Food Festivals for Group Visits

Chilli Fest, Waddesdon © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Chilli Fest, Waddesdon © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

If your idea of a great day out involves food and drink, why not combine the two with a visit to one of the many dedicated festivals on offer throughout the UK this year?

From beautiful castles to gorgeous seaside towns, let Simone Brookes inspire you to find your food heaven in 2019 with her pick of the best culinary events.

Spring Sensations

The best producers from across the north-east will gather for the Bishop Auckland Food Festival in County Durham (13th and 14th April) where visitors to the market town can expect to sample some of the finest food and drink the region has to offer.

Further south, The Surrey Food Festival, Richmond-upon-Thames (27th and 28th April), is offering world cuisine from over 100 food and drink stalls, with everything from Mediterranean to Asian and BBQ to bakery, plus craft drinks including beer, fizz and gin.

Eat Cambridge takes place at the Guildhall (11th May) and finds the city’s independent food and drink businesses showcasing their finest artisan produce, with informative talks, workshops and fringe events including a mini beer festival and asparagus feast.

Bishop Auckland Food Festival

Bishop Auckland Food Festival

Something Fishy

For delicious seafood head to St Ives Food and Drink Festival in Cornwall (11th and 12th May), where fresh local produce is cooked and served on Porthminster beach.

Or the picturesque harbour at Weymouth is the setting for the 12th Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival (13th to 14th July), an award winning event raising funds for the Fisherman’s Mission, and featuring a number of English sparkling wines. In Hampshire, the Lymington Seafood Festival (10 and 11 August) promises two days of fishy fun with 90 food and drink stalls, demonstrations and live music.

Cosford Food Festival

Cosford Food Festival

Cheese and Chilli

Cheese fans will love the Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbay, Leicestershire (4th and 5th May) – the biggest event of its type in the UK with 70 cheesemakers showcasing over 300 tasty cheeses, together with talks and demonstrations.

South Wales is the setting for The Big Cheese (27th to 28th July), located within the grounds of the magnificent Caerphilly Castle. 2019 will be the biggest event to date, with 3 halls of regional food and alcohol, cooking demos, cheese market and medieval entertainment.

Later in the year, the Sturminster Newton Cheese Fest in Dorset will dedicate a weekend to all things cheese (14th and 15th September).

If you’re looking to turn up the heat, visit Waddesdon Chilli Fest, Bucks (31st August to 1st September) where artisan producers from around the country will share their passion for the fiery chilli in the beautiful Aviary Gardens at Waddesdon Manor.

Ludlow Food Festival © Shropshire and Beyond

Ludlow Food Festival © Shropshire and Beyond

A Taste of Shropshire

Shropshire celebrates food and drink throughout the year with the Ludlow Spring Fest (10th to 12th May), MagnaLonga (11th August) and Ludlow Food Festival (13th to 15th September) – all featuring quality regional produce, real ales, talks and trails around town, while Cosford Food Festival (20th and 21st July) brings together over 100 local food and drink producers in the unique setting of the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.

Feast in the East

Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival (28th and 29th September) takes place in the beautiful setting of Snape Maltings, next to the River Alde, with over 100 food stalls and drinks from local breweries including Aspall and Adnams.

Celebrating the county’s most famous export, the Lincoln Sausage Festival (12th October) offers a chance to sample the finest Lincolnshire sausages and tipples from local breweries while exploring the grounds of Lincoln Castle.

The BBC Good Food Show

The BBC Good Food Show

National Events

Plan your ultimate day out as the BBC Good Food Show Summer returns to the NEC Birmingham (13th to 16th June) with a chance to sample delicious food and drink from hundreds of producers and also pick up seasonal inspiration from your favourite chefs including Mary Berry, Tom Kerridge and Nadiya Hussain. Tickets for the show include entrance to BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

For some pre-Christmas sparkle, groups can also consider the BBC Good Food Show Winter at the same venue (28th November to 1st December). Groups can book tickets in advance and reserve the best seats in the theatres. One free ticket in every eight bought, and GTOs can access an organiser lounge with complimentary refreshments.

If you prefer meat and dairy free, Vegan Festival UK has a number of events throughout 2019, including Edinburgh, Murrayfield Rugby Ground (21st April and 10th November) Newcastle, The Assembly Rooms (9th June and 27th October) Sheffield, Cutlers Hall (28th September).