Great food festivals of the Cotswolds
- Credit: Archant
People in the Cotswolds are spoilt for choice when it comes to food festivals. Here is our pick of the best events celebrating all things great and edible in this pretty region of England.
Kingham | August 28-30
Jamie Oliver and Alex James present The Big Feastival, a unique weekend celebration of music, food and fun for all the family, set on Alex’s idyllic Cotswolds farm. Visitors can enjoy demos from top chefs including Jamie Oliver, Raymond Blanc and Monica Galetti among others, and sample the cream of the UK’s street food crop. The festival also features live music from the likes of Groove Armada, Example, Dizzee Rascal, Paloma Faith, Grandmaster Flash and Duke, among others. You can browse local producer stands, join a cookery class or get your foodie fix joining top chefs for intimate Q&A sessions. Visitors can come for the day, camp for the weekend or go glamping for a special treat.
Oxford | August 29-31
Foodies Festival, the UK’s largest celebration of food and drink, returns to Oxford South Parks this August for its sixth consecutive year. Each year, tens-of-thousands of visitors flock from the surrounding areas to enjoy a vast array of culinary activities, including demonstrations from top chefs in the Chef’s Theatre; wine, beer, and cocktails in the Drink’s Theatre - and kids can learn to cook too in the Children’s Cookery Theatre. A new Tasting Theatre with masterclasses designed by bloggers and experts will introduce festival-goers to the latest foods and flavours including Raw Food, Japanese Soul and Vegan. Local experts will also guide visitors through Oyster Shucking, Mushroom Foraging and Bee Keeping. The Cake and Bake Theatre will appeal to passionate bakers with 3D cake modelling, Chocolate Making, Sugar-Crafting and a complementing Chocolate, Cake and bake Village selling bakes, jams, gadgets and ingredients. And there’s plenty more besides to sink your teeth into.
Woodstock | May 23 – 25
Arranged by Fantastic British Food Festivals, Blenheim Palace will host a three-day feast of food and drink showcasing the best in local and regional produce, and featuring cookery demos, talks and stalls packed with edibles. There will also be roaming entertainment, a children’s corner and traditional hay bale-filled picnic area where families can gobble up their goodies and relax in the stunning setting of Blenheim Palace.
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Cheltenham | June 12-14
The Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival celebrates the best cuisine in the Cotswolds and the surrounding regions. The three-day festival will feature celebrity and local chefs, over 200 fine food and drink exhibitors, the opportunity to taste speciality real ale, fine wines, and champagne and watch chefs demonstrating their culinary skills in the beautiful surroundings of Montpellier Gardens.
Gloucester | June 17-19
The three-day Gloucester Quays Food Festival will feature an artisan market with over 120 stalls offering a range of irresistible food and drink including local cheeses, rich handmade chocolates, traditional pies and farm-fresh sausages and much more. There will be ticketed demos from top TV chef Paul Hollywood, and free shows for children from Ben Faulks (as Mr Bloom) and Katy Ashworth (as seen on CBeebies). Unwind on the Quays lawn and enjoy food-to-go, cocktails, cold beer, real ale and cider while listening to live music from local talent.
Leamington Spa | September 5-6
The Royal Leamington Spa Food & Drink Festival attracts around 25,000 people and returns every September. This year will feature 150 unique stalls with a diverse array of food and drink products including meats, pickles, wines, cakes, chocolates, organic produce, cookery ware and more; a live kitchen, a BBQ Masterclass area, Kids’ Cookery School as well as live music and entertainment.
Newent | September 12
Newent Onion Fayre is a one day street festival of food, drink and merriment which attracts almost 15,000 visitors every year. As part of the event, there is a food festival showcasing everything from jams, cakes, cheese, oils, fresh fruit, vegetables and bread to beer, wine, cider and liquors - and much more.
Tetbury | September 16-20
The annual Tetbury Food and Drink Festival returns this September, kicking off with the gathering of the Gloucester Old Spot Sausage Appreciation Society at The Close Hotel; this year with special guest poet Peter Wyton. In the centre of Town, set under and around the Market Hall, is the popular Festival Market with lots of stalls offering everything from cheese to chutney, champagne to cider and speciality beers, tasty cakes and pies, plus fresh fruit and vegetables from nearby Aunt Addies Farm - a local social farming project whose main aim is providing an opportunity for local groups including disabled, young and others the chance to experience the healthy outdoor life becoming involved in sowing planting and reaping the benefits. Rob Rees’ Wiggly Machine will be making an appearance, too; a lovingly restored 1967 Citroen H Van, this is a street food van by day and poverty pop-up by night, with all funds raised going towards the provision of hot nutritious food to those who need it most in the community.
Witney | May 16
The third Witney Food Festival, held in and around the mediaeval church of St Mary on Church Green, will once again welcome around 3,000 visitors in a celebration of the best local produce in Oxfordshire; from farm, field, kitchen and shop. There will be 70 stalls with a range of edibles on sale, a children’s tent with fun activities to keep the little ones entertained, local singers and dancers, plus the opportunity to learn new talents in the Skills Tent. Previous attendees have included local MP and Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as patron Alexander Armstrong.
Bath | October 1-31
The Great Bath Feast is a month-long melting pot of flavours and lively personalities; of cakes and ale; of great gourmets and warm gastro pubs; of buns and cook books; of gastro gadgets and wine and food matching, all taking place across the historic city of Bath. Details for this year’s event are yet to be confirmed, but it’s reasonable to expect more of what made the 2014 Great Bath Feast award-winning; cookery demonstrations by experts, tastings and market stalls packed full of local produce.
Alcester | September 12-13
Set amongst the scenic grounds of Ragley House, visitors to the festival in Alcester can enjoy one of the many artisan talks, the Man vs. Food competition, or the spectacle of the Cake-off. Alternatively, you can just lie back and sip a beer on the lawns whilst listening to talented local live bands. You can even bring your family dog along!
Tewkesbury | June 27-28
The popular Tewkesbury Food & Drink Festival returns this June, once again held in the beautiful Tewkesbury Abbey grounds. The weekend of fun and foodie delights will feature a Food & Drink marquee with over 60 stalls offering a wealth of local produce including award-winning cheeses, locally reared meat, homemade cakes and pastries, local wine, beer and cider plus much more. The event will also include a cookery theatre with live demonstrations from local chefs and experts, as well as food competitions and plenty of entertainment, games and activities for the kids.
Evesham | May 30-31
Worcester’s food and music festival Asparafest returns this May. Traditionally a celebration of the humble asparagus, the event now includes all sorts of entertainment and edible produce. There will be a cookery stage with demonstrations by Felice Tocchini, Our Lizzy,Thomas Court (Sticky Fig), Word in Veg Ways and Nanas Food Japan. And in keeping with the theme, there will be appearances from The World-Famous Asparamancer, Gus and the Asparafairy, plus Asparagus Eating Competitions, Recipe Competitions and the Crowning of the Asparagus King and Queen! Plus, a real ale and cider festival for those fancying a tipple.
Fancy a tipple? Have a look at our beer, cider and wine festival round-up.
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