A Guide To Dining at Glyndebourne

By Ellie Smith

1 month ago

Foodie highlights from the famed opera festival


Glyndebourne’s annual opera festival returns for its 2024 season from 15 May – 25 August, offering a programme of world-class opera throughout the summer months. But what to eat and drink while you enjoy the performances? Read on for the C&TH guide to dining at Glyndebourne.

Glyndebourne 2024: Food & Drink Highlights

Famously, all shows at Glyndebourne have a 90-minute long interval, which means no rushing to grab a quick drink: guests have plenty of time to enjoy the fine dining restaurants, picnic offerings and bars on-site. The gardens open two hours before shows begin too, so you can choose to dine ahead of the performance if you prefer. Here are some of the options on offer.

Glyndebourne Opera

Image courtesy of Glyndebourne. Photography: James Bellorini

Restaurants

Mildmay

Head to Mildmay for traditional British fare amid a relaxed environment, with dishes designed to showcase the bountiful produce of Sussex and the South Coast. Tuck into a three-course menu of traditional British fare, such as Sussex asparagus with sunflower seed mayonnaise, low carbon farmed beef with chateau potato, and potted South Coast crab with smoked halibut and heritage beetroot.

Mildmay Tea Rooms

Ahead of the performance, Mildmay Tea Rooms offers afternoon tea complete with a mix of sweet and savoury treats. Tuck into finger sandwiches filled with the likes of Burford brown egg and chive mayonnaise, treacle glazed ham, and cucumber and dill cream cheese. Follow with scones with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam, alongside pastries like banoffee choux, fruit tart, and chocolate and orange gateau – with the option to add a glass of Lanson champagne.

Food at Nether Wallop restaurant at Glyndebourne

Nether Wallop

This environmentally-friendly restaurant reopened its doors in 2022, offering an array of seasonal dishes designed to celebrate plants. In a bid to keep food waste low, diners are offered flexible menus: on the day, they select a main (meat, fish or veggie), which will then be served alongside a selection of starters and sharing sides. Across Glyndebourne, restaurant teams are looking into ways of repurposing everyday ingredients found across the site: at Nether Wallop, fruit and vegetable peelings are used in desserts and petits fours. Your meal could include the likes of chilled cucumber and dill soup, ahead of mains of sustainably farmed lamb with garden mint, with a dessert of Sussex goat’s cheese, roasted plums and lavender honey.

Middle and Over Wallop

The most elevated dining experience at Glyndebourne is Middle and Over Wallop, which is spearheaded this year by chef Steve Groves. Decorated with Swarovski chandeliers and props from previous productions, it serves as the culinary epicentre of the festival, with dishes inspired by French cuisine. The initial menu includes starters of citrus cured South Coast mackerel with dill, and cashew parfait with preserved rhubarb, ahead of mains of halibut with shellfish toast and saffron potatoes, and Cumbrian lamb with caponata. For dessert, choose between dishes like Sussex strawberry Swiss roll with Earl Grey ice cream, and coffee mousse with milk ice cream and marshmallow.

Nether Wallop restaurant at Glyndebourne

Picnics

Those keen to dine al fresco can choose to picnic in the idyllic gardens while soaking up the views of the Sussex Downs. You can either opt for one of Glyndebourne’s pre-prepared picnic hampers, which are set up alongside tables and chairs, or bring your own supplies. If you’re bringing your own, you can book one of the covered picnic tables to ensure shade from the sun or shelter from the rain. Guests can also opt to bring their own picnic furniture, which the front of house team will help set up – though note that gazebos are not allowed.

Drinks

Before, during and after the show you can enjoy drinks from the Long Bar, which serves a mix of wine, beers and spirits. Bolney Wine Estate is this year’s partner, and the sparkling wine producer will have a special bar on-site.

Find out more and book at glyndebourne.com