Ask your colleagues what festivals they’ll be attending this summer, and the assumption is that you’re referring to music festivals.
For the atmosphere of a festival, but the dining experience of a restaurant or food market, there are loads of brilliant food festivals preparing to open their doors in locations across the country this summer.
Perhaps you’re after a sophisticated, family-friendly dining experience or a street food feast with a brilliant soundtrack.
Either way, whether you hail from London, Northumberland or the Isle of Wight, these are the food festivals to book ASAP.
Liverpool Food & Drink Festival
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Best known for its music scene, Liverpool’s great food offering isn’t given enough credit. Each year both high profile and yet-to-be-discovered chefs gather at the beautiful Sefton Park to give live demonstrations and masterclasses, as attendees pick from a wide selection of pop-up food and drink stalls. (There’s a gin garden too).
Isle of Wight Garlic Festival
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If you fancy yourself a big garlic fan, put yourself to the to test at the Isle of Wight’s annual garlic festival. Not only will it star what it claims to be Britain’s most pungent garlic, but loads of cooking demonstrations, garlic treats and a funfair. It has a pretty lovely countryside backdrop too.
Fancy watching Michelin star chefs at work, picking from a selection of cookery workshops (including one for kids), and listening to live music when you’re simply too stuffed? From May, Foodies Festival is travelling to nine different locations across the UK including Edinburgh, Brighton and Birmingham.
North East Chilli Festival
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If the level of spice in takeaway curries always disappoints you, head over to the North East Chilli Festival. This year’s stalls will be serving up everything from pulled meats slathered in chilli sauce to spicy chocolate and chilli salted caramel. Oh, and there’s a chilli-eating contest, of course.
Meatopia isn’t recommended if you feel even a tiny bit weird about meat – we’re talking whole animals roasted on open flames, which you can wash down with a wide choice of craft beers. If you can stomach it, the rewards are delicious, and the meat is all ethically sourced.
Jam on Rye festival
For trendier food lovers, there’s London’s Jam on Rye festival. Listen to reggae and new wave jazz as you eat up Mexican, Caribbean and vegan treats. Also, it’s oh-so Instagrammable.
The Great British Food Festival
Taking place on the grounds of various gorgeous stately homes across the country, this event will have you brushing shoulders with GBBO stars, watching men vs food challenges and even joining foraging walks.
The Big Feastival
If you’ve ever cursed being born in this era because you missed out on feasts in the medieval times, The Big Feastival is offering us a second chance. It’s basically a big food party with street food, huge banquets and a rather impressive music line up.
Falmouth Oyster Festival
Forget slurping down oysters as a treat before your main. To celebrate the start of the oyster dredging season, Falmouth Oyster Festival hosts four days of feasting on the tasty molluscs. If that isn’t enough to sell the event to you alone, there are sea shanties, an oyster shucking competition and plenty of wine too.
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