Alzheimer’s memory walk

Round & About


Join a memory walk against dementia and raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer’s Society is calling on family, friends and colleagues to unite against dementia this autumn by joining  one of several memory walks being held across the country.

There are 43 walks taking place this autumn – including five longer marathon style walks, all raising funds to create lasting chances for people affected by the condition.

Dementia devastates lives, but every pound raised through Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society provide vital information and support, improve care and fund research.

This year, Memory Walk will bring together more than 120,000 walkers, with the hope of raising in excess of £9million.

This Sunday, you can join one in Oxford University Parks – registrations close today so you’ll need to be quick if you want to take part in this one.

The shorter 3km walk is a gentle stroll ideal for any age, while the longer 6.5km will loop you around the park. Arrive from 10am, the walk starts at 11am.

If you do miss out how about trying the one in Windsor Great Park on Saturday, 21st September, registration for this one closes on Thursday 19th.

Take the shorter walk of 3.5km for a stroll suitable for all around parkland or try the 8km undulating walk which passes through stunning countryside. Don’t forget your wellies or walking boots!

Arrive from 9.30am for the walk which starts at 11am.

In Surrey, you can take part in Painshill walk on Sunday, 6th October and you can choose to take either the shorter 2km walk or a longer 7km walk. The 2km gentle stroll goes around the lake and is suitable for Memory Walkers of all ages including pushchairs and wheelchairs. The longer 7km walk will take you further around the park, with some muddy patches so don’t forget your wellies and walking boots! All routes and distances are subject to change.

All routes will start and finish at Painshill, by the cafe, where there will be a hive of activity to get everyone ready for Memory Walk.

Take a moment to reflect on who you are walking for by leaving a message on the Memory Tree, and watch it blossom through the day.

Walkers should arrive from 9.30am and the walk starts at 11am.

Registration is £10 and closes on 3rd October.

Someone develops dementia every three minutes

Unite against dementia and register now

A radical festival

Round & About


Despite severe weather warnings, early August saw 66,000 revellers descend upon the stunning South Downs National Park and throw themselves into the wild, magnificent and often ridiculous five-day adventure that is the mammoth Boomtown festival.

As predicted, on Friday gale force wind and heavy rainstorms threaten to dampen everyone’s spirits as tents are flattened across campsites and one of the main stages is shut down. However, the “show must go on!” Campers pull together to help their neighbours and the organisers reschedule all the acts from the closed stage.

One of the UK’s largest, independent music and theatrical festivals, Boomtown resembles something from the script of Michael Crichton’s Westworld (complete with its own Artificial Intelligence storyline). It is a theme park for adults that pulsates with stupendous sights and sounds blasting your senses all weekend. With so much on offer, here are just five reasons why Boomtown towers above the rest:

Green mission

Boomtown’s ongoing priority is to protect the environment from the impact of such a large event. One of the key messages is “Leave No Trace”. Green initiatives include no single-use plastic on sale; 100% compostable serveware; WaterAid refill stations and hundreds of recycling bins; reduced carbon emissions from travel and powering the festival; portable pouches for cigarette butts; an Eco Bond scheme to exchange bags of recycling for cash; and encouraging everyone to take everything home with them – 22,000 tents were left at Boomtown last year – a third of the festival’s capacity.

Boomtown storyline

Since the festival’s conception in 2009, the immersive element has always been entrenched in its ever-evolving storyline. The narrative this year, Chapter 11: A Radical City, has a firm focus on the environment, sustainability and activism. The story is 100% interactive and the public are invited to engage with it. There is an Immersive Maze for true gamers allowing players to go on a quest that unlocks secret areas and plot twists taking a journey deep down the rabbit hole. One person I chatted to even has business cards printed for his Boomtown persona, Xander Hawkmaul.

Theatrics and stage design

Boomtown’s fictitious city consists of 12 unique, themed districts that house thousands of actors in full costume who will engage with you and bring the city streets to life whether it’s an interrogation from the Boomtown Bobbies or a Wild West gunfight. In exchange for a toilet roll, we took a spin on the ‘Wheel of Misfortune’ and were drawn into ‘The Sweatbox’ which was the smallest rave I’ve ever experienced, contained in a vehicle that resembles a horse box.

There are 25 main stages and more than 80 street venues to explore at Boomtown. Immense structures dominate the skyline and act as creative showpieces that soar above the cavorting crowds below. Epic towers glow and shimmer with an abundance of multi-coloured lasers, gigantic screens projecting futuristic imagery and florescent acrobatic shows.

A raucous punk-inspired ex-military hanger promises shrieking guitars and trashing drums. Discarded cars piled high form a gritty, dystopian scrapyard. Flames erupt from front of stage almost as if a dragon was lashing out, spewing fire at the audience. An impressive, temple-like set has huge waterfalls flowing down each side – Mike Skinner couldn’t resist climbing up it and cooling off in the cascade mid-way through The Streets show.

Scattered throughout the woodland are forest parties adorned with a cornucopia of colourful, psychedelic decorations; multi-layered treetop walkways; hidey holes to crawl into and a beach-style retreat.

Plenty of smaller venues line the streets from pop-up nightclubs and discos to a plush ballroom, lavish hotel and casino, though to Mr Whomp’s ice cream van, the Inconvenience Store and the much-loved Office Christmas Party at the Job Centre. Sunday’s Carnival Parade is a must-see spectacle that is awash with dazzling costumes and fantastic props.

And, if all this stimulation gets too much, you can escape to the hills and relax at the spa or witness the sunset from the top of Whistlers Green looking down on all the action.


