My husband went to the Taj Mahal last weekend. I got the joy of getting this photo thanks to Facebook whilst looking after an attention-seeking toddler.
Having decided to find something equally as exciting to do, I discovered the annual Watercress Festival was on in Alresford near Winchester, and what could sound more exciting than that?! Soup making contests? Check! Morris dancers? Check! Chilly weather? Check! Who needs the Taj Mahal? Pssch.
Strangely there was a distinct lack of watercress, something I’m not going to complain too much about given it’s not really an exciting leaf. We managed to stumble into a cafe for some warming coffee, The Courtyard Tea Room, which ended up winning the soup making contest and discovered an awesome kid’s shop called Ragamuffin in the courtyard it shared. New wellies acquired, we headed out to check out all the cress and we managed to find this one display-
The farmers market was enormous, and there were additional small festival things like a carousel, petting zoo, biscuit decorating stall, lucky dip stands, face painting and all your usual hippy crafty stalls. The community centre opened up to serve hot dogs and drinks, and they put up baby changing tents, which sadly closed long before we made it to them (who closes a one-day festival at 4:30?!). The train station is a great place for say bye-bye to steam trains, or to use the bench in the women’s loo to change a nappy.
The parking wasn’t too bad; I followed some random car into a village hall parking lot, getting the second to last spot, and it was free! There was a car park slightly further than the inlaws parked in and a park & ride that had a steam train instead of a bus. I would have given it a go if not for the fear that getting a buggy onto a steam train was going to be potentially even more difficult than the fun of getting one onto a normal train.
Verdict: Fun day out – you can stock up on some awesome produce and your toddler will have a good time. It is a little bit of a shame there wasn’t more watercress just for the sake of the whole name of the festival (I was preparing myself for some serious naff-ness!)and could have done with a few more little rides I reckon. But given that it’s free, supporting local producers and in a beautiful village with a steam station, it’s definitely worth a go!