Festivals in Devon: 21 you won’t want to miss

Devon's best festivals

Devon's best festivals - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Music, food, drink, crafts, art... Devon has festivals for them all. We’ve picked 21 that you should consider visiting this year

1) Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink

Hosted at two of Devon’s prettiest locations, Exeter Castle and Northernhay Gardens, this award-winning festival takes place every May. Take a long weekend and tuck into delicious food and drink while enjoying the excellent entertainment.

The daytime festival finishes between 5 and 6pm but you’ll be glad to know that the ‘after dark’ festival kicks off soon after.

2) Lord Mayor’s Festival, Plymouth

As the middle of spring approaches, so does the Lord Mayor’s festival, and every year it has a different theme.

Come and welcome the mayor into their new role at this programme-packed event with plenty to see, from a parade to fantastic street entertainment, all taking place on the last weekend of May.

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3) The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey

This June, the quaint town of Bovey Tracey will be flowing with creativity as it welcomes The Contemporary Craft Festival with a showcase of the UK’s finest designers’ work.

There will be delicious food, live music, workshops, demonstrations and child-friendly activities for all the family to enjoy during the weekend of June 8 - 10.

4) Mid Devon Show, Tiverton

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This popular annual event will be taking place in the heart of Devon, Tiverton on July 28. The Mid Devon Show has it all: shopping, tasty food, gardening exhibitions, fairground rides and much more, all to be enjoyed by you and your family this summer.

Embrace the friendly atmosphere at The Mid Devon show and ensure you enjoy one of the many interesting faming demonstrations.

5) River Cottage Festival, Axminster

Spend your August bank holiday weekend at the River Cottage Festival where there will be dancing, foraging, music, food and much more.

Enjoy foodie treats from an array of street food stalls and watch famous faces give demonstrations and take notes at their master classes.


Here’s some more places to visit:


6) Sidmouth Folk Week

For all folk music fans, Sidmouth is the place to be from August 3 - 11.

Enjoy the lively atmosphere with folk dancing, workshops, crafts and, of course, lots of tasty food and drink. There’s opportunities to meet the stars of the show or simply order drinks and dance along to live music with friends.

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7) Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival

Devon’s literature lovers rejoice as the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival is the perfect place to share your passion with the written word.

Engage with talented figures from authors, broadcasters to astronomers and many more. The event will take place between September 19 - 23.

8) Appledore Book Festival

Another one for book lovers is the Appledore Book Festival, held from September 21 – 29 at various venues throughout Appledore and Bideford.

Sample the local produce, discover some interesting crafts and acquaint yourself with the international bestselling authors attending the event.

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9) Plymouth Seafood Festival

Visit Plymouth between September 15 - 16 for the city’s much-loved, annual two-day seafood event.

Gather at the Cookery Theatre where you can pick up some culinary tips from regional and celebrity chefs. Soak in the smells of freshly caught seafood while you explore the array of local food and craft stalls.

10) Powderham Food Festival, Exeter

Situated in Kenton is the beautiful 14th century Powderham Castle, the perfect venue for a food festival with its surrounding gardens full of colourful floral displays.

Bring family and friends to the event celebrating food from the South West on October 6 and 7.

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11) Devon Fire & Spice Festival, Powderham Castle

A couple of months before the food festival arrives at the castle, this hot chilli and barbecue festival will test your taste buds.

There will be barbecue demonstrations, a chilli cook-off competition, food for less spicy palates and great beers and ciders to cool the mouth down afterwards. The festival runs from August 18 – 19.

12) Dartmouth Food Festival

Dartmouth’s autumn food festival returns on October 19 - 21, with free entry and plenty of food and drink for you to try.

There’s so much more than just food at this festival: expect chef demonstrations, a pop-up restaurant, drink seminars, competitions and much more.

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13) Tar Barrel Rolling, Ottery St Mary

For Bonfire Night celebrations with a difference, head to Ottery St Mary on November 5.

This utterly bizarre event sees brave – or crazy - participants parade through the street holding huge barrels of tar on fire in front of a lively crowd who love every second.

14) Kingsbridge Food & Music Festival

Visit Kingsbridge this summer from June 1 - 3 for three days of fantastic food and great entertainment on the picturesque quay.

The town will be welcoming local foodie favourites such as Nepalese momos, Thai, Indian, ice cream, crepes and more mouth-watering treats alongside vegan stalls joining this year’s festival.

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15) Goren Festival

Consider going wild in the meadows at Goren Festival taking place this June 29 - 30. Started by the local school PTA to raise funds for a school library, it was recently opened up to the wider public for the first time.

With reasonable ticket prices and profits donated to charity, this is a great first festival with small children and is in a beautiful intimate setting to top it all off.

16) Glas-Denbury

Anyone who has fond memories of Glasto but can’t face the idea of the crowds and the mud with small people, Glas-Denbury might just be the festival for you. Celebrating the South West’s talented musicians, artists, writers and entertainers, it’s a family friendly music festival on green fields.

Nominated for several awards, the festival organisers are committed to making it “comfortable, safe, happy and inspirational”. It takes places on July 6 and 7.


Check these other places out:

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17) Love Summer Festival

If you want to party this August 10 - 12 you could try the Love Summer Festival in Plympton.

They mix up their theme every year and for 2018 the theme of choice is ‘cosmic out of this world’. There’s also lots for children to do, glamping options available and, perhaps its most enticing feature, hot showers and flushing loos.

18) Wonder Fields

If you’re looking for a more bijoux music event accompanied by massage, prosecco, yoga and hot tubs head to Wonder Fields at the Fulford Estate.

The festival prides itself on being able to foster a sense of community during your time there and we’re sure you’ll know precisely what they mean as soon as you arrive between June 29 and July 1.

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19) Chagstock

Chagstock, a not-for-profit festival supporting the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, is set in the heart of rural Dartmoor on beautiful Whiddon Down.

It’s a small affair - only 5000 capacity - but it is spread over many acres so theres plenty of space for free range children to play. It takes place on July 20 and 21.

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20) Off Grid Festival

One for the eco warriors and environmentalist families, Off Grid Festival is running this August 9 - 12. Off Grid wants to encourage both local abundance and global sustainability and every part of their festival is designed to just that through deeply exploring creativity, community life, imagination, and resilient living.

Under 5s go free and there are plenty of workshops and fun things to get involved with.

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21) Beautiful Days Festival

And last but not least - some say the jewel in Devon’s festival crown - is Beautiful Days Festival on August 17 - 19. Not only will it have an impressive and eclectic line-up including Manic Street Preachers, Feeder, Suzanne Vega and British Sea Power, but it’s also got award-winning toilets (let’s face it, they are important).

It’s small enough to feel relaxed but big enough to pull in some respectable artists. This is the festival for the discerning, alternative muso parent.


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