From Cornwall to Cardigan Bay, this summer promises to bring some sizzling hot food festivals. With music, marquees and Michelin chefs on the menu, tickets are sure to sell like hot cakes
Food Festival 26-28 May
The magnificent Blenheim Palace is an idyllic setting for a bank holiday weekend foodies paradise. With over 150 exhibitors, fascinating masterclasses with food and drink experts (including Raymond Blanc OBE and Great British Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo) and engaging demonstrations held within the stunning grounds of the palace. Fantastic British Food Festivals organise food festivals in other fabulous locations across the UK too including at Stonor Park in Henley-on-Thames on Father’s Day weekend (17-18 June), Wimbledon Park (25-27 August), Surrey Hills (8-9 September), The London Riverside Festival (28-30 September) and Castle Howard near York (5-7 October).
Taste Of London, 13th to 17th June
The capital’s ultimate culinary celebration will bring a delectably fresh line-up of the world’s best chefs, exciting restaurants, unique culinary experiences and the best gourmet producers to Regent’s Park this summer. Food lovers will be spoilt for choice at Taste of London with 40 of London’s most exciting restaurants popping up in the park over the five days. Restaurants making their Taste of London debut include the Portuguese sensation Bar Douro, Mexican taqueria El Pastor, West African Ikoyi, Mexican taco restaurant Breddos Tacos, and Amalfi-inspired Italian Sorella. At The Fire Pit, a stellar line-up of chefs will demonstrate their skill in unlocking incredible flavours over fire. Visitors are in for a treat on the Opening Night of the festival as open flame cooking vanguard Niklas Ekstedt (Ekstedt, Sweden) is set to co-host the feature alongside festival favourite DJ BBQ. The impressive restaurant line-up includes Japanese inspired London mainstay ROKA, Anglo-Indian showstopper Kricket, inventive Brixton favourites Salon, Michelin-starred Club Gascon and Duddell’s, whose sensational Cantonese and dim sum dishes earned their Hong Kong original a Michelin star. If all of that is enough to tempt you then you can buy tickets online now (from £17) at london.tastefestivals.com
Big Feastival, 24th to 26th August
There’s no place more quintessentially British than the glorious Cotswolds so there could be no better location for a food festival than Alex James’s Farm near Chipping Norton. Take the whole family this August to experience the ultimate feel-good festival with a combination of top class food and a smashing line up of live music. Expect to hear music from the likes of Paloma Faith, Clean Bandit and Craig David, as well as food from none other than Raymond Blanc, Marco Pierre White and many more. As well as plenty of food and drink there’s more for the family to get involved in, from a big top to tree climbing and the vintage fairground. As for the food, expect some delicious street food, lots of cookery school workshops to get involved in and the popular fire pit – for marshmallow roasting and spit. Day tickets cost from £64, camping tickets for the weekend are also available starting at £179 for an adult. See uk.thebigfeastival.com
Smoked & Uncut June & July
The annual Smoked & Uncut festival is more glamour than grunge, and you can expect a line-up of handpicked classic and contemporary music artists as well as homemade street food, local ales and plenty of cocktails. The glamorous foodie’s festival, it’s famed for its large family-style pop-up restaurant ‘Feasts’ which see some of the country’s best chefs cook up a storm for sold-out communal Feasting tables. This year’s chefs include Angela Hartnett, Sophie Mitchell, Lee Tiernan and Neil Borthwick. The festival will hit four locations in 2018: Brockenhurst at The Pig on June 16th, The Pig Near Bath on June 30th, the glorious Lime Wood hotel near Lyndhurst on July 14th, and The Pig at Combe on July 28th. Tickets are £37 for adults and £20 for children aged six to 14. Book your tickets online at www.smokedanduncut.com
Fork to Fork, 16th June
Bringing together some of the UK’s most talented chefs, Fork to Fork festival at ARK Franklin Primary (NW6) was set up in 2015 to raise money for an Open Air classroom project to teach children how to succeed in work and life. Expect to wash down delicious meals with some of London’s finest craft beer, artisan wines and spirits. The current restaurant line-up includes London’s 1 Lombard The Ledbury, Bone Daddies, Caravan Coffee Roasters, Lily Vanilli and more. Every restaurant offers their delicious signature dish and their time for free to support the open-air classroom project. Tickets cost just £10 for adults, £2.50 for children aged five to 12 and those under five go free. You can also donate a little more to the cause at time of booking. Visit franklinforktofork.com
Foodies festival, Oxford 25-27 August
Over the bank holiday weekend, held in Oxford South Parks, the Foodies Festival sees Great British Bake Off Stars baking live in The Cake & Desserts Theatre. Michelin starred Chefs, Great British Menu Winners, MasterChef Champions and top local chefs will be cooking their signature recipes in the Stoves Chefs Theatre. Plus Great British Bake Off Winner Sophie Faldo will be baking live, while headline acts Dodgy and Toploader will be playing live.
