The Alde Valley Spring Festival 2018 
A four week celebration of the arts, food, farming & landscape

Dates : Sat 21st April – Sun 20th May
Opening Times : 10am – 6pm Weeekends; Tues – Fri + Bank Holiday Mondays
Venue : White House Farm, Great Glemham, Suffolk IP17 1LS

For All Enquiries : / 01728 663 531

About the Spring Festival

The Alde Valley Spring Festival was created in 2011 through the merger of The Alde Valley Food Adventures and The Easter Retreat Exhibition. It celebrates the coming together of food, farming, landscape and the arts in a working farmed environment at White House Farm, Great Glemham in the beautiful Upper Alde Valley of East Suffolk - just a few miles from the Suffolk Coast.

White House Farm and The Spring Festival also support a growing Residency Programme for the creative arts, spanning drawing, painting, sculpture, writing, music, food and R&D projects. They have links to a sister project in Malaysian Borneo [Pesta Nukenen dan Kebudayaan Kelabit], the Cill Rialaig project in Kerry, Eire and support The Song of the Howgills residency project in the Howgill Fells of Cumbria.

The farm is open for 4 weeks in April and May for the Alde Valley Spring Festival programme. The main events for the 2018 Programme are listed below and explained in more detail on other pages in the website. Entry to the farm for the Festival Exhibition, Open Studios, Pop Up Tea Rooms, a Harry Becker Archive Exhibition, Festival Shop and Farm Nature Walks is free. Entrance to Farm Suppers, Festival Talks and The Big Spring Picnic is by ticket only.

With good pubs and many excellent places for DIY Food Adventures in the area, many wonderful Places to Stay and the beautiful Suffolk Coast nearby, The Alde Valley Spring Festival celebrates the things that make this part of East Suffolk so extraordinary – its food, farming, landscape and arts heritage. Do come and join in ! Families and children are welcome – come by foot, bike or car-share

[Please don’t bring pet dogs – the farm is a working sheep farm with livestock in the pastures.]

With very best wishes for 2018,

Jason Gathorne-Hardy [Festival Director & Curator]
White House Farm, 6th March 2018

Main Events for Spring Festival 2018

The Spring Festival Exhibition : CLAUDIUS ~ Suffolk’s Roman Emperor
A Celebration of Portraiture, Life Drawing & the Figure in the Landscape.

Open 10am – 6pm daily from 21st Apr – 20th May except non-Bank Holiday Mondays – Free Entry

The 2018 Spring Festival Exhibition takes inspiration from the bronze head of Emperor Claudius found in the River Alde in 1907 at Rendham village, two miles upstream of White House Farm. It is regarded as one of England’s earliest examples of portraiture. The Exhibition explores portraiture and the representation of the figure in sculpture, drawing, prints, paintings and photography –Sculpture ranges from classical portraits and studies in bronze, plaster and steel to more personal interpretations of the figure and the figure in the landscape made in bronze and wood. From a curatorial perspective, these works all flow from three monumental busts in plaster and bronze by Laurence Edwards – presented in the farm’s hay barn. Works on paper, board and canvas that depict the figure are heralded by a magnificent new self-portrait by Maggi Hambling. Implicit within the Festival Exhibition’s theme is the movement of people through the land. In Suffolk, this has included Paleolithic and Neolithic humans, Belgic Celts, Romans and Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans and more recently refugees seeking safety and new lives. A series of drawings by Gideon Summerfield and photographs by Enri Canaj touch upon this reality in the contemporary world.

Open Studios - Open 10am – 6pm weekends + Bank Holiday. Free Entry.

Meet local makers in Open Studios at the farm – including leatherwork / bag making, chair making, wood turning, letter carving, jewellery, knife making, tree surgery, drawing, wool work  and basketry.

Farm Suppers - Thurs evenings 7.30pm on 26th Apr, 3rd / 10th 17th May – £35.50 pp.

