The South East of England offers a wide range of food, beer and wine festivals throughout the summer, from chilli to cheese, garlic to ice cream and seafood to sweetcorn. Many festivals are held over a weekend and make the perfect excuse to stay over and take a mini break from the everyday to enjoy good food, live music and street entertainment at stunning venues and surroundings.

The 3rd Portsmouth Seafood Festival (see cover photo) at waterfront Gunwharf Quays will feature stalls offering the best in seafood from all around the world. Talented seafood chefs will be displaying their skills, and visitors can enjoy fresh food to enjoy as well as fizz, gin and craft ales. Entertainment will include live jazz and swing music. Free to enter (28 and 30 June).

If you are heading to Portsmouth then why not visit the historic dockyards? Read Hampshire: Cricket, Dockyards and the D-Day Story.

At Waddesdon Summer Fest festival-goers will be entertained by street theatre and arts performances. The North Front will be transformed with flowers, colourful flags and decorated tables. Family and friends will be able to bring a picnic, or try some of the hot food on offer, enjoy family activities and wander through the Aviary glade. The shopping village will feature a selection of quality arts and crafts, plants and homewares. Music will include acoustic music on Saturday and the Waddesdon choir on Sunday (6 and 7 July).

Waddesdon Manor Summer Fest, c. National Trust Image Library, Waddesdon Manor Image Library

The Cheese and Chilli Festival at Guildford will offer live music, from jazz to rock, local beers, cooking demonstrations with industry professionals, a chilli eating competition, trade stalls, street theatre and magic shows. (21 and 22 July). From £6 adult general admission.

Trout ‘n About Festival of Food and Crafts in the historic market town of Stockbridge. The Test Valley is renowned for trout and the event showcases the best in local food. In addition to produce there will be crafts, music and other entertainment in a family friendly outdoor market environment.  (4 August). Free. Parking will be provided in fields at either end of the High Street with free King Alfred’s shuttle bus service.

Garlic is one of the Isle of Wight’s most famous food exports. The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival will feature stalls offering Garlic Beers, Garlic Seafoods, Garlic Ice-Cream and a whole host of other local produce. Entertainment is provided on-site across the weekend, with cookery demonstrations, stunt team displays and a stage of live music. (17 and 18 August). Online day tickets from adult £12.50, child £7.50.

Festivals in UK Isle of Wight Garlic Festival (2)
Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

Summer Ice Cream Festival at Kent Life in Maidstone will feature vendors offering over 20 delicious flavours of ice cream, and plenty of treats from chocolatiers and sweet stalls. Live music on the ‘Dairy Stage’, face painting, a Punch and Judy show and more. Children will be able to run wild in the outdoor play area, burn off steam on the pedal tractors or take a ride on the land train, pet the rabbits and guinea pigs and watch the daily owl displays from the Kent Owl Academy. Prices, adults £9.95, children £8.25 (26 August).

The award-winning Woking Food & Drink Festival 2019 offers three days of delicious feasting, fun entertainment and interactive activities for all the family across the town centre’s main pedestrian areas. The weekend programme includes well-known chefs, food and drink stalls, wine masterclasses and tastings and more. Free to attend (30 August to 1 September).

Chilli Fest at Waddesdon Manor will be taking place in the beautiful Aviary gardens. Festival-goers will be able to enjoy live music and family fun, and indulge in produce from local artisan traders and some of the best loved exhibitors from across the country. Free with grounds admission. (31 August to 1 September).

Southeast England is not the only place to indulge in a Summer of Food, read our reviews of Food Rocks, Ludlow Food Festival and the Abergavenny Food Festival.

Deal Food & Drink Festival is back for its third year. The festival takes place in front of historic Deal Castle and features a selection of national, international and local food stalls along with live music, bars, international street food and entertainment. (6 to 8 September).

Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival_2
Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival

Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival in The Stade at Hastings. Visitors will be able to enjoy seafood caught off the shores of Hastings with wine from local vineyards and retailers, along with many other tasty treats from local restaurants and producers. There will be non-stop live music, family entertainment and hands-on cooking demonstrations from the Hastings Fish Ambassador, CJ Jackson from Billingsgate Seafood School. Ticket son sale soon. (14 and 15 September).

Finally, the 13th Sweetcorn Fayre will welcome in the autumn at Arreton Barns on the Isle of Wight with live music, children’s entertainment, a Beer Festival at The Dairyman’s Daughter, snail racing, sweetcorn eating and more. (28 and 29 September).

For more information on things to do in South East England, visit: