Masterchef’s on the telly and summer’s on its way, meaning longer evenings and more time for outdoor feasting!
It’s the perfect time for foodies to get in touch with their inner cravings and book a holiday cottage near one of this year’s hottest food festivals.
Our team have been busy lining up their top 10 picks from this year’s foodie calendar, from local events like the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival to star-studded culinary weekenders like The Big Feastival…
1 Eastnor Chilli Festival
Where: Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1RL
When: April 30 – May 1 2017
Now in its sixth year, Eastnor Chilli Festival is a super-hot family-and-pooch-friendly event. The two days combine live music, cookery demos and a children’s cookery school with hundreds of exhibitors selling all things chilli, plus HOT tasty food, cocktails, beer and local cider.
Don’t miss… the Chilli eating competition, the puppet show and the usual attractions at the castle, including the knight’s maze and lakeside walks.
Make a break of it: Stay at beautiful Hampton Wafre Cottage, our dog-friendly Herefordshire bolthole.
2 Ludlow Spring Festival
Where: Ludlow Castle, Shropshire SY8 1AY
When: May 13 – 14 2017
Ludlow, home to the UKs original food festival in September, now has a little brother! A little brother with a fondness for beer, bangers and a taste for vintage cars. This is a beer festival and so much more, with 200 glorious real ales and artisan produce from 60 passionate, local food and drink producers. Mix in toe tapping live music and over 150 spectacular classic cars and you get another amazing festival this year! Check out their website for more details.
Don’t miss… an opportunity to ‘Meet the Brewer’ in the special preview evening on Friday 12th for just £2 per person from 5pm – 9pm.
Make a break of it: Our Shropshire holiday cottages and Hampton Wafre Cottage just over the border in Herefordshire are all less than half an hour’s drive.
3 Crab & Lobster Festival
Where: Cromer and Sheringham, Norfolk
When: May 20 – 21 2017
A fun coastal festival put together by two historically great rival Norfolk towns, celebrating their rich maritime heritage with a weekend of food, fun and fishing. Each town adds its own special flavour to the festival with cooking demos as well as plenty of superb seafood. The festival gets off to a cracking start on Friday (May 19th) with a night of live music at Cromer’s Pavilion Theatre. Over the weekend, market stalls, local food producers, seafood competitions and entertainment all add to the atmosphere.
Don’t miss… the Art Trail, a great way to explore the towns. 2017 sees a wonderful array of Portholes displayed in local shops and outdoor spaces.
Make a break of it: Weavers Loft and Coach House are very well situated, being 20 minutes’ drive from both venues.
Where: Lloyds Amphitheatre and Waterfront Square, Bristol BS1 5LL
When: May 20 – 21 2017
Since we’ve covered the carnivore-friendly events on the food festival circuit, here’s one for the vegans and vegetarians. Bristol is part of Vegfest, a growing collective of vegan festivals founded in Bristol by Tim Barford, the man behind organic hemp company Yaoh. The Bristol festival features live DJs and sound systems in the evening. By day you can explore dozens of food stalls and watch cookery demos where you’ll learn nifty techniques for making vegan cheese, nut milks, cocktails and kale chips. There are also kids’ cookery classes and talks on nutrition and vegan lifestyles.
Don’t miss… the evening parties on both nights with live sets.
Make a break of it: Stay nearby at Henfield Barn, Cloverlea Cottages or our North Somerset cottages.
5 Blenheim Palace Food Festival
Where: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock OX20 1PP
When: May 27 – 29 2017
This family-friendly celebration of fine food and drink is set in the stunning surroundings of Blenheim Palace over the late May bank holiday. Hosted by Fantastic British Food Festivals, the third annual Blenheim Palace Food Festival will feature more demos, more local producers and more tastings than ever before, as well as activities for the whole family. A fantastic range of regional food and drink from 140 stallholders includes artisan bakes, craft brews, gourmet burgers, international cuisine, traditional ices and handmade sweets. There’s plenty for kids to work up an appetite too, plus workshops, talks and master classes across the three days.
Don’t miss… the traditional hay bale-filled picnic area where families can eat and relax on their delicious day out.
Make a break of it: Combine with a break at one of our beautiful holiday cottages across the Cotswolds area.
