Let’s brush off our comfy shoes, sunglasses, and sunscreen. It’s festival time and we haven’t been allowed out for a while due to COVID. COVID is still around, no doubt about that, but we can be careful while still enjoying the festivals we’ve missed out on.
It’s time to start living life to the fullest again. There are so many events taking place across the UK in 2022 so this is the year to get out and about and embrace music, culture, sport or one of the many festivals. With summer fast approaching, the chance to get out and mix with likeminded people, safely and responsibly, has never been more welcome.
For many the excitement of getting back to events is all-consuming, and the first time you find yourself in a large crowd might feel strange. If that’s the case enjoying an outdoor event might be one of the first things you do.
Here’s a look at the top 10 food and drink festivals in the UK (in no particular order):
- A Taste of Chorley
A Taste of Chorley will be held on the weekend of 11th and 12th June and will showcase the great local food and drink on offer in and around the borough. There will be a large variety of brilliant local food and drink providers offering all the tastes of Chorley in the heart of the town centre, and purchase some gorgeous artisan produce to enjoy at home.
For the budding chefs, there will also be a cooking demonstration kitchen, food tasting and recipe and cooking tips. You can even show off your skills by taking part in one of the many competitions which will be running across the weekend, with more details released soon.
Chris Sinnott, deputy chief executive of Chorley Council said: “It is great that A Taste of Chorley will be back in June. It’s always brilliant to see so many visitors in the town centre enjoying an event that promotes the brilliant food and drinks offered in Chorley.”
2 – Bolton Food and Drink Festival
COVID restrictions forced the 2020 edition to be a “digital only” event and while Bolton was able to welcome back the crowds in 2021, safety precautions meant there could not be a full programme of celebrity cookery demonstrations. But this year, the festival will return once again for four days over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.
Now in its 17th year, Bolton Food and Drink Festival is always a great weekend, with hundreds of traders, live music, street entertainment, family fun and a wide range of food-themed activities.
The festival’s full celebrity chef line-up has been confirmed, with some of the biggest names in TV cookery getting ready to show off their skills in front of live audiences. Festival favourite James Martin, who described Bolton as “the biggest and best food festival in the UK,” will make his long-awaited return, entertaining the crowds while cooking up some spectacular dishes.
Si King and Dave Myers will ride into town fresh off their tour of Northern England in the hit BBC show The Hairy Bikers Go North. The legendary Ainsley Harriott will delight fans with cooking tips and tales from nearly three decades as one the nation’s top TV personalities. And renowned chef Michael Caines, who held two Michelin stars for 18 consecutive years, will also make an appearance.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome back such an incredible line-up of world class chefs to this year’s Bolton Food and Drink Festival,” said Bolton Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Hilary Fairclough. “The live cookery demonstrations are such a big part of the festival, and we are looking forward to having a full programme for the first time since 2019. “It shows how highly regarded the festival is that we continue to attract some of the best chefs in the country to show off their skills right in the heart of Bolton.”
3 – Winchester’s Foodies Festival
Foodies Festival will be taking place at North Walls Recreation Ground from July 15 until 17. This year’s line-up includes MasterChef: The Professionals champion Daniel Lee, MasterChef champions Thomas Frake and Shelina Permaloo and Great British Bake Off star, Juergen Krauss. Daniel said: “I am thrilled to be performing in the Chefs Theatre at Foodies Festival in Winchester this year. I’m hoping that people will enjoy a bit more of an in-depth and interactive explanation into why I cook the food I do, and where my inspiration for it comes from. For me food is all about bringing people together, and that’s exactly what Foodies Festival is about!”
Shelina said: “It’s great to be heading back to Foodies Festival, the weekends are always buzzing with great food and lovely foodie friends!” The music line-up includes: chart-topping singer-songwriter Gabrielle and Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe from boy band Blue. New for the Friday, Foodies launch their ‘Big Party Night’ – taking a nostalgia-filled trip back to the 90s, featuring some of the biggest music acts of the era, including: Rozalla, N-Trance and 911.
New this year, is a competition called Ready Steady Chef. Celebrity chefs from TV’s biggest cooking shows will compete against each other, turning up the heat in the Chefs’ Theatre. Presented with a bag of surprising ingredients chosen by their competitors, it will be a race against the clock to create the best dish, and to win the public vote.
For the fourth year running, the festival is supporting Musicians Against Homelessness (MAH) with tickets raising money for UK-wide homelessness charity Crisis. MAH founder, Emma Rule, said: “I’m very pleased to help bring this amazing line-up of artists to Foodies in Winchester. I can’t praise them enough for their generous support in these difficult times. “The last two years have been incredibly hard for charities and the hospitality industry alike. But together we can and will make a difference.”
4 – Crail Food Festival
Let the feasting begin! 2021 was a bit different, but we’ve all got used to different. With the New Year we look forward to the 2022 festival and bringing back many of our favourite producers and products with a little bit of a twist. This year the festival will take place over the weekend of 17th – 19th June 2022 in locations throughout the village of Crail. With evening events, lots of opportunities to discover and meet producers, and plenty to eat and drink.
There will be Crail Food Festival goodies for you to browse and buy. This year they have worked with designer Kate George to bring you an exciting new and exclusive collection of merchandise all about Crail’s long history of food production.
