Something is cooking at the UK’s staycation hotspots: Britain’s tastiest food festivals revealed, from a cheese extravaganza in Staffordshire to a honey fair near Belfast
- Taste the cheese of the year at the Love Cheese Live festival in Staffordshire
- Enjoy everything from cocktails to crab fritters at Lymington Seafood Festival
- Expect sweet treats at the Hillsborough Honey Fair just outside Belfast
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: the country’s most tempting food festivals.
Something is cooking at staycation hotspots with dozens of independent and often quirky food festivals taking place all summer.
Next weekend the cheese of the year can be seen and tasted at Staffordshire County Showground at the Love Cheese Live festival – the winner from more than 4,500 varieties will be announced the day before the show.
Grub’s up: Cooking demonstrations and culinary debates will take place at the Abergavenny Food Festival. Pictured is TV chef Matt Tebbutt, left, and MoS drinks columnist Olly Smith, right, at last year’s event
Stalls featuring street food, independent beer, gin and wine bars, an artisan market and a children’s cookery school are also planned for Friday and Saturday, while celebrity chefs such as Marco Pierre White and Si King of the Hairy Bikers will cook for the crowd. Tickets cost from £15 (lovecheeselive.co.uk).
From July 15 to 17, the pop-up restaurant Bream on the Green is a highlight of the Lymington Seafood Festival on the Hampshire coast.
Browse more than 80 food stalls set on the edge of the Solent offering everything from cocktails to crab fritters. Tickets cost from £5 (lymingtonseafoodfestival.co.uk).
Distillery Fraiser of Scotland will have a stall at the ten-day Edinburgh Food Festival. Pictured is the brand’s strawberry-blended whisky
The stall from distillery Fraiser of Scotland – selling whisky blended with wild strawberries – is set to be one of the big draws at the ten-day Edinburgh Food Festival in the city’s George Square Gardens from July 22 to 31. It’s free to enter and you can expect to find stalls selling tapas, Hawaiian-inspired poke bowls , dumplings, burgers, gelato, cakes and more (edfoodfest.com).
From July 30 to 31 the gates to the private gardens of The Royal Hospital Chelsea, West London, will be opened to food-lovers at the Savour Food Festival. Visitors can mingle with red-jacketed Chelsea Pensioners while 30 chefs from the capital’s top restaurants create signature dishes followed by a public vote for the best. Or head to a masterclass in everything from plate-styling to fire-pit charring while live music plays. Tickets cost from £25 (savourfestival.com).
In August, expect sweet treats at the Hillsborough Honey Fair just outside Belfast at Hillsborough Castle. More than 50 stalls will sell food and drink in the grounds of the Queen’s Royal residence in Northern Ireland from August 6 to 7. Also planned are talks from the resident beekeeper, foraging walks and garden tours. Entry costs from £11.20 (hrp.org.uk).
Work off your indulgences with a stroll around the 180 acres of parkland created by Capability Brown when you visit Himley Hall, where celebrity chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli and local favourite Rustie Lee will be stars of the show at The Black Country Food & Drink Festival from August 27 to 29.
More than 120 food and drink stalls will include a Vegan & Vegetarian Village. Tickets cost from £5 (himleyhallandpark.co.uk).
Hillsborough Honey Fair takes place in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle, above, the Queen’s Royal residence in Northern Ireland. Expect talks from the resident beekeeper, foraging walks and more
Cooking demonstrations and culinary debates will take place at the Abergavenny Food Festival, spread across six venues including the town’s castle and Victorian Market Hall. Expect to see experts such as MasterChef: The Professionals star Santosh Shah prepare dishes on September 17 and 18. Tickets from £12 (abergavennyfoodfestival.com).
Stalls selling cookware, bakeware and flowers will also feature at the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival in Suffolk – and a buy-now, collect-later system is planned so you won’t have to carry your purchases around all day. Set alongside the River Alde in Snape, there will be a Seafood Stage showcasing local fisheries while guest chefs offering hour-long demonstrations include Wahaca founder Thomasina Miers, who will reveal the secrets of meat-free Mexican meals.
From September 24 to 25, tickets cost from £10 (aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk).