Tag: do something different

What nice way to enjoy the sun than popping to Silverstone? If you like cars and racing then you'll like it. You can get some breeze in your sails as you wonder around seeing some great classic cars as well as some impressive driving on the race track. Come evening there's music and you can camp at the site much like a festival.

The 2016 Silverstone Classic 3 day weekend is now in its 26th year, seen as the ‘World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival’. With around 1000 beautiful and exotic race cars competing and attracting over 1000 competitors, and over 7000 classic cars on the infield over the weekend it's not hard to see why.

An ‘Access All Areas’ policy at the event allows spectators up close to all the action.

There are 24 car races over the weekend as well as a period fun fair, aerobatic displays, food and drink and if you want to get in the driving seat yourself but don't quite have your license yet there are taster lessons.

You have until the 25th July to get your tickets which include all the above.



stratford butterfly farmOn Friday 24 July the Stratford Butterfly Farm will celebrate its 30th anniversary! The Butterfly Farm opened its doors for the first time on 24 July 1985 by David Bellamy and now 30 years on, remains the UK’s largest and most successful butterfly farm.

To celebrate this milestone, the Farm is organising a number of special activities. An exhibition of photographs when it first opened is currently on display until the end of October and gives visitors a fascinating insight into the Farm’s history.

On Friday 24 July there will be a ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling session at 12pm when children can handle an array of insects such as a Giant African Millipede, African Land Snail and stick insects. From the 24 – 26 July children can use the Jungle Explorer map to follow the trail to discover interesting facts and amazing creatures from around the world. In addition visitors can enter the Birthday Tree competition and leave a message on the tree to be entered into a prize draw to win family season/day tickets. The winners will be announced on Friday 31 July.  Children aged 3 – 16 can also receive a free commemorative wristband, subject to availability.

Visitors can also enjoy seeing a variety of exotic birds feeding on the new bird feeding station within the flight area. A new stunning garden has been created especially to attract bees and features a bee hive composter. Plus there are plenty of new picnic tables for visitors to use in the beautiful and peaceful surroundings of the Butterfly Farm garden.

Over the years the Butterfly Farm has continually added to its number of inhabitants and now has 3 stunning Green Iguanas that originate from Central and South America which live happily amongst the other inhabitants. These include Birds, Rosey Bourkes, Cockatiels, Budgerigars, Mousebirds, Green Ring-necked Parakeets and the flightless Chinese Painted Quails.

In Insect City, as well as the usual insects, there is a new snake tank which houses a Royal Python. It is the smallest of the African pythons and has a typically docile temperament. Also on display is a Corn Snake which originates from North America and subdues its small prey by constriction.

Over in Arachnoland and behind the safety of glass is a Goliath Bird Eating Spider.  The spider is considered to be the largest in the world and was named by explorers who saw one eating a hummingbird. Native to therainforests of South America, these spiders have up to a 30cm leg span when fully extended. Also on display is the Brazilian Red Fire Tarantula which is the third largest in the world, the Huntsman Spider which is found around the world as they commonly hide in wooden crates and are shipped with freight. Visitors can also see the infamous False Widow Spider which has attracted plenty of media interest over the last few years.

Jane Kendrick, Marketing Manager of the Stratford Butterfly Farm stated, “We are delighted to be celebrating our 30th anniversary and hope that visitors will enjoy our exhibition and special activities we have lined up. Plus, with plenty of new inhabitants to see and admire, a visit to the Butterfly Farm is a great family day out!”

To see hundreds of spectacular butterflies, insects, reptiles and spiders visit the Butterfly Farm from10:00am to 5.30pm every day of the week. Entry fees are Adults £6.25, Seniors & Students £5.75, Children (under 3’s go free) £5.25, Family (2 adults & 2 children) £18.50. There is no additional charge to view the exhibition. Group discounts are available. Registered Carers are admitted free of charge.

For more information please visit the website at www.butterflyfarm.co.uk or telephone 01789 299288.

blue cheese car - c InstantForeverUs Londoners love a bit of cheese. But we're not alone, the average person in the UK consumes 10kgs of the smelly stuff each year. With over 700 types of cheese made in the UK, plus the fact that the International Cheese Awards take place annually each July in Nantwich, Britain is undoubtedly the grand fromage of the cheese industry. And for an even grater choice of cheese, why not head to the Continent too?

