Three food festivals in three weeks – don’t mind if I do! For a bit of variety, this one has some art thrown in. Highcliffe Food & Arts Festival takes place annually in the main road (Lymington Road) and adjoining Recreation Ground.
Highcliffe is just 9 miles east of Bournemouth. As parking in the village is limited, we opted to travel by bus. Bus 1a goes from Bournemouth right to the festival site. Unfortunately, no-one told the driver that the main road is closed. He drops us off in a side road near the festival entrance. Someone asks him where to catch the return bus from. He says he doesn’t know and suggests waving at a bus and hoping it stops!
We start in the Recreation Ground, which has food and drink stalls, a cookery demonstration marquee, a stage for live entertainment, a variety of arts & crafts, plus various random activities such as a man dressed as a police dog giving high fives.
There are some lovely goods on sale; my favourites are fish made of used beer cans and designer homes for wildlife.
After the field, we continue to the main road. I think this is the biggest of all the food festivals we’ve attended. It’s also possibly the busiest. The stalls only line one side of the road, so if you’re not on the correct side, it’s hard to see what’s on offer. We have a browse and make a note of where we want to stop on the way back down the road.
We work our way the length of the road. It’s a hot day, so drinks are in order. There’s a double decker bus bar, plus plenty of other options. We stop at a gin bar where Helen chooses blood orange, while I go for pineapple gin. Very nice, but I’m not sure the pineapple leaf is necessary – it keeps poking me in the face when I try to drink.
Next, Helen purchases some pick ‘n’ mix olives. There’s a huge variety of fillings stuffed into the most enormous olives I’ve ever seen.
We get some lunch and sit and at the second stage (Tesco Express Stage – situated in the supermarket car park) to enjoy some entertainment. On stage are The Fifinellas, a trio who sing modern songs in a vintage style. Meanwhile, a couple of chefs on stilts wander around providing that weird selfie opportunity.
Then we work our way back down the street. We decide we’re not confident with the bus driver’s flag down a bus suggestion, so continue along the main road, past a rather unsettling yarn bombed post box, until we find a bona fide bus stop. Then back to Bournemouth tired, a little sunburned and still clutching our gin glasses. I think that’s food festivals done for this year…