Unlike other music festivals, Boomtown doesn’t rely on big name headliners to pull in the masses, however it can still compete with the “big boys” boasting household names such as Ms Lauryn Hill, The Streets, Groove Armada, Salt ‘N’ Pepa, UB40 and Chase & Status. With over 1,000 artists performing across 80 genres, the music range is diverse to say the least.

There is heavy bass booming out of every nook and cranny covering almost every electro genre imaginable, so for dance music enthusiasts it’s a dream. There are also many other musical delights waiting over every hill from punk rock and metal to reggae and ska, hip-hop and disco to folk and jazz. Boomtown champions underground subcultures so it’s easy to unearth something that you haven’t heard before.

Highlights for me come from raving in the Hidden Woods at the Calypso-inspired Soca vs Jungle Soundclash where DJs and MCs duel for audience votes; an outstanding set from techno heavyweight Carl Cox; and Beans On Toast whose folk song Magic about the birth of his daughter brings a tear to my eye – it’s Sunday by then and I must be tired and emotional.

A final push on Sunday night ends with Prophets of Rage who show they are seasoned pros by working the crowd with mosh-inducing hits from Rage Against the Machine and old school Cypress Hill and Public Enemy hip-hop tracks. Tom Morrello’s guitar skills, as always, blow me away!

The people

As you can imagine the mix of people who attend Boomtown is as diverse as the music on offer, but it works. From bucket-hat wearing Drum ‘n’ Bass kids, through cyber punks and metallers to hippies, geeks and old timers, everyone is there to have fun and party hard! You will see mad and marvellous costumes, sequins and glitter galore and the utterly bizarre.

There is a real sense of community and comradery that exudes from the festival and its inhabitants which makes it very easy to form new bonds (if only a friend for the night). Boomtown is certainly a place to leave your hang-ups at home and join in with the crazy. My only complaint is that my now 40-year-old body and mind take a whole lot longer to recover!

Read more about Boomtown

Macmillan coffee morning

Round & About


Join thousands holding coffee mornings to raise funds for Macmillan on Friday, 27th September

Last year almost £27million was raised through people drinking coffee and eating cake as part of Macmillan’s Biggest Coffee Morning and this year with your help they want to top that.

The first get together was held in 1990 with the very simple idea that people would gather over a cuppa and donate the cost of their coffee to Macmillan. Such was its success it was decided to do it again the following year but to take it national – since then the coffee mornings have gone on to raise more than £200million.

Whatever you raise it all helps make a difference – just £28 could pay for a Macmillan nurse for an hour, helping those living with cancer and their families receive practical and emotional support; £112 could pay for a Macmillan social care worker for a day and £210 could fund a Macmillan nurse for a day. However much you raise, you’ll be making a difference.

And if you need some ideas for what to treat your family, friends or work colleagues to while drinking their coffee, they can help with that too. How about a piece of cherry and almond tray bake, coffee and walnut cake or try a savoury option of gruyere, bacon and leek scones?

Whatever takes your fancy, get cooking (you can even cheat and buy ready made if you like) but join in and help people have access to cancer support in their communities.

National Allotments Week

Karen Neville


Allotment holders all over will be rejoicing this week – it’s National Allotments Week, 12th to 18th, and this year the National Allotment Society is celebrating the shared harvest from plots.

Every growing season plants produce more crops than any plot-holder can freeze, pickle or jam so don’t be surprised if you see your growing colleagues arrive at work with baskets of plums, sticks of rhubarb or plastic bags full of green beans.

Many will also share their excess with good causes and this year many have also been looking at donating to food banks.

National Allotments Week started in 2002 to raise awareness of allotments and how they help people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and boost communities.

Growing, cooking, eating and sharing home-grown food is just one benefit of allotment life and while there can sometimes be a long wait for plots in some areas, don’t be put off, get on a list for a plot near you and start planning.

Among the local allotment associations taking part are:

Alton Allotments Association, Farmers Market stall, High Street, Alton – Saturday, 10th August, 10am-2pm

Wokingham Allotment Association, Ormonde Road Allotments, Wokingham – Saturday, 10th August, 2-4pm. Enjoy an open day, entertainment, competitions, tea and cake

Pangbourne Allotments, Grahame Avenue, off Kennedy Drive – Saturday, 17th August, 10am-noon. There’s an open morning, allotment tours, information on bee keeping, demonstrations of hand pumps for children, produce stall and refreshments

On a larger scale over the next few months

Visit the Royal County of Berkshire Show at Newbury on 21st and 22nd September where you’ll find a grow your own section for the chance to show off fruit, veg and preserves.

In Surrey in October you can visit RHS Wisley Taste of Autumn from 16th to 20th and enjoy the best of the season with a harvest celebration. The orchard will be laden with fruit and there’ll be a range of local and artisan food and drink.

Racing and raving at Sandown Park

Round & About


Michelle Miley reviews: Superstar DJ and Ibiza veteran Pete Tong and Jules Buckley’s genre-smashing Heritage Orchestra headline an evening at the races with an iconic collaboration that pays homage to over twenty years of era-defining, dance music tracks encapsulating the spirit of the White Isle.

As the last horse race of the evening concludes with a steward’s enquiry, racegoers jockey for position at the open-air stage in front of Sandown Park’s grandstand in anticipation of legendary DJ and producer Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra’s Ibiza Classics concert. The stage begins to fill with musicians whilst the 65-piece orchestra is packed onto the tiny platform.

