Summer 2014 food and family festivals across Hampshire

National Watersports Festival. Credit - Dave White

National Watersports Festival. Credit - Dave White - Credit: Archant

Whether you and your brood are in search of fast cars, mouth-watering food or one of the best kite festivals in the world, Hampshire is happy to oblige. Natalie French checks out some of the best family festivals for summer 2014

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

Who will love it? Garlic fiends

With a reputation as one of Britain’s Top Ten food festivals, this awesome festival on the Isle of Wight is a garlic lover’s paradise. The soil on the island is perfect for growing the beautiful white bulbs and here you’ll find the best pungent produce, grown on the multi award-winning Garlic Farm in Newchurch. Smoked garlic, black garlic, Elephant garlic, the most divine spicy garlic chutneys, garlic mayonnaise, garlic butter, garlic ice cream, even garlic beer. Once you’ve filled your basket and your tummy, you can enjoy extensive cookery demonstrations in the Theatre Kitchen – along with live music and plenty of entertainment for the kids.

When: Saturday 16th – Sunday 17th August 2014

Where: Just outside Newchurch, Isle of Wight

Tickets: Day tickets available on the gate - £8.50 (adults), £7.50 (concessions), £5 (5 – 13 year olds), under 5s go free, £25 (family ticket, 2 adults and 2 children).

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The Curious Arts Festival

Who will love it? Literary lovers with a penchant for gin

Co-curators Clare Conville and Patrick Keogh, who produced the hugely successful and critically acclaimed Voewood Festival in Norfolk, have decided to bring their magic festival formula to the heart of the New Forest. Set in the grounds of the beautiful Pylewell Park, it is probably the only arts festival which kicks off with a cricket match, between the Authors 11 (whose team members include Winner of the Costa Award 2014, Nathan Filer) and the Pylewell Park team.

Co-curator, Patrick Keogh explains: “At Curious, festival guests can enjoy everything from tented literary events with the likes of Lady Antonia Fraser, DBC Pierre, Rachel Joyce, Craig Brown and Dan Snow to live evening gigs with artists such as Johnny Flynn, Ed Harcourt and Nick Mulvey.

“In between, there will be a whole host of other stimulating experiences taking place in the park from stand-up comedy and life drawing to immersive theatre, donkey rides, enchanting garden walks, the Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge, song-writing workshops, a dedicated film tent and magic shows.

“There will be wonderful activities available for children and families including an early morning cartoon club, mid-morning and late afternoon storytelling sessions, a Jabberwocky hunt in the park as well as fairground games and classic children’s films.

“Delicious food (from New Forest suppliers) and drinks are available from dawn until dusk and Weekend Ticket holders can camp for free or opt to glamp in the enchanting grounds of Pylewell Park overlooking the Solent.

“We hope that people of all ages attend what promises to be a magical weekend of sensory stimulation, and pure enjoyment.”

When: Friday 18th – Sunday 20th July 2014

Where: Pylewell Park, East End, Lymington

Tickets: Weekend ticket - £100 (includes camping); day ticket (includes evening) £45; evening ticket £20


Portsmouth International Kite Festival

Who will love it? High fliers

Over 100 kite fliers from across the globe will be gathering on Southsea Common over the August Bank Holiday for what is recognised as one of the best kite festivals in the world.

With fliers invited from as far afield as New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and America, there will also be a superb selection of European and British fliers.

Tens of thousands of spectators will flock to see a kaleidoscope of kites whip through the skies in an array of jaw-dropping displays, often accompanied by music. From beautiful, intricate single line kites; amazing cellular kites and awe inspiring 3D creations – you may also spot swarms of snakes, frogs, lizards and whales darting above the Solent.

Jointly organised by Portsmouth City Council and The Kite Society of Great Britain, Portsmouth International Kite Festival promises to fill the lungs with fresh air and lift all spirits with a full arena programme on the Saturday and Sunday, including a free children’s kite making workshop. Monday will be a free flying day with lots of kites in the air and the field open to all.

When: 10am – 5pm, Saturday 23rd – Monday 25th August 2014

Where: Southsea Common, Porstmouth

Tickets: Entry to the Kite Festival is free


National Watersports Festival, Hayling Island

Who will love it? High adrenaline beach junkies

Now in its ninth year, the National Watersports Festival (NWF) will return to the shores of Hayling Island, along with 550 windsurfers, kite surfers, kayakers and Stand Up Paddle Boarders (SUP), plus 8,000 eager spectators.

