Learning by Being There: How to Catch & Cook a Fish, Bibury Trout Farm

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

On our three month tour of the UK, one of the activities we planned was a day trip to Bibury Trout Farm in the Cotswolds. I'm a vegetarian and I don't eat fish, but it sounded like an absolute must-see place and a unique experience as a family to enjoy, for many different reasons. I wasn't wrong.

It's a working Trout Farm set in stunning surroundings located in the picturesque village of Bibury. You can walk in and pay the entrance fee, grab a 60p bag of fish food and stroll around, feeding the fish as you go, marvelling as they jump out of the water. Fun for children and adults alike. But we decided to make a complete experience of it and hired a BBQ pitch for the day, which means you can catch and cook your own fish all in one day.

The BBQ pitch we chose was not under cover and we were lucky that we caught the weather on a good day. It cost us £50 for the whole day to hire the BBQ pitch and a further £18 as a family of four to enter. The farm provides the BBQ coals, firelighters and matches but you will need to bring your own utensils. If you want a Gazebo it will set you back a little more.

We took our classroom with us for the day, choosing fish and nature related activities to learn about as we sat beside the lake filled with Trout and ducks. There's lots of wildlife about too so plenty of opportunities to learn whilst enjoying the stunning surroundings. There's also a children's park to enjoy and an on-site cafe and shop. We enjoyed our learning activities, the park and a lovely walk around before we began any fishing.

Doing activities, playing on the park and simply relaxing by the water passed an hour or so before we enjoyed our packed lunch and then decided to try the Trout fishing. The fishing itself doesn't take place at your pitch, there's a dedicated area for it and children are welcome to have a go. The staff will ask you to watch a safety presentation video before you begin and then will give you the bucket, rod, bait and priest.

If you're squeamish or your children are likely to get upset by seeing the fish killed, keep them away from this part of the day. The Trout that you catch has to be killed and paid for (charged by the lb), you are not allowed to throw your catch back in. To kill them, you must use the priest (a wooden mallet) to hit the fish over the head. This isn't something I could do, or even watch for that matter, but I did think it was a useful skill for the children to learn if they wanted to.

Most of us have probably taken our children to forest school at some point, encouraging them to learn survival skills like starting a fire. So what if they were stuck in the wilderness without food? Catching and killing the trout showed them how they might need to do it in the wild. It kind of goes against my own beliefs and ideals being a vegetarian but at the same time I felt it was an experience that had it's place in our educational journey.

Catching the fish is easy, there is so many of them! It still requires a little patience of course, but if you like fishing generally, or your children have always wanted to try it, this is a great opportunity to ensure your rod won't be left dangling emptily. My tip here would be to only catch what you want to pay for. We decided to only catch two fish, myself and my eldest child wouldn't eat it anyway but we had family coming to see us that weekend and we thought it would be good to cook for dinner with them one evening. Two would be just enough for us.

After you've caught your fish you can gut them or pay 50p per fish for a gutting service. We didn't have the stomach to gut them ourselves so paid for the service. It was something the children could watch and learn about. The man who gutted the fish took out one of their hearts and showed us how it still pumps even after the fish has died!

After our fishing experience we left our belongings (anything not valuable) at our pitch and headed off into the gorgeous village of Bibury. It's an absolute must see, there's even a National Trust street lined with the most charming houses that are still lived in today. If you fancy a refreshing drink, there's a lovely pub right in the heart of the village too.

After stopping off for an ice-cream before heading back to the Trout Farm, we taught the children how to safely start a BBQ using the coals and equipment given to us. Another brilliant educational experience! We had bought burgers, buns, salad and sauces with us and enjoyed a BBQ right by the water, with our fresh catch wrapped up for us to take home and enjoy another day.

This is a great day out and lots of fun if you can bring more people with you. You can have up to twelve people at a BBQ pitch which easily makes the experience a lot cheaper on the pocket. I personally can't wait to go back with more family. There's toddlers who will enjoy feeding the fish, playing on the park and generally having fun. Adults who will enjoy fishing and those that won't will drink in the atmosphere beside the water. There really is something for everyone, including the lovely village of Bibury.

If you want to take a look at the BBQ options click the link here.

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