Hannah Holland, from VisitEssex.co.uk share her favourite events taking place across the county this summer.


Set in the glorious surroundings of medieval Cressing Temple Barns, the Essex Food and Craft Fair has something to whet everyone’s appetite. Running for over twenty years, this well-established festival hosts a huge range of food and drink vendors offering an array of fine foods, wines and spirits, with plenty of delicious tastings to try throughout the weekend. Watch a selection of cooking demonstrations to inspire your inner chef and peruse the craft and gifts stands for homemade treasures. Take home something for a loved one, or why not treat yourself. A poplar fun-filled event, great for the whole family.

15 – 16 June




Founded by Gustav Holst in 1916, the Thaxted Festival remains a popular event today with visitors from across the world. This year the festival honours the 150th anniversary of the birth of Holst himself, with celebrations throughout July. Taking place in Thaxted Parish Church, with its superb natural acoustics and beautiful historic surrounds, this is a timeless music experience not to be missed. Located in one of the most beautiful small towns in East Anglia, enjoy the highest standards of performance from renowned professional artists, specialising in chamber, orchestral music, piano, jazz, organ and more

21 June - 14 July



The Epping Ongar Railway’s Real Ale Festival returns for its 11th year. With live music to enjoy on and off the trains, over 70 real ales and 15 real ciders from small independent brewers across London and Essex and the return of their poplar real ale trains, where the on-board bars allow passengers to buy beer on the move – this year’s festival is set to be bigger than ever. Leave the car at home and take advantage of their connecting vintage London bus service from Shenfield and Epping Station, or jump onboard their heritage steam and diesel hauled train services which will also be in operation across the three days.

26 – 28 July




Lazydays Festival in Priory Park, Southend, is a true celebration of all things craft and music. From local gin and tonic with the best-paired garnish, to independent Essex wine-makers, refreshing cocktails, English-apple cider and a huge selection of craft beers and lagers.

Lazydays Festival is flipping the traditional beer festival on its head. Add some fantastic headliners into the mix for an experience like no other. Enjoy an unmissable line up featuring music by the UK’s finest talent and some of Southend’s favourite local artists.

26 – 28 July




Established in 2001, the Brightlingsea Free Music Festival is held in the heart of Brightlingsea, a small coastal town situated in north-east Essex. The two-day open-air festival features live music from a wide range of genres supporting new and established bands. With a fun-packed line up across both days, they’ll be performances throughout the afternoon and evening and a range of vendors serving delicious food and drink to keep you fed and watered. Whilst there, take a wander along the flat sandy beach or walk along the Western Promenade where you’ll see the Grade II listed Bateman’s Tower in the distance.

3 – 4 August




Calling all foodies, this one’s for you… Essex’s largest BBQ festival returns to Maldon over the August Bank Holiday weekend, with its unique mix of barbecue food, music and competitions. Taking place in Promenade Park, the Smoke & Fire Festival promises to deliver a sizzling fire and BBQ experience like no other. With a jam-packed programme, this festival is a must-visit for families seeking flavourful fun. Work your way around the myriad of award-winning street food traders and be wowed by fire cooks and pitmasters that are set to elevate your BBQ appreciation. Take part in their extreme chilli and hot wing eating challenges if you dare!

17 – 18 August