Life

These are the best foodie events and festivals in the UK this year

Posted by
Lauren Geall
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Four burgers lined up at street festival

Calling all foodies - this is the list for you. 

We’re already halfway through 2019. 

You read that right – we’ve only got six months left this year – so what better way to spend those last six months than stuffing your face with all the flavours you possibly can? 

We’re talking about celebrating the best of British food here. Living in the UK means we’ve got access to a whole range of flavours and cuisines right at our finger tips – whether that’s the English classics such as sea food or homegrown veg, or international treats from gyoza to paella. 

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And what better way to take advantage of this than to attend some of the UK’s biggest and best foodie events and festivals across the country? Perhaps you’ll find a new favourite food, or find something you didn’t even know existed.

From Scotland to Sussex, here’s our pick of the events you need to attend across the UK in 2019. 

South West

River Cottage Festival, Axminster, 24-25 August

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage festival is more than just a food festival – it’s a treat for all the family.

Alongside the food and drink on offer, there’s music, speakers and the all-important classes, which cover subjects from geology to foraging. You can even take part in a masterclass with world-class chefs and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will be there to sign books – what’s not to love? 

Food Rocks, Lyme Regis, 7-8 September 

There’s a lot to love about Food Rocks

The two day event, which boasts some of the best food, suppliers and producers from across Dorset and the South West, was started by restaurant owner Mark Hix to celebrate the food of his hometown, Lyme Regis. On top of that, the festival donates all the funds raised to the RNLI and the Fishermen’s Mission – so you can stuff your face with the knowledge that your appetite is doing the world some good.

Flavours on offer include local meats and seafood, as well as ales, gins and fudge from across the South-West. 

Falmouth Oyster Festival, Falmouth, 10-13 October 

Held every October to mark the start of the oyster dredging season, the Falmouth Oyster Festival boasts four days of feasting, cooking demos, live music, food and craft stalls.

And it’s not oyster exclusive – you can enjoy a whole host of Cornish food produce, including locally-produced beers and ales alongside freshly-caught seafood. 

Take a trip to the seaside and indulge in the best of what Cornwall has to offer. 

Exeter Food and Drink Trail, All Year Round

Exeter’s Food and Drink Trail, launched in 2018, gives foodies a map of all the best restaurants, shops and experiences to explore around the city. 

With a load of new experiences added for summer 2019, including Italian cooking classes with TV chef Valentina Harris, a trip to Exeter should definitely be on your summer itinerary - and when you’re done taking in everything the city has to offer, why not take a trip down to the River Exe Cafe, a floating restaurant in the middle of the River Exe Estuary. 

The Midlands

The Big Feastival, The Cotswolds, 23-25 August

If you’re looking for the family-friendly event of the summer, The Big Feastival is probably your best pick. 

Hosted on the farm of Blur bassist Alex James, there’s plenty to do: think everything from live music acts to chef demonstrations and child-friendly activities.

In terms of the food, there are pop-up restaurants (The Cheese Bar sounds incredible) as well as street food stalls and a fresh food market. 

London

Chez Moi Dinner Party, 24 July

The women-first dating app Bumble is hosting a free dinner party for singles in London, so if you’re feeling flirty (and, most importantly, hungry) sign up via their app. 

The party will feature a three course meal at St Leonards in Shoreditch, with a menu specially designed by owners Andrew Clarke and Jackson Boxer. What’s not to love?

Treats Club Dessert Bar Donut and Soft Serve Pop-Up, Old Street, 12 August - 7 September

Satisfy your inner sweet tooth with this irresistible looking selection of donuts and soft serve ice cream coming to Old Street Roundabout for one month this summer. 

With all items coming in at under £6, this pop-up by Treats Club Dessert Bar is looking pretty good right now. 

Meatopia, Tobacco Dock, 30 August - 1 September

Vegans and vegetarians, look away now – Meatopia is a meat-lovers festival (if you hadn’t guessed already). 

Host to high quality, ethically sourced meat cooked by some of the world’s leading chefs, the festival is one long smoky weekend which is set to please the carnivores among us. 

From burgers to steaks, this festival is sure to give you something to get your teeth into. 

London Brunch Festival, Brick Lane, 31 August - 1 September

Only in London would you find an entire festival dedicated to that most sacred of meals – brunch. 

If you don’t fancy Meatopia (they’re both on the same weekend at the end of August) head down to Brick Lane to sample London’s Brunch Fest, home to some of the finest brunch-related offerings. Expect pancakes, eggs and lots of avocado – the most instagramable festival in London is coming to town. 

Taste of London, Tobacco Dock, 21-24 November

The follow-up to Taste of London’s big summer festival in Regent’s Park, the November event at Tobacco Dock is the winter follow-up to this incredibly popular festival. Featuring pop-up versions of many of London’s most popular restaurants, take your tastebuds on a journey around the city as you sample bites from across the world. 

There’s also a whole line-up of world-class chefs and a bunch of artisan food producers taking to the festival’s floor. 

Wales

Abergavenny Food Festival, Abergavenny, 21-22 September

Every year around 30,000 visitors flock to the small Welsh town of Abergavenny to sample the delights of the famous Abergavenny Food Festival.

Alongside some of the great British produce on offer, you can also attend cookery classes to learn how to cook the dishes you’ve tried at home, or attend a masterclass with world famous chefs – previous guests include Jamie Oliver and Monica Galetti. 

South East

Whitstable Oyster Festival, Kent, 27-29 July

If you don’t fancy the South Western oysters on offer at Falmouth’s Oyster Festival, why not pop over to Kent and sample what the East has to offer at Whitstable’s very own oyster festival?

Get stuck in with the traditions and join the locals for the Landing of the Oysters, an event which celebrates the beginning of the festival with a symbolic haul of oysters which are received by the Lord Mayor of Canterbury and blessed by the clergy. 

If you’re not feeling the traditions, though, there’s still plenty to do – you can take part in an oyster eating competition if you think you’re up for it, or take a wander around the Tankerton food fair, which offers a wide selection of local, national and international foods. 

Chilli Fiesta, Chichester, 9-11 August

Looking to spice up your life this summer? Look no further than West Dean Gardens’ own Chilli Fiesta, home to all of the chilli-inspired produce you could dream of. 

The festival has a lot to offer – including gardening and cooking classes as well as live Latin music – but it’s the food itself that takes centre stage. Imagine any food and put the word chilli in front of it – the Chilli Fiesta probably has it. Chilli peanut butter, chilli candy floss and chilli fudge are just a few of the weird and wonderful products waiting for you try them. 

The North

Yum! Food Festival, Hull, 9-10 August

Hull’s Yum! Food Festival is home to a massive collection of street food vendors, so you’re sure to find something you want to sink your teeth into. 

You can also pick up some great local produce to recreate the flavours at home – from local honey to fresh sausages and bacon, the festival doesn’t have to end when the stalls close. 

Manchester Food and Drink Festival, Manchester, 26 September - 7 October

2019 will mark the 22nd year of this annual food and drink festival, which spreads across Manchester’s city centre and celebrates the best food and drink which Manchester has to offer. 

The festival’s hub, based in the city’s Cathedral Gardens, is home to a whole host of live experiences and events, including banquets, supper clubs and food parties. 

Scotland

Edinburgh Food Festival, Edinburgh, 19-28 July

Although 2019 will only mark the fifth year for Edinburgh’s food festival, it’s gone from strength to strength every year, with over 30,000 visitors attending the event in 2018. 

The festival, which is free to enter, by the way, boasts a collection of quality Scottish food that will have your mouth watering all day long. Some of the flavours on offer include gelato, prosecco and Scottish gin. 

Image: Getty