You only have to turn on the TV any night of the week and witness the endless procession of popular cookery shows to realise just how much the British love their food and anything associated with it. Food is the new rock ‘n’ roll; that can be the only explanation as to why food festivals in the summer are becoming as popular as music festivals. And with so much brilliant British (and other) grub to enjoy, what could be a nicer way of spending a British summer’s day than at one of these superb UK summer food festivals?
May food festivals
- Grillstock, Manchester and Bristol
Move over, Australia – Brits love a good summer barbecue as much as anyone and the brilliantly-named and annual Grillstock (sponsored by a leading barbecue manufacturer, naturally) combines ‘music, meat and mayhem’. Big burgers, racks of ribs, chilli-eating competitions and barbecue demonstrations and cook-offs and lots of live music are guaranteed at the UK’s best (and probably only) grilling festival.
- Crab and Lobster Festival, Cromer and Sheringham, Norfolk
Two of Norfolk’s best loved seaside resorts have joined forces to create an annual celebration of seafood. The Crab and Lobster Festival, launched in 2009, features live music and entertainment, live demonstrations of seafood preparation such as fish-filleting and crab-dressing, street theatre, lobster pot making and, of course, the chance to sample loads of superb seafood on the festival’s Seafood Trail.
June Food Festivals
- Bridport Food Festival, Dorset
Bridport takes its food festival seriously; this is no one-day wonder – it runs for a whole week each June. For more than a decade, local and visiting foodies alike have been able to enjoy a packed programme of tasty delights such including a seafood festival, beer festival, a food-themed activity trail, cookery masterclasses, lots of food tasting and an annual feat night. All this and a location near the UK’s beautiful Jurassic coast too; do summer food festivals get any better than this?
- Taste of London, Regent’s Park
The annual Taste of London is a huge summer food festival with bags of style. For the last ten years, four days of each June in Regent’s Park have been dedicated to showcasing the signature dishes of forty of London’s top restaurants, as well as providing cookery demonstrations, food tastings, barbecue demonstrations and appearances by some of the world’s best known chefs including Raymond Blanc, Gary Rhodes, Michel Roux Jr. and Antonio Carluccio.
July Food Festivals
- The North East Chilli Festival, Seaton Delaval, Newcastle
To be fair, UK summers aren’t always the hottest, and particularly not in north east England. The North East Chilli Festival however, held each July at the beautiful Baroque Seaton Delaval Hall near Newcastle, is guaranteed to get visitors sweating. Live music, chilli eating contests and a host of spicy exhibitors including Grim Reaper Foods, Hot Headz, Fire Foods and the Hot Stuff Chilli Company should give plenty of clues as to what to expect. Take cold water and a fire extinguisher and keep a loo roll in the freezer, just in case.
- The Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly, Wales
Annually drawing a crowd of up to eighty thousand visitors, Caerphilly’s Big Cheese Festival is aptly named. More than simply a vast cheese and farmer’s market selling locally produced and nationally-produced liqueurs, cider, wine, bread, cakes, chutneys, chocolate, ice cream and loads more this weekend festival also offers live music and comedy, a funfair, handicrafts and a host of other summer entertainments.
August Food Festivals
- Newlyn Fish Festival, Cornwall
Spanning the August Bank Holiday weekend for more than two decades now, the Newlyn Fish Festival is the largest of its kind in the UK. This tiny and picturesque Cornish fishing village bursts into life as locals and visitors enjoy stalls packed with paella, grilled lobster and mackerel, fish curry and countless other fresh fish delicacies. Live music, the Cornish Fishmonger of the Year competition, cookery demonstrations and a seafood action simply add to a summer food festival that bursts at the seams with British tradition and fun.
- Flavour Fortnight, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Perhaps the last of the summer food festivals, Flavour Fortnight grips the district Dumfries and Galloway in southwest Scotland for two weeks at the very end of August. Showcasing the very best in local food and produce, typical attractions during Flavour Fortnight include Forest Fungi Foraging, Cooking for Kids and discovering wild foods along the seashore along with local farm, smokehouse and brewery tours, chocolate tasting and, well, too much more to list here.