This page aims to act as a general guide to what to expect when you visit the Durham Beer Festival. As a festival new-comer, you may find the experience a little daunting at first, so we hope you find this guide helpful. It's worth checking back just before you visit in case we have to make any last minute changes to the festival layout. If you have any feedback on this information, please email us.


On arrival at the venue there will be a entrance desk where you pay for entry to the festival.

One of our volunteers will put a paper wristband on you. This shows that you have paid for that day of the festival (we change the colour each day) and acts as your proof of entry to the security staff should you wish to leave the festival and return later. If you are a CAMRA member, we'll also ask you to note down your membership number.

You'll also be given a free glass. This will be an oversized half pint or pint glass which will have clear markings for the half- and third- and full pint levels. This helps to ensure you are given a correct measure. This glass is yours to keep or it can be returned, but this year there will be no refund. Inside your glass will also be 1 or 2 beer tokens - more on these later!

To the Festival

On entering the main festival hall the beer and catering will be to your left and the cider and perry as well as the Club's bar (which will be open for business) will be to your right. Upstairs we hope to have an extra seating area open on Wednesday to Friday (DCRFC members will have exclusive use of the room on Saturday.) Balconies on both levels will be open, and there is an exit to the left which offers access to the outside. Please note you will need to use a plastic cup if you wish to drink in this outside area.

Obtaining Beer

As we mentioned above, you will receive some beer tokens as part of your entry package. To simplify things and to avoid the need for bar staff to handle cash, beer tokens are used for all purchases from the festival's beer and cider bars - one token for a half pint of all drinks up to and including 5.9% ABV, one third of a pint for drinks of 6.0% ABV or above (or up to 6.9% and over 7.0% for cider and perry).

There will be at least 1 location in the main festival hall where you will be able to purchase further beer tokens which will be clearly sign posted. Tokens are valid for any day of the festival, and we are happy to offer a refund on unused tokens (but we reserve the right to decline if a token is damaged.)

Comfort Breaks

Toilets are available on both floors of the festival. If you have any problems, please let a member of Festival staff know who will contact the venue who have the responsibility for maintenance.

Smoking is not permitted inside the building, including the use of e-cigarettes. Smoking areas are on the balcony and outside drinking areas.

Alternatively, if you wish to leave the venue for a while, make sure you keep your wristband on and we'll let you back in (on the same day only) without charge.