The Best Food Festivals in the UK

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Written by our Web Team

7 min read | 7 June 2024

As a nation of foodies, many of us enjoy visiting street food markets and festivals. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to sample culinary delights all over the UK. 

Better still, travelling by train is a great way to try the food and drinks on offer across the country.

In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best food festivals in the UK and help you decide which one should be next on your list.

A close-up of a hamburger at an outdoor food festival.

Best UK food festivals

Whether you like a bit of spice, are a plant-based enthusiast, or are one of the 98% of Brits who love cheese, there’s a food festival to suit your tastes. 

Sample Scottish delights at the Edinburgh Food Festival. Or treat your tastebuds at the Rock Oyster Festival in the south. There’s a unique food festival in each corner of the nation.

Pub in the Park

Pub in the Park tours the country each year, allowing you to experience some of the best food in the UK. Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge founded the festival as a celebration of everything there is to love about the iconic British pub.

Regularly attending the festival are Tom Kerridge’s restaurants as well as chefs local to each venue. Expect various cuisines no matter which location you head to. From Asian delights and Middle Eastern influences to chicken wings and grill favourites. 

  • Pub in the Park is a food festival tour, with venues changing each year. Recent venues have included Wimbledon, Bath, St Albans, Brighton and Leamington Spa

  • The festival usually begins in May and continues until September

  • Ticket prices vary between £33 and £350 for adults. Children aged five to 16 are cheaper and under fives go free

Oxford Foodies Festival

For those visiting the Cotswolds, the Oxford Foodies Festival is a must-do. Held every August bank holiday weekend, this food festival is a celebration of tasty food and top chefs. There’s a big helping of drinks and live music for good measure too. 

See MasterChef Champions in action. Watch as Michelin-starred and local chefs cook up a storm. Enjoy samples from street food vendors, artisan market stall holders and budding bakers. 

There’s even a kid’s cookery station to test your little one’s skills. The Foodies Festival is another touring festival, with locations and dates spread across the UK in the summer.

  • Oxford Foodies Festival is at South Parks, just a 15-minute drive from Oxford train station

  • The festival is on the August bank holiday. The next will run from the 24th to the 26th August

  • Doors open to the festival at 11:00 am each day, closing at 9:00 pm. Ticket prices vary. Advance tickets cost between £21 and £42 and dogs are welcome on a lead.

A close-up of a woman carrying a vegetable-filled bagel and a pint of beer.

Bolton Food Festival

If you’re heading up north in the summer, Bolton Food Festival is worth a visit. Crowned the Leading Live Event Award Winner in 2022, this festival has been running for 18 years. 

With this prestige, it promises to be a great day out for all the family. Cuisines include everything from Greek and Spanish delights to Thai and Chinese favourites.

As well as more than 180 artisan market stalls, you’ll have the opportunity to see celebrity chefs in action. Previous visitors have included James Martin, Nisha Katona and Gok Wan. 

There’s also a full live music programme and plenty of free activities for the whole family to get involved in. 

  • Bolton Food Festival occupies Bolton town centre, just 12 miles from Manchester. You can take a direct train from Manchester to Bolton in around 20 minutes

  • The event happens every year on the August bank holiday weekend

  • The food festival takes place over four days and is free to attend, with food prices starting at just a couple of pounds

Great British Food Festival

The Great British Food Festival is another touring festival that takes place across UK heritage sites. These include venues such as Knebworth House, Hertfordshire and Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire. 

Many of the locations are on direct train routes, so getting there is easy. 

This family-friendly food festival started in 2010 and has expanded each year. Lots of new locations and vendors now offer their culinary wares. 

Visitors to any of the Great British Food Festival locations can expect cookery demos and eating competitions. Plus, there are street food, artisan market stalls and plenty of activities for the kids.

  • The Great British Food Festival takes over multiple locations in the UK

  • Festival dates usually run from the beginning of May until the end of September. Check your preferred venue to find exact dates

  • Tickets range in price depending on the location you are visiting. Advance bookings will benefit from discounted prices

A close-up of different small, slider burgers, each with a small black flag in them.

Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival

Northerners know a thing or two about good food, so expect some taste sensations when visiting the Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival

Alongside a jam-packed schedule on the kitchen stages, you’ll also find cookery schools and masterclasses to try out your own skills.

There’s also a lineup of celebrity chefs showcasing their skills in the big top theatre kitchen. Past attendees have included Gino D’Acampo, Si King of the Hairy Bikers and Yorkshire’s own James Martin. 

Committed foodies can also camp at the festival across the three days.

  • This food festival is at Funkirk Farm. The closest train station is Skipton, which is a five-minute drive from the festival site

  • The event runs each summer at the end of July. The 2024 festival is from the 19th to the 21st July

  • A standard one-day ticket price starts from £32 for adults and £20 for children, with under sevens admitted for free. You can also bring dogs along for the fun

Christchurch Food Festival

The south coast is glorious in the summer, making it the perfect time to visit the Christchurch Food Festival. The largest food event in the region, it covers everything you need for a family day out. 

From live cooking demonstrations by the UK’s most renowned chefs to interactive workshops and tastings. There’s something for every foodie. 

Kids are well looked after at this food festival too. You’ll find children’s activities and live music performances across the weekend. Sustainability is important to the Christchurch Food Festival. Vendors are hand-picked based on their ethical and sustainable practices. 

Visitors here can expect to see a variety of food and drink producers, including local market traders and artisan stalls. 

  • Christchurch Food Festival is at Christchurch Quay, which is less than ten minutes on a direct train from Bournemouth

  • The food festival occurs on the late May bank holiday each year. It runs from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Monday

  • The event is completely free to attend, except for food and drink purchases

Ludlow Food Festival

The first successful food festival in the UK was Ludlow Food Festival, which launched in 1995. Visitors travel to this event from all across the country each year to try samples from more than 100 local exhibitors. You can look forward to live chef demos, locally produced food and drink and an abundance of other fun activities. 

Ludlow Food Festival is also famed for its ‘Sausage Trail’, a magnet for those who enjoy a British banger. There are also competitions for the best pork pie, cake and Ludlow sandwich. While the festival itself is in one location, the whole town gets involved. Local restaurants host specials and there’s an Ale Trail across the pubs. 

  • Ludlow Castle is the main venue for the food festival, although the surrounding streets and town square also get involved. From Ludlow train station, it’s just a short walk to the festival site

  • Ludlow Food Festival happens each year at the beginning of September 

  • One-day adult tickets cost between £14 and £16, with children costing £4 and under fives admitted for free

An out-of-focus shot of an outdoor food festival including vendors and crowds.

Getting to a food festival by train with Avanti

With so many food festivals around the UK to explore, there are multiple ways to reach them. When you travel with Avanti West Coast, you get to your destination quickly, comfortably and conveniently. So you won’t need to pass up any free drink samples!

With most food festivals publishing their dates almost a year in advance, you have plenty of time to plan your trip. Use our route planner to find the best way to get there and take advantage of advance ticket savings

When you travel with us, you’ll have more money to spend on delicious food and drink.

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