With a thunderous rumble, the unmistakable string melody of Fatboy Slim’s Right Here Right Now starts up and resonates across the concourse. A spotlight illuminates Tong as he takes up his place behind the decks. It doesn’t take long for a cosmopolitan crowd of racegoers and party people to begin whooping and clapping to the familiar dance hit that is amplified with classical instruments deftly conducted by Jules Buckley.

Blue lasers pour out from the stage and the Heritage musicians instigate a round of hands-in-the-air clapping as the xylophonist takes on the Eric Prydz, keyboard-based Pjanoo with fantastic dexterity. Tong seamlessly flows in Lola’s Theme accompanied by the first singer of the night who, along with most of the spectators, belts out the chorus “I’m a different person, yeah. Turn my world around.”

Dance-floor filler Children by the late Robert Miles follows in the mix as lasers shoot streams of coloured light across the sky through a cloud of smoke reminiscent of dingy, underground nightclubs that epitomise the 90’s party scene. The crowd go wild when ATM’s Balearic beauty 9AM (Till I Come) drops and is elevated by the orchestra’s keen drummer. Everyone on stage (and off!) is fully immersed in the magic of the moment.

Tong takes to the mic and asks racegoers if they “Backed any winners?” to which two punters aptly reply, “No. It all went Pete Tong!”

Arman Van Heldon’s You Don’t Even Know Me follows a vocal rendition of Rui Da Silva’s Touch Me. The audience do not hold back when red lasers cut through the air and the heavy bassline of the Chemical Brothers’s smasher Galvanise blasts from the stage.

Guest vocalist and rising-star Becky Hill is a highlight, dressed in an orange two-piece outfit, killing it with her performance of the Robin S belter Show Me Love as everyone watching jump along and sing the words in harmony.

The orchestra shine as the nostalgic journey continues through largely instrumental tracks including Café Del Mar, Strings of Life, Knights of the Jaguar and Yeke Yeke. Daft Punk’s beloved tune One More Time is followed by the return of Becky Hill for her superb rendition of Sing It Back. People are ecstatic when the distinctive riff of Donna Summer’s 70’s disco anthem I feel love is skillfully blended with Moloko’s 90’s single.

“Want to go to Ibiza?” is the next question posed by Tong as he drops Underworld’s bass thumping Born Slippy. The track is reworked with the inclusion of a guest MC who recites poetic lyrics of familiar sights and sounds evocative of the “magical land”.

Jubilant onlookers bob along to Swedish House Mafia’s Miami to Ibiza until the iconic drum sample featured in the Faithless dance music staple Insomnia kicks in and once again gets them throwing their hands in the air, repeating “I can’t get no sleep” to the sound of the hypnotic beats.

The night culminates with one last appearance from Becky Hill who blissfully sings everyone’s favourite cover song, Candi Station’s You Got The Love, while racegoers and ravers alike sway in unison and holler the lyrics at the top of their voices in appreciation.

An encore is a sure-fire bet as a chant of “one more tune” reverberates around the showground. Tong is swift to respond as he pulls out old school rave crowd-pleaser Out Of Space by the Prodigy. In true Ibiza fashion, the night triumphantly finishes on a euphoric high with everybody jumping up in elation as the pounding bassline drops and fingers point firmly towards the sky.

A final flourish sees the Heritage Orchestra serenade Tong for his birthday with a stellar delivery of the Happy Birthday song!

Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra will be back out on the road with a brand new Ibiza Classics tour in December 2019 climaxing with two nights at London’s O2.

Cycle to work day

Karen Neville


Today is the day to get on your bike and take part in the UK’s biggest cycle community event.

Cycle to Work Day is for everyone whether you haven’t cycled for years or are never off your bike, this is about giving it a go.

Since its launch in 2012, thousands of enthusiastic riders have hit the streets to celebrate everyday cycling – and all you need to take part is a bike, new or old, and the desire to ride.

You can cycle on your own or get your colleagues involved – however you do it and however far you go, it’s all about having fun!
Cycle to Work Day runs on Cyclescheme’s Love to Ride community and even if you’re not taking part in today’s challenge but are interested in getting out on two wheels it’s well worth a look at here Cycle Scheme

The Government scheme allows you to save between 25 and 39 per cent on a new bike for work.

Cycling has experienced a huge growth in popularity in recent years and is a fun and effective form of exercise as well as being great for the environment.

Cycling improves your mental well-being as well as your physical health and helping weight loss. It also promotes better lung health, can help cut heart disease and the risk of cancer and the low impact means it has lower injury rates than running.

Did you also know cycling can help you sleep better, it can boost your brain power and even improve your sex life?

And if all that didn’t give you good enough reasons to give cycling a go then how about it growing your social circle too? Joining a club or group is a great way to make new friends and share a common interest too.

Say hello

Do you tend to pass horse riders on your journey? Read about the scheme that has been introduced to Surrey Hills to help cyclists, horses and their riders get along

Gardening: August

Round & About


Many of you will be heading off on hols this month, but with a little bit of planning the garden can still be looking good when you get back.

For those staying at home there’s still plenty to enjoy and get on with in the garden this month. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer.

