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Alresford Watercress Festival 2022, UK

May 15

Alresford Watercress Festival

If you are a fan of cress then Hampshire is the place to head for this May. Held on 15 May, the 2022 Alresford Watercress Festival will see fifteen thousand visitors flocking to New Alresford, dubbed the ‘capital of watercress’.

Normally, the town centre will transform into a giant street festival with local fare available from the more than 80 food stalls, including members of the Hampshire Farmers’ Markets and other local producers, creating a fresh market showcasing the best that Hampshire has to offer. Try a watercress burger, or perhaps the beer or ice cream.

Unfortunately both the 2020 and 2021 Alresford Watercress Festivals were cancelled due to Covid 19.

Delivering watercress the traditional way at the Watercress Festival
Delivering watercress the traditional way at the Watercress Festival

The Watercress Festival Awards will be presented to those who come up with the most “awesome use of watercress”. In 2018 the prize, judged by BBC journalist and presenter Laura Trant, went to Sarah Hunt of Tatchbury Manor Farm, for her watercress filled scotch ‘egg’, where the egg was replaced by watercress pesto.

The 2019 winner was Naomi’s Preserves with her Watercress Pesto and award presented by Sarah Parish and Jim Murray of the Murray Parish Trust.

In addition to food demonstrations from celebrity chefs, jazz bands will entertain attendees in a street cavalcade up Broad Street at 10am led by the Watercress King and Queen on their horse and cart, who will distribute bunches of watercress to festival goers. There will also be and a Kids’ Zone with workshops in circus skills, face painting, and Punch and Judy shows..

Chefs and farmers will be on hand to explain the health benefits of watercress, together with Dr Lucy Williamson, a nutritionist. To read more about why watercress really is good for you, click here.

Long before the vegetable developed into a superfood, watercress was grown in Hampshire since the 19th century, with produce transported to London’s Covent Garden, first by coach and subsequently by rail, on what became known as the Watercress Line.

World Watercress Eating Championships

Alresford Eating Competition
Contestants taking part in the annual watercress eating competition.

Serious superfoodies can take on the challenge of the Alresford Eating Competition, by munching your way through 85g of watercress; the Guinness World Record currently stands at 32 seconds. 2018’s winner took 41.6 seconds, surely you can beat that? But make sure you have a light lunch beforehand.

For further insight on the Alresford Watercress Festival, read: Alresford Eating Competition.

Alresford Watercress Festival Programme

Details of the 2022 Programme will be found here, when updated. There is also a handy map of the town.
When is the Alresford Watercress Festival 2021?

The 2022 festival will be on 15 May from 10am to 4pm. It is free to attend the festival and there are packets of watercress to take home with you, but the organisers ask you make a donation to local kids’ cancer charity, Joe Glover Trust.

Getting to the Watercress Festival

During the festival a free shuttle service with a difference will operate, as you can ride the steam train from Ropley to Alresford along the Watercress Line.

Alresford Watercress Festival Photo Gallery

 Things to Do in Hampshire

The Alresford Watercress Festival is just one of many activities going on in Hampshire this year, for more information on the county’s events, click here.

For further inspiration on things to do in Hampshire, read Mark Bibby Jackson’s Hampshire: Cricket, Dockyards and the D-Day Story.

More information on the Alresford Watercress Festival

For everything else on the festival, click here, or visit the official Facebook page. Photos provided by the Alresford Watercress Festival.



May 15
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