For brie-liant ideas of where to enjoy a cheesy break at home or abroad, get ready to cheddar tear for these pun-ridden suggestions from Pitchup.com.

Say cheese... UK sites:


No cheese lover would consider a cheese-themed break without including the king of British cheese, cheddar! There are plenty of places in Somerset to try out a slice and where better to stay than Cheddar Petruth Paddocks? The owners are cheddar fanatics and will give visitors a special guide and insight into the region famed for its cheese and caves.

Price: Book a shepherd’s hut, custom-made by local craftsmen in the Mendip Hills, from £70 per night for up to four people, or try the on-site tipis from £75 per night.


Invented in the 1700s in the village of the same name by a Mr Cooper Thornhill, landlord of the Bell Inn, and sold to travellers on the Great North Road, this unique blue cheese is a British institution. Stock up on stilton and enjoy tucking in as you stay on the stunning 235-acre parkland surrounding Billing Aquadrome, just a 50-minute drive from the town of Stilton itself. The park has camping pods for four and facilities including a pool, splash zone, indoor play area and amusement park.

Price: A camping pod for four starts from £40 per night (guests should bring their own bedding and linen).


This dense, crumbly cheese is produced in Cheshire (obvs) as well as four other neighbouring counties, Denbighshire and Flintshire in Wales, plus Shropshire and Staffordshire in England. Crow Camp Tipis is set in 30 acres of the beautiful Cheshire Plain, where visitors can meet reindeer or take some time out fishing in one of five coarse fishing lakes on site. There’s also a children's play park. The spacious tipis have three double-sized futons.

Price: Tipis start from £100 per night for up to six people.

Pay homage to fromage... sites in France:


Hailing from the Normandy town of the same name, Camembert is perfect when popped in the oven until soft in the middle, then eaten with a crusty baguette. Château de Lez-Eaux campsite in Basse-Normandie is set on 12 acres of green land and offers traditional camping and caravan pitches as well as modern chalets. Entertainment-wise, there’s plenty on site including a large aquatic park, waterslides, paddling pool, heated outdoor pool, multiple sports, fishing, and a kids’ club in July and August.

Price: Book a two-bedroom lodge, sleeping five, from £46.04 per night.


Matured in ancient caves in a village called Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, this ewes’ milk cheese takes three months to ripen into semi-soft, crumbly, white cheese with blue-green veins and a sweet, tangy flavour – delicious with pasta or as a blue cheese dressing. Stay at Camping La Boissière and take advantage of sporting facilities including football, basketball and volleyball, and the aquatic centre consisting of a large pool, a paddling pool and a whirlpool. Plus there are extra activities for kids.

Price: Book an electric grass pitch from £12.24 per night.


Brie de Meaux, made in Île-de-France – has a tradition going back over 1,000 years. The famous poet Eustache Deschamps – not a lover of France – reportedly said of the famous cheese: ‘Brie de Meaux is the only good thing to come out of this country.’ Its more salty sister, Brie de Melun is stronger and more robust. Shoot the brie-ze at Camping La Belle Etoile on the River Seine in Melun and try the famous Brie de Melun pizza and the local artisan beer Bière de Brie.

Price: A three-bedroom holiday home sleeps six and starts from £51 per night.

More ‘Gouda’ options… elsewhere in Europe:


Named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland, gruyère is one of the finest cheeses for baking, particularly suited for fondues and French onion soup - and it goes down well with a Riesling and even with a sprinkling of nutmeg! Enjoy to the full, then work it off by walking, mountain biking, paragliding or mountaineering from Camping Molignon, an excellent base for exploring the Swiss Alps.

Price: From £15.04 per night for two people on a grass tent pitch; or from £302.15 for a seven-night stay in a two-bedroom holiday cabin (sleeps up to five people).


Take a tour of the small cheese factories in Olbia, Sardinia, and discover all about pecorino romano – the best known of the pecorino family. Pitch up in a tent or campervan at Centro Vacanze Isuledda, in a picture-postcard beach location just off the Costa Smeralda, where you can sample the cheese at the site’s pizzeria and grill house.

Price: From £18 for two people per night, including satellite TV connection.

