JEREMY Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm Shop has enjoyed a summer of long queues and rave reviews with fans travelling far and wide to visit the Chipping Norton site.
Having opened in 2020, its website describes it as ‘the best farm shop in the world’. It has been hugely popular with watchers of Amazon’s hit programme, Clarkson’s Farm, which documents the former Top Gear host’s new career in agriculture.
But it appears to have lost some of its charm – or at least that’s what I thought when I paid a visit over the weekend.
When I first checked out the Chadlington farm shop back in September, the car park was overflowing, the sun was shining and people had turned out in their hundreds to buy the wares of Clarkson and his partner Lisa Hogan.
It was the opposite story on Saturday. The day was gloomy, the sun was barely peeking out of the clouds and the car park had plenty of spaces.
Yet despite the visibly smaller crowds, there was still an hour’s wait to get into the now-famous shop. Though this appeared to be more down to their technology crashing, causing delays with payments, rather than overflowing footfall.
The main building shares the space with a barn and a food truck where you can get a bite to eat and a drink while you’re waiting.
My boyfriend and I ordered a coffee at the bar and unlike our first visit, where we took one look at the two-and-a-half-hour queue and turned around, there was plenty of room to find somewhere to sit down.
Boosted by our refreshments, we were then ready to brave the queue which, despite the smaller number of people, was starting to grow longer.
Inside the small shop around an hour later, it was full. By the entrance there was a notice reading, ‘three households at a time’. But judging by the various groups inside and the lack of distance between those queuing, I wasn’t sure how this was working in practice.
I found the items they had on offer a little disappointing. There wasn’t much variety.
Clarkson has previously said that he will only be selling seasonal products, and even though pumpkins are very much seasonal, it looked like people were mainly there to buy souvenirs.
In the end, we settled on some spicy sausages, a loaf of bread and three pies which came to a total of £30.
We managed to pay eventually after a hiccup with the farm shop’s wifi going down which added more time onto the queues.
Outside, there was a pop-up shop selling farm shop merchandise. For Clarkson fans, this appeared to be the main draw. They seemed very happy to queue for an hour plus to buy a farm shop memento to mark the occasion with.
I must confess I ended up being one of them – picking up a souvenir t-shirt for a colleague priced at £21. Other items available were bucket hats, aprons and bottle openers.
If you don’t mind standing in a queue for over an hour, then perhaps it’s worth it.