Britain has some of the best food in the world and more than a hundred food festivals across the country, all celebrating home-grown produce and outstanding international and local specialties. The festival season generally begins at the start of spring and concludes in the fall so if you’re planning a vacation to Britain, make sure you don’t miss out!
Here are eleven mouth-watering food festivals that will make your taste buds quiver with excitement.
If you’re planning a summer trip to the capital, make sure you head to Taste of London to experience the biggest and longest running food festival in London. The festival is held every year and consists of five days of non-stop feasting, indulging and savoring delicious cuisines from the world’s leading food and drink brands. Sample signature dishes from London’s best restaurants, watch live demonstrations from Michelin star chefs or immerse yourself in a cooking masterclass. There are over 200 artisan food and drink stalls to explore where you can sample and shop the UK’s best wine, cheese, charcuterie and more.
Located in London’s Regent’s Park, it’s easily accessible by tube on the Bakerloo line. Tickets start from £17 with a variety of packages to choose from including standard entry and VIP passes.
When? 19-23 June
Pub grub is a British staple and this unique festival is taking some of the best pubs on tour across the country. Hosted by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, Pub in the Park brings all the best aspects of a traditional English pub to the festival circuit; expect live music, craft beers and incredible food.
Pub in the Park will be stopping at several locations in southern England over the next few months, giving you plenty of opportunity to experience this unique festival first hand. Tickets for Warwick, Tunbridge Wells, Chiswick and St Albans are all available now.
When? 5-7 July (Warwick), 12-14 July (Tunbridge Wells), 6-8 September (Chiswick House) and 13-15 September (St Albans)
Brighten up your trip by attending the much loved Foodies Festival to celebrate all things food and drink. Travelling across Britain throughout the year, this jam-packed three-day event has top headline performers providing live entertainment throughout the day. A huge line-up of world-class chefs giving live demonstrations and offering expert cooking advice, and with over 30 street food stalls to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Learn how to decorate cakes, make chocolate or explore the world of kombucha. Let loose and take part in the cream pie throwing games or challenge yourself to a chilli eating competition (not for the faint-hearted).
Foodies Festival is happening soon in both Oxford and Tatton Park (just south of Manchester) this year, so be sure to stop by on a trip through the country to treat your tastebuds.
When? 12-14 July (Tatton Park) and 24-26 August (Oxford)
Seafood lovers will want to head down to Kent in the summer to experience the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival. Step back in time and watch the first catch of the season brought to shore in this historic landing of the oyster’s ceremony. If you’re up for a challenge sign up to the oyster eating competition where you’ll be challenged to consume six oysters and half a pint in the quickest time. Warning – strong stomachs only for this one! If you’re not an oyster fan, don’t let that put you off as the oyster festival serves exceptional street food and refreshing beers all day from a variety of food stalls.
Whitstable is roughly a 1-hour 45-minute drive from London via the M2 or a 1-hour 30-minute train journey from London Bridge.
When? 27-29 July
Calling all beer lovers! Your prayers have been answered with Britain’s biggest beer festival. The Great British Beer Festival takes places every year in Olympia London, uniting beer enthusiasts from around the world. Choose from a selection of over 900 craft beers, real ales, ciders, perries, wine and gin to get your taste buds going. Join one of the tutored tasting sessions where you’ll learn how to identify the notes and flavors inside beer, you’ll become a beer connoisseur in no time. If beer isn’t your thing, don’t let that stop you as you can explore the diverse range of food stalls offering delicious street food. There’s also a host of live entertainment including rock/pop bands, traditional pub games and Saturday’s big pub quiz.
Located at Olympia London in Hammersmith, it’s easily accessible by tube on the District line. Tickets start from £11 and extra sessions can be added on.
When? 6-10 August
Add a little spice to your life this year and head to the annual Chilli Fiesta in West Dean Gardens. Chilli lovers from across the globe unite at this unique festival to celebrate all things spicy. You’ll get up close and personal with over 300 chillies from around the world including some of the world’s deadliest such as the ghost chili, the hot naga jolokia pepper and the California death pepper. As well as chillies you’ll get a chance to sample sauces, salsas, chutneys and unconventional dishes such as chilli ice-cream, chilli chocolate, and even chilli candy floss! Once your mouth has cooled down you can join the salsa lessons.
West Dean Gardens is roughly a 1-hour 50-minute drive from London via the A3 or a 2-hour 45-minute train journey from London’s Victoria Station. Tickets costs £14.40 for adults and £2 for children.
When? 9-11 August
There’s no such thing as garlic breath at the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival, as garlic lovers from across the globe unite to celebrate this pungent ingredient. You’ll find all things garlic here: ice-cream, popcorn, fudge, biscuits, sweetcorn, mushrooms and more. Even Britain’s most powerful garlic is produced here and ready to be sampled. Garlic is not the only item on the menu; there will be live entertainment from a variety of musical acts including Britain’s number one ABBA tribute act; a variety of children’s entertainment; and a larger than life fun-fair with rides suitable for all family members. Head to the beer tent to enjoy a cold refreshing ale or, if you prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, check out the tea tent for an unforgettable afternoon tea experience.
The festival takes place just outside of Newchurch, which is roughly a 3-hour 30-minute drive from London via the Portsmouth – Fishbourne ferry. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children.
When? 17-18 August
Organised and hosted by Blur guitarist Alex James and hit TV chef Jamie Oliver, the Big Feastival brings chart-topping music and world-class chefs together in the scenic Cotswolds for a family-friendly celebration of both worlds. See live acts like Elbow, Jess Glynne and Lewis Capaldi on the main stage while feasting on delicious street food from around the world. There’s even special events for passionate foodies, including a cheese-tasting session with Alex James himself! Plus, master all manner of culinary skills in the NEFF Skillery to improve your own dishes at home.
When? 23-25 August
If you’re adventurous when it comes to food, Abergavenny Food Festival is ideal for you. From learning how to cook over a fire to sampling the freshest Welsh produce, there’s plenty to discover across the two days. Pick up a festival wristband and you can enjoy free access to all of the festival’s main events, featuring special workshops with local chefs and exclusive tasting sessions.
In the evening, stick around for one of the festival’s legendary parties at Abergavenny Castle. With live music and plenty of local booze, it’s always a night to remember.
When? 21-22 September
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, don’t worry because we haven’t left you out. VegfestUK London is one of the longest running vegan festivals in Britain and is now in its 16th consecutive year. Returning to Olympia London in October, the two-day festival will showcase more than 200 stalls offering cooking demonstrations, educational talks, plus live entertainment including comedy, magicians and live music. You'll even find special wellness activities like yoga and qigong; an ideal way to work off all the vegan snacks you'll be consuming.
When? 26-27 October
Head south to the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink for a spectacular food experience amid picturesque landscapes. Held in the beautiful courtyard of Exeter Castle and Northernhay Gardens every year, this 3-day event will leave you wanting more! Check out the festival cookery theater to enhance your culinary skills, or head to the West Country Bakery to watch live demonstrations from top chefs. Kids can enjoy a fun day of learning at the festival’s very own cookery school, where they’ll experience cooking classes, planting, sowing and story-telling. The festival also offers a huge line-up of live music from local musicians and bands, including the Exeter Beats Festival, which consists of 3 nights of non-stop live music from top performers.
Exeter is roughly a 3-hour 30-minute drive from London via the M4 or a 2-hour 30-minute train journey from London’s Paddington Station. Ticket prices start from £10 for adults with a variety of packages to choose from including standard entry and VIP passes.
When? 2020 dates TBC