New beer festival heralds railway pub’s 50th anniversary

Excitement is building for the all-new Beer Festival taking place at The Ratty Arms at Ravenglass across the weekend of Friday 7 to Sunday 9 June.

The new event will feature live music on Friday night, then both throughout both days and evenings on the Saturday and Sunday. There will also be a selection of local Cumbrian and Eden Valley ales on draft.

It’s all been timed to coincide with the run-up to a very special anniversary for The Ratty Arms, which will be marking 50 years to the day since it first opened on 13 June 1974.

It was officially opened by the then Chief Executive of the English Tourist Board, after British Rail’s original buildings came under the ownership of the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Company and its General Manager had the idea of converting them into to a pub in the early 1970s.

The Ratty Arms is uniquely sited on the train platform at Ravenglass station, where people can enjoy watching the trains go past while they relax with traditional food and drink. It has recently undergone a revamp and is now proving popular with a new generation of visitors.

The pub’s refurbishment is part of a whole new look for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. As well as new state-of-the-art facilities to support people with complex access needs which opened this Spring, it unveiled a new-look ticket office and shop in 2023.

Last year also saw a refurb of the former railway manager’s cottage for overnight stays, as work was completed on Hilton Cottage - affectionately known as 'the Bungalow' - to transform the former railway manager’s cottage into a heritage-themed holiday hideaway.

Directly overlooking the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway line on platform one, Hilton Cottage takes pride of place as the third of the railway's quirky self-catering properties, after two near derelict Pullman Camping Coaches dating back more than a century brought back to life using National Lottery Heritage.

For more information about the 2024 Ratty Arms Beer Festival and/or visiting Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, visit

The Ratty Arms is open daily throughout the year.

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