– Take cuttings of tender perennials such as pelargoniums and penstemons for flowering next year

– Keep watering, feeding and deadheading (I know I say this every month, but it’s so important)

– If we have drought conditions like last year, don’t be tempted to plant anything new until temperatures drop

– To keep rambling roses flowering and under control, thin out one in three of the oldest stems, tie in new shoots and shorten sideshoots by two thirds

– If you’re going away move pots into a shady spot and have a serious dead-heading session before you go. Ask a reliable neighbour to water whilst you’re away, particularly if it’s warm and dry

– An irrigation system on a timer is also  an effective way to keep plants watered in your absence

In the kitchen garden:

• Cordon tomatoes should be ‘stopped’ when they set four trusses outdoors, or six trusses if they’re in the greenhouse – remove the tip of the main stem two leaves above the uppermost truss so that the plant focuses its energy on fruit rather than foliage

• Plant out well rooted strawberry runners in new beds

• Cut out the old canes of summer-fruiting raspberries after fruiting, and tie in new ones

• Lift onions and shallots and dry them off before storing

• Pick herbs regularly to keep the plants productive

• Plant kale and leeks to harvest over the winter

Plants adding a splash of colour to the borders this month:

o Crocosmia ‘Paul’s Best Yellow’
o Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’
o Gaura lindheimeri ‘Chiffon’
o Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’
o Hydrangea aborescens ‘Annabelle’

  Call Hannah Fraser, Bloom Gardens on 07768 041929 or visit Bloom Gardens website

If you're out and about this month with children in tow

these gardens offer something for the whole family:

• Kew Gardens, London – an exciting new children’s garden opened recently, pre-booking online essential

• RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey – fabulous gardens for the grown-ups, trail and fun activities based on the Very Hungry Caterpillar for the kids

• Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, Hants – a tree house, wooden assault course and pond dipping sessions throughout the summer, not forgetting the Centenary border which should be at it’s best around now

• Waterperry Gardens, Wheatley, Oxon – gorgeous borders and fun family trails

Kidd pro quo

Round & About


Model, racing driver, TV presenter & pub landlady Jodie Kidd, 40, tells us about life, local treasures and her foodie favourites

Q. How are you enjoying being a landlady, of the Half Moon in Kirdford? “I absolutely love it. It’s rewarding but an incredibly tough industry. The local pub is a very important part of rural life. That what the main reason I bought my pub; I’ve seen too many villages lose their pub and them turn into houses. It’s such a great loss for the community.”

Q. You’re on the Big Feastival bill this year; are you excited? “I can’t wait! Combining food and music is such a great thing and what Alex [James] is doing amazing. Raymond Blanc is going to be there. He’s always been a massive inspiration, not only for his amazing cuisine but also because of Le Manoir with its gardens; I’ve based the Half Moon, on a very small scale, on this ‘plot to plate’ model.”

Q. Where else do you enjoy eating out or a drink? “There are some really beautiful pubs along the river in Putney.”

Q. When did your love of horses start? “My love of horses started from my family who have always had horses. I grew up on a stud farm in Surrey. My father was an international showjumper and polo player, my brother is a polo player and my sister is a dressage rider. So, it’s in the blood!”

Q. Have you always been a foodie? “I was never really a foodie. It only changed when I did MasterChef and I understood the beauty of food rather than just fuel. It changed my whole outlook.”

Q. What are your favourite ingredients? “Anything grown in the pub garden and used as a herb or in a dish will evoke huge happiness in me.”

Q. Are you working harder now than ever? “It’s a very tough industry with business rates, beer tax and other things like that. The margins are small. But if you’ve got the right people around you, you can do it and it’s very different from modelling and sports! I’m running a team now instead of doing things by myself; that’s been the real difference!”

Q. Is there anything you don’t eat? And couldn’t live without? “I don’t eat Brussels sprouts and I have an obsession with wine!”

Q. What do you drive? “A BMW I8 Roadster & X5.”

Q. What’s your favourite book, film, piece of music and artist? “Shantaram [by Gregory David Roberts], The Shawshank Redemption, The Pearl Fishers Duet and Picasso.”

Big Feastival:

Jodie Kidd is one of the stars at The Big Feastival in Kingham, Oxfordshire, 23rd-25th August. See below for tickets & details.

Homegrown heroes

Round & About


We raise a toast to the many local producers, foodies and restaurateurs across our readership patch wowing the world with their food & drink offerings

“We understand all too well that snails are not your typical everyday dish. Perhaps we should have played it safe and reared pigs, cows, or chickens..? But we never do things by halves!” So say Victoria and Penelope Stibbs of their eco-friendly snail farm Chiltern L’Escargots. Their mission began in 2017 in a three-bed terraced house in south Bucks with just a handful of snails and an idea. “We’re beaming with pride at what we’ve already achieved in just 18 months,” says Victoria. “We truly believe there’s a gap in the food market for escargots. Don’t believe us? Just ask Heston Blumenthal, whose signature dish, Snail Porridge, at his multi-Michelin starred restaurant, The Fat Duck, is considered to be one of the most exquisite dishes in the world. People nowadays don’t just want food; they want their dish to have a great back story. We whole-heartedly encourage chefs, caterers, or inquisitive individuals to come and visit, and to see how we harvest and breed 250,000 snails. If you’ve never seen a snail farm, trust us, it is worth a visit!” Visit or call 07733 421499.

The future’s orange… if inspiring young baker Kitty Tait is anything to go by. The 15-year-old Watlington foodie is an Instagram sensation after launching The Real Orange Bakery with her dad, who are spreading foodie joy baking bread, pastries and the occasional cake or two. “Our goal is to get people enjoying authentic and genuine bread,” says Kitty, “which is why our loaves contain just four ingredients; flour, water, yeast and salt.” Visit and follow @therealorangebakery

Do you love your ale local and your welcome warm? Check out KEG Craft Beer near Bourne End (SL8 5QN) which has a tasting bar and an ever-changing stock of beers to sup on. Follow @kegbythethames on Twitter for updates.

