When my BFF asked if I fancied the Waitrose Festival as a venue for meeting up for a few hours on my birthday, well I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to spend a morning. Just back from it earlier on today, and I wasn’t wrong.
As you would expect, the Waitrose Summer Festival isn’t like any other festival. You can’t camp for a start, which is always a bonus in my book. The car park is only a five minute walk from the main event so doesn’t need you to hire an over priced buggy to lug your worldly possessions home at the end of the day (and if you need the disabled car park it is even closer to the entrance, and there are mobility scooters that you can hire too).
It gets better. There is no mud. There are loos. With hot water. Soap. And loo rolls a plenty. Like other festivals there are stages with different entertainment all weekend, there is even live music, but here there are straw bails to sit on. Or deckchairs. There are even hammocks, which for two minutes I did consider climbing into for the Instagram picture but then I thought my good friend Annie Spratt would capture my disembarking on her camera and my backside would be on the internet (again) in three minutes so I gave them a wide berth but they did look incredibly inviting.
It goes without saying there is enough food and drink to satisfy the hungriest member of your group and I can highly recommend the posh dogs for £4, and if you mention it is your birthday you get extra crackling on the top. Top Tip
So where is the Waitrose Festival? Well it is just down the road from their farm shop on the Leckford Estate in Hampshire BUT it is not at the farm shop, as I found out when I ended up there to see the handy sign saying “You need SO20 6JF if you want the festival” As you get close it is well sign posted and there are people on hand to direct you to parking spaces in a huge field.
Most of the stands and producers are inside large teepees or tents so if the weather does produce the usual summer downpours you can shelter inside and keep dry. My second top tip is to make you are in the gin village with a large glass of Bathtub if the heavens open.
Or it gets too windy
Or a bit cloudy
I would also suggest you take a look at the schedule before you head off so you have an idea of who is doing live demos throughout the day, though none of the stages are too far apart you will want to make sure you have a good seat ahead of time as they are all going to be standing room only. You will be given a programme when you arrive but it’s well worth knowing ahead of time what you want to do in my opinion: Waitrose Festival Schedule
And then just wander and chat to producers about their products, they are all passionate about what they do, and proud to be associated with Waitrose so do chat with everybody, as well as making the most of the copious samples of amazing food and drinks. We stopped and talked to Nadine, the incredibly talented lady behind Wallgarden who made this stunning bespoke children’s play house. Isn’t it beautiful?
And whilst it is for sale I was too scared to ask how much it was. Or to think about organising a fork lift truck to get it up the M3 home.
I wanted to move in.
Or maybe even camp in the field and wake up here again tomorrow, and I never thought I would say that about a festival ever again!
Waitrose know how to do a festival you see, and so if you can get there this weekend, I urge you to go. Tickets are still available for Saturday and Sunday, from £10: