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The best food festivals in the UK this summer


Food festivals are fast chasing music festivals as the must-visit events of the sunny season. Summer is, of course, all about eating outside - from packing everything up into tupperware boxes for a picnic, getting the barbeque on, or visiting a seafront fish and chip shop.

Which is why we love visiting a food festival to try something new, and soak up the atmosphere as hundreds of happy people tuck into some of the finest foodie talent in the country- hopefully all while the sun is shining.

From weekend-long events with celebrity chefs and camping like Jamie Oliver's Big Feastival or Ludlow Food Festival, to celebrations of local cuisine like the Manchester and Nottingham food festivals, or events centred around one particular food such as the Great Dorset Chilli Festival and the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival,we've rounded up the best events going on, stretching through the rest of the summer and into the autumn and it is almost guaranteed there will be something to suit all tastes.

Great Indian Food Feast

Hoxton, London, 24th and 25th July

This intimate event transports you away from the English streets to the Indian subcontinent, with spicy food aplenty. The secrets - and health benefits - of a good curry will be unveiled by Indian food experts including the Urban Rajah and you will probably never look at your local takeaway in the same way again.

Find out more at billetto.co.uk

Jimmy's Sausage and Beer Festival

Ipswich, 26th and 27th July

Jamie Oliver's best friend Jimmy Doherty regularly hosts events at his gourmet farm in Ipswich, but we're most excited about this Sausage and Beer festival. It does exactly what it says on the tin, with a huge farm-sourced barbeque, Bier Keller tent and live music. It's family friendly, too, with a Chipolata tent for little ones.

Find out more at jimmysfarm.com

Foodies Festival

London/Edinburgh/Cheshire/Oxford - various dates

The clue is in the name - Foodies Festival is a celebration of the best restaurants and luxury food brands in the UK. Touring around the country with an event in major cities throughout the summer, the festival includes live demonstrations, music and different tents for afternoon tea, beer and cider and a kids tent.

Find out more at foodiesfestival.com

The Great Dorset Chilli Festival

Wimborne St Giles, Dorset, 2nd and 3rd August

If hot food is your thing, test your stomach with this celebration of all things chilli. Spicy eating is certainly competitive, with a chilli-cook off contest as well as a chilli eating competition. There are also exhibitions of the best chilli flavoured chocolate, jam, cheese and stalls cooking every type of hot food you can imagine.

Find out more at greatdorsetchillifestival.com

Yum Festival

Hull, 7th - 9th August

Combining cooking demonstrations, food and drink tents with live music and events organised by local businesses, Hull's Yum festival promises to be a real celebration of the city - along with a fantastic backdrop against which you can spend the whole day chowing down.

Find out more at yumfestival.co.uk

Eat Out Festival

Newcastle, 8th - 17th August

Get into all things North Eastern with this celebration of the outdoors. From 'naked' feasts cooked outdoors to fishing and foraging events, you're encouraged to get back to nature and appreciate where your food really comes from. Microwave, eat your heart out.

Find out more at newcastlegateshead.com/eat-festival

The Great British Beer Festival

Olympia, London, 12th - 16th August

Craft beer has never been cooler, which makes this event, organised annually by the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) a big deal. Whether you're an ale addict or new to the taste, it will be easy to find something you like amongst the range of beers and ciders from around the UK and the rest of the world.

Find out more at tbbf.org.uk

Nottingham Food Festival

Nottingham, 16th and 17th August

With a food hall, drinks tent, art and crafts and music all centred around a central piazza in Wollaton Park in Nottingham, this festival is a gourmet's dream. There are quirky foods to try at the market stalls including ostrich burgers and crocodile, and a talk by Reggae Reggae Sauce founder Levi Roots on the Sunday.

Find out more at nottinghamfoodfestival.co.uk

Garlic Food Festival

Isle of Wight, 16th and 17th August

The Isle of Wight is a huge producer of garlic, and this festival is centered around that fact, with demonstrations on how to use the stinky stuff - but thankfully it's not exclusively garlic-based. Food producers from around the Isle of Wight will be exhibiting their wares, along with a beer tent, live music and other festival fun. Vampires won't be welcome though.

