The Alde Valley Spring Festival

244 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

May, 2016

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

From late April to late May the almost hidden village of Great Glemham hosts one of the most delightful arts events imaginable.

Jason Gathorne-Hardy is not only a well-known artist but also a countryside steward at his farm. Each year artists from Maggi Hambling RA to local craftspeople making chairs in traditional style with a contemporary twist, potters and basket makers present their work in the spring festival he organises at White House Farm. There are gourmet food and musical evenings as well. The food is locally grown organic fruit and vegetables with meat from Kenton Farm. In the farmhouse there are home made cakes, lunches and drinks, also of a high standard.

We came upon it last year by chance and almost missed it this year because the signs on the roadside were very small. Leaving the A12 between Marlesford and Farnham is entering an almost different world. No heavy vehicles, caravans or racers-to-the-sea: a country lane leads to a junction near the church, where a sign directs you along an even smaller lane. Even there it’s easy to mistake the entrance.

Once found, the way in offers a field for parking so reasonable weather is essential if you don’t want the wheels to sink into mud. We were lucky this year as last and took the path in past the house. As it was not long since lunch we skipped refreshments and went into the first of several barns that house the exhibition.

There is constant activity around the barns, in the yard and on the edge of fields. Trees are being hewn into suitable sizes for sculpture; old farm implements and withies await reclamation and use. A film of mid-twentieth century farm work and workers is being shown. On certain days there are school activities available as well.

Sculpture ranges from table-top items to life-size and above. Maggi Hambling, who opened the festival this year and was due to give a talk one evening, also had work from twice A4 size to monumental breaking wave paintings such as she showed at the National Gallery last year. Several of the artists and potters also have work in the gallery at Snape Maltings, a few miles away, so anyone who misses the festival can see them there.

In keeping with the spirit of the festival there are countryside books, ranging from the work of mid-twentieth century Harry Becker to David Gentleman’s recent and lovely portrait of a year in his home village not far off.

Visitors have a chance to see people at work in open studios and to take a walk to the river Alde or to see the rare breed animals on the farm. There is a play area for children so silver travellers can bring grandchildren or be part of a three-generation visit. Nothing is hurried: as the film demonstrates, this is life as it was once lived. A check on the map even showed us we could return home without once meeting A12 traffic.


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.