Hill Island Microbrewery

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

When you walk down the street, you will pass many small boutiques on the right hand side. The microbrewery sits at the top end of this terrace. It is a very small building with limited seating inside,  BUT they have lots of seats and sheltered seating areas outside in the courtyard that they own,

The microbrewery is open only on a Saturday 12-9pm.


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Why You Should Visit Hill Island Microbrewery?

The microbrewery is a unique brewery as it is based in the city centre and not in an industrial estate. This makes it very 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 beers they produce are tailored to suit all traditional ale drinkers. 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. There are some steps going up to a small, tiny bar inside the building with a couple of seats indoors. The indoor seating area and bar is small and situated on a balcony that overlooks the brewing facilities.

The Microbrewery Courtyard

Outside the brewery, out on the courtyard, is where the public really enjoy visiting the microbrewery. 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. There is plenty of gazebos propped up permanently, providing a sheltered space for people to sit.


Another selling point is their mini festivals and events that they organise 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, with picturesque surroundings, are what make this microbrewery a hidden gem.


Although the microbrewery is only a small, old building, people who are disabled or people with extra needs should NOT be put off giving it a visit!

  • The outdoor area is all wheelchair friendly, there are no steps on the street or in the courtyard. Despite the street being old, there are smooth pavements to walk on. The indoor bit may be difficult to access however, but most of the action takes place outside and under their gazebos.
  • Furthermore, the outdoor space enables 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 and finding the microbrewery should not be hard. The brewery is in the city centre, therefore getting a bus to the venue is easy, the nearest bus stop is just a few minutes’ walk. In addition, the train station in Durham is a 5-10 minute walk for peopThere is a bus service that also runs past the front of Freeman’s Quay leisure centre and can drop off just outside the indoor market back entrance, which is only a minute’s walk away from Fowlers Yard.
  • 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 seating outside the microbrewery?

Yes, every time the microbrewery are open, they have a pop-up bar with seats dotted around the courtyard. There are also some seats under a sheltered area too.

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  • Saturday12:00 PM - 09:00 PM
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