Rising out of the ancient woods at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, is the annual festivity that is Wilderness. Once a year, this midsummer Cotswold spectacle brings with it gourmet food and an ethos for well-being and mindfulness, as well as playing host to a variety of musical talent across its stages.
Over the years, Wilderness has become renowned for its uniquely boutique approach to the British festival. Far from your mud-slicked, burger van get-up, Wilderness has an English summer fete feel by day and comes alive at night with jazz bands, DJs and fairytale woodland creatures worthy of any folklore… For accommodation, think bell-tent, wagon and teepee camping, complete with hot showers, concierge and salon. Yes, hair-dryers and straighteners are provided.
Wake up early for a morning’s yoga class or meditation in The Sanctuary, head to a perfume-making workshop in the craft village, go foraging in the woods, settle in for a theatre production, or listen to one of the many speakers in The Forum on politics, style, or travel. This festival really is what you make of it.
The Lakeside Spa
Wood-fired tubs at the Wilderness lake. Relax with a glass of Champagne or take a dip in the water itself.
The festival hosts numerous feasts throughout the weekend which, this year, included a long-table banquet from Raymond Blanc, a clean-eating deli by food blogger Deliciously Ella, and the debut of Richmond-based Petersham Nurseries.
Sunday morning cricket
An annual fixture, the Sunday cricket match (this year team Brexit vs. Remain) is a morning of so-so sporting ability, witty commentary and the occasional streaker.
Secret Postal Service
Send a message to a fellow festival goer via the Wilderness Secret Postal Service. With even the briefest of descriptions, these savvy posties will sign, seal and deliver to your recipient…
For a more genteel afternoon, head to the boating lake where you can gently drift along the lake, oars in hand.
For details of next year’s event, visit www.wildernessfestival.com.
© All photography and views expressed in this blog are my own. For more information, and for details of my editorial policy, please see my blog disclaimer.