The Farm Suppers grew out of The Alde Valley Food Adventures. They introduce up to 30 guests to seasonal farmed and wild foods from East Suffolk, alongside some more exotic ingredients from abroad. Each Farm Supper presents a different three course menu devised and prepared by renowned Suffolk chef Peter Harrison. They are served in the farmhouse Dining Rooms by candlelight with woodstove lit. BYO beer / wine. Booking essential. Max 30 guests.

Festival Talks – 6.30pm : Sat 28th Apr, Fri 11th May, Sat 12th May - £15 pp.

Two in-conversation format talks explore different aspects of this year’s Spring Festival Exhibition. Sat 28th April : Maggi Hambling on Portraiture, Life Drawing & the Figure. Dri 11th May : Simon Loftus on Harry Becker and the Figure in the Landscape. On Sat 12th May we are also very honoured to welcome Charlotte Howarth to give a talk on the art of Letter Carving as part of a residency link with the Lettering Arts Trust. Booking essential. Max 50 guests.

Harry Becker Archive Exhibition - Open 10am – 6pm daily from 21st Apr – 20th May except non-Bank Holiday Mondays – Free Entry.

An archive exhibition about Harry Becker is on show in the Farmyard Classroom. A larger selling exhibition of works by Becker is being held in the main farmyard barns as part of the 2018 Spring Festival Exhibition[with thanks to Simon Loftus and Abbott & Holder]. The Festival Shop is also selling cards and limited edition reproductions of selected works by Harry Becker.

Other Events :

Pop Up Tea Rooms - Open 10am – 6pm weekends + Bank Holiday. Free Entry.

The farmhouse Dining Rooms double up as a gallery and pop up tea rooms for the 4 week Spring Festival. With beautiful paintings of birds and wildlife on show and for sale by Becky Munting and Meriel Ensom, the tea rooms serve Suffolk-roasted coffee, teas and herbal teas made with leaves and blossoms from the farm. Our home-grown rhubarb flap jacks are a speciality alongside other cakes and savoury vegetarian pastries prepared by Peter Harrison. New for 2018, we will also be serving our own Alde Valley Mutton and Wildwood Venison pies by Truly Traceable – made with mutton and venison from the farm.

Hedge Quarters 2018 - Writing and Makers’ Residencies

The farm’s Hedge Qaurters provide a home for rural writing residencies and maker’s residencies. For 2018 the Alde Valley Spring Festival and White House Farm continue to develop Writing at Great Glemham. This ongoing project supports rural writing at the farm. The project draws inspiration from the work of Ronald Blythe, George Ewart Evans, Hugh Barrett, HW Freeman and George Crabbe – all of whose work is deeply rooted in the Suffolk landscape. For Spring Festival 2018 we are delighted to welcome the following Writers and Makers in Residence : Chris Agee [Writer, poet, photographer and Editor of Irish Pages]; Otis Luxton [musical instrument and furniture maker, recipient of 2018 Spring Festival Mendlesham Chair Residency in association with The Suffol Chair Collection]; Mike Warner [seafood writer and Committee Member of the Guild of Food Writers].

Festival Shop - Open weekends & Bank Holiday Mondays from 21st Apr – 20th May 10am – 6pm.

A pop up Festival Shop is tucked into a barn next to the Farmyard Classroom. Lined with oak shelves made with timber from the farm, it sells a carefully selected range of handmade pottery, baskets, textiles, bags, bowls, cards, books, chopping boards, sheepskins + local juices, honey and jams.

The Big Spring Picnic – 12pm – 4pm, Sat 19th May. Booking necessary - £5 entry; U16s £3.

Come and join us for a celebration of local foods from the beautiful Alde Valley and Suffolk Coast. The Big Spring Picnic takes place on the Straits field, home to the farm’s 209m long oak picnic / dining table - the longest oak-topped dining table in Suffolk and possibly on the planet !

Farm Nature Walks - Open 10am – 6pm daily from 21st Apr – 20th May except non-Bank Holiday Mondays – Free Entry.