Queso de nata de Cantabria

This delicious mild, creamy cheese is hard to come by – only a handful of farms produce it nowadays and 80% is consumed in the immediate area of northern Spain. Indulge as the locals do and enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or on its own while taking in the surroundings of Camping El Helguero, a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts with plenty of facilities including a swimming pool and separate toddlers' pool plus an extensive entertainment programme.

Price: From £14 per night for a grass motorhome pitch.

On Tuesday 19 May, Sir John Soane’s Museum will publically open Soane’s private apartments and Model Room, located on the second floor at number 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London.  The apartments, open now after being fully restored, have not been seen by the public in over 160 years.  The second floor includes Soane’s Model Room, Bedroom, Bathroom, Book Passage, Oratory and Mrs Soane’s Morning Room.

Soane’s Private Apartments and Model Room will open to the public from Tuesday 19 May 2015. Access is only available through pre-booking. For more details about how to visit and to book, please see the Museum’s website: www.soane.org

John Soanes private apartmentsImage credit: View of the Model Room, recreating a watercolour of the room c. 1834-35


unnamed-1Image credit: The blue-and-white china displayed on the mantlepiece in the Bath Room, which presumably belonged to Mrs Soane. The china was only rediscovered in the 1980s, having been moved after sustaining damage during the Second World War


unnamed-2Image credit: The chimneypiece in Soane's Bath Room

cooking classes at river cottageFancy a break from London and a chance to hone your cooking skills in wonderful surroundings??

The award winning River Cottage Cookery School is set in 65 acres of organic farm land overlooking the Axe Vale, in the wonderful county of Devon and just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Jurassic Coast and Broadchurch cliffs. The school is renowned for its keen sense of seasonality, sustainability and championing the best local producers and ingredients which make it a foodie hub where you can learn, dine and be inspired.

Whether you are an amateur cook, food enthusiast or a full-blown smallholder, there's a course for you which will leave you armed with the skill, confidence and motivation to cook delicious food at home.

The two stand-out courses for aspiring domestic Gods and Goddesses are also the most popular culinary courses which are either spread over four consecutive days or concentrated into two fact packed days  full of practical tutorial.

On the Four Days at River Cottage guests experience immersive cooking, learning and eating, taking them on a culinary journey through all the main principles of food such as meat, fish, bread and baking as well as vegetables. The courses are run by a dedicated team of chef tutors who bring the passion back into cooking and will look after you every step of the way from baking your own sourdough to learning the principles of butchery and offal as well as both sourcing and saucing ingredients. You might make pâté, rustle up a good gravy, fillet, cure and smoke fish; knock up fantastic vegetarian recipes and indulge your sweet tooth with cakes, pastries and desserts. Your four days will cover a huge range of basic and advanced kitchen skills – and you’ll get to taste all the results too.

The Two Day course leaves no ingredient or cooking method unturned however the pace of the day is driven to giving the most authentic and comprehensive two cooking days without leaving anyone behind. Working away at cooking stations in small groups being lead and guided by the chef tutors from the front creates an energy which is infectious and although each individual works on their own dish each session feels collaborative and ends with a celebratory communal lunch or dinner. The pace is just right, balancing heads-down cooking with downtime to savour your efforts with the magic of Britain's most filmed farmhouse as a backdrop and stunning views surrounding River Cottage HQ.

‘Learnt so much, my head is bursting with information that I need to put in to practice. Andy was an excellent tutor, he pitched it just right, sharing hints and tips all the time. It's amazing that we covered such a wide variety of food, cooking and techniques in just two days and all of it will be used in my kitchen.’ Ann Hunt, 7th March 2014

Four Day courses are scheduled for the following start dates:

27 April, 01 June, 13 July, 03 August, 14 September, 22 October, 12 November 2015

£870 per person

Two Day courses are scheduled for the following start dates:

09 April, 16 May, 11 June, 06 July, 19 August, 28 September, 17 October, 07 November 2015

£430 per person

There are plenty of fantastic local accommodation options for your stay when visiting River Cottage HQ. Choose from B&Bs, self catering, hotels, camping and glamping sites.


For more information please visit:

Four Day: https://www.rivercottage.net/cookery-courses/classic-cookery/four-days-at-river-cottage

Two Day: https://www.rivercottage.net/cookery-courses/classic-cookery/two-days-at-river-cottage

Phone 01297 630 300

Email rcevents@rivercottage.net