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River Cottage Experience

Farm, explore, cook and eat! Spend the day with us and get an all-round education with this classic cookery course at the River Cottage Cookery School.

Designed to capture the essence of life at River Cottage HQ, this one-day cookery course shares the importance of seasonal, ethical ingredients and how to transform and use them in everyday life.

Set against the backdrop of the stunning Axe Valley, our team of experts share their passion and skills in an intensive day of cookery school and veg plot practical sessions culminating in a delicious evening feast - the ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in our glorious 100 acre smallholding.

The day begins in our beautiful walled farmhouse garden and polytunnels, foraging for ingredients and learning more about veg growing and harvesting. From there you will take a tour of HQ before crossing the courtyard to our purpose-built cookery school. Taking the perfect bacon butty as inspiration, you will learn how to cure your own bacon and make the classic River Cottage farmhouse loaf. There are further techniques and tips to pick up as you work alongside our chefs to prepare part of the evening feast before relaxing with a well earnt glass of our pale ale or a seasonal cocktail! Then it is time to enjoy the fruits of your work and celebrate with your fellow guests over a three-course dinner served in our iconic 18th century threshing barn.

"I would highly recommend it to anyone, everyone there makes you feel extremely welcome and comfortable; the food is excellent and you certainly don't go hungry. There's a lot to learn and I would both love to come back again and encourage others to give it a try!" Inazumamazzy, Trip Advisor.

Your day

10.00 - 20:00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll be met at the top of the hill at 10am and begin your River Cottage experience with a 10-15 minute walk through the 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.

  • Practical session one

    You’ll head straight down to the farm to meet the animals.

  • Practical session two

    Next you’ll explore the River Cottage veg patches, keeping your eyes peeled for edible treats to collect.

  • Practical session three

    After a tour of the farm, you’ll get stuck into a session of bread making. Our basic River Cottage bread recipe will give you wonderful home-baked loaves every time.

  • Practical session four

    To complement your bread you’ll master a River Cottage classic, perfect home-cured bacon.

  • Practical session five

    Next it'll be back to the kitchen to learn new techniques, and prepare dishes for dinner using your foraged ingredients.

  • Tea break

    You’ll gather around the wood-fired oven to prepare more treats.

  • Practical session six

    To complete your new set of skills with something sweet, the River Cottage chefs will teach you to make one of our favourite desserts.

  • Drinks

    Phew! You'll have the chance to relax with a local beer or glass of elderflower bubbly while the chefs finish off preparations for the main event.

  • Dinner

    Finally, the culmination of all your hard work: a three-course meal featuring the ingredients you have collected and prepared throughout the day.

  • Departure

    You'll head back up the hill at 8pm.

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.

Sorry, we’re afraid this course is not suitable for those with allergies or specific dietary requirements. However we do run Gluten Free and Veg Cookery courses. Please get in touch if you need further details.

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