The Farm Nature Walks are private walks that are opened for visitors to use during the four week Spring Festival season. They include : the Woodland Nature Walk, the Bluebell Nature Walk, the Meadow Nature Walk and Children’s Play Area next to the farmhouse. The Walks introduce visitors to some of the different wildlife habitats on the farm. Guests are asked to keep to the waymarked routes and to walk quietly at all times – the farmed landscape is also a home to wildlife - the hedges, meadows and woodlands are their front rooms ! [Strictly no Dogs on Farm Nature Walks.]

For all enquiries please contact :

Note : Health, Hygiene & Safety

The farm has two farmyard toilets and additional portable toilets on site during the Alde Valley Spring Festival. There is wheelchair access to most barns in which the works of art are on show. There are First Aid points and at least one First Aider on site during opening hours.

Please note that monitored wifi CCTV is in operation on the farm drives and around the farmyards at all times for security and safety.

All children must be accompanied at all times whilst at the farm. Visitors are also responsible for their own safety and are kindly asked to keep to public access areas at all times. Visitors are requested please to not bring dogs to the farm or Festival events : White House Farm is a working sheep farm with livestock in the fields.

  • The Summer Exhibition :

    The Spirit of '48  +  Here and Now.
    Sat 9th June Sun 1st July Details>


  • Local Places to Stay :

    Good places to stay within 1 mile of the Festival and farm : Crown Cottages, Great Glemham; Stable Cottage, The Grove; Alde Garden, Sweffling Details>


  • Festival Exhibition opening times :

    Festival open every weekday except non-Bank Holiday Mondays. If you are coming in the middle of the day there are good local pubs in Great Glemham and Rendham.


  • Free Entry & Parking :

    Free parking and free entry to Festival Exhibition and Open Studios [@ weekends] – come by foot, bike or car share !

  • Harry Becker Exhibition :

    Archive Exhibition about Harry Becker in the Farmyard Classroom with works for sale in the barns.

  • The Festival Exhibition theme for 2018 : Claudius ~ Suffolk’s Roman Emperor!

    Celebration of portraiture, life drawing and the figure in the landscape

  • New works:

    New works by over 20 artists and makers in the Festival Exhibition.

  • Festival Talks:

    Festival Talks with Maggi Hambling, Simon Loftus and Charlotte Howarth.

  • Farm Suppers with Peter Harrison:

    Farm Suppers with Peter Harrison each Thursday evening in the farmhouse Dining Rooms from Thurs 26th April – 17th May. Book early to reserve places.


  •  Eat on the Wild Side :

    Cakes, pastries and pies made with foods from the farm’s market gardens, hedgerows, pastures and woodland. Served and on sale at weekends in Hedge Quarters’ Tea Rooms.


  •  NEW for 2018 :

    More pop up exhibition spaces in the barns for The Spring Festival Exhibition.

  •  NEW for 2018 :

    New Workshop Residency spaces – open at weekends from 21st April – 20th May.

  •  Spring Festival launches 21st April:

    The 2018 Alde Valley Spring Festival launches on Saturday 21st April and runs until Sunday 20th May – come and visit us !


  •  NEW for 2018:

    Open Studios showcasing some of the best makers in Suffolk and UK : leather work, letter carving, chair-making, knife-forging, jewellery, tile-making


Works for Sale

We have some wonderful works by artists that exhibit at the festival currently for sale. Details >
The Festival Shop

Stocking a range of unusual cards, books, walking sticks and other handmade items made on the farm & by local artisans. Details >
The Suffolk Chair Collection

The Collection of original early – mid nineteenth century Ball Backs has been set up as a design reference collection. Details >

Icon Painting in the Alde Valley

For more information....
Details >
Food Adventures

We have listed some of the Alde Valleys outstanding food businesses.
Places to Stay

The Alde Valley and East Suffolk are full of good homestays, holiday cottages, B&Bs and hotels.
email us - click here >

Solutions website design