Event organiser, Allan Cross, believes location is key to the festivals success: “Hayling Island has become a bit of a mecca for watersports enthusiasts and it certainly has everything we need to make the NWF a top event. The islanders are always incredibly welcoming and assure us of a warm reception every year.

“Although the festival started out just with windsurfing,” he continues, “we have introduced the other disciplines of SUP, kitesurfing and kayaking so the water is now a mass of colour and action.”

This all-inclusive fest, brings together both the sports elite and the average intermediate with races for all levels of competitor. Taster sessions will be on offer in all featured sports and there will also be free tuition from top coaches, many of whom are former British and World champions.

Friday and Saturday nights will conclude with two amazing beach parties with live bands, plus the Night Watersports event – which sees professionals race or perform incredible stunts under the floodlights.

“There’s tons for people to do over the weekend whether you want to watch, enter or just party the night away!” says Allan.

When: Friday 5th – Sunday 7th September 2014

Where: Hayling Island

Tickets: Please visit the website for full details of ticket types and prices


Hampshire Food Festival

Who will love it? Foodie aficionados

Come July, the award-winning Hampshire Food Festival will be in full swing with a mouth-watering abundance of foodie events taking place throughout the county.

A packed programme of activities, many free or low cost, will be on offer allowing you to taste your way around Hampshire, celebrating our prize produce. Whether you fancy a farm tour and butchery masterclass; or to sip your way around a local vineyard – there’s something for everyone. Feast on local food-themed festival menus, enjoy cooking demonstrations or try your hand at cheese, chocolate and jam-making workshops.

Now in its 14th year, the festival attracted over 180,000 visitors last year and was recognised with a ‘Silver Award’ for ‘Tourism Event of the Year’ at the 2013 Beautiful South Awards for Excellence.

Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager, Hampshire Fare, said: “This is the foodie event of the year – a series of novel, interesting and inviting events running throughout July and into August and culminating in the New Forest Show.

“This year I’m really excited as the Festival has moved up a gear. The quality, variety and geographical spread is brilliant.

“There’s something for everyone, from families to wine-lovers. We’ve seen a lot of our members getting involved for the first time and quite a few businesses who aren’t Hampshire Fare members are coming on board too.

“There’s so much to be excited about such as the Sparsholt Food Festival, ‘A Taste Of Hampshire’, on 19th July with eight leading Hampshire chefs in the Hampshire Fare Cookery Theatre, including: James Durrant and Luke Holder; master-classes in the bulthaup cookery theatre, Kids’ Kitchen, plus Cake-Off competition judged by Harry the Junior Bake-Off winner.

“This year is really shaping up to be the best Festival yet.”

When: 28th June – 3rd August 2014 Where: Events held across Hampshire

Tickets: Details of all events will be available online or in the free printed programme available across Hampshire


Winchester Hat Fair

Who will love it? Street theatre moochersand acrobat lovers

Britain’s longest running festival of street theatre and outdoor arts returns to Winchester this summer for its 40th year.Having burst onto the scene in 1974 - initially just as a busker’s festival - the Hat Fair takes its name from the tradition of spectators throwing coins into the performers’ hats.

The three-day festival kicks off on the Friday with a Mexican Fiesta themed schools’ parade which will go from Abbey Gardens along the High Street and onto the Cathedral green.

Having attracted 69,000 visitors last year, the Saturday will see the city come alive with an array of colourful performers and artists, along with some headline acts.

On the Sunday the fair retreats above the city to Oram’s Arbour for family picnicking, food stalls and outdoor theatre and acrobatics.

When: Friday 4th – Sunday 6th July 2014

Where: Winchester

Tickets: The Hat Fair is free of charge, but you can show your appreciation by flinging some coins (or notes!) in to the artists’ hats.


Somerley Beer Festival

Who will love it? Beer belly cultivators

How do you fancy spending the August bank holiday leisurely working your way through over 80 real ales and ciders? The fourth annual Somerley Beer and Music Festival is one of the fastest growing independently-run beer festivals in the south-west, showcasing a broad range of thirst-quenching brews from microbreweries near and far.

Set within the beautiful walled garden of Somerley House, this laid-back festival is perfect for all ages with bands playing all day, games and bouncy castles for the young and a delicious choice of food, wine tasting and Pimms for those wanting something a bit different.

To ensure you can really soak up the atmosphere, make the most of the shuttle bus which runs to and from Ringwood. Or you can pitch your tent or caravan, within stumbling distance, next to the walled garden over the Saturday night.

When: 11am – 11pm on Saturday 23rd August 2014 Where: Somerley House, near Ringwood

Tickets: Available on the gate £10 (adults) or pre-book online. Under 16s free of charge.