Explore the River Cottage estate with the TV star on an exclusive visit, and discover the best of Somerset and Dorset

Channel 4's Escape To River Cottage hit our TV screens in 1999, telling the story of chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's journey to self-sufficiency. The plan was to grow his own vegetables and raise his own animals in his very own version of The Good Life. Now, after more than ten series and spin-offs, including an Australian version, Hugh has become one of the UK's best-loved food writers and campaigners.

On this exclusive five-day tour, you'll get to meet him and explore parts of Somerset and Dorset. You'll spend a day at the famous River Cottage estate, where you'll take part in a wood-fired cookery demonstration and a foraging session so you can learn to live off the land, Whittingstall-style. You will also enjoy a delicious two-course lunch prepared by the River Cottage team, plus Hugh will spend teatime with you while you're there and deliver a talk. He will also answer your burning questions about all things organic food and self-sufficiency during a private Q&A session.

In keeping with the ethical food theme, there will also be a chance to explore the six-and-a-half-acre Yeo Valley organic gardens and the picturesque Furleigh Estate for a tour of the vineyard, where they grow the grapes for their excellent still and sparkling wines.

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Your expert guide

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Celebrity chef, food writer and broadcaster

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food and his concern for the environment. He has earned a huge following through his River Cottage TV series and books, as well as campaigns such as Hugh's Fish Fight, Hugh's War on Waste, Britain's Fat Fight and his latest, War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita.

Price includes

  • A full day at River Cottage with guest appearance from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and lunch.
  • Four nights' accommodation at The Castle Hotel, Taunton.
  • Dinner at the hotel with welcome drink and wine.
  • Visits to Yeo Valley Gardens and Hauser & Wirth gardens and gallery.
  • Dinner at Hestercombe Gardens with welcome drink and wine.
  • A trip to Lyme Regis, the Jurassic Coast and Furleigh Estate.
  • Services of an experienced and knowledgeable tour manager throughout.


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  1. Day
    Arrive at the Castle Hotel
    Taunton, United Kingdom

    Upon arrival, enjoy a welcome drink, introductory talk and dinner at the historic Castle Hotel in the heart of Taunton.

    Meals - Dinner
  2. Day
    Lyme Regis (Jurassic Coast) and Furleigh Estate
    Lyme Regis, United Kingdom

    Today we enjoy two contrasting visits, as we head first to the historic and extremely pretty town of Lyme Regis. Famed as the home of Mary Anning, whose pioneering work in paleontology is celebrated in the town's fascinating and award-winning museum, housed in her home. Elsewhere, you can see her grave in the churchyard and hunt for fossils along the famous 'Ammonite Pavement' where hundreds of fossils lie exposed and enjoy this lovely part of the Jurassic Coast. Lyme is also the location for The French Lieutenant's Woman and where the screen adaptation was filmed. After time for lunch we will head to the picturesque Furleigh Estate for a tour of the vineyard, where grapes for its excellent still and sparking wines are grown.

    Meals - Breakfast
  3. Day
    River Cottage day
    Axminster, United Kingdom

    Today is dedicated to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's groundbreaking and influential River Cottage estate, which features regularly on his TV programmes. The day will consist of hedgerow foraging, a delicious seasonal two-course lunch prepared by the River Cottage team, a wood-fired cookery session and a chat from Hugh.

    During the foraging session, you'll discover the wild food secrets of our beautiful Devon hedgerows, woodlands and surrounding fields. These hidden treats are easily found when you know what you are looking for and where to find them. You will learn how to safety identify and gather the hidden produce. Your seasonal two-course lunch will be served in the barn. You'll then learn about the traditional wood-fired cooking style. From high temperature grilling to low and slow cooking on embers, the options are endless. During this session we will teach you how to make some mouth-watering dishes using a selection of different techniques. Alternatively this could be more of a creative activity such as pottery making. Later on, the group will reconvene in the barn, enjoy a cup of tea and piece of cake before sitting down to a chat from Hugh. This will be followed by a Q&A, allowing you to ask all of your burning questions.At this stage the day will draw to a close and the tractor will be available to take you back to the car park when you are ready.

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch
  4. Day
    Hauser and Wirth gardens and gallery and farewell dinner at Hestercombe Gardens
    Bruton, United Kingdom

    An art gallery and two wonderful gardens are on the agenda today as we head east to the Hauser and Wirth gallery and gardens. Here there will be time to view the current exhibition and to explore the extraordinary artistic gardens designed by innovative by pioneer designer Piet Oodolf, whose colourful, natural creations are more akin to Impressionist paintings than traditional gardens. Time will be allowed for lunch before returning to the hotel with time to relax and freshen up before heading to the magical gardens, designed by Gertude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens, and house at Hestercombe, where there will be time to explore the magnificent gardens and house before enjoying a welcome reception and three course dinner with wine.

    Meals - Breakfast, Dinner
  5. Day
    Yeo Valley Gardens. Farewell afternoon tea at the Castle Hotel
    Taunton, United Kingdom

    The last visit of the tour is to the splendid Yeo Valley organic gardens, which cover an area of some six and a half acres, with a vast array of edible plants. We then return to the Castle Hotel for a farewell traditional afternoon tea.

    Meals - Breakfast


The Castle Hotel

Taunton, United Kingdom

A historic hotel at the peak of its game

The four star Castle Hotel at Taunton is one of the most renowned hotels in the UK, with a history stretching back for 1000 years. Originally a Norman fortress, it has been used as a welcome rest stop for travellers since the 12th century.

Owned and run by the Chapman family for more than 60 years, today the Castle is a luxurious retreat in close reach of many beautiful gardens and areas of natural beauty.

With 44 comfortable rooms, a charming 12th-century rose garden and two excellent restaurants, this classic English hotel is hard to beat.

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Call now to book 02039930411