A classic fete is one of the best things about British summers, short-lived as they may be. With good old fashioned festival spirit offering an escape from the city, fun in a field has never looked so good. Remember, it’s not all Pimms and bouncy castles, there’ll be something for everyone at this selection of sunny country fairs.
River Cottage Fete
While most village fetes rely on some efficient mothers baking cakes and the odd sausage roll, River Cottage will up the tempo this summer, with a mouth-watering food and drink ‘line-up’. Activities include bespoke jewellery workshops, yoga, foraging tours with John Wright and even Viking braiding.
When: 8th July
The Big Festival, Cotswolds
Held on Alex James’ farm in The Cotswolds, this family friendly festival will make you feel proud to be British. Delicious food, a vintage fun fair and a Little Dudes Den make for the perfect ingredients for a family day out, while the Laurent Perrier VIP lounge provides the perfect antidote if it all becomes a little to ‘hearty’. The family Olympics will make your heart melt, with a renowned egg and spoon race to boot.
When: 26th – 28th August
Where: Churchill Heath Farm, Kingham, Chipping Norton OX7 6UJ
The Royal County of Berkshire Show
It’s been going for over 100 years, and rightly so as the Royal Country of Berkshire show is a testament to English country life. Forget your East London farmer's markets with bunting and gluten free baking, this is muddy wellie, flocks of sheep and Hot Air Balloon territory. The horse driving and pig showing are true highlights… you don’t get much more authentic than this.
When: 17th – 18th September
Where: Newbury Showground, Priors Court, Hermitage, Thatcham, Berks
Fairwarp Village Fete, East Sussex
Oh to be quintessentially British and not work Wednesdays. Do both this week at Fairwarp's village fete which includes the ‘heavy weights’ such as tug of war, candy floss stands and a classic tombola. Indulge in the trappings of British village life and don’t forget to bring the dog who may win top prizes in the fun dog show. Musicians abound keep the children entertained, as do copious amounts of strawberries and cream and bouncy castles. Village bliss.
When: 9th July
Where: Fairwarp, East Sussex
Hackney Summer Fete
The strange and the peculiar sit alongside the delicious and the daring at Hackney’s summer fete this year. Hackney’s verdant green space is set to be filled with theatrical performances, food and drink markets galore, live bands and… donkey rides. Enjoy reveries of a bygone era that you can still participate in. Like Hackney’s off-fete days, the craft stalls are prolific, so get stuck in…
When: 9th July
Where: St Johns at Hackney
Peaslake Summer Fair
Soak up this blast from your past at Peaslake Summer Fair in Guildford, only a short drive from London. The bouncy castles, Punch and Judy show and face painting, to name but a few, will rustle up warm childhood memories. While the Pimm’s, live entertainment and beer tent will take the edge off while the children play.
When: 29th August
Where: Guildford, Surrey
Village Fete at North Aston Village Green
While North Aston’s village fete promises to whisk you back to the days of bunting, cream teas and ten-pin bowling, a comtemporary twist helps it stand out from the rest. Around 100 Japanese students visit in traditional kimonos and hakama – injecting the village green with oriental colour and a melting pot of traditions. Unique games to the fete include ‘Battling Buccaneers’ and the ‘Pheasants Revenge’. You’ll be happy to hear that children under 12 go free so call the babysitter and tell her she has the day off.
When: 16th July
Where: North Aston, Bicester, Oxford