Six of the best UK food festivals for summer 2021

From a travelling Cornish feast with overnight camping to a town-wide Welsh culinary experience, we’ve selected the top food festivals to experience. 

By Sarah Gillespie
Published 28 Jul 2021, 09:00 BST, Updated 29 Jul 2021, 17:09 BST
Blur bassist-turned-cheesemaker Alex James hosts The Big Festival, a gourmet music festival, on his Cotswolds estate.

Blur bassist-turned-cheesemaker Alex James hosts The Big Festival, a gourmet music festival, on his Cotswolds estate.

Photograph by Danny North, Fanatic 2019

Travel may slowly be opening up, but many Brits are choosing to keep things simple and stay close to home this summer. So, days out and domestic breaks are in high demand, and, after a year-long hiatus, festivals of all types are making a triumphant return. For gourmands, the summer calendar is packed with food festivals pairing summer sun with top-notch bites to eat — often provided by star chefs. As for the entertainment, expect everything from chart-topping bands to beat poets. Here are six to try this August and September.

1. The Big Feastival, Cotswolds

Blur bassist-turned-cheesemaker Alex James hosts this gourmet music festival on his Cotswolds estate. Only Friday tickets now remain, so get in quick: headline acts include Sigala, Ella Eyre and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, while Jack Stein leads the roster of celebrity chefs on stage. Street food options include La Churreria and Oh My Dog! and there are also long-table dining events, plus cookery classes for children and adults. 27-29 August; adult Friday tickets from £82. 

2. Vegan Camp Out, Nottinghamshire

The world’s largest vegan camping festival will see thousands of herbivores descend on Nottinghamshire’s Newark Showground for three days. The lineup includes poet Benjamin Zephaniah, vegan YouTubers BOSH!, comedian Russell Brand and TV presenter Chris Packham. Also on offer will be workshops, seminars, live music, yoga and much more. Street food options — all plant-based, of course — range from pizza and kebabs to green juices and curries. 20-22 August; full weekend camping tickets from £64. 

Paul Ainsworth has gathered together his chef friends for the four-stop Travelling Feast. Visitors can choose from a day pass, camping or glamping.

Photograph by Jeff Moore

3. Travelling Feast, Cornwall

Cornwall-based chef Paul Ainsworth has gathered together his chef friends — and their food trucks — for a four-stop tour of picturesque Cornish locations, including the Royal Cornwall Showground and various country house estates. Expect chef demos from the likes of Angela Hartnett, plus dairy-based delights from James Martin’s Ice Cream Truck and music from acts including Kaiser Chiefs and The Sugarhill Gang. Choose from a day pass, camping or glamping. 6-20 August; adult day tickets from £42. 

4. Meatopia, London

Meat-lovers, rejoice: Meatopia comes loaded with burgers, pulled meats and poultry, washed down with craft beers. Chefs including Niklas Ekstedt and Melissa Thompson will gather at London’s Tobacco Dock for live demonstrations involving plenty of fire and smoke. Roaming brass bands and singers provide the soundtrack. 3-5 September; admission-only (no food included) day tickets from £31.80. 

The Abergavenny Food Festival is a town-wide buffet complete with cookery demonstrations, live music and fireworks.

Photograph by Artur Tixiliski

5. Abergavenny Food Festival, Abergavenny

Tuck into a town-wide buffet in Abergavenny, where Welsh honey, cider and charcuterie await. Pre-purchase a ‘stroller pass’ to gain access to the talks and cookery demonstrations featuring the likes of Chetna Makhan and Matt Tebbutt and Olly Smith from the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. Don’t miss the Party at the Castle (ticketed separately), with live music and fireworks on the Abergavenny Castle grounds. 18-19 September; adult stroller day passes from £10. 

6. Pub in the Park, various locations

Tom Kerridge’s travelling food festival has covered five locations since it kicked off in June — Chiswick, St Albans and Marlow remain. Pop-up stalls feature local bars and award-winning restaurants, serving £6 taster plates of pub classics alongside beers and spirits. The musical line-up, meanwhile, includes Basement Jaxx, Craig David and Corinne Bailey Rae. Various dates until 19 September; day passes from £45. 

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