There are several Foodies Festivals across the UK this summer, including in Brighton, Bristol and London in May, Birmingham in June, Tatton Park, Cheshire in July, and a festival in Edinburgh also in August. Adult tickets cost from £24, (children £5) while VIP tickets, to include a glass of bubbly on arrival, access to the VIP area, goody bag, priority entry to theatre and masterclass sessions and refreshments cost £44. foodiesfestival.com
Pub in the Park: On Tour
Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park is back for 2018, but this year it’s going on tour to bring wonderful food, drink and music to different spots around the country. Showcasing world-famous chefs, pubs and restaurants as well as a stellar music line-up, it’s no wonder that last year’s event sold out in less than 24 hours! Dust off your dancing shoes for Mel C, Razorlight, Gabrielle Aplin, Toploader, KT Tunstall and more – the best way to burn off all the delicious food on offer. Pub in the Park will be hitting Tunbridge Wells from 6th to 8th July with chefs Daniel Clifford, Jodie Kidd, Atul Kochhar and Phil Ainsworth (among others) and Knutsford from 7th to 9th September. Chefs at the Knutsford include Angela Hartnett, Will Altherton and Candice Brown. Of course, Tom will be at each location himself too. Tickets cost £164 for adults for all weekend sessions and £88 for children. Visit www.pubintheparkuk.com
Falmouth Oyster Festival, 11th to 14 October
Falmouth’s Events Square will again play host to one of Cornwall’s biggest and best loved specialist food festivals, Falmouth Oyster Festival, for the 22nd year. The annual festivities celebrate the start of the oyster dredging season, the native Fal Oyster and the diversity of Cornish seafood, with four days of feasting, cooking demos, live music, food and craft stalls. Daily cookery demonstrations are held during the festival by top chefs and food experts from Cornwall’s hotels and restaurants, inspiring visitors to try their hand at unusual and exciting seafood combinations and indulge in the tastes of native oysters, wines, ales and local produce. The programme includes live music, Cornish food produce, arts and crafts, real ale and wine bars, oyster and seafood bars, Working Boat race, Grand Oyster Parade, shucking competition and a Grand Oyster Draw. No need for tickets to this one, entry is free. Take a look at www.falmouthoysterfestival.co.uk
Hampshire Food Festival 1st to 31st July
Wander through vines, meet the buffalo, explore the lavender fields, tour breweries and get hands on in the kitchen. All this and more is happening across the county as part of July’s month-long Hampshire Food Festival organised by local food group, Hampshire Fare.The award-winning Hampshire Food Festival is now in its 18th year. Popular with residents and visitors to the county, the month-long festival is a chance to explore what goes on behind the scenes to grow, rear and serve some of the county’s tastiest produce. Hampshire Food Festival includes the Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival being held at Raimes Vineyard on Sunday 22nd July, 12pm to 4.30pm. Lyburn Farm Tours will be offering tours of their farm with a cheese supper in the barn afterwards on various dates during the festival. The Lavender Fields near Alton will be running open days with tractor rides and cream teas. Broughton Buffalo will be opening the farm gates on 7th July when visitors can meet the animals and tuck into a buffalo burger.
Details of all events will be available at www.hampshirefare.co.uk
Abergavenny Food Festival 15th to 16th September
In Wales, the Abergavenny Food Festival has been taking place for the last 20 years. During its time, visitors have been able to meet TV chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Darina Allen and Tom Kerridge. As well as top speakers, there are also markets to peruse, parties after hours, entertainment for kids, farmyards animals, chef demos, tours and forages, talks and debates, as well as tasting workshops and masterclasses. This festival favourite has earned itself a reputation as one of the best food events in the country. It’s become a haven for chefs and food lovers, as the largest and longest running food festival in Wales. Weekend wristbands are just £14 and are available online at www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com
The Taste of Shetland Festival 5th to 7th October
This year’s Taste of Shetland Festival takes place at the Clickimin Leisure Complex and the big announcement for this year is that Gary Maclean, MasterChef: The Professionals Champion 2016 and Scotland’s first ever National Chef will be attending. A huge fan of Shetland and a passionate advocate for cooking fresh, nutritious and locally sourced food, Gary will be demonstrating his inspirational culinary skills. Gary won’t be the only attraction, visitors can browse the wide range of food and drink stalls from local producers, be the first to try new products launched at the festival, and have some of Shetland’s finest ingredients cooked to order in our hot food section. The Food Theatre has a wide range of demonstrations from leading cooks and chefs running throughout the weekend, and the Heritage Area shows why Shetland has such a special relationship with food and drink with exhibitions and live sessions. The climax of the weekend is the live final of the Taste of Shetland Cooking Challenge, when the judges’ crown who they believe is Shetland’s best amateur cook. Tickets weren’t on sale as we went to print, but keep an eye on the website at www.tasteofshetland.com
Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival July 8th
Another of the country’s longest running food festivals is at Cardigan Bay. This one was established by a group of local fishermen in 1997 to show what fish were available locally and how fish can be prepared. It aimed at demystifying fish and shellfish and increase demand of such a local product that was increasingly rarely sampled in the homes of local people.At the annual festival visitors get a chance to watch chefs prepare local fish and sample dishes that they can then attempt at home. Local lobster, crab, mackerel, mullet, seabass and much more are cooked in all different styles. The festival gives visitors a chance to get up close with some of the finest chefs Wales has to offer, which last year included Michelin starred chefs Bryan Webb of Tyddyn Llan, Gareth Ward of Ynyshir Hall and Hywel Jones of Lucknum Park. Find out who else is on this year’s line up online at www.aberaeronfishfest.com
Three of the best island festivals:
• Taste of Scilly Festival 2018 – 1-30 September
A month-long celebration tucking into low-food miles,
slow-food culture of the famously unspoilt archipelago.
• Alderney’s Food & Drink Festival – July
Dozens of food and drink events and offers will be served up as part of the 11-day extravaganza and Alderney’s fabulous beef, pork, seafood and creamy dairy dishes are the main event.
• The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival – 18-19 August
Set against a beautiful backdrop of rolling green hills and farmland. Its the islands biggest summer show.
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