Using grapes lovingly grown on their chalky, flinty Marlow vineyard, the Harrow & Hope team are making waves, winning plaudits from wine experts. The family team offer tasting tours to sample the sparking wines produced using traditional methods and the precious fruit from these relatively young vines. Visit

Looking for inspiration? Feast your eyes on the gorgeous recipes and creations by Marlow foodie Louise Hurst. For Nordic Kitchen culinary adventures visit and follow @nordickitchenstories on Instagram.

And we also raise a toast to the community heroes behind Rebellion Beer Company, based at Bencombe Farm in Marlow Bottom, SL7 3LT.

This area is also in good spirits thanks to Chalgrove Artisan Distillery which uses juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, cardamon and black peppercorns, honed in an alembic copper still, to create their OX44 Gin; visit Local “gintrepreneurs” Camilla Brown and Liz Beswick’s Collagin; visit

A passion for beer, a respect for the community and a disregard for convention… no not just the values of the team here at Round & About but the mission statement of the team behind the founders of West Berkshire Brewery. Since 1995 the team have been working hard to produce sustainable beer and their taproom and kitchen in Yattendon (RG18 0XT) is well worth a visit or brewery tour. Their newest pub, The Grapes in Oxford’s George Street, is a cosy refit of an 1820 inn serving up ales from 13 keg taps and seven cask lines. Visit and

There’s always something going on in or around the Lovibonds tasting room in Henley’s Market Place. Pioneers in the UK craft beer movement, the team have been brewing award-winning American style craft beer since 2005. Visit for more information and events.

Fellow foodies, are you looking for a different summer dining experience? Running since 2012 the Lavender Hen Supper Club in Virginia Water provides a unique experience. You can dine in the idyllic summerhouse and take your own wine (no corkage charge). For August dates onwards, visit

Woking’s Danielle Bekker is co-founder and head brewer for Good Living Brewing whose binary botanical ale has won plaudits from industry experts and is stocked by Ocado and local shops. “We set out to create a new style of beer to appeal to wine-lovers and people who think they don’t like beer,” she says. “After months of development we’ve crafted a sophisticated lighter beer which is perfect with food and a great low-alcohol cocktail mixer.” Most beers use hop cones, but binary botanical is infused with organic leaves from Sovereign and First Gold hop bines (the name for the hop plant’s stems). Binary botanical is lower in alcohol and calories than wine, and is vegan and gluten and sugar-free. To find out more, visit and follow @binarybotanical

Also flying the flag for local tipples of the highest quality, Distillers of Surrey is a Ripley-based distillery whose solstice and nautical edition gins, alongside the team’s award-winning aromatic edition, you can sample at Woking Food & Drink Festival this month. You can also try tipples from Vineyards of the Surrey Hills a new collaboration between Albury, Denbies, Greyfriars, High Clandon and Chilworth Manor. This group of picturesque vineyards produce outstanding wines including sparkling, still white, rosé and sumptuous sweet wine.

Thanks to its gorgeous terroir on the Hog’s Back in Puttenham, the Greyfriars Vineyard team produce award-winning English sparkling wines. Want to try some? The team arrange tours and tastings; visit

Drawn by a common passion for craft distilling, a group of friends came together to form Silent Pool, producing handcrafted, artisan spirits of uncompromising quality on the Albury Estate. For tours, tastings and products, visit .

If you love beer, check out Frensham Brewery’s taproom; a beer lover’s labour of love near Farnham;

Parents, do you ever wish your children, especially teenage ones, would take more of an interest in cooking? Well, if you go down to the woods today (on the Priory Farm estate in Nutfield, to be precise), you’re in for a big surprise… Surrounded by the crackle and pop of fires, teenagers and children enjoy a masterclass in outdoor cookery thanks to a partnership between The Salt Box and Surrey Art School. Throughout August & September you can book in to drop off your six-11-year-olds for a workshop to master the basic steps of fire lighting to learning how to manage your fires, at these hands-on classes guests will learn to make a collection of dishes in a relaxed and informative environment, surrounded by the crackle and pop of fires. All of the dishes covered are designed to be cooked over an open fire, but are equally as achievable as in a conventional kitchen at home. Visit

Two Hoots Cheese is a small family business based in Barkham producing award-winning handmade blue cheese,
made in the traditional way with pasteurised cow and ewe milk. Husband-and-wife team Sandy and Andy Rose have been making cheese since 2003, recently been joined by their daughter Nia. Their most popular, Barkham Blue, has won many prizes.

Reading-based Mortimer Chocolate Company produces award-winning chocolate and cocoa powders for drinks, cooking and fondues (mmmm!). There’s a café where you can indulge in their delicious products, made with the best raw ingredients, and great recipes too – visit


The King Stone Dairy team, based in Little Rollright near Chipping Norton, produce two farmhouse cheeses using milk from 30 cows. Rollright is a washed rind soft cheese, banded in spruce bark, and Evenlode is a washed rind semi-soft cheese. You can try both and meet the team at The Big Feastival later this month. Visit

Wallingford’s Brightwell Vineyard produces white, rosé, red and sparkling wines which frequently win medals in regional, national and international competitions as well as one of the first English brandies. Visit

Oxfordshire is also in good spirits thanks to Chalgrove Artisan Distillery which uses juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, cardamon and black peppercorns, honed in an alembic copper still, to create their OX44 Gin; visit Local “gintrepreneurs” Camilla Brown and Liz Beswick’s Collagin; visit Toad in Oxford craft artisan spirits from their “still on the hill” in Headington.  Book in for a behind-the-scenes tour to see the grain-to-glass process. Visit

Developed to deliver a sophisticated taste “which allows the fruit to be the shining stars”, The Wiltshire Liqueur Company’s products are a joy to behold. This small, family-run Marlborough-based company concoct their stunning range right here in Wiltshire which are then enjoyed throughout the UK and as far away as Japan and the Arctic Circle. In March 2014 Theo Paphitis added his support by choosing the company for a Small Business Sunday Award. Visit to find out more!

