Watercress Festival

FREE food festival in the streets of Alresford

Home » Events in 2017

21st May 2017

This nationally acclaimed festival draws together the local community and food lovers from far and wide for a FREE day of food and fun to celebrate our local watercress!

The street cavalcade gets things going at 10.30, led by the renowned Sussex Jazz Kings with Morris dancers and Sun Hill Infant and Junior school children accompanying the Watercress King and Queen atop a horse and cart, distributing the first of the season’s watercress harvest to festival goers.

Alresford’s very own restaurants, pubs, butchers, tearooms, cafés, wine merchants and market traders are proud to showcase their products to festival goers as the entire length of Broad Street becomes a massive food market, with a huge fifty stall Hampshire Farmers’ Market providing the highest quality ‘local food for local people’.

In West Street and Station Road you will find arts, crafts, jewellery, home and garden gifts and much else besides. In East Street there are activities for children of all ages, including circus skills workshops, face painting, ‘magic’ roundabout, Spider Mountain and the petting farm. Music is also high on the agenda, with jazz, blues, ukuleles, brass and rock, performed on the main stage and in St Johns church. There will be falconry demonstrations throughout the day at the end of East Street and of course the delights of the many street entertainers - keep a watch out for all-girl Mayflower Morris and the Dorset Buttons Rapper with their swords!

Please Note: The Watercress Festival is not organised by the Mid Hants Railway; it is an independent event taking place in the streets of New Alresford. To find out more, please visit the Festival website or pick up a copy of the free programme on the day. To contact the festival organisers please email essburg@btinternet.com  

The Watercress Festival is operating a park and ride service from Ropley to Alresford and back for festival goers. From the parking field next to Ropley station* visitors can either take a FREE ride on the Watercress Line or, during peak times, a FREE luxury coach ride into Alresford. 

Click here to view our train timetable


We will also be operating a diesel shuttle between Alresford and Ropley station only for festivalgoers. In addition there is a free coach service by road from Ropley in to Alresford, which may become directed transport at peak times. Therefore festivalgoers are not guaranteed travel on the steam trains. 

'Free Festival Travel' tickets will be issued at Ropley car park and will be required for travel to and from the festival on both the trains and coaches. 

*Ropley is a designated Festival Car Park and the charge of £5 per car will apply.  Please note that the Ropley car park is not suitable for disabled festival goers, please see Disabled Parking directions on the festival website.

If you wish to combine your visit to the Festival with a ride on one of our steam trains along the full length of our 10 mile line, you can do so by purchasing a ticket in advance, or from the Ticket Office at our stations on the day.  Standard fares apply allowing unlimited travel on the day of your visit. 


Booking with vTicket