMRA has done an amazing job of supporting pubs over the years and to know that its members appreciate the work we out into this wonderful pub brings a smile to my face.” It is close to Gospel Oak Overground Station.
Christine Cryne

Happy staff at the Magdala

The runner up, for the second year running, was the Magdala in Hampstead. Colin commented, “This pub was closed for at least five years and we were concerned that it would never open again. This is despite the efforts of locals to get the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value. Then the new owners, Twickenham Green Taverns, who are experienced pub owners, really invested in this pub. And this is the result! It’s a lovely looking establishment with a range of terrific well-kept beer.”

The Victoria, near Paddington Station, is this year’s CAMRA West London branch Pub of the Year. The pub, which is Grade II-listed and has just reopened after redecoration, has been managed by Chris Cochran for 23 years. Chris commented, “This is such great recognition. We have come second in West London CAMRA’s Pub of the Year competition more times than I care to remember. So, having just reopened and with the pub looking so fantastic, this is the icing on the cake. People used to think my wife Helen played a major role in helping me maintain the quality of my beer but now she’s off running another Fuller’s pub, I’ve finally won. I can’t believe she’s been holding me back all these years!

Wanda and Chris

The Victoria is a Fuller’s managed house as are the pubs that came second and third: respectively the Star Tavern (one of only five pubs that has been in every edition of the Good Beer Guide) and the Antelope, both in Belgravia. Branch chairman, Wanda Piontek, said, “The Victoria is just a delightful place to visit; it really is a quintessential embodiment of what a great pub should be. A fantastic pint, an iconic venue and a great host in Chris. It’s a pleasure to recognise it with this award. It’s also good to see Fuller’s pubs scoring so highly. Fuller’s has always taken beer quality incredibly seriously and we are pleased to be able to recognise this. If you are a beer lover in London, I would definitely recommend a visit to all three of these pubs.” With thanks to Fuller’s for the photo.

The branch is pleased to announce that the winner of the West Middlesex Pub of the Year 2024 is the Owl & the Pussycat in Northfields. Well done to Mark, Paul and the team. The presentation took place on Thursday 16 May. The full address is 106 Northfield Avenue W13 9RT.

Our club of the year, by a wide margin, is the Questors Theatre Grapevine Bar, close to the site of the Ealing Beer Festival. Congratulations to Ben and his fellow volunteers for all the hard work they put in.

CAMRA’s East London & City branch’s Club of the Year is the Leyton Orient Supporters Club. The presentation was made at their recent end of season ale night.

Pictured with the certificate is the bar manager Mark Harrison, along with some of the club’s team of volunteers on the evening. With thanks to Dave Gilchrist for the photo.
Steve Hall

Don’t look back in Ongar – put this railway beer festival into your diary! The Epping Ongar Railway beer festival, jointly organised with CAMRA’s East London & City branch, will take place from 26 to 28 July. As in previous years, a heritage bus service will connect the festival to public transport options at Epping and Shenfield, with additional services operating into the evening. Heritage trains (with bars on board!) will operate from mid-morning until dusk, with a steam locomotive expected to pull some of the trains during the day. For this year, the bar at Ongar will be doubled in size, with the return of a small keykeg bar, so a wide selection of ales will be available at both main marquee bars. Further information, the latest news and links to ticket purchase pages can be found at and the EOR Social Media pages. Anyone interested in volunteering who hasn’t done so before should contact ELAC Branch on
Alan Perryman

Last year’s Pig’s Ear beer festival raised a total of £1,116.07 for the Speaker of Hackney’s charities, which were Hoxton Hall, Ministry of Stories and St Joseph’s Hospice. The cheque was presented recently at the Speaker’s Office.

Pictured with Councillor Anya Sizer (second left) are Mrs Bernadette Bramble and her consort, with Dave, Steve, Steph, James, Nick and Hugh from the festival organising committee. The Pig’s Ear festival will, provisionally, return to the Round Chapel, its usual venue, from 3 to 7 December. With thanks to Dave Gilchrist for the photo.
Steve Hall

On 24 April, North London and West London branches held a joint social at the Crown & Anchor in Euston. We were also joined by members from West Middlesex and East London branches
The Crown & Anchor did us proud and unexpectedly served us food. Afterwards we decamped to the Exmouth Arms and then the group split up, with some going to the Euston Tap and others to the Signal Box and Doric Arch. It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon.

Wanda Piontek