Brodgale Cider Festival
This small but perfectly formed Brogdale Cider festival really packed a punch this bank holiday. Running on the 29th and 30th August, this really is a hidden gem of the festival calendar.
We visited on Sunday 30th August as part of my birthday celebrations and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
We caught the train to Faversham and the farm had put on shuttle buses which transferred us over to Brogdale.
On arrival it was quick and easy to enter the festival and everything was well signposted. We did a quick tour to work out where everything was and then decided to go and sample some ciders.
There were a number of cider stalls there, all offering samplings. We sampled a lot of different flavours, from the simple apple and pear varieties to much more unusual elderflower, toffee apple and a spiced ‘mulled wine’ cider. There was a lot to choose from.
Our favourites were –
Monk’s Delight by Biddenden Vineyards – this tasted half way between a cider and a mulled wine. It was delicious and I would have this not only in the summer but also in the winter, because of the mulled wine aspect.
Blackcurrant Spiced Dudda by Dudda’s Tun – this was a lightly sparkling cider flavoured with blackcurrant. It came bottled and was really yummy. One of the best fruit ciders there.
Strawberry Cider by The Kent Cider Company – this was a strawberry flavoured cider, made with local fruits. Not overly sweet, unlike a lot of strawberry ciders, which was very pleasing to the palate.
There was more to the festival than just cider. It was really family friendly. The kids had a lot of fun on the bouncy castle, there was giant jenga, chess, space hoppers and also the little train was running.
We went on an orchard tour by tractor. I didn’t quite realise how huge the farm is. There’s so many different types of fruit growing at Brogdale. It was impressive. A lot of the fruit was ripening, it being the end of August. One of the cider makers told me that they make the early cider with the discovery apples, as early as the first or second week in September, so we were there at prime time.
At lunchtime we decided to peruse the selection of outlets offering food. There was a good choice and it all looked delicious. Not just your typical burger and chip vans. There was a Thai stall offering Pad Thai and curries, a creperie, an Italian Bakery offering quiches, calzone style slices and delicious looking cakes and biscuits, hog roast, a toastie stall. We opted for the Mediterranean street food stall, The Devil’s Pantry. This was a good choice. We had a base of lettuce, carrot, peppers and red cabbage topped with little samplings of lamb kofte, chorizo, garlic chicken and halloumi. It was delicious.
There were also a number of craft and artisan food stalls at the festival. You could buy anything from a new outfit, to some delicious cheese, to some lovely crafty pieces. We didn’t get time to look through all the stalls or the onsite shop, but that’s more of an excuse to go back eh!
There were also a number of stages set up around the farm, where musicians would play to the visitors. They had set out hay bales in the main picnic field where you could sit and listen to the sets.
In the field, there were a number of other activities on offer. Welly wanging, which was hilarious as a few times I saw the wellies flying the wrong direction.
I had a go at the archery. I’ve done archery before so it wasn’t too alien to me. I did manage to get a couple of arrows near to the centre of the target and the girl instructing me was very pleasant.
All in all, this was a really fun day out. There was a lot to see and do and there was a nice balance between free activities and ones you had to pay for.
Brogdale Farm seems like a great place to visit, whether there’s a festival on or not. I quite like the idea of coming back and trying out the vintage tea rooms and having a browse through the crafty bits in the shop. There’s also a number of walks you can go out. Sounds pretty great eh!
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