I’m not one for routine, aside from putting my left sock on first, but there are some places that just draw you back again and again and one of those is Hawarden Estate Farm Shop.
The Farm Shop lies on the outskirts of the village of Hawarden in Flintshire. A stone’s throw from the A55, the main route from the North West to North Wales, it’s a perfect spot to stop and stretch the legs and pick up some supplies for your trip.
With a range of goods sourced locally and further afield, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have gone from picking up a few bits to suddenly looking for a basket before you drop the pile you’re adding to.
If you recognise some of the design features in the shop it’s because it’s owned by the same folks that are behind Portobello based general store Pedlars.
If you’re looking for some campfire beers then Hawarden Farm Shop is ideal as they work with all-round good guys Beerbods to hand select their roster of craft ales and cider.
A stop in the cafe is a must too. Or the deli. Or the butchers, as they provide some incredible dishes and local produce. As they say themselves, ‘Local is good, provenance is key.’
The menu is extensive so you’ll be scratching your head whether the choose the steak with kimchi and eggs, the pulled lamb shoulder burger, Farmland Platter or my favourite, the black pudding and pork brunch burger with smoked mushroom relish.
The outside area that surrounds the farm shop is perfect for stretching legs or letting the kids run wild before heading onward. There’s a grand wooden castle and a playground and over 25 acres of fields, orchards and woodland to wander about in and explore. They even have a Nature Trail with two types of questionnaire – a scavenger hunt for under 6’s and another for older children.
Hawarden Farm Shop prides itself on promoting outdoor living, especially for kids, and they have a brilliant programme of seasonal events throughout the year.
The adults aren’t forgotten either as there are trail running sessions and their ‘river supper club’ with wild ingredients being cooked over fire as well as their Talking Tables sessions of free talks, workshops, demonstrations and tastings by ‘makers, doers and thinkers.’
Every September sees the estate host their own Good Life Experience Festival; an incredible event that we have gone to several times now.
You can expect axe throwing, foraging, campfire cooking sessions, beer classes by Beerbods, talks by explorers, a free 1930s fairground, tree climbing, poetry and wild swimming to name but a few.
And, if you’re still standing after all that, there will be music from Norman Jay, Bill Ryder-Jones and countless others at night. A tip : make sure you visit the secret Bourbon shack hidden in the woods.
In the past I’ve made a tote bag in the Albam tent with one of their makers and had a model of Ned the dog made by lovely Jim Parkyn who was an animator for Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run. The festival is geared equally for adults and kids and there aren’t many festivals that really do that.
They’ve offered 10% off for you lovely lot if you use HUW10 at the checkout. Hopefully we’ll see some of you there on the 14th-16 of September.
Watch the film here :
To see the line up and buy a ticket, click here
Read our other recommendations of where to eat here.