The UK’s best food festivals in 2022

Our pick of the best food festivals in the UK to get in the diary now

Smiling group of people in blue denim aprons stood behind large counter of oysters

From the oyster-shucking festivals of Scotland’s east coast, across the rolling countryside down to the Isle of Wight’s aromatic Garlic Farm, our nation’s diverse regional produce is something to be truly celebrated.

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And what better way is there to do a weekend food shop than milling around a marketplace sampling the best of the UK’s cuisine, while supporting local producers? Learn the secrets behind each type of food directly from the supplier, arguably the person with the most knowledge about it.

Regional foodie Natasha Goodfellow rounds up her pick of the best food festivals in the UK to get in the diary now.

Alresford Watercress festival, Hampshire

15 May 2022

A smiling girl and boy (age 6) are the King and Queen of Alresford Watercress Festival pictured wearing green and yellow wreaths and throwing bundles of cress to the crowd in front
At the 13th annual Alresford Watercress Festival, the Watercress King and Queen (both age 6) throw the season’s first watercress harvest to the crowds, Alresford. Credit: Paul Doyle / Alamy Stock Photo

Every year, the pretty Hampshire town of Alresford plays host to a festival celebrating all things watercress. The highlight is a parade where the watercress king and queen distribute the first of the season’s harvest. There’s also a watercress-eating championship (now in the Guinness Book of Records), cookery demonstrations, a street market, Morris dancers and Punch and Judy shows, all in honour of this nutritious leaf.

watercressfestival.org

Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival, Antrim

25–26 June 2022

Hilltop view in winter
Antrim hills from Slemish mountain. Credit: Getty Images.

Artisan producers from across Ireland take part in this festival at Shane’s Castle in Antrim, which is rooted in preserving the Irish countryside. Expect falconry displays, carriage riding events, dog shows plus game and fish cookery demos.

irishgamefair.com

Dalemain marmalade festival, CUMBRIA

Date to be confirmed

Marmalade recipe (Photo by: Martin Poole via Getty Images)
Marmalade./Credit: Martin Poole/Getty Images.

Jane Hasell-McCosh, chatelaine of Dalemain Mansion in Cumbria, dreamt up the World Marmalade Awards in 2005 to attract tourists to the region after the Foot & Mouth outbreak. A huge success, the accompanying festival now boasts everything from orange-dyed sheep to a visit from Paddington Bear, of course.

dalemain.com

 

Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival

23–24 July 2022

Stone barns and fields in Littondale, Yorkshire Dales national park, England, UK. (Photo by: Geography Photos/UIG via Getty Images)
Yorkshire Dales National Park. /Credit: Geography Photos/UIG via Getty Images.

Funkirk Farm in Skipton is the venue for this two-day extravaganza offering live celebrity demos by the likes of James Martin and The Hairy Bikers, alongside workshops, masterclasses and hundreds of foodie exhibitors.

yorkshiredalesfoodanddrinkfestival.com

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

20–21 August 2022

Covered market where thousands of bulbs of loose garlic bulbs are being sold to the public at the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival
Isle of Wight Garlic Festival. Credit: Jeff Gilbert / Alamy.

A heady mix of country fair, pop festival and a vampire’s worst nightmare, this festival offers everything from garlic beer and ice cream to fudge, with much of the raw ingredients grown just minutes away at the island’s multi-award winning garlic farm.

garlicfestival.co.uk

Meatopia On Fire, London

2–4 September 2022

Man grilling meat at covered Meatopia festival at Tobacco Dock, London.
Meatopia, London. Credit: Horst Friedrichs / Alamy.

Top chefs from around the world assemble for this visceral celebration of meat and fire at Tobacco Dock in East London. It’s a party with principles though – the festival’s manifesto insists on ethically produced and sustainable ingredients and extols the benefits of nose-to-tail eating.

meatopia.co.uk

Stranraer Oyster Festival, Scotland

10–11 September 2022

Smiling group of people in blue denim aprons stood behind large counter of oysters
The Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery Team. Credit: Pete Robinson.

The UK’s native oyster season opens on 1 September and the boats here need at least a week to land enough for this fun festival on the shores of Loch Ryan. Witness the high-stakes Oyster Shucking Championship in which chefs from all over Scotland compete, or grab a napkin and enter the oyster-eating competition yourself.

stranraeroysterfestival.com

 

Abergavenny Food Festival, Wales

17–18 September 2022

bustling crowds shop at the red and white striped stalls of Abergavenny Food Festival night market
The Night Market at Abergavenny Food Festival. /Credit: Huw John, Cardiff/Getty Images

Since it was first founded by two farmers in 1999, Abergavenny Food Festival has become one of Britain’s leading food events, with talks and workshops. The Saturday night party at the castle is legendary.

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abergavennyfoodfestival.com