Fungi Festival at Emmetts Garden
The Fungi Festival is back 6-29 October 2023, inspired by the array of weird and wonderful fungi found at Emmetts Garden. Explore unique mushroom wares at the Fungi Fair, take a deeper dive with expert talks on the power of fungi and join in the fungi fun during half term.
Friday 6 – Sunday 29 October
Fungi have long been associated with magic, myth, and legend. But fantasy aside, our native fungi are something quite unique and special. Falling between the gaps in the plant world, fungi are a species in their own right and have ingenious ways of communicating with each other. The role they play in our ecosystem is also significant, breaking down dead matter, capturing carbon and providing a food source for many creatures.
The Fungi Festival is inspired by the incredible array of specimens found at Emmetts Garden. The damp woodland provides ideal conditions for fungi including the distinctive red and white spotted fly agaric, stinkhorn, shaggy parasols and fairy’s bonnet. Taking place over three weeks in October, the festival celebrates all things fungi through art, crafts, film, talks, workshops, food and even a dedicated Fungi Fair.
Normal admission applies, additional charges and booking are required for workshops and talks.
Friday 6 – Sunday 8 October
The festival kicks off with a three-day market on the opening weekend where makers and craftspeople will be selling unique products, all themed around fungi. An alternative craft fair not to be missed, the Fungi Fair offers everything from jewellery and prints to wooden sculpture and ceramics.
Workshops and exhibitions
Throughout the month, learn about the different fungi found at Emmetts in our More than a Mushroom exhibition, listen to Shroom Soundscapes in the South Garden and watch fungi films in our micro cinema at Stable Cottage.
Artists and filmmakers are inspired by the incredible mushroom in this selection of films for the Fungi Festival 2023. Through artists moving image, documentaries and animation, mushrooms come to life and form an important part of our ecosystem and history.
The Boat (2021) Directed by David Robinson and Bryan Michael Mills
This Entangled Land (2021) Directed by Annabel Howland
The Oracle (2020) Directed by Diana Policarpo
Enoki & the Kind Kreature (2022) Directed by Madilyn Chandler
Take a deeper dive into the fascinating world of fungi with our exciting programme of talks delivered by fungi experts from across the UK and covering everything from mushroom medicine to fungi horror. Explore the history and purpose of the mushrooms that live in our gardens and woodland as well as the power of fungi and its role in our future.
Friday 13 October
- What are Fungi Really? by the London Fungus Network
- Fighting Honey Fungus: How a Garden with Honey Fungus Can Still Thrive by Ignacio Silva de la Iglesia, Head Gardener at Emmetts Garden and Dr Jassy Drakulic, a researcher and communicator specialising in fungi
Saturday 14 October
- Charismatic Megafunga by conservation mycologist, David Satori
- Finding Fungi in Film and TV by film and tv critic, Ashanti Omkar
- The Power of Mycelium in Product Design by Dr Ninela Ivanova, Innovation Fellow at London's Royal College of Art
Sunday 15 October
Fungi spotted at Emmetts should not be picked or eaten; they are often poisonous and form a vital part of the woodland ecosystem.
Saturday 21 – Sunday 29 October
The Fungi Festival is full of family-friendly fun, with events every weekend and a whole week of activities for October half term. Explore the garden, spot giant willow mushrooms and learn about the different fungi found at Emmetts.
The new wild play area is the perfect place to let off some steam. Kids will love the new climbing frame, play net and fairy ring of wooden toadstools and adults can recharge in the nearby tearoom.
Half term activities:
Woodland Adventure with Kent Wildlife Trust (ages 5-8)
Free drop-in Mushroom Crafts with the Nature Makers
Forest Adventure with Kent Wildlife Trust (ages 8-12)
Artist-led Woodland Bunting Workshops
Toadstool Craft Workshops with the Nature Makers
- Graffiti Workshop
Spectacularly Spooky Fungi Finale
Sunday 29 October
To end a month of celebrating the humble mushroom, join us for a wonderfully spooky final day of the Fungi Festival. Register your pooch in our Halloween doggy costume competition 2-3pm and carve a pumpkin.
Food and drink
When you’re ready for refreshment, wood-fired pizza is available on the meadow at weekends. The Old Stables Tea Room will be serving hot and cold drinks, soup, sandwiches and other light snacks. Look out for The Art of Mycelium fungi art exhibition in the tea room.
Autumn is a spectacular time of year to visit Emmetts Garden. Enjoy the crunching of golden leaves underfoot and take in the changing of colours of the landscape and fantastic views out over the Weald of Kent. The leaves of the winged spindle tree and the Japanese maples turn fiery red and the katsura tree gives off an amazing aroma of burnt sugar or candyfloss.