Something is simmering at the UK’s staycation hotspots: Britain’s tastiest food festivals are unveiled, from a cheese extravaganza in Staffordshire to a honey fair near Belfast
- Sample the cheese of the year at Love Cheese Live Festival in Staffordshire
- Enjoy everything from cocktails to crab cakes at the Lymington Seafood Festival
- Expect sweet treats at the Hillsborough Honey Fair just outside of Belfast
Each week, our holiday hero, Neil Simpson, delves into a brilliant holiday theme and does all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: the country’s most tantalizing food festivals.
Something is cooking at the staycation hotspots, with dozens of independent and often quirky food festivals taking place throughout the summer.
This coming weekend, the Cheese of the Year will be on display and tasting at the Staffordshire County Showground at the Love Cheese Live Festival – the winner, chosen from over 4,500 varieties, will be announced the day before the show.
Grub’s up: Cookery demonstrations and culinary debates take place at the Abergavenny Food Festival. Pictured are TV chef Matt Tebbutt (left) and MoS drinks columnist Olly Smith (right) at last year’s event
Also planned for Friday and Saturday are street food stands, independent beer, gin and wine bars, a craft market and a children’s cooking school, while celebrity chefs like Marco Pierre White and Si King of the Hairy Bikers will cook for the crowds. Tickets are from £15 (lovecheeselive.co.uk).
From 15th to 17th July, Bream on the Green pop-up restaurant is a highlight of the Lymington Seafood Festival on the Hampshire coast.
Browse over 80 food stalls lining the Solent’s edge, offering everything from cocktails to crab fries. Tickets are from £5 (lymingtonseafoodfestival.co.uk).
Fraiser of Scotland distillery will have a stand at the ten day Edinburgh Food Festival. Pictured is the brand’s whiskey mixed with strawberries
Fraiser of Scotland’s stand, which sells whiskey infused with wild strawberries, will be a major attraction at the ten-day Edinburgh Food Festival in the city’s George Square Gardens from 22-31 July. Admission and you’re free await stands with tapas, Hawaiian-inspired poke bowls, dumplings, burgers, gelato, cakes and more (edfoodfest.com).
From 30th to 31st July, the gates to the private gardens of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, west London, will open to foodies for the Savor Food Festival. Visitors can mingle with red-clad Chelsea pensioners as 30 chefs from the capital’s best restaurants create unique dishes, followed by a public vote on the best. Or attend a master class in everything from plate styling to charring a fire pit while live music plays. Tickets are from £25 (savourfestival.com).
Expect sweet treats just outside of Belfast at Hillsborough Castle in August at the Hillsborough Honey Fair. More than 50 stalls will be selling food and drink in the grounds of the Queen’s royal residence in Northern Ireland from August 6-7. Lectures by the local beekeeper, walks and garden tours are also planned. Entry prices from £11.20 (hrp.org.uk).
Fuel up on a stroll through the 400-acre Capability Brown landscaped parkland with a visit to Himley Hall, where celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and local hero Rustie Lee will be the stars of the show at The Black Country Food & Drink Festival August 27-29.
More than 120 food and drink stands will include a vegan and vegetarian village. Tickets are from £5 (himleyhallandpark.co.uk).
The Hillsborough Honey Fair takes place in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle above the Queen’s royal residence in Northern Ireland. Expect lectures from the resident beekeeper, foraging walks, and more
The Abergavenny Food Festival hosts cooking demonstrations and culinary debates spread across six venues including the town’s Castle and Victorian Market Hall. Expect experts like MasterChef: The Professionals star Santosh Shah preparing dishes on September 17th and 18th. Tickets from £12 (abergavennyfoodfestival.com).
The Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival in Suffolk will also have stalls selling cookware, bakeware and flowers – and a ‘buy now, collect later’ system is planned so you don’t have to carry your groceries around all day. On the banks of the River Alde in Snape, there will be a Seafood Stage showcasing local fisheries, while guest chefs will provide hour-long demonstrations, including Wahaca founder Thomasina Miers, who will reveal the secrets of meatless Mexican dishes.
From 24th to 25th September tickets are from £10 (aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk).