Festivals are great, but food festivals are better. There’s nothing wrong with planning a meal this far in advance…This is our pick of the best food festivals to book for 2019.
Bristol Food Connections, 12-23 June
Across a ten-day period in June, over 100 food-related events will be taking place across Bristol – a city known for its creative, independent culinary delights. With everything from foraging walks at Blaise Castle Estate to artisan bread workshops, there’s something for everyone, with plenty of family-friendly activities on offer. In the festival hub, Colston Hall, panel discussions will cover issues surrounding food, alongside cookery demonstrations from the likes of Josh Eggleston, Bryony May and Liz Knight.
Taste Of London, 19-23 June
Taste of London has established itself as the foodie event of the summer. Held in Regent’s Park, visitors can try exciting street food, discover new products, shop till your heart’s content and learn from the experts. Cocktail and cookery masterclasses will keep you busy, while the Taste Theatre is an absolute must, where you can get hands-on with your culinary heroes. This year the theme is ‘Wild in the City’, exploring concepts of sustainability and championing craftsmanship in food, with an appearance from South African restaurant , crowned Restaurant of the Year at The World Restaurant Awards 2019. US casual-dining concept will also be making its debut, giving Londoners a chance to taste the menu before the first UK store opens on Portobello Road this August. A wonderful summer’s day out – let’s just hope the weather man plays game… Tickets from £13
Le Cordon Bleu Summer Festival, 29 June
Le Cordon Bleu will be hosting its first ever food and drink festival this June, offering visitors the chance to explore behind the scenes of the renowned cookery school. Chefs including Asma Khan, Olivia Burt and Anna Hansen will be hosting cookery demonstrations, alongside wine tasting workshops with Master Sommelier Matthieu Longuere. There will also be an all-day Slow Food Market, with food suppliers and producers celebrating the principles of the slow food movement.
Body&Soul, 21-23 June
Spend the longest day of the year at a food festival in an Irish castle, and thank us later… Dublin’s hidden gem, Ballinlough Castle, will host the three-day event to bring a fantastic culinary line-up from some of the best local innovative gourmet producers – and just to top it off, it will all be paired with champagne. The 2018 line-up included festival favourites, My Goodness, The Market Kitchen, , , and getting involved in the celebrations. Spend your Summer Solstice weekend in style… Day tickets start at €70 and weekend for €189.50, available to purchase from
Smoked & Uncut, 21-23 June
The annual Smoked & Uncut festival is more glamour than grunge, and you can expect a line-up of handpicked classic and contemporary artists as well as home-made street food, local ales and plenty of cocktails. The glamorous foodie’s festival is famed for its large family-style pop-up restaurant Feasts which see some of the country’s best chefs cook up a storm for sold-out communal Feasting tables. The 2019 music line-up includes The Noisettes, Razorlight and Rae Morris, who will be performing across three locations: Brockenhurst, Bath and New Forest, with the foodie line-up yet to be announced.
Pub in the Park
Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park will be touring round the country until September, finishing in Verulamium Park in St Albans. This year music headliners include Jake Bugg, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, Clean Bandit and Will Young, alongside a stellar food line-up, chef demonstrations, masterclasses and much more. Tickets from £30, £20 for children
National Geographic Traveller Food Festival, 20-21 July
National Geographic Traveller’s inaugural food festival will take place at London’s Business Design Centre this July, offering visitors the chance to take their taste buds on a world tour. The main stage will host a programme of big names in the food world, including Adam Handling, John Torode and Andi Oliver, with an entertainment area running talks from cookbook authors and food writers like Asma Khan. Guests can enjoy food from destinations as far-flung as Grenada, Nicaragua and Dominica, with plenty of chef demonstrations and sampling opportunities throughout the day.
Just Eat Food Fest, 26-27 July
This one isn’t your average food festival. It offers guests the chance to embark on taste adventures, following marked trails across the various festival zones. We’re told to expect all sorts of surprises along the way, with food from places like Indian restaurant Koolcha, and London-based burger joint Buns.
London Craft Beer Festival, 9-11 August
The London Craft Beer Festival is back for its seventh year – and it’s set to be bigger than ever, with over 80 breweries and 500 beers on tap. Taking place at Tobacco Dock, the festival also features a top music line-up of acts like Foals and Hot Chip, alongside food from the likes of Brigadiers, Hoppers, Club Mexicana and Berber & Q.
