UK food festivals are a chance to explore a myriad of food stalls, watch cookery demonstrations, eat from the chef’s table, meet local producers of food and drink and food writers and let your kid’s loose in cookery classes. The UK food festivals have something for everyone. Here are our top picks:
Port Eliot 28-31 July 2016, Cornwall
Port Eliot House and its magnificent estate creates a unique UK festival. Aside from the food and cooking demonstrations in the Big Kitchen, you can swim in the estuary, picnic under the trees, rock out at the Park Stage and canoe on the river. This year’s line-up includes Russell Norman, Nathan Outlaw, Sally Clarke and Claire Ptak.
Wilderness 4-7 August 2016, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
One of the UK festivals that raised the food bar. Book ahead for long-table banquets hosted by Skye Gyngell and Raymond Blanc, or feast at the chef’s table with Tomos Parry, Lee Westcott and Robin Gill, Hix, Moro and Petersham Nurseries. A drop-in dining room has food from top London restaurants. Burn off the calories with wild swimming, boating, dancing and late-night parties in the woods.
Great British Beer Festival, 9-13 August 2016, London
Around the world in 800 beers at Olympia in West London, one of the greatest of the UK festivals for beer welcomes you to ‘the biggest pub in the world’. There are tutored tastings and other educational experiences scheduled.
The Big Feastival 26-28 August 2016, Oxfordshire
Jamie Oliver and Alex James’ annual Cotswolds celebration has Jamie, Tom Kerridge, Raymond Blanc and Nadiya Hussain giving demonstrations. It’s a great UK festival choice for families, with a kids’ demo kitchen, appearances from CBeebies A-listers including Mr Tumble, and big-name music stars including Mark Ronson, Tinie Tempah.
Loch Lomond Food Festival 3-4 September 2016
One of Scotland’s best festivals, with stalls selling food & drink including local venison, smoked mussels, oatcakes, ciders and ribeye sandwiches. There’s a haggis-eating contest, foraging and bushcraft sessions and whiskey tastings. Loch Lomond is free to attend.
Abergavenny Food Festival 17-18 September 2016
Home to one of the UK’s best-loved food festivals with producer stalls and a craft brewery festival with an emphasis on Welsh beers. One of the festival’s annual highlights is its evening parties, held in the open-air at Abergavenny Castle, with live music and street-food stalls.
Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival 24-25 September 2016
Held at pretty Snape Maltings on the banks of the River Alde near the Suffolk coast, this is one of the UK’s best-loved food festivals for all the family, Aldeburgh celebrates and promotes the abundance of local Suffolk produce. It also aims to reconnect people with the countryside and the food it provides.
Vegfest 22-23 October 2016, London
Vegfest also takes place in Brighton (February), Bristol (May) and Glasgow (December). These vegan festivals feature live DJs and sound systems in the evening. By day explore dozens of food stalls and watch cookery demonstrations for making vegan cheese, nut milks, cocktails and kale chips. There are also kids’ cookery classes and talks on nutrition and vegan lifestyles.
MasterChef Live 11-13 November 2016
Budding chefs can apply to cook their signature dish for MasterChef presenters John Torrode and Gregg Wallace. There will also be a demonstration by James Martin and Antonio Carluccio, and the chance to sample food from the menus at London’s best restaurants.
Padstow Christmas Festival, 1-4 December 2016
Watch Rick Stein, Mitch Tonks and Angela Hartnett cook up a storm, explore the market and take part in Santa’s fun run. Don’t miss the amazing fireworks display