At the weekend I took my family and I traveled to River Cottage HQ to attend the annual River Cottage Summer Fair. We were kindly invited along by the River Cottage folk and having only seen River Cottage on television before we were excited and intrigued to find out what it's really like.
Tickets for the Summer Fair were reasonably priced at £12.50 for adults and free for children and the fair offered a relaxed and interesting day out. Held at River Cottage HQ in Axminster the fair was an informal, welcoming and family friendly. Families, foodies, garden lovers and those seeking a flavour of life at the Cottage were not disappointed with activities, talks and plenty of delicious food and drink to accompany proceedings from local businesses who had stalls at the event.
The Summer Fair started well for us as my six year old Ozzy is a big tractor fan and loved the Tractor& Trailer taxis that take you to and from the Car Park. It was really exciting being driven down to River Cottage in the tractor, you had a good view of the layout of the fair.
I've plenty of photos to share with you from our time at the 2015 Summer Fair, these are just a flavour of what was on, a snippet of what there was to do, things that caught my eye.
I was pretty desperate to get into the kitchen in the Cottage, just to see first hand what it's like. And so I popped inside, it was all open up and people were coming and going, the bonus was meeting John Wright in there even if I did only manage a very sheepish 'please please please can I take a look around the kitchen? I'll be really quiet and good'
Why can I never think of intelligent or witty things to say at times like that? Answers on a postcard - and soon please, I have just booked myself in on his Mushroom Foray in the New Forest course in October.
The ladies from Meadowsweet Flowers & Floristry had a stall at the front of the Cottage packed full of the most beautiful flowers, selling beautifully handmade flower hair garlands whilst you wait and selling posies and bouquets that you could collect before you left at the end of the day. The quality of their flowers was great and the prices really reasonable. I definitely want to find out more about these ladies and what they do.
The styling of the Summer Fair was beautiful, whoever was in charge of this side of things did a really good job. As we left at the end on the Sunday afternoon, these flowers on a dresser in the field at the entrance made me smile. Nice touch.
There were a few arts & craft stalls at the fair, all very interesting and tempting, here are some that caught my eye. I'll link to the businesses if I happened to make a note of who they are, but if I miss anyone out and you happen to recognize them do let me know in the comments and I can update this post to include them.
Above: Pieces from Ali Herbert Pottery. Ali has an open studio at Axminster and loves people to call in, see her website for location details and info.
Below: Lynda Powell Ceramics. No website, email contact: email@example.com
Beautiful Wedding Cake yes? It's made of soap! I know right ?!
This ingenious cake-looking soaps are from Dorset based natural soaps & skincare company Chilly B.
Children could enjoy hula hooping, puppet shows, welly wanging, donkey rides, an inflatable assault course and making a bug hotel to name but a few things.
Of course all that fun left us in need of sustenance and being the selfless mother that I am, I shared a pie and cake with my children and a pint of local cider with my husband. Like I said, selfless.
Above: Something for my husband, we bought a jar of super hot Naga Jolokia Chilli Jam from Adam's Tasty Chilli Sauces.
Below: Something all for me, Conker Spirit, Dorset Dry Gin, Dorset's first gin distillery, a fresh approach to gin, balancing ten botanicals with the Dorset notes of elderberries, samphire and handpicked gorse flowers.
We loved the Summer Fair, there was enough to do and see and room to relax and chill out. There were enough stalls to interest and tempt and we came away with a couple of few favourite companies to look into more from the comfort of home. The event was very slick, River Cottage has nailed the fine art of event hosting and it left me wanting to return for one of their dining events or courses. Thoroughly enjoyed by myself, my husband and Kitty (7) and Ozzy (6).
You can also see the Summer Fair 2015 Highlights over on the River Cottage blog.
Handy River Cottage Info
River Cottage Spring Food Fair, from £12.50 per person
Winter Early Bird Sale, 20% off the RRP of selected cookery courses between November and February