The best UK food festivals taking place in summer 2018

Alice Sholl
·Contributor
Meatopia is one for meat lovers (the clue is in the name) [Photo: Meatopia]
Meatopia is one for meat lovers (the clue is in the name) [Photo: Meatopia]

Ask your colleagues what festivals they’ll be attending this summer, and the assumption is that you’re referring to music festivals.

Music festivals are a must attend if you can’t think of anything better than spending your August listening to tunes covered in glitter and mud, but they’re far from the only option.

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

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).

15 – 16 September 2018, Sefton Park, Liverpool.

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

What a day! #IsleofWight #GarlicFestival

A post shared by Isle of Wight Garlic Festival (@iowgarlicfestival) on Jul 19, 2016 at 12:47pm PDT

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.

18-19 August, Sandown, Isle of Wight.

Foodies Festival

Why not go to multiple editions? [Photo: Foodies Festival]
Why not go to multiple editions? [Photo: Foodies Festival]

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.

From May until November 2018 in various locations.

North East Chilli Festival

Fat hippo. #chillifestival #fathippo #foodporn #northeastchillifestival

A post shared by Liam Bonham (@lbonham10) on Jun 30, 2017 at 12:34pm PDT

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.

13 -15 July 2018, Blyth, Northumberland.

Meatopia

Meatopia will take place in London’s Tobacco Dock [Photo: Meatopia]
Meatopia will take place in London’s Tobacco Dock [Photo: Meatopia]

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.

31 August – 2 September 2018, Tobacco Dock, London

Jam on Rye festival

Jam on Rye is a must if you’re a Caribbean food fan [Photo: Jam on Rye]
Jam on Rye is a must if you’re a Caribbean food fan [Photo: Jam on Rye]

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.

28 May 2018, Peckham Rye, London.

The Great British Food Festival

Definitely one of the more sophisticated options [Photo: The Great British Food Festival]
Definitely one of the more sophisticated options [Photo: 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.

From May until September 2018 in various locations.

The Big Feastival

You won’t get to do this at your average music festival [Photo: The Big Feastival]
You won’t get to do this at your average music festival [Photo: 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.

24 – 26 August 2018, Alex James’ Farm, The Cotswolds.

Falmouth Oyster Festival

A very good excuse to visit the coast too [Photo: Falmouth Oyster Festival]
A very good excuse to visit the coast too [Photo: 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.

11 – 14 October 2018, Falmouth, Cornwall.

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