6 Dorset Seafood Festival
Where: Weymouth Harbour, Dorset DT4 8BG
When: July 8 – 9 2017
Hosted around the beautiful 17th-century harbour in Weymouth, this sophisticated food festival celebrates its 10th birthday this year. There are almost 100 stalls serving seafood specialities, showcasing the best in local produce including oysters, shellfish and the freshest sea fish, plus chef demos and family entertainment. Or simply relax with a glass of bubbly from festival sponsors Champagne Pommery! A true celebration of Dorset’s historic fishing and seafaring trades, the festival educates about sustainability and helps raise money for the Fishermen’s Mission charity.
Don’t miss… rockpooling and crabbing – great fun for kids and, with such a lot of great seafood on offer, there’s no pressure to catch your tea!
Make a break of it: Stay at Shepherd Oak, just 4 miles from Weymouth.
7 The Big Feastival
Where: Churchill Heath Farm, Kingham, Chipping Norton OX7 6UJ
When: August 25 – 27 2017
A fusion of great food and great music on Alex James’ farm against the beautiful backdrop of The Cotswolds. This feel-good festival has a delectable food and drink market, pop-up restaurants, a famed cheese hub and amazing street food. Rick & Jack Stein, Antonio Carluccio, Nathan Outlaw, Mark Hix and Candice Brown from Bake Off are just some of the celebrity chefs giving demos. It’s a great choice for families, with a kids’ demo kitchen, appearances from Justin Fletcher and Dick and Dom and big-name music stars like Olly Murs and Madness. Check out their website for more details.
Don’t miss… Alex James’ cheese hub for an epic cheese fix and much more, and, for little festival goers, the Little Dude’s Den field and Adam Henson’s visiting Cotswold Farm Park animals.
Make a break of it: Don’t fancy camping? Take a look at our nearby Cotswold cottages (including six in Kingham, just added to our portfolio).
8 Ludlow Food & Drink Festival
Where: Ludlow Castle, Shropshire SY8 1AY
When: September 8 – 10 2017
The UK’s original food festival! Ludlow has long been a focus of excellent, locally produced ‘slow’ food and the annual food festival celebrates this, showcasing the best the region has to offer with over 160 top quality small independent food and drink producers from the Welsh Marches, the England-Wales border country. Plus free talks and chef demos, ‘hands-on’ workshops, children’s activities, a huge Sunday market and more.
Don’t miss… the infamous Ludlow Sausage Trail!
Make a break of it: Stay at our Shropshire holiday cottages or Hampton Wafre Cottage just over the border in Herefordshire.
9 Abergavenny Food Festival
Where: Market Street, Abergavenny NP7 5XZ
When: September 16 – 17 2017
Taking place in the attractive Monmouthshire market town since 1999, this ‘Glastonbury of food festivals’ is one of the UK’s best-loved foodie events and great fun for all the family. It has won a host of awards and today attracts an average of 35,000 food lovers from far and wide as well as over 200 of the country’s best food and drink producers. Master classes, food markets, tastings and chef demos all feature, but one of the festival’s annual highlights is its evening parties, held in the open-air at Abergavenny Castle, with live music and street-food stalls and a dazzling fireworks display. Check out their website for more details.
Don’t miss… the Saturday Night Market in Brewery Yard, featuring street food and live entertainment.
Make a break of it: For large groups, Abbey Dore Court is ideal.
10 National Apple Festival
Where: Brogdale Collections, Brogdale Farm, Faversham, Kent ME13 8XZ
When: October 14 – 15 2017 (TBC)
Celebrate all things appley during this weekend celebrating over 2200 different varieties! Discover something new and tasty with ‘try before you buy’ rare and heritage apple varieties, fill a bag with your favourites to take home! Plus all the yummy hot food stalls and a delightful pop up apple tearoom with homemade Brogdale apple pies to enjoy. Visitors can also go on orchard tours and enjoy live music, talks and demonstrations, while children can get crafty with special workshops. Brogdale’s website gives information about their busy festival calendar.
Don’t miss… the hotly-contested pie eating contest.
Make a break of it: Manor Farmhouse, Larkin Farmhouse and Larkin Oast are all within easy reach of Brogdale.