Marshalls Bakery in Pewsey was founded in about 1870 by Charles Marshall. Charles is believed to have started out making bread for himself but it soon became popular with friends and he decided to open a bakery. Today the bakery and is run by fourth generation baker Richard Marshall along with his dad John. Producing a wide range of bread, cakes and confectionery, try local favourites such as lardy cake or healthy products such as honey and spelt bread. Pop into the bakery at 36 North Street, SN9 5EX, or visit A Wiltshire speciality worth trying, by the way, is the Marlborough Bun.

Want to unleash your creative side? Try a cookery course at Woodspeen Cookery School; offering a wide range of courses

Hobbs House Bakery was established in the 1920s and is a true family business with five generations (the sixth is rising to the challenge now!) of baking experience. When Tom and Henry Herbert aren’t at the frontline of the bakery you may see these Fabulous Baker Brothers on television or at events, including The Big Feastival later this month. These brothers have been bringing the ultimate bread and meat combinations to you since 2012. “We believe handmade bread should be available to everyone,” they say. At their bakery in Chipping Sodbury the expert team produce an exceptional range of high quality breads, pastries and confectionery. Visit to find out about courses, recipes and the Sourdough Nation!

Founded in 1902, Bibury Trout Farm is one of England’s oldest working trout farms set in this historic village (GL7 5NL). Fresh trout is available to buy from the farm all year and the team can supply whole, filleted or smoked brown or rainbow trout. The catch-your-own fishery lets beginners and children catch their fishy supper or get hooked on a new hobby. The terrace cafe is open daily serving treats for all tastes, including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes available. Visit or call 01285 740215 or 01285 740212.

Set in the heart of the North Wiltshire Wessex Downs area of outstanding natural beauty, Ramsbury Estates are bisected by the River Kennet, a classic chalk stream which rises a few miles west of Marlborough and joins the Thames at Woolhampton. The spirit distillery and brewery are well worth a visit and the pub, The Bell, won AA pub of the year in 2017. Visit

Christian Alba’s Traditional Butchers in Hungerford High Street, RG17, 0DN, is a meat-lover’s dream (trust us, we’ve tried his homemade sausages). Christian is a proud believer of supporting the English farmer as well as the highest standards in animal welfare. He sells free-range pork and lamb, beef and chickens.” The butcher’s shop is open Tuesdays to Fridays, 8am to 5pm and Saturdays, 8am to 3pm. Call the shop on 01488 680970.

Upton Smokery Shop near Burford (OX18 4LY) is a foodie Mecca. Grab a free coffee while you browse the fine selection of smoked and cured meats, game, fish, seasonal vegetables, garlic and more, or shop online;

Made by Bob bistro & deli, in the heart of Cirencester, was established in 2008 and has won plaudits from customers and the Michelin Guide for its great food and service (it also won a Bib Gourmand).

Beer fans are spoilt for choice here in the Cotswolds thanks to a wealth of refreshing local tipple producers. North Cotswold Brewery is a family-run craft brewery on the Fosseway a few miles outside Moreton in Marsh, established in 1999. For tours and more, visit For tours, tastings and hearty ales, also check out Wychwood Brewery (, Cirencester’s Corinium Ales ( and Chipping Norton’s Hook Norton

Distilling delicious blends since 2014, Cotswolds Distillery is the home of artisanal single malt whiskey, gins and liqueurs, and offers a tour to discover how these tasty local spirits are crafted. Visit

Learn about artisan bread making, nose-to-tail butchery and ferments to eat and drink by enrolling on a course at The Cookery School at Daylesford on its thoroughly idyllic 2,350-acre organic farm.

Working exclusively with local and independent producers, the team behind Lynwood & Co are great community ambassadors. They’ve won a loyal following, supplementing their original Lechlade café with two more in Fairford and Burford. Their breakfasts, by the way, are truly legendary! Visit

Cake expectations

Just as Parisians often claim they’ve never climbed the Eiffel Tower and Londoners never seem to find the time to visit the Houses of Parliament, many of us just don’t get around to visiting Blenheim Palace as often as we’d like, despite it being so close. Well, foodies, this summer is the perfect opportunity! Not only are the gardens in full bloom, Searcys has launched a stunning new afternoon menu, with all the classics and a few curve balls. Within the wonderful settings of the palace, the Orangery by Searcys is the perfect spot to enjoy treats by much-loved chocolatier William Curley (the youngest pastry chef ever to work at The Savoy Hotel) has devised the menu.

Savouries include finger sandwiches with tasty fillings like smoked salmon and Coronation chicken, as well as a courgette and ricotta tart. These are followed by light and fluffy buttermilk scones, and then a glorious selection of individual afternoon teacakes. Highlights include pistachio and raspberry financiers, chocolate Sachertorte (inspired by the original Viennese recipe), lemon and earl grey macarons and a vintage revival black forest tart. The showstopper is the cake table, a Roald Dahl fantasy with a vast array of beautifully crafted cakes like chocolate & cherry, lemon drizzle and chestnut and rum. If you really want to feel like Marie Antoinette, you can pair your afternoon tea with Laurent-Perrier’s Harmony Champagne, chosen by William to match his creations.

