River Cottage

Park Farm, Trinity Hill Road, Axminster EX13 8TB

Synonymous with the foodie regeneration of Dorset, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage is much more than just a restaurant, indeed it’s a shrine to all things culinary, with seasonal events, cookery courses and bespoke and private days out. As well as offering weekend dining experiences, River Cottage runs a variety of food-related workshops and courses – breadmaking, cheese-making, bee-keeping, foraging, meat-curing and booze-making, among others. Their Friday to Sunday dining events start with a tractor trip down to the farm itself, followed by canapés, a talk with the chef and a set course meal. All the food is locally grown, caught or foraged, and the tables are communal, so you get a chance to chat with other enthusiasts. Saturday nights have live music, and, occasionally a visit from Hugh himself – though this is increasingly rare (you can check the dates of his visits on the website before booking). It’s not cheap, but it is fun and the atmosphere is usually great. And above all, it’s a good chance to sample wonderful food and local ingredients. The farm itself lies right on the border between Devon and Dorset, but it's just a couple of miles from Lyme Regis – one of the best places in the area to sample truly local Dorset fare.

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