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Britain's best summer food festivals

Britain's best summer food festivals 2019

by Great British Chefs 03 June 2019

Food festivals are wonderful things, offering an excellent alternative to summer fêtes for those with more culinary inclinations. There are festivals of all varieties being held across the UK this summer, and this list details just some of the celebrations taking place around the country between June and August.

When the sun is shining, we all just want to get outside and enjoy the beautiful British outdoors, preferably with a delicious ice cream or burger in one hand and a cold beverage in the other. As a nation we're rediscovering a love and appreciation for good food, and over the summer months there are fantastic food festivals all over the country that bring the best of British food and drink to our respective doorsteps.

Food festivals aren't just about the food, though. These festivals are celebrations of summer, with music and live entertainment, demonstrations and talks and loads of activities for the kids too. Fancy a feast with a difference this summer? Check out some of the best festivals happening around the country!

Taste of London (19-23 June)

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London's biggest food festival invites hundreds of the best restaurants and chefs from across the city to lay on an incredible four days of food for lucky punters. The likes of James Cochran, Andrew Wong and Dominique Ansel will be hosting Q&A sessions as well as demonstrations, and there's a rare chance to experience the cooking of Kobus van der Merwe – head chef at 2019 World Restaurant of the Year, Wolfgat in Paternoster, South Africa.

Taste of London

Essex Festival of Food and Drink (13-14 July)

A weekend celebrating the area’s local heroes – both human and edible – this Braintree-based festival boasts chef demonstrations from GBBO's Candice Brown, Rosemary Shrager and Lee Bye from Tuddenham Mill, along with street food, produce stalls, children’s cooking classes and wine and beer tasting sessions. With an emphasis on small, local producers of artisan ingredients it will no doubt be difficult to resist bringing a few samples home – for research purposes, of course. Tickets can be bought online (£8) or on the door (£10), with cheaper tickets available for concessions.

Essex Festival of Food and Drink

Big Cheese Festival – 26-28 July

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The Big Cheese in Caerphilly has been expanded and revamped for 2019, with an influx of new food vendors arriving at the festival, as well as a host of live cookery demonstrations and three massive new food halls. Despite this, the core of the festival is in the cheese – producers come from all over the country to take part in the festival’s huge cheese market, and headline billing goes to the cheese race, where teams in fancy dress race to carry a cheese around the grounds of Caerphilly Castle. Don’t miss the spectacular fireworks display either!

Big Cheese Festival

Whitstable Oyster Festival (27-29 July)

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Whitstable is famed for its native oysters, but because the festival takes place during breeding season, you won't actually see any Whitstable oysters on the menu. Still, festival goers by no means go hungry – there's a plentiful supply of rock oysters available along with the dozens of bars, food stalls and street food stands lining the harbour. With camping, outdoor screenings and numerous free music and arts events taking place across the town, there is no better place to get out and about this summer.

Whitstable Oyster Festival

Wilderness Festival (1–4 August)

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Wilderness has grown at a seriously rapid pace since it started nine years ago. Boasting five different music stages and a four-day itinerary of incredible dining experiences, the event turns a Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire into one of the most exciting places to be this summer. With chefs such as Tom Aikens, James Knappett, Tom Brown, James Cochran and Angela Hartnett cooking one-off meals for guests (plus a huge number of street food stalls from some of the best hawkers in the country), it's a must-visit for anyone into their food.

Wilderness Festival

Great British Beer Festival (6-10 August)

The Great British Beer Festival is the biggest beer festival in the country – four days of tastings, demonstrations, delicious street food and entertainment from a variety of live acts and performers. This is not just a festival for the beer connoisseur though; there are plenty of tasting workshops for beer beginners and professionals alike, from a run-through of this year's Beer of Britain nominees to starter guides on tasting and brewing your own tipples at home.

Great British Beer Festival

Clitheroe Food Festival (10 August)

The Clitheroe Food Festival, a celebration of all things Lancashire, describes itself as ‘a street buffet of food and drink’. With producers from all over the county represented in the line-up of stalls, visitors can enjoy samples, demonstrations and talks from the surrounding area’s leading experts – think Goosnargh poultry and proper Lancashire black pudding. Access to the market is free, while tickets for the numerous talks, demonstrations and cooking workshops for children vary in price and can be purchased online.

Clitheroe Food Festival

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival (17-18 August)

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Leave your tic tacs at home and embrace the heady flavour of garlic, as Newchurch celebrates some of its fine locally grown produce. Food and beer tents provide high quality, locally made refreshments, while a large marquee caters specifically to the superb range of garlic products available. Along with the usual garlic oils and chutneys there are some more unusual items to be had, from garlic beer to ice cream and fudge. Cooking demonstrations, music and a range of family entertainment will be on offer.

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

The Big Feastival (23-25 August)

Alex James – once the bassist for Blur – has more recently made his name as a cheesemaker and host of The Big Feastival – a festival in the heart of the Cotswolds that mixes big-name music acts and big-name chefs. With the likes of Rudimental, Elbow and Jess Glynne headlining the music stages, Raymond Blanc, Prue Leith, Daniel Clifford, Tom Brown and Chantelle Nicholson hosting cooking demonstrations, and bags more activities to keep the kids entertained, this is a perfect way to spend your August Bank Holiday weekend.

The Big Feastival

Hampton Court Palace Food Festival (24-26 August)

Set in the stunning grounds of Hampton Court, this food festival is host to a wide range of live entertainment, from live music and performances to interviews, talks and demonstrations from a number of popular chefs including Nadiya Hussain and Michel Roux Jr. If an artisan picnic sounds like more your cup of tea then you’re in luck, as a wide range of street food and artisan produce will be available to buy – just don’t forget your blanket! With the festival coinciding with the August Bank Holiday weekend there’s no excuse not to get down to Hampton Court and join in the fun. Entry to the festival itself is free, but tickets must be purchased for the palace grounds.

Hampton Court Palace Food Festival

Meatopia (30 August–1 September)

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Now over ten years old, Meatopia is the leading light of meat festivals, especially now that Grillstock is no longer running. The Meatopia team are very particular about who cooks at the festival; they like to curate an all-star cast of chefs from around the world and this year is no exception, with Selin Kiazim, Tom Brown, Nieves Barragan-Mohacho and award-winning barbecue chef Bryan Furman of B's Cracklin in Atlanta all coming to Tobacco Dock at the end of August.

Meatopia

Pub in the Park (various dates)

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Tom Kerridge's Pub in the Park has gone from strength to strength since it first launched in 2017. Tom is heavily involved in every single festival (there are multiple over the course of the summer) and his presence attracts a star-studded line up of chefs, including the likes of Angela Hartnett, Tommy Banks, James Martin, Josh Eggleton and Michael Wignall. The live music is of equal quality – Tom Odell, Texas, Razorlight and Basement Jaxx are all appearing on various weekends – and this is a rare chance to taste some of the best food from the UK's best gastropubs. Visit the festival at Knutsford, Cheshire (7–9 June); Bath (21–23 June); Warwick (5–7 July) and Tunbridge Wells (12–14 July) this summer, with further dates stretching into September.

Pub in the Park

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Britain's best summer food festivals 2019

 
 

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