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Arkells Brewery

Arkell’s Brewery opens its doors as it celebrates 170 years

Swindon’s brewery Arkells is throwing open its doors to the public on Saturday, as the firm celebrates its 170th anniversary.

Like the Willy Wonka of ale, chairman James Arkell – the founder’s great great grandson – will be letting fans take a peak behind the scenes at one of the very few remaining working Victorian breweries in the world between midday and 8.30pm.

Although tours of the brew house have now sold out, visitors can still purchase £5 tickets to tour the brewery site and sample up to 40 real ales from around the UK.

The ticket price includes a commemorative glass, and proceeds will be donated to Swindon Cares and Prospect Hospice.

Arkell’s was started by John Arkell at his farm at Stratton, Swindon in 1843 when the town was in the grip of a railway-fuelled economic boom. 

Pubs were opening all over the quickly-growing town to quench the thirst of workers, with a pint costing around 2d.

In 1861 the family built a new brewery at Kingsdown, where it’s been brewing beer ever since.