Alresford Watercress Festival

Sunday May 19th 2024 10.00am – 16.00pm

£29.00 per head includes return coach travel, driver gratuity and coach parking at the festival.

Nationally acclaimed Annual festival attracting thousands of visitors to New Alresford in Hampshire to celebrate all things watercress

Every year on the third Sunday in May the streets of this Georgian town are closed to traffic to transform the town into a family-friendly FREE festival.  (*parking charges apply).  

From street markets, food & drink stalls, cookery demonstrations with renown world class chefs, the Hampshire Farmers Market, a “Kids Zone” featuring Falcon Displays and Circus Skills, there really is something for everyone. For many the highlight of the day is Watercress Eating Championship which takes place at 15:00 on the main stage – a must see event hosted by our very own redoubtable Paul Rees keeping the participants in order and the crowd in stitches.

The festival opens at 10:00 and closes at 16:00, with the streets of New Alresford being returned to normal within a few hours.

below is the 2023 itinerary to give you an idea of what may be on.

2023 saw the sun shining and the streets full of visitors and locals alike.  Cookery demonstrations, BBQ workshops, Charity collections, A Watercress King & Queen, Hampshire Farmers Markets, Trader stalls, Plenty to eat and drink and an attempt at a World Record!  

This is what happened in a day! 

In the streets

  • 10.00 am A horse drawn Carriage and festival cavalcade, with Morris sides, musicians and hundreds of local children. 
  • 10.30 am Mark Hix undertakes “Barters Best” judging – the best use of watercress as a key ingredient

Main Stage in Broad Street 

  • 10.30 am to 11.00am Alresford Ukulele Jam our very own local Ukulele Band
  • 11.15am to 11.25am Sun Hill Juniors Song and Dance
  • 11.30am to 11.50am   Sussex Jazz Kings – classic jazz tunes
  • 12.00pm to 12.50pm   Pete Harris Quartet South Coast 
  • 1.00 pm to 1.50pm   Sussex Jazz Kings – classic jazz tunes
  • 2.00 pm to 2.40pm   TUTO Marcondes & BrazUKas  Rio Carnival style performers   
  • 2.50 pm to 3pm   Watercress Awards – presentations
  • 3.00pm   World Watercress Eating Championships – sign up from 2.30pm

St. John’s Church

  • 10.30 am   Sun Hill Infants Song and Dance
  • 12 noon Godalming Brass  
  • 1.00pm Mega Ukulele Jam singalong with Alresford Ukulele Jam
  • 3.00 pm Winchester Rock Choir   

Cookery Stage

  • 10.00am  Davina Tibbetts and Tom Amery 
  • 10.30am Charlie Jeffreys, MasterChef Professionals 2022 Runner Up 
  • 11.30 Andy Mackenzie & Phil Yeomans of Lainston House, Exclusive Hotels
  • 12.30 Mark Hix MBE  Renowned chef, food writer & restaurateur
  • 13.30 Lesley Waters of Ready Steady Cook and This Morning 
  • 14.30 Yvonne Hamlett from The Tichbourne Arms 

Alresford Watercress Festival is a not-for-profit enterprise raising money for many local groups and charities.

Up until 2019 The Joe Glover Trust was our festival charity, however, when they closed their doors and handed the funds over to ABBY’S HEROES, the Watercress Festival Committee were delighted to continue supporting them. 

Sadly this amazing charity missed out on the chance to “shake the bucket” in 2020 and 2021, and was pretty much rained off in 2022 so we were delighted to see the team in force in May 2023.  They will be back with their purple tops and bags of watercress on Sunday 19th May 2024. Please come along and donate to them. 

Abby’s Heroes, a local Hampshire based children’s cancer charity, exists because when a child is diagnosed with cancer, it has a massive financial impact as often parents need to give up work or take unpaid leave to care for their sick child. To assist, Abby’s Heroes supports families by providing grants to help relieve the financial crisis parents find themselves facing as a result of their child’s diagnosis. These grants can be for a host of reasons such as rent or mortgage payments, household bills and other everyday living costs while the child is in hospital, additional travel costs to hospital or sadly help towards funeral costs.

You will be helping us help a child, or their family as day to day life doesn’t stop with a cancer diagnosis. Sadly, in the UK, one child in 500 will develop some form of cancer by the age of 14 years and treatment can be required for months, and more often years. For further information, please go to

Alresford Watercress Festival Booking Form Below