While you’re there, have a wander around the 2,000 acres of landscaped parkland and Formal Gardens, home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Visit

Summer is here:

As ever, we’re hungry for your recommendations of great places to eat and drink as well as tempting local titbits.

We’re always excited to bring you our food & drink special and celebrate the people who work in this unremitting industry… Our cover star Jodie Kidd confirms this: she’s found her previous jobs in the fast-paced modelling and sports worlds are nothing compared to being a pub landlady.. but she’s loving every minute and we applaud her!

So, does your local deserve a toast? Is there a restaurant or farm shop near you that deserves recognition? We want to help celebrate the best food & drink pioneers and grafters out there, fuelled by you.

Raising a toast

Round & About


We celebrate our homegrown food & drink heroes in this rich patch of London, starting with Jessica Elphinstone’s guide to the best summer pubs & bars…

Aside from the obvious, the presence of Great British pub on every corner, when elsewhere in the country they seem to be floundering, is one of the best things about living in south-west London.

August is the month to slope off to a sunny pub garden on a Friday afternoon, and my favourite new discovery (other than The Fox and Pheasant, qv) is the secluded little Scarsdale Tarvern just near Abingdon Villas in Kensington. They have real ales, a lovely food menu, and a cosy little terrace with candle light and blankets for cooler evenings.

Scarsdale Tavern, 23a Edwardes Square, London, W8 6HE. Visit

The Atlas in Fulham is a perennial favourite in our flat for a cheeky weekday drink, with a great leafy terrace area and a weekly changing G&T menu. 16 Seagrave Rd, Fulham, SW6 1RX.

The Mitre is also a popular Fulham spot, but fiendishly expensive for a pub, with an Aperol Spritz costing in excess of £10. 81 Dawes Rd, Fulham, SW6 7DU

The Duke’s Head in Putney also has loads going on, with comedy nights, quizzes and films keeping local residents endlessly entertained. The boathouse-style pub and restaurant is right on the river with plenty of outdoor seating. 8 Lower Richmond Rd, Putney, SW15 1JN;

The Churchill Arms in Kensington Church Street is another iconic drinking spot, with every outside wall laden with a ridiculous amount of flowers, and every inside space crammed with Churchill memorabilia. Apparently, they spend £25,000 on the flowers which bedeck the pub. Built in 1750, the pub was apparently frequented by Churchill’s grandparents, hence the name. It’s a truly eccentric spot, made even more random by the fact this historic boozer serves authentic Thai cuisine. Look out for a hilariously fake blue plaque, which says “Churchill made his wartime broadcasts here, and laughed at Hitler’s watercolours while drinking banana daiquiris and farting.” 119 Kensington Church Street, Kensington, W8 7LN. (nearest station Notting Hill Gate);

Another gem is the Anglesea Arms near Ravenscourt Park, always rammed on balmy August afternoons young professionals and old crooners alike. If you make it inside, look out for their Long Brick Wall, where they have regular exhibitions of work from local artists and photographers. The Anglesea Arms, 35 Wingate Road, Hammersmith, W6 0UR;

My mum and dad met each other in the Admiral Codrington over 30 years ago, so I thought I should probably pay it a visit when doing some ‘research’ for this foodie special. It might not be as booming as it was in the 1980s, but nostalgia aside, it’s actually a pretty acceptable pub. They serve some pretty good food, a nice range of beer, and even cocktails, but make sure to come on a rainy day as there’s no outdoor terrace. This summer, kids get a free main and pudding from the children’s menu, making it a great stop-off if you’re taking the family to the nearby Natural History Museum or Science Museum. The Admiral Codrington, 17 Mossop Street, SW3 2LY;

The Little Blue Door in Fulham is one of our favourite party spots, with the unique concept of your coolest and most bohemian friends throwing an epic house party in their weird and wacky home, every night of the week. This summer, the late-night cocktail bar and restaurant have launched a gin terrace with William Grant & Sons, bringing a new cocktail menu and outdoor garden to party the night away. In the style of the eclectic flatshare, they’ve created a great little garden draped with lights, foliage and hanging plants; the perfect alfresco drinking spot. Sports will be played on the big screen, and for anyone who missed out on the ‘frosé’ (that’s frozen rosé) craze last summer, this place is still serving it in 2019. The Little Blue Door, 871-873, Fulham Rd, Fulham, SW6 5HP;


Let them eat cake..! Or in the case of Bread Ahead, Matthew Jones’ hugely popular London bakeries, let them eat copious amounts of sticky, delicious cinnamon buns…

One of our favourite pit-stops in London, anyone with a penchant for outstanding freshly baked goods will probably be familiar with Bread Ahead.

Famous for their weird and wacky doughnuts, Bread Ahead has been at the forefront of London’s love affair with bakeries over the last five years. Forget mass-produced supermarket fare; once you’ve tried their artisanal hot cross buns you’ll never look back.

If you fancy having a go in the kitchen yourself, their Bakery School in Borough Market is one of the best out there. It launched in 2014, with the simple aim of showing people how easy it is to create really great bread at home. The perfect gift or quirky date activity, guests can spend a full day in the kitchen with one of the Bread Ahead Master Bakers, with courses ranging from New York baking days (think bagels and bialys) to pizza workshops to doughnut-making and gluten-free workshops. You’ll leave with a belly full of your creations (they serve you a lovely lunch as well) and more pastries than you know what to do with, so make sure to invite friends round!

For those who really wish to take it to the next level, there’s a three-day Guide to Sourdough Bread, in which you’ll learn everything you need to know about wild yeast baking, and will create rye loaves, focaccia, brown levain, fougasse and croissants, to name a few.

