Our Pick of the Best UK Summer Food Festivals

The British summer: it’s great. With the sun shining, flowers blooming and the evenings drawing out, there’s little better than heading off to one of the many summer food festivals springing up across the UK. Events such as the Taste of London Food Festival – which we’ve already written about in a previous post – are well-known and attract the most attention, but there is a great selection of other delicious festivals dotted around the rest of Britain. We might be hard at work preparing delicious gourmet diet delivery dishes, but there’s no reason you can’t get out there and enjoy them. Here is our pick of five highlights from the UK summer food festival calendar:

The Hampshire Food Festival (July 1st – 31st)

Now into its 10th year, the Hampshire Food Festival has gone from from strength to strength. From brewery tours, cookery workshops and open farms, to demonstrations and tastings, the festival takes place at a number of locations across Hampshire. Because of its county-wide nature, it can be a little tricky to choose which events to go to on any given day, but you’ll have to try very hard to find one that isn’t worthwhile visiting (luckily it’s spread out over an entire month, too). This year the professional chef contingent is strong enough to rival even the very biggest of festivals, with Raymond Blanc, James Martin, John Burton Race and Atul Kochhar attending, amongst others.

Entertainment at the oyster festival (Image courtesy Mark Kelly on Flickr)

The 2010 Whitstable Oyster Festival (July 24th – 30th)

Whitstable has a reputation as a centre for fine food according to the festival website, and it would be difficult to disagree with this. This festivals offers a lot in the way of food and drink, much of it focussed on the Whitstable oysters available in the EPICentre food fair, which attracts thousands of visitors each day. On other days, there is also a special Whitstable Brewery Beer Festival, providing live music and food, with a selection of fine drinks available to whet your whistle.

The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival (14th – 15th August)

Who doesn’t love garlic? It’s good for you, smells nice and tastes great. Fortunately for us garlic lovers, the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival is here, allowing us to indulge to our hearts content. Rated by The Times as “one of Britain’s best food festivals” in 2009, attendees to this year’s event can expect to find garlic treats such as garlic beer, garlic fudge and garlic ice cream, as well marquees and tents full of quality local meat, dairy, and poultry.

(Image courtesy of the Tavistock Summer Food Festival)

Tavistock Summer Food Festival (September 11th – 12th)

Situated in the picturesque Dartmoor stannary town of Tavistock, Devon, the Tavistock Summer Food Festival showcases the best food, drink and local produce from West Devon and surrounding areas. With exhibitors such as The Cherry Tree, Kernewek Herb Kitchen, Bite Me! and more, there’s bound to be something for all tastes. Best of all, entry is only £3.

Foodies Festival (September 13th – 15th)

If the Edinburgh Festival just isn’t foodie enough for you, then this particular festival will be more to your tastes. The Edinburgh Foodies Festival takes place in the spectacular setting of Holyrood Palace Park, where Scotland’s top chefs will be cooking their own signature dishes in a special “Chefs Theatre”. As well as the pull of celebrity, there are a myriad of other reasons to attend, including delicious seasonal cocktails, special sample dishes from local restaurants, and fresh ingredients for sale in the local producers markets. There are also cooking masterclasses available for those who might want to try making some of their own gourmet diet delivery dishes.

If our pick of UK summer food festivals hasn’t got your tastebuds tingling, why not let us know your picks in the comments below? And if you’ve been to any of the ones we’ve listed in previous years, tell us about your experiences!