The London Dessert Festival, 17-18 August
Chocolate tasting orbs, a doughnut wall, ice-cream flavour bubbles and candy-floss clouds: The London Dessert Festival sounds like something out of Willy Wonka’s factory. Channel your inner Veruca Salt by making your way through the four immersive zones: chocolate, patisserie, frozen treats and vegan, experiential spaces designed to impact all the senses. Highlights include an ice cream and toppings station, a melting chocolate wall and a ceiling of raining sprinkles, alongside appearances from all the dessert trends of recent years – from freakshakes to bubble waffles to cookie dough to cocktail-flavoured sorbets.
Big Feastival, 24-26 August
Get in there early and grab yourself some tickets for The Big Feastival 2019, the ultimate feel-good festival located in the Cotswolds. Jess Glynne, Elbow and Rudimental are set to headline on the music front alongside top names from the food world such as Raymond Blanc OBE, Candice Brown and Daniel Clifford. Check out our guide to last year’s festival to get a feel for the vibes.
River Cottage Festival, 25-26 August
The iconic River Cottage are putting on a food festival this summer to mark 20 years of River Cottage, held at the idyllic 100-acre Axminster organic farm on the Dorset and Devon border. Think cookery masterclasses, artisan food stalls, craft workshops, live music, sit-down meals and yoga, with appearances from the likes of Anita Rani, Giles Yeo, Steven Lamb, Steph McGovern, Satish Kuar… and of course, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall himself. Festival goers can enjoy a Long Table Lunch in the 18th century threshing barn featuring fresh ingredients from the kitchen garden, as well as music from Sebastian’s Richard Colburn and Happy Monday’s Bez. There are also workshops for both adults and children – from watercolour to pottery to circus performance.
Meatopia, 30 August-1 September
Situated in London’s Tobacco Dock, Meatopia is not for the faint-hearted or small stomached. Each day, 25 chefs will create and cook a unique dish in front of your eyes for you to try! Pay using the Festival’s currency, Meatbucks, to experience the meaty madness. The perfect excuse to eat, drink and dance the weekend away.
London Brunch Fest, 31 August-1 September
Avo-on-toast brigade, this one’s for you: the first ever festival dedicated to the capital’s most loved brunch dishes. Here you can brunch till your heart is content, sampling some of London’s most popular dishes alongside tea, coffee, Bloody Marys and prosecco. There will also be panel discussions, demonstrations and hands-on workshops from company founders and industry leaders, DJ sets to keep things lively.
Food Rocks, 7-8 September
Curated by superstar chef Mark Hix, Food Rocks in Lyme Regis will see the best food and drink producers from around Dorset come together for another year in 2019. The main stage will showcase a diverse mix of interactive cookery demonstrations, talks and tastings, with a line up featuring Mitch Tonks, Angela Hartnett and Richard Bertinet. A meat feast dinner in Glenarm Estate will kick off the two-day festival, hosted by Mark Hix and his beef supplier Peter Hannan, followed by the annual Crab and Mackerel Supper Club the next day – which is always a sell-out event.
Abergavenny Food Festival, 21-22 September
Abergavenny Food Festival, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, is a staple on the summer festival calendar. Perhaps the more high-brow festival on our list, it’s known for bringing together chefs, food businesses, journalists, farmers and food producers who flock to the Welsh town to enjoy talks, demonstrations and, of course, lots of delicious food. From tutored tastings, demos from top chefs, tours and forages as well as big parties, there’s something to tickle everyone’s taste buds.
Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, 28-29 September
Snape Maltings in Suffolk is home to the famous Aldeburgh Music festival, but also the Food & Drink festival which is widely regarded as one of the best in the country. Next September it’s returning for its 14th year, giving guests the opportunity to experience all of Suffolk’s best food and drink under one roof, with a large indoor market, food stalls, masterclasses, events and talks from renowned chefs – this year the line-up features Tommi Miers, Dan Doherty, Melissa Hemsley, Chetna Makan and Maunika Gowardhan. One to put in the diary.
Falmouth Oyster Festival, 10-13 October
Kick off oyster season in style with a visit to , where visitors can enjoy a packed programme of cookery demonstrations, live music and, of course, freshly shucked oysters. Expect cookery demonstrations by leading local chefs, oysters, seafood, wine and local ale to sample, children’s shell painting and entertainment. There are also sea shanties, a town parade, live music, an oyster shucking competition, a Falmouth Working Boat race and marquees brimming with Cornish produce.
Wells Food Festival, 13 October
Set in the heart of England’s smallest city, Wells Food Festival is a celebration of the region’s rich farming and food heritage. Expect over 150 stalls showcasing everything from distilled gin to Somerset cheddar, alongside workshops, interactive zones and more.