Heading to Burton this Saturday? Here’s a guide from a former Norwich exile who found himself in the town famous for beer and marmite
16:04 17 February 2017
You might ask how did a Norwich-born lad who barely left East Anglia before he was 18 ended up living in the small and under-stated West Midlands town of Burton-upon-Trent?
I know I did. At first anyway.
After completing a round the world trek, to move to the town famolus for its brewing (and arguably not that much else) for a job on the local newspaper felt like a bit of a comedown.
But then I grew to love the town.
Just off the busy A50 and A38 dual-carriageways Burton very much lives in the shadows of several of the bigger cities that lay not to far away, in particular Derby and to a certain degree Birmingham.
But, much like it’s football team, it has a spirit about it which means many of those who live there, love to live there. Even then they’d probably openly admit, in that wonderful midlands drawl, that they fully realise it isn’t the most attractive place in the land to live.
For those who are travelling early enough for a full day of entertainment or possibly the weekend, the town is surrounded by the National Forest, the Visit Conkers Centre in nearby Ashby being at the heart of it. There’s also the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, just five minutes by car from the Pirelli Stadium, which is well worth a visit for sombre reflection.
About 15 minutes from the town centre you also have St George’s Park, our national football centre and the place England calls home. I’ve always found it surprisingly accessible so that is worth a bit of your time.
Once you enter the town there’s a chance you’ll know you’ve arrived thanks to your nose, rather than your eyes. One of the things that makes Burton so unique is that differing smells waft over the houses depending on which part of the brewing process is underway.
Marston’s and Coors are the main brewers in the town but it’s also home to the country’s Marmite factory. Much like the yeast extract, you might either love or hate Burton.
If it’s to your taste the jewel in the town’s tourism crown is the National Brewery Centre, you could actually park near to the ground and take a leisurely 15-minute walk to it. Otherwise various parts of the River Trent offer good views on a nice day.
If it’s a pub you are after I’d recommend the Derby Inn, on Derby Road. It’s old school, don’t plan for a meal, but the beer is fantastic and the atmosphere welcome to home and away fans. I’ve always found Burton Albion supporters a fantastic bunch, with a great sense of humour.
From there it’s just a five minute walk to the Pirelli Stadium, where Norwich City fans of ground-hopping are in for a real treat - and hopefully three points as well.