ALRESFORD’s Watercress Festival returns on Sunday, May 15, after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic.

The ‘Capital of Watercress’ will once again be welcoming watercress fans from around the world to celebrate the start of the UK watercress season in its traditional, gloriously bonkers way.

Join the fun in the pretty Georgian market town, Alresford, which back in its Victorian heyday was the centre of the watercress industry.

Testament to this fact is the Watercress Line vintage steam railway that today ferries visitors from Alresford to Alton along the tracks that transported the fresh watercress in wicker crates to the fresh produce markets of London and from there around the country.

Visitors to the festival can arrive in Alresford on the train to enjoy what the day has to offer. It begins with the newly-crowned King and Queen of Watercress parading through the town dispensing freshly-harvested watercress to the crowds.

Cookery demonstrations by local and celebrity chefs show the versatility of this original superfood, and speakers will explain its enviable health credentials.

Meanwhile, shopping urges for delicious artisanal foods and quirky crafts can be satisfied by visiting the many stalls lining the two main streets, all accompanied to music from local bands playing on stage.

Naturally, watercress itself will be available in abundance with free bags of watercress on offer at The Watercress Company stand, as well as samples of delicious and healthy watercress smoothie, or watercress pesto.

If after all that you find your taste buds well and truly piqued by this peppery leaf, why not enter the World Watercress Eating Championships?

Pit yourself against the long-standing incumbent champion Glenn Walsh who in 2019 successfully ate an 85g bag of watercress in 41.6 seconds. With two years off, he may at last be beatable!

There is no charge to attend the festival although there are parking fees and the organisers do urge visitors to give a donation to the Abby’s Heroes, a children’s cancer charity, in exchange for free watercress. For more information about the festival or parking information, visit