The Cotswolds.

Famous for picture-postcard villages, historic market towns, honey toned stone, sweeping views and country pubs. Quintessential rural England.

Also, now famous for being home to Diddly Squat Farm shop and Jeremy Clarkson.

We’ve enjoyed watching Clarkson’s Farm, the two series TV show that documents Clarkson’s adventures in farming in the Cotswolds. So no visit to the area was going to be complete without a visit to Diddly Squat Farm Shop.

Things Helen Loves, woman in front of wooden sign with chicken logo, Diddly Squat Farm Shop in the Cotswolds

Question being, with reviews including comments about long queues, blunt staff and overpriced goods, was it going to live up to expectations?

Well, here’s a little rundown of how it went. Let’s see what you think.

There Were Queues

It’s true, there was pretty much always a line to get in and, once in, the shop is small. But there’s also a great atmosphere. People spend the time in line taking photographs and chatting. Also, vehicle watching. Diddly Squat is a destination and the Clarkson connection brings in all the motorists. Vintage cars, campervans, groups of bikers.

The place has a buzz, we decided to let a little wait be part of the experience.

Things Helen Loves, image of people queueing outside a wooden farm building and wooden barn. Diddly Squat Farm Shop

The Diddly Squat Farm Shop is Tiny

Small, but does the job.

I liked the little-ness of it. If it was much bigger, it would feel too corporate. It’s cosy, with a well curated collection of items of sale. The offerings range from Diddly Squat merchandise to locally produced goods- bread, flour, eggs, fruits and veggies. What’s on sale fresh food wise depends on what’s available.

The shop overall is more rustic and farm shoppy than I thought it might be. It felt friendly and inviting. Lots to catch the eye, an experience. And the staff were lovely, especially considering their day must be none stop from open to close.

And of course, there’s always ‘Cow Juice’ from the self service machine. From this day forth in our house, milk will always be known as Cow Juice.

Things Helen Lovves, close image of glass milk bottle with picture of a cow and 'DSF' for Diddly Squat Farm Shop.

You can buy- and I did buy- a reusable glass bottle at a spendy ยฃ6.10. I’ll use it again at our local farm, or stick some flowers in it or something. At that price, it’s going to earn its keep. Bringing me neatly to my next point.

It is A Bit Spendy, But

I’ve got mixed feelings on this one.

I knew the shop wouldn’t be cheap as I’d had a quick look online pre-visit. I wouldn’t say any of the merch is overpriced, really. It’s a bit of fun, novelty. If you’ve enjoyed the series, it’s nice to buy into the whole experience. Just don’t expect pocket money prices.

The other side of this, and one that the series has inspired me to think about, is the fact that we are used to not paying farmers a fair price for what they produce. So when the price for a jar of honey (bee juice) or packet of flour seems obscene, maybe we’ve just been used to underpaying. Food for thought?

We picked up a few bits- cow juice, coffee, some booze and a T shirt- and it wasn’t too eye watering. Say this though- even if you go in intending not to spend, you’ll get sucked in. I overheard a lot of people say they’d come ‘for a look’ leaving with bags.

It’s just that kind of place.

You Can- And Should- Try the Hawkstone

Because its a good drink with a solid local pedigree behind it.

Hawkstone is brewed at the local Cotswold Brewery, with malting barley grown by Diddly Squat farm. The brewery is run by Rick and Emma, who are passionate about excellent brewing and supporting local agriculture.

With investment from Jeremy, the bond between farmer and brewer was forged and an excellent range of drinks produced. Find out more here.

Big View & ‘Literally the Best hamburgers in the World’

The old farm building to the rear of the shop has been converted into Big View Cafe. So called because, well, the views across the farmland are magnificent. Big views indeed. The cafe space is informal and fun. Wooden benches, a concise menu, music, a bar and a cracking atmosphere.

Clarkson has made a pretty lofty claim about the burgers and in the interest of research, the three meat eaters in the family tested them out. The verdict? Thumbs up all round.

We also sampled the fries – skin on, hot, salty and delicious- and the strawberry cheesecake cup. The cheesecake was mine and I’ll put it this way: I’d do the two hour round trip drive for another one. It’s good thing Diddly Squat isn’t closer to home, I’d be cheerfully getting quite fat on a daily dose of dessert.

Price wise, Big View isn’t cheap. It’s at the higher end of the fast food price point. But the food is of a decent quality and cooked to order, the portion sizes generous and the whole experience feels good. Worth paying for. Expect to pay about ยฃ10 a main, ยฃ4/5 for a side or pud.

You Have To Do The Photos

At the entrance, at the sign. And at the back, on the Diddly Squat branded rock. Everyone does these pictures, it’s a thing.

To come here and not, it wouldn’t be right.

The Big Question….

Was it worth it?

Yes, I’d say resoundingly yes. We as a family have all enjoyed the show and are Clarkson fans. In a world that seems full of doom and gloom, Diddly Squat Farm Shop and a trip to Big View is a bit of cheerful escapism.

There’s a real heart behind all of the fun though, because I really believe Clarkson is fully committed to raising awareness about the challenges faced by British farmers and to supporting local producers and suppliers.

Diddly Squat is a micro experience. It won’t take all day. That’s alright though, there’s plenty of other things going on in the area. I’ll be posting about the bits we sampled, I’d love you to come back and read about them.

In the meantime, tell me: have you seen Clarkson’s Farm? Have you been to Diddly Squat? And most importantly, did you read any of this in the style of Clarkson himself ?

If you did, I salute you.

Helen x

29 thoughts

  1. Clarkson is one of those self-important, attention seeking types whom, together with his politics, I cordially loathe. So no, I won’t be going!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      This one not for you then, Margaret! There’s a bit of Clarkson-free Cotswold stuff coming up, come back for that.