Courses from £90. Find Bread Ahead bakery closer to home at 249 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea, SW1X 0BP. Visit

Taking root

Ed Taylor and Robyn Simms, the bionic couple behind London-based soft drinks company Square Root tell us about their journey.

We started Square Root Soda from our kitchen in 2012 selling ginger beer at a local farmers market. Soon we were producing new flavours every week and blown away by the demand for our soda, so in 2013 we founded the Square Root Soda Works with the aim of creating innovative new drinks, made with as much effort as quality alcoholic drinks. A Square Root is a soda made for the love of fruit, for the excitement of the experimental and for the pursuit of the exceptional.

Q. What are your backgrounds?
Ed and I met during our time at UCL where we were both studying for science degrees. After leaving Ed went to work in brewing for Redemption Brewery and later Howling Hops and I went to work in the craft beer bar The Euston Tap, this is definitely where the love of all things drinks started.

Q. What about the ingredients you use?
At Square Root, natural ingredients are non-negotiable. This means we work closely with amazing farmers across the UK, Italy & Spain to get the very best fresh ingredients for our drinks – like rhubarb grown just for us in the Yorkshire Triangle, blood oranges grown in the shadow of Mount Etna in Sicily and elderflower foraged from Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes. Lots of our drinks are seasonal, meaning we only make the soda when the fruit is available from the growers so there’s always something new and different for you to try.

Q. What inspired you to create your non-alcoholic G&T?
This one is born from a desire to create a robust, grown-up, alternative to other non-alcoholic drinks on the market. We spent 12 months developing our non-alcoholic gin & tonic, which included months of public trials, to try and hone the perfect flavour. The pure ‘gin’ distillate is extracted and blended with our house tonic water, which contains natural British beet sugar, fresh Sicilian lemon juice, juiced on site, lemon rind (so nothing is wasted) and natural quinine. We think it’s very different from anything else out there, with more depth of flavour and less sugar. It’s popular with drinkers and non-drinkers alike.

Q. London has such an exciting food and drinks scene at the moment. How is it to be part of this foodie revolution in the city? 
It’s totally amazing, of course. It’s so special to be surrounded by so many other passionate, engaged and exciting people and I don’t think we would have started Square Root if it weren’t for some of the early crowd doing what they’re doing and making it seem less scary to get out there and start my own thing.

Q. Which other restaurants, brands or products really inspire you?
I’ve always been a massive fan of London Borough of Jam; Lillie does such an amazing job of seasonally making jams and capturing the delicious fruit flavour of whatever fruits are around and I always find myself challenged to work out how to capture that in our drinks. I’m also really into all the small kombucha brands on the market at the moment. Since I gave up drinking alcohol in 2018 I find them a great alternative if I’m lusting after a cold glass of wine. I also like pairing them with our rhubarb soda.

Square Root has launched a new Sonata variety strawberry soda to celebrate the quintessentially British fruit at the height of summer. Buy it in Fulham at Gails Bakery, The Hoarder at West Brompton Crossing, and Bailey & Sage, among other places.

Make at Home Strawberry Soda

My absolute favourite thing about summer is the delicious British produce that’s available – it’s part of what inspired us to make a seasonal range of drinks at Square Root, with flavours which change as fruit naturally comes in and out of season.

The first sign that summer is here is British strawberries on the shelves in the shops. Picked riper than the ones that come over from across the globe, British Strawberries usually have a sweeter, more juicy taste. Give this Strawberry Soda recipe a try and see how it measures up to the one we make at Square Root, which you can pick up here.

For one litre of soda you need:

•           300g fresh strawberries, washed and stalks removed.
•           1 large lemon
•           50g caster sugar
•           Half teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract
•           Bottle of soda water


Reserve a few strawberries for serving. Quickly blend the rest of the strawberries in a food processor using the blade attachment to break them down.

In batches, add the strawberry pulp to a fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl and press through the liquid into the bowl below. Repeat until you’ve squeezed the juice out of all the strawberry pulp, you should have about 150ml of liquid.

Next, squeeze your half lemon over the sieve to remove any pips and combine the lemon and strawberry juices.

Add the caster sugar and vanilla extract into the bowl. Stir the liquid until the sugar is fully dissolved – you may need to add a touch of water here to help dissolve the sugar but don’t add too much. Once this is done, you have your cordial. You can refrigerate until you’re ready to serve*.

Pour the cordial into a one litre jug or pitcher.

Add ice and fresh lemon and strawberry slices from your reserved fruit and spare half lemon.

Gently pour in the soda water to fill the jug and give the soda a gentle stir, then serve, being carefully not to release too much carbonation from the water.

You’re all done! Try freezing fresh strawberries to make fruity ice cubes if you like and drink up while your fizz is perfectly chilled. Perfecto!

Mix It Up: Replace the lemon juice with the juice of a whole lime for some extra zing!

*If you want to make the cordial in advance pour it into a cleaned, sealable container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Summer is here:

As ever, we’re hungry for your recommendations of great places to eat and drink as well as tempting local titbits.

We’re always excited to bring you our food & drink special and celebrate the people who work in this unremitting industry… Our cover star Jodie Kidd confirms this: she’s found her previous jobs in the fast-paced modelling and sports worlds are nothing compared to being a pub landlady.. but she’s loving every minute and we applaud her!

So, does your local deserve a toast? Is there a restaurant or farm shop near you that deserves recognition? We want to help celebrate the best food & drink pioneers and grafters out there, fuelled by you. Visit to vote!