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Discover all you need to know about safe and successful beekeeping on a Beekeeping course at River Cottage.

With a combination of hands-on experience, expert guidance and instruction this one-day course will give you the confidence and essentials skills to establish your own bee colony at home plus inspiration and ideas of how to use your honey.

You may know that bees are essential to food production and the environment but may not realise how much pleasure these creatures are to look after. This course will introduce you to the fundamentals of beekeeping and help you to understand the whole process before you commit to keeping bees yourself. Your tutor, Dave Chambers has kept bees for over 30 years and is responsible for looking after the River Cottage hives.

Your morning will be spent at River Cottage, learning some essential theory before donning your protective suit and gaining some hands-on experience with our hives.

After an insightful morning you will enjoy a delicious two-course lunch prepared by the River Cottage chefs.

For the afternoon practical session, you will visit Dave’s own apiary at his home and observe Dave at work and learn about safety measures and bee-keeping etiquette.

The day will end with further theory lessons and the chance to enjoy some tasty honey treats.

  • Beekeeping

    Thoughtful, well paced course, covering a really interesting range of information around beekeeping. Wonderful to get hands on experience of examining hives at two sites. Great teachers, beautiful location and the added treat of a very delicious lunch.

    Abi Attended 11 June 2021

    5.0 out of 5
  • Beekeeping

    An incredibly informative and fun day based around practical bee keeping, theory of keeping hives and fantastic food and company. Would highly recommend!

    Sarah Attended 2 July 2021

    5.0 out of 5

Your day

10:00 - 17:00

  • Make yourself at home

    You will meet your hosts and start the day with tea, coffee and a tasting of various honeys, including our own River Cottage honey.

  • Session 1

    Your tutor, David will then take you through the fundamentals of beekeeping – from the reasons for keeping bees to recognising the honey bee, and all the equipment you will need.

  • Session 2

    You’ll then walk up to the River Cottage apiary to meet our bees and gain some hands-on practical experience with our colonies.

  • Lunch

    Food is always the focus at River Cottage, and a two-course seasonal lunch of local ingredients will be one of the highlights of your day.

  • Session 3

    In the second of two practical sessions, you will visit a local apiary and have the chance to examine a beehive, with lessons on safety and beekeeping etiquette.

  • Session 4

    We’ll return to HQ, taste some honey cake and dive further into the essential steps you need to set up your own hive and acquire your own colony of bees.

  • Departure

    There will be time to chat to your fellow scholars, select a River Cottage Handbook of your choice to take home and talk to David before heading back up to the car park, with course notes and a delicious River Cottage jar of honey in hand.

Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.

On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.

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Further information...

This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.

We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.

Stay in our famous Farmhouse, click here. For other local accommodation click here.

We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by a paying adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.

With many of our courses there are often treats and leftovers to take away with you. In our quest to be more sustainable we are encouraging guests to bring their own containers and bags to transport their produce home. Details of what is required for each course will be included in booking emails.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Food and Travel Magazine 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2018