Britain has some of the best food in the world that you don’t even know about, and our food festivals give you a taste of what we have to offer. Britain is home to more than 100 food festivals celebrating home-grown local 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 across the pond make sure you don’t miss out! Here are ten mouth-watering food festivals that will make your taste buds quiver with excitement.
©VisitBritain/Visit Devon/Neville Stannikk
Head down south to the Exeter Festival of 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 £8 ($11) for adults and £1 ($1.40) for children with a variety of packages to choose from including standard entry and VIP passes.
Brighten up your holiday by attending Brighton’s much loved Foodies Festival to celebrate all things food and drink. This jam-packed 3-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. 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).
Brighton is roughly a 1-hour 45-minute drive from London via the A23 or a 1-hour train journey from London’s Victoria Station. Ticket prices start from £18 ($25) for adults and £5 ($7) for children.
© VegFestUK Bristol
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, don’t worry because we haven’t left you out. VegfestUK Bristol is one of the longest running vegan festivals in Britain and is now in its 16th consecutive year. VegfestUK Bristol takes food festivals to another level with its brand new location at Ashton Gate stadium. Home of Bristol City Football and Rugby Club, the 27,000 capacity stadium will provide a significant make-over for the festival and allow room for even more entertainment. The 2-day festival will showcase more than 200 stalls offering cooking demonstrations, educational talks, plus live entertainment including comedy, magicians and live music.
Bristol is roughly a 2-hour 30-minute drive from London via the M4 or 3-hours 45-minutes on the train from London’s Paddington Station. Ticket prices start from £10 ($14) for adults and are free for children.
© Taste of London
If you’re travelling to the capital this summer, 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 ($24) with a variety of packages to choose from including standard entry and VIP passes.
© Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival
Another meat-free zone, the Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival celebrates all things vegan! You’ll find a large variety of stalls here offering vegan cupcakes, burgers, chocolates, ice-cream and even clothing and cosmetics. Unlike other festivals, this festival is 100% volunteer run and all the proceeds are donated to animal charities who help to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home vulnerable animals. This 2-day event is held every year in Leeds Town Hall and was even voted Britain’s favorite vegan festival. If you’re passionate about ethical shopping and giving back to the community, this is definitely one for you.
Leeds is roughly a 3-hour 30-minute drive from London via the M1 or a 2-hour 30-minute train journey from London’s Kings Cross Station. Tickets cost £5 ($7) for adults and are free for children.
© BBC Good Food Show Summer Birmingham
The ultimate day out for food lovers, the Good Food Show is held in Birmingham’s NEC arena every year. Watch your favourite celebrity chefs cook up a storm live on stage in the Big Kitchen. Get your favorite cookbook signed and even grab a quick selfie while you’re at it! Experience the ultimate chocolate masterclass with Lindt Excellence, a wine masterclass with the Good Food Wine Club or even a botanical gin masterclass for a highly spirited experience. Enjoy a delectable 3-course meal at the Good Food pop-up restaurant inspired by popular seasonal dishes from bbcgoodfood.com. This 4-day food festival has an impressive line-up each year with guests including Mary Berry and James Martin, a real treat for any food fanatic.
Birmingham is roughly a 2-hour 15-minute drive from London via the M1 or a 1-hour 30-minute train journey from London’s Euston Station. Ticket prices start from £20 ($28) for adults and £18 ($25) for children with a variety of packages to choose from including standard entry and VIP passes.
Seafood lovers will want to head down to Kent this 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 6 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.
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, 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 ($14) for adults and £5 ($7) for children.
© West Dean Gardens
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, chilli beer and much more. 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 ($20) for adults and £2 ($3) for children.
© Great British Beer Festival London
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 ($15) and extra sessions can be added on.