Hill Island Microbrewery

The small, family-run microbrewery founded in 2002, is located in a unique, historic part of Durham city centre. Fowlers Yard is located on a quaint, quiet narrow street running along the back of the indoor market.

The microbrewery sits at the top end of this terrace along with many small boutiques on the way up. It is a very small building with most seating on their courtyard outside the brewery. There are plenty of benches and shelter under pop-up gazebos too.

Why You Should Visit Hill Island Microbrewery?

The Durham microbrewery is a unique brewery as it is based in the city centre. It is convenient to visit when you are out shopping, hanging around in town or out on a pub crawl. In fact it is the ideal place to begin a pub crawl.

That’s not the only thing that makes it unique. The quality of beers they produce are tailored to suit all traditional ale drinkers, and they even produce special beers that are topical to specific events such as Durham’s annual Miners Gale and Regatta. The way they market their beers is engaging and appealing to a wider audience. The building where the brewery takes place is small, and very old. Inside the red brick building, there are some steps going up to a small, tiny bar at the very front side and there are a couple of seats to sit at indoors and drink their beer. The indoor seating area and bar is small and situated on a balcony that overlooks the brewing facilities.

The Microbrewery Courtyard

beer table night

Taken during Eric’s visit at night-time sat out on a summer’s evening.

Visitors really enjoy sitting out on the courtyard, drinking some of the microbrewery’s traditional quality ales. There is plenty of space in a quiet area, tucked down the bottom right by the riverside. The courtyard looks over the River Wear running calmly along, and you get the view of the new Riverwalk Centre across the river, along with Millburngate Bridge. There is plenty of gazebos propped up permanently, providing a sheltered space for people to sit, so people can still visit and enjoy themselves come rain or shine.


Additionally, the Hull Island Brewery run mini festivals and events regularly. They run a beer festival on Fowlers Yard every month. This will typically include a pop-up bar outside with a couple of hand-pulled pumps. It will also include some light entertainment, typically a musician playing talented music on a guitar or saxophone. This atmosphere that the microbrewery cater on a Saturday afternoon, combined with the scenic, picturesque surroundings and being located in a quiet part of the city centre, are what make this microbrewery a hidden gem.


People of all abilities and needs should DEFINATELY give this microbrewery in Durham a visit!!

  • The outdoor area is all wheelchair friendly, there are no steps on the street or in the courtyard. The street is old but there are easy pavements running along the whole way. Although the indoor bit may be difficult to access, most of the action takes place outside and under their gazebos.
  • The outdoor space also enabled people to feel more comfortable for when/if they prefer to maintain their own personal space.
  • Dogs and children can come along, it’s all mostly outdoors anyway.
  • Accessing the finding the microbrewery should not be hard. The brewery is in the city centre, so there are loads of bus stops around within reasonable walking distance.
  • The nearest car park is the multi-storey car park next to Freeman’s Quay leisure centre, but most other places around the city are free of charge after 2pm.
  • There is a public toilet block just back down the street at the other end of the terrace, easily accessed by disabled wheelchair users too.
  • Some of their beers they produce are gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly.

If you are interested in visiting the microbrewery or finding out more about it, you can visit their Facebook site here.

Other recommended venues like this can be found on our site here

Q Is there a tap room at Hill Island Brewery

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