Find out more at garlic-festival.co.uk

The Big Feastival

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, 29th - 31st August

Jamie Oliver has his own food festival, which marries a food and a music festival. Set at Blur-guitarist-turned-foodie Alex James' farm, acts include Fatboy Slim, Laura Mvula and foodie Kelis performing, as well as pop up restaurants by the likes of Mark Hix, Rachel Khoo and of course Jamie himself and plenty of family-friendly fun.

Find out more at jamieoliver.com/thebigfeastival

Loch Lomond Food & Drink Festival

Ballach, nr Glasgow, 6th and 7th September

Loch Lomond's Food and Drink festival is almost quintessentially Scottish, with a haggis-eating competition and exhibitions and demonstations that take in delights like Scottish venison, smoked fish, whiskey and real ale, all set on the banks of the beautiful Loch Lomond. Deep fried Mars Bars are definitely out.

Find out more at lochlomondfestival.com

York Food Festival

York, 19th - 28th September

This week long festival takes place in and around York's winding streets and includes a variety of different activities a daily street food market with some of the best restaurants and suppliers in the city, supperclubs in residents homes and talks and demonstrations by local experts, such as 3 Wine Men.

Find out more at yorkfoodfestival.com

Abergavenny Food Festival

Abergavenny, 20th and 21st September

This event has a schedule as packed as a Tube train, with talks and demonstrations from chefs and food writers, including Valentine Warner, Wahaca founder Thomasina Miers and former Masterchef winner Tim Anderson. As well as all that, there are plenty of Welsh delights to try at the pop up wine and cheese bars and foraging walks into the countryside.

Find out more at abergavennyfoodfestival.com

Ludlow Food Festival

Ludlow, 12th - 14th September

Ludlow can lay claim to being the first food festival, set up over twenty years ago. It is now a huge annual event where dedicated foodies camp out all weekend to attend the workshops, demonstrations and talks by celebrity chefs such as Tom Kerridge. There are also deluxe foodie brands showing off their delicious treats at the producers' market all weekend.

Find out more at foodfestival.co.uk

Eat The World Festival

London Southbank, 26th - 28th September

Celebrating street food from around the world, the Eat The World Festival takes place along London's iconic Southbank and includes cuisine from every corner of the globe as well as beer and wine tents - and an amazing Thames-side view.

Find out more at realfoodfestivals.co.uk

Manchester Food and Drink Festival

Manchester, 18th - 29th September

Manchester Food and Drink Festival celebrates Manchester's gourmet scene with events taking place across the city. A central festival hub offers a variety of food stalls to browse, but there are also special events at restaurants, hotels and other locations which have in the past included a library and a brewery.

Find out more at foodanddrinkfestival.com

The Great Cornish Food Festival

Truro, 26th - 28th September

Cornwall is currently a breeding ground for talented young chefs and this festival, which has been running for the past ten years, makes full use of their expertise with more demonstrations than you can shake a stick at, as well as delicious stalls selling the best Cornish produce.

Find out more at greatcornishfood.co.uk

Thame Food Festival

Thame, 27th September

Celebrating food from the local Oxfordshire area, the Thame Food Festival boasts Raymond Blanc as its main attraction, who will be doing a cooking demonstration. Also on display are local artisan producers, with plenty to learn about their rich and delicious inventions.

Find out more at thamefoodfestival.co.uk

Big Apple Festival

Ledbury, Herefordshire, 11th and 12th October

This celebration of all things cider takes place around harvest time in the traditional apple-growing village of Much Marcle. An apple trail takes you around some of the cider makers' farms, and there is of course lots of it to drink with a live band going on until the evening.

Find out more at bigapple.org.uk

Lincolnshire Sausage Festival

Lincoln, 25th October

Lincolnshire is famous for its sausages and this one-day celebration of them in the grounds of Lincoln's beautiful cathedral is ideal if you're a bangers fan. Last year over 25,000 sausages were sold and with talks, demonstrations and lots and lots of sausages, it promises to be a tasty day out.

Find out more at visitlincoln.com

Words: Victoria Gray



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