Frequently Asked Questions

Is the festival open to the public on Tuesday 21st February?

The festival’s Trade and Media Session takes place between 2pm and 5:30pm on Tuesday and is for members of the trade and media only. The festival then opens to CAMRA members only from 5:30pm-10:30pm. The Festival opens to the general public on Wednesday 22nd February 2016.

What time does the festival open / close?

Why do you charge for admission and pubs don’t?

We have very high overheads—paying for the hire of the hall, cask storage, transport, equipment, entertainment, etc. All these costs have to be recovered in one week, unlike a pub which is open all year. Without charging for admission we would be unable to run the festival. All admission prices have been set as low as possible. However, if you are coming for a number of sessions, why not join CAMRA and take advantage of CAMRA member admission fees?

What are the nearest transport links?

You can reach the Halls on foot or by Taxi from nearby bus routes, Norwich Bus station, Norwich Railway Station or Norwich International Airport.

Please check the National Rail Enquiries or or websites before you travel.

Why do you use beer cards instead of real money on the beer and cider bars?

Beer cards make it much quicker to serve you at the bar, avoiding the problems of working out and giving change.

Why are there sometimes so few people serving on the bars?

All the staff working behind the bars are volunteers. Some have taken the whole week off to work at the festival, but others can only spare a few hours. As a result the number of staff available can sometimes vary.

Do I have to be a CAMRA member to work at the festival?

No—you do not have to be a CAMRA member to work at the National Winter Ales Festival. As with our sister event, the Norwich Beer Festival, we welcome non member volunteers. However we would encourage any volunteer who is not member to join CAMRA today!

Volunteering at NWAF

The online webform is now active ready for willing volunteers to sign up at. If you have any problems or questions about volunteering, then email where Jane will answer your query.

The webform does have several pages and there are explanatory notes and some guidelines you can read to help. Once you start filling in the form it will register you as working, so if you change your mind about anything you can return to the form, edit details and resubmit at any time.

For those people living outside Norwich and where it is not reasonably possible for you to get home that night by any other means we will look to offer a subsidy so you can book your own hotel, provided you work sufficient hours and inform us in advance via the webform.

A subsidy of up to £48* per person per night is available.

NOTE - This includes VAT, if you cannot provide a VAT receipt with your claim then you will receive up to £40 per person per night – beware of any booking online deals via offshore companies as often they will not provide a VAT receipt and the deal then doesn’t turn out as good as it first appeared.

What is The Fringe?

The Fringe is an event that takes NWAF to more venues, a selection of Norwich Pubs. These pubs will have special Winter Ales available as well as many other real ales and ciders. The pubs will be putting on special events on various days – a full programme will appear in The Fringe section of this website. We will also publish a Fringe Guide and will be running a prize Treasure Hunt – details of which appear in the Fringe Guide and the NWAF Programme.

How do I get tickets for a tasting session?

Tasting sessions will not be held at the Halls, however we hope that many of the pubs that are taking part in the Fringe Festival will hold tasting sessions – see the Fringe tab for more information.

Is there a family area and can I bring my child?

There is no capacity at the Halls for a Family area. However, many of the pubs that are part of the Fringe will welcome family groups and further information on pubs with family areas is available in The Fringe section and in the the printed Fringe Guide

Where can I find out what entertainment is taking place?

Information on entertainment can be found under entertainment tab. We will have entertainment for you on Thursday Friday and Saturday evenings as well as Saturday afternoon.

Is it a cash bar at the festival, or am I required to purchase tokens?

All bars will operate on a beer card system. You will be able to buy beer cards from the glasses bar near to the entrance to the festival.

Is there a smoking area?

Yes, there is a dedicated outdoor smoking area. You can normally swap your current glass/drink for a token to keep it safe as you cannot take glasses outside. Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the venue and that includes all electronic smoking substitute devices.

Will there be water at the bars to rinse my glass out?

There will be the ability for bar staff to rinse your glass on request. Alternatively you will be able to exchange your undamaged glass for a clean one at the glasses bar.

Are there soft drinks available at the festival?

Yes there will be various soft drinks available from the bars and for designated drivers the soft drinks will be provided free of charge.

Is there a cash machine available?

There are NO cash machines inside the venue. The are nearby cash machines in Bedford Street, London Street and Queens Street.

Do you have to be over 18 to attend?

Yes. In fact we also operate a Challenge Under 25 policy. We recommend that if you are under 25 or may appear to the organisers to be under 25 that you bring valid photographic ID to help avoid disappointment in not being able to be allowed entry.

What food will be available at the festival?

Hot and cold food will be available from our catering partners, Pandora’s Kitchen, Kettle Chips and Cleaver & Keg. Among the options will be a hog roast and tasty pies – we will be catering for vegetarian choices as well.

Will a programme be available?

Souvenir festival guides will be available from the festival. These are provided free of charge. However we do have a festival charity – Its On The Ball – and we would encourage as many of you as possible to make a donation to them in the various collection boxes or buckets that you will see in the venue.

Can I keep my festival glass?

On arrival to the festival, you will need to purchase a festival glass at £3. These will be available in full pint and half pint measurements. At the end of the festival, you can:

Does The Halls provide disabled access?

Yes, the Halls offers full access for everyone to enjoy the festival. Lifts and stair lifts are available to access Blackfriars Hall and the World Beer Bar marquee respectively.

Where can I get allergen information on the beers?

All of our bar staff will be able to provide allergen information on the beers they are serving. Where possible we will make information available in advance with our online beer lists, but we strongly advise that you ask on site at the bar.

Is there a cloakroom?

Unfortunately we do not offer cloakroom facilities for bags or coats.

How can I find out more about the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)?
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is a not-for-profit, volunteer led consumer organisation. We champion the right of the consumer to enjoy British real ale and well-run community pubs.

Find out more at

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the National Winter Ales Festival that are not answered here please contact us using one of the options below:

Organiser: Rob Whitmore

Deputy Organiser: Ian Stamp and Craig Harmer

Staffing: Jane Edrupt. To volunteer for this event please complete the form here.

Head Steward: : Jo Evans

Treasurer: : Chris Thomas

Head of Technical and Champion Beer Bar: : Andy Mitchell

Beer selection and ordering: : Des O’Brian

Cider and Perry selection and ordering: : Chris Rouse

World Beer selection and ordering: : Cheryl Cade

Press and Publicity: : Jenny Bach

Logistics: : Martin Ward

Trade session: : Ian Stamp

Advertising and Sponsorship: : Rob Whitmore

Website: CAMRA Web Team (CAMRA HQ)

To contact any of the above please email and put your subject matter in the email heading, along with “for the attention of [name]” to ensure that the relevant person contacts you.