It used to be that the British summer was more fleeting than an American Presidential visit, but whether it’s a consequence of climate change or fake news, summers too seem to be getting longer these days. Which is great news for those wishing to sample the ever increasing number of summer food festivals in the UK and Ireland popping up each year.
From London to Ludlow, and Skye to Donegal, here is our slightly haphazard selection of some of the best food festivals in the UK and Ireland this summer.
Food Festivals in June
Pembrokeshire Street Food
Starting in Wales, if for no other reason than that’s where I started life, Tenby’s South Beach will become awash with street food from 14 to 16 June, for the Pembrokeshire Street Food Festival. Whether it’s arancini balls, stone-baked pizza or cheesecake, washed down with some mojitos, South Wales is the place to kick off summer food in the UK.
Taste of London
Heading to the capital for the first of several food festivals in London this summer, Taste of London will reappear in Regent’s Park for five days from 19 to 23 June. Michelin-star chefs, food demos and workshops will showcase the best of the city’s plethora of quality restaurants. This year, there will be bars from Tanqueray to Ketel One, as well as masterclasses from The Wild Kitchen and The Fire Pit.
The Skye Food and Drink Festival
Surely one of the most furtherly north food festivals in the UK, The Skye Food and Drink Festival from 24 to 29 June will highlight the vast range of quality food and drink produced on this rugged Scottish island. For 2019, the food festival has become an island-wide affair with multiple events, including a seafood festival at An Crubh in Duisdale on 24 June, and a food market at Broadford Hall on 28 to 29 June.
Food Festivals in July
Great British Food Festival, Chiswick House
The Great British Food Festival is a repeat offender, with a series of fests around the UK from May to December, from Floors Castle in Scotland to Margam Park in South Wales. However, it is to walled gardens of Chiswick House that we suggest you head from 12 to 14 July to meet some 50 artisan producers, indulge in blind tastings, watch food demonstrations and perhaps participate in a gin-off. Anyone who enters a cake in the cake-off gets free entry.
Edinburgh Food Festival
The only food festival in Edinburgh’s city centre, the Edinburgh Food Festival returns to the Assembly George Square Gardens from 19 to 28 July. Some 25,000 people are expected to discover what’s hidden in Scotland’s larder. With a strong emphasis on street food, choose between Jarvis Pickle’s pies, and seafood and ice cream from Alandas Gelato and Fish and Chips.
Food Festivals in August
Isle of Wight Garlic Festival
Since 1983 the town of Newchurch on the Isle of Wight has been home to the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival. With a large array of local produce as well as a beer tent and archery – hopefully not together – this year’s festival, from 17 to 18 August, promises to kick up a bigger stink than ever. At least you won’t have to fear fending off any vampires at night.
A Taste of Donegal
The sole Irish food festival in our list A Taste of Donegal will return to the beautiful province in the far north west of Ireland from 23 to 25 August. The dazzling fireworks display with the Black Stack Mountains in the distance is a standout. With more than 130 food producers from across Ireland as well as live music and beer and wine tastings, this is so much more than a food festival with a view.
The second of our food festivals in London, Meatopia comes to the capital’s Tobacco Dock from 30 August to 1 September. Meaning exactly what is says on the can, Meatopia celebrates the finest of ethically-sourced meat. Top chefs listed to appear include Tom Brown from Cornerstone, Ramael Scully and Barragan Mohacho. So expect everything apart from a falafel. There’s also a Meatopia in Dublin from 5 to 7 July.
Food Festivals in September
The brain child of restaurateur, chef and food writer Mark Hix, Food Rocks takes over the Dorset town of Lyme Regis for a weekend from 6 to 7 September. Hix has brought a swathe of the finest chefs to his home town over the years to demonstrate the culinary art. This year Angela Hartnett, Mitch Tonks and Richard Bertinet are slated to ride into town. The festivals main ticketed events are the Crab and Mackerel Supper Club and the Glenarm Estate Meat Feast, which you should book well in advance.
Pub in the Park
Double Michelin star chef Tom Kerridge brings his Pub in the Park food festival series to Verulamium Park in Sta Alnbans form 13 to 15 September. With top music from Tom Odell and Razorlight, pop-up pubs and restaurants from Tim Allen of the Flitch of Bacon and Kerridge himself, set in an atmosphere organisers refer to as the ultimate pub garden, this festival ticks most boxes. However, if St Albans is not your idea for a food festival site then other venues in the gastronomic series include: Leeds, Bath, Warwick, Knutsford and Chiswick House.
Ludlow Food Festival
A veteran of the UK food festival circuit, Ludlow Food Festival dates back to 1995, this year returning to the picturesque medieval market town from 13 to 15 September. Held in the market square in Ludlow Castle few, if any, food festivals can compete in terms of setting. With its famous sausage trail, food talks and demonstrations, and produce from the Welsh borders, this really is a veritable food festival. If you can’t make September, there is a spring festival in June and a walk in August.
Abergavenny Food Festival
Finishing back where we started in Wales, September 21-22 will see the 21st Abergavenny Food Festival. Almost 40,000 people are expected to visit the biggest food festival in Wales. This year’s highlights include an appearance from the creators of St. JOHN restaurant, José Pizarro and Diana Henry. While there will be a series of wild and foraged walks through the Welsh countryside, and a special Saturday Night Feast.
With so many food festivals in the UK and Ireland – we have just skimmed the surface – of one thing you can be sure, you won’t be going hungry this summer.
Accommodation in the UK
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