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Discover all you need to know about safe and successful beekeeping, on our one-day beekeeping course at River Cottage.

Did you know, 60 per cent of food plants depend on honey bees for pollination? But bees are not only essential to the environment – these sophisticated insects are also a real pleasure to look after. Our one-day Beekeeping course offers a complete introduction to the craft, helping you to understand the whole process and all its parts before you commit to keeping bees yourself.

Your day will see you getting hands-on at the beehive, learning how to care for bees and make wonderful products from their wax and honey. You’ll be treated to plenty of our famous River Cottage hospitality, and hopefully leave buzzing with enthusiasm for your new hobby.

Your day

09:30 - 17:00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll be met at the top of the hill at 9.30am and begin your River Cottage experience with a 10-15 minute walk through the wonderful pathways down to the farm, enabling you to really soak up the views of the valley.

  • Make yourself at home

    You will meet your hosts and start the day with tea, coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.

  • Session one

    Your course will begin with the fundamentals of beekeeping – from the reasons for keeping bees to recognising the honey bee, and all the equipment you will need.

  • Session two

    Next you’ll walk up to the River Cottage apiary for some hands-on practical experience with colonies of bees.

  • Lunch

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

  • Session three

    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 four

    We’ll return to HQ, where David will show you all the products you can make from a hive, such as floor wax and face cream. He’ll also share useful advice and tips to help you on the road to beekeeping.

  • Departure

    There will be time to chat to your fellow scholars and the River Cottage team before heading back up to the car park, with course notes 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