5 – Great British Food Festival
This festival is coming to Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham for the first time this summer, as well as returning to Hardwick Hall, Chesterfield. The touring event features an artisan food market, street food stalls, bars and chefs giving cookery demonstrations. There are also barbecue masterclasses.
You can even get in free by entering the show’s Cake Off baking competition. There’s also Men (or Women) v Food challenges. Foodies can also join in foraging walks. At Hardwick Hall, two past Bake Off competitors will be giving demonstrations on the bake stage. Entertainment includes a live music stage running from 10am to 5pm and there are craft stalls to browse. Children have their own cookery classes, activities and a mini zoo to visit. The event, which is dog friendly, takes place at Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea, Chesterfield between July 29 and 31 and at Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham on August 20 and 21.
6 – Sodbury Fest
The ever-popular Sodbury beer festival is set to return this summer after being cancelled the last two years due to the pandemic, this time under new management. ‘Sodbury Fest’ – the new South Cotswold Beer Festival in Chipping Sodbury, will be run by Chipping Sodbury Rugby club after The Rotary Club of Yate handed over the reins. Having run the South Cotswold Beer Festival very successfully for many years, the Rotary Club of Yate have passed responsibility to Chipping Sodbury Rugby Club (CSRFC), who will continue to run this popular event.
The annual festival, that is held at the Ridings on Wickwar Road has been rebranded for this year’s festival to be a one-day event, held on Saturday, July 2. Organisers are keen to place emphasis on the variety of music and musicians which they say will appeal to a wider audience. The team also say there will be a greater choice of food and drink on offer to encourage family gatherings as well as the traditional beer and cider connoisseurs.
Local bands set to play include, Decanter, Room 6, Peppercorns, ‘Bristol Pan Sonic’ early 80’s jazz funk band ‘Freeze’. Appearances from ‘Street Cred’ the superb street dancers, ‘FooPhonics’ and ‘For the Record’ who cover 70’s/80’s music will also play. The evening will at 11pm finish with a flourish of rock from ‘Liquor & Poker’.
7 – The Smoked & Uncut Festival
Luxury country hotel The Pig, in Bridge, will be hosting this celebration of both music and food in August. Rock band Supergrass are pencilled in as the headline act for the event, which will see festival-goers stay overnight in glamping tents.
A licensing bid to secure permission for a range of activities has been submitted to Canterbury City Council, with event bosses wanting 15 separate food stalls. There will also be a pop-up restaurant serving a variety of cuisines, 12 small capacity bars providing alcoholic drinks and 11 other bars selling solely non-alcoholic drinks. Organisers are also planning to have 40 glamping tents pitched up for guests to stay overnight ahead of, and after, the music on Saturday, August 13. Cocktails, gin and tonic, a Shepherd Neame beer bar and a Hambledon’s double-decker bus will be among the drink offerings.
8 – The Great Derbyshire Beer Festival
As its name implies, the Great Derbyshire Beer Festival concentrates on the county and will feature 13 Derbyshire breweries, along with a few surprises to come from the city’s Suds & Soda bar and bottle shop. It is a joint venture between the Bustler Market folk and those who have successfully organised the city’s craft beer showcase, Derby Beer Con. Principally, they are business partners Josh Mellor and Tom Ainsley, who these days have long-serving all-round beer guy Lee Roach working for them as well.
The traditionalists may be suspicious but Josh and Tom are firmly of the view that traditional cask beers – commonly known as “real ale” – and craft keg beers, many of which fit Camra’s definition of real ale anyway, can co-exist and both thrive. This beer festival sets out to prove it. There will be more than 150 beers along with the sort of street food the popular Bustler Markets routinely offer.
9 – Taste Liverpool, Drink Bordeaux
A new food and drink festival is launching in Liverpool this summer, taking over three major city streets. Taste Liverpool. Drink Bordeaux will see Liverpool’s hospitality sector collaborate with the Bordeaux Wine Council and the French Government for what aims to be “the most delicious weekend of 2022”. The new festival will take place across four days in June to coincide with the Queen’s Jubilee Celebration.
Taste Liverpool will aim to redefine street food as three of the city’s foodie destinations Hope Street, Bold Street and Castle Street become immersive food experiences with takeovers by local restaurateurs and producers, cookery demonstrations, food inspired cultural events and venues offering special festival menus.
The festival is free to attend with ticketed experiences available for wine tasting. Taste Liverpool. Drink Bordeaux will take place from June 2 – 5, 2022 across Hope Street, Bold Street and Castle Street in the city centre.
10 – Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink
The Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink will return as a live event in summer 2022, and organisers are calling on growers, producers, retailers and chefs to join the celebration of local produce in southwest Scotland.
During Covid-19 and the restrictions in place, the festival was reformatted as a digital event, with several thousand visitors engaging online in 2020 and 2021.
Among the participants from closer to home are Dunlop Dairy, Glenapp Castle, Bladnoch Distillery and Blackthorn Salt in a programme that includes Chris Saunders’ gin workshop, a Scottish Cheese Trail, and foraging with Galloway Wild Foods. As in previous years, the festival programme will include a lively variety of workshops, tastings and demonstrations alongside a two-day food market.
What a great way to celebrate summer with friends and family. It’s been a long 2 years with the pandemic and now’s the time to get out and enjoy festivals again. Which ones will you attend?