      1. Indeed not! Glad we haven’t fallen out then. You, by the way are one of the blogs it’s becoming hard to comment on in the latest WP glitch. I have to log out, then in again …, as many people have to on mine.

      2. Indeed not! Glad we haven’t fallen out then. You, by the way are one of the blogs it’s becoming hard to comment on in the latest WP glitch. I have to log out, then in again …, as many people have to on mine.

      3. ThingsHelenLoves says:

        Thanks for letting me know, I’ll have a look at it it. Do you know why it’s glitching or the remedy? I’ve had issues using WordPress from the writing side the last few posts. I thought it was me, but maybe not then.

    2. Then why are you reading about this if you already have an opinion of him??

  2. Love Margaret’s forthright response, and I can see her point, but the name made me smile as I’m not familiar with the series or whatever is going on in Clarkson’s life. I continued to smile throughout the guide, and you look great. Happy hols!

  3. ThingsHelenLoves says:

    Thanks Jo, the holiday was much needed for all we didn’t venture far from home! I suspect Clarkson gets a forthright response from lots of people but it takes all sorts, as they say.

  4. Fantastic effort from the erstwhile Top Gear host; I just hope the farm setting serves to put a lid on Clarkson’s temper though.

  5. I loved reading your post and the shop sounds lovely, but so are many other farm shops. I’d rather support them because I feel Clarkson is in far less need of more cash from me than those other farmers must be. I’m with you totally when you say it’s quite likely farm shop goods seem pricey because we’re so used to underpaying, but I veer more towards Margaret when it comes to views on Clarkson. I don’t find him at all watchable so haven’t been near the series!

    On the other hand, those burgers and fries do sound tempting … No, on balance I’ll pass – again, I’m sure I can get good burgers elsewhere from someone who needs my custom more ๐Ÿค”

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Yeah, can’t really argue with that! It’s a tricky one as some of the goods sold are from smaller farms/ local producers but I’m sure there’s a pay off for him. What I do like is that Clarkson is using his platform to raise issues around farming and probably reaching viewers who wouldn’t usually give a thought. I guess with Diddly Squat, the Clarkson connection is either the draw of the repellent!

      I do prefer to buy direct from the supplier, budget permitting, and we are blessed with lots of open farms here in Wiltshire.

  6. thecuriousdig says:

    I need to visit before the end of summer! This has made me want to go, thanks.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Yes , do! It won;t be the same once the weather turns towards Autumn/ Winter. I hope you make it and have fun!

  7. I waited on Clarkson once in a restaurant when I was about 19, and he clicked his fingers at me and was a grade A ****. However, I do think the series really shone a light on how undervalued farmers are, and how hard they work for little to no return. I do think we underpay for goods, and for quality produce I don’t mind paying more and supporting local/UK farmers in comparison to the lower priced imports. I’d like to visit the shop though, and buy some bee juice as it’s my favourite.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      I know a few people who’ve encountered him in real life who’ve thought him rude. But I also know he went out to Afghanistan a lot without publicity when British troops were out there and he was great. Mr THL was more excited to meet Clarkson than Cheryl Cole!

      It’s awful when people in the public eye behave badly though. I worked in hospitality in Newcastle years ago and met a couple of famous Geordie actors who were known for their cheeky chappy on screen images and they were awful. So disappointing!

      Definitely give the shop a go if you’re in the area, everything we bought has been lovely ( just overlook the JC connection!)

  8. letsgoawandering says:

    I absolutely love these shops, the small handmade produce or farm shops…yes they are a bit of a hit on your wallet…but it’s local and fresh so I say yeah for my tummy…Clarkson now of him and watch sometimes but wouldn’t say a fan…

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      This seems to be the general thing- everyone loves a farm shop, Clarkson divides opinion haha! I do like a farm shop or farmers market, like you say pay a little more. But usually high quality and there’s a real feel good factor you don’t get at the supermarket.

  9. I’d heard about Clarkson’s farm shop but haven’t seen any of the television programmes. I’m not a huge fan of his but did think he was good on Who wants to be a Millionaire! I’d go there and take a look if I was passing now that you have brought it to my attention. Hope you are enjoying the bank holiday.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Marion, it’s been a lovely relaxed long weekend. Yes, I’d say the farm shop is a micro experience, it will fill a couple of hours at most. Worth dropping in if you’re in the area anyway, as good a place as any for coffee with a view!

  10. Not the biggest fan of Clarkson but agree that farmers are paid poorly by supermarkets, etc. Looks like a nice little place to visit.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      It was a fun afternoon out, especially as we have enjoyed watching Clarkson try his hand at farming. And yes, there’s a whole other issue of what the average farmer faces in terms of production/ prices. I think we’ve gotten too removed from the process… but that’s a whole other post!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.

  11. What a cool experience Helen, minus the queues. I find myself quite charmed by this, despite having not seen any of the series. As for the cost, I can only shake my head at the way the UK is going. Still, I love the atmosphere, the views and your burger and beer looked fantastic.

  12. This is completely new to me. I enjoyed the read, plus the pictures pose a great aesthetic, making me a bit curious. Anyway, I’ll take you up on calling milk, cow juice henceforth. Haha

  13. What a great farm shop! Worth crossing the pond for a cheesecake cup?

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Oh I think so… good desserts are worth travelling for!

  14. I was prepared not to like the show when I watched it, but guess what, I loved it! I would love to visit the shop if I’m ever in the area. Cow Juice all round!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      I was cynical when the husband started watching it, but it sucked me in! Clarkson and farming wasn’t an obvious combination, but it seems to work.

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