Hungry? Check. Glorious weather on the up? Check. What other excuses do you need to visit some of the best food festivals in the UK? None. So pull on your baggiest clothes in order to better take on quality local grub, fine wines and craft beers.
Urban Food Festival, Saturdays throughout the summer
Euro Car Parks (outdoor car park), 162-167 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6HU; urbanfoodfest.com
The proliferation of street food shows no signs of slowing down time any time soon and you can sample some of London’s best in an East End car park to the back drop of live music that goes on until midnight: it’s the hipster’s perfect night out, if they'd only admit it.
Model Market, from now
196 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham, London, SE13 6LS; streetfeastlondon.com
Last summer, the good folk at Street Feast transformed a disused Fifties indoor and outdoor market in Lewisham into one of the pop-up food events of the year – and they're back for another summer. Head over for eye-wateringly hot jerk, US-style hotdogs, smokestacks, craft beer and pumping beats.
Grillstock BBQ and Music Festival, 30-31 May
Albert Square, Manchester; grillstock.co.uk
Its name should be all you need to know to tempt you. However, if you do need to know more, know that Grandmaster Flash and Cuban Bros are amongst the acts taking to the stage, there’s a New York Dive Bar and bourbon dens, a hot US style low ‘n’ slow BBQ competition and chilli pepper and hot dog eating competitions.
Scandinavian Midsummer Feast, 20-21 June
Harptree Court, East Harptree, Somerset, BS40 6AA; scandifeast.co.uk
Can the Scandinavians get any cooler? Long gone are any IKEA associations and in their place minimalist-styled folk doing intriguing things. Well, now you can eat like the beautiful people at the Scandinavian Midsummer Feast. Expect herb-infused raw fish and rustic rye bread canapés – there won’t be a heavily processed Swedish meatball in sight.
Richmond Three Artisan Food Fayress, 21 June
Richmond, North Yorkshire; brevents.co.uk
How can you make North Yorkshire any more beautiful? Hurl a vat-load of top food at it, of course. Richmond’s Trinity Square and Marketplace will host all manner of stalls and pop-up eateries for what promises to be a a celebration of all things food. Perhaps clear 22 June in the diary for sitting down.
Cheese and Chilli Festival, 11-12 July
The War Memorial Park, London Road, Basingstoke, RG21 4AH; cheeseandchillifestival.com
Cheese? Good. Chilli? Good. While we’re not 100% convinced about uniting these two foodstuffs in one mouthful, there’s enough at this aptly-named festival to sate even the most adventurous palate. Think pungent blue cheese tastings (with requisite wine pairings) alongside a chilli-eating competition and you’ve got some idea of this eye-wateringly cheesy fest.
Foodies Festival, 3-5 July
If you’re a foodie, this is essentially your FA Cup final. TV chefs, Masterchef contestants, the opportunity to get hands-on experience and lots and lots of food. All on the same day, you’ll be able to experience oyster shucking, bee keeping (be careful), cheese selecting (it’s a skill. Honest), foraging, herb cocktail making (wait! Come back!) and more.
The Big Feastival, 28-30 August
Alex James’ farm near Kingham, Oxfordshire, OX7 6UJ; jamieoliver.com/thebigfeastival
Blur bassist Alex James is as famous for his cheese as he is for his tunes these days. So it makes sense that the festival he hosts on his Cotswolds farm with Jamie Oliver to raise money for the chef’s food education charity features A-listers from both the food and music camps. Culinary talent includes Mark Hix, Gizzi Erskine, and The Fabulous Baker Brothers Tom & Henry Herbert, while Groove Armada, Dizzee Rascal and Paloma Faith are on the music bill.
Great British Food Festival, 12-13 September
Ragley Hall Alcester, Warwickshire; greatbritishfoodfestival.com
The Midlands rejoice: this is a two-day fiesta of food. At picturesque Ragley Hall you’ll find 80 local producers, demos from top chefs, Luis Troyano (one for Gret British Bake-Off fans) and, to appeal to your competitive instinct, a Men v Food competition. You’ll find stalls with something for everyone: Thai dishes, Ostrich burgers, burritos or anything else that gets you salivating.
On Blackheath, 12-13 September
London; SE3 0UA; onblackheath.com
It’s only in its second year but the aptly named On Blackheath (it takes place on Blackheath) is already establishing itself as major player on the foodie festival calendar. The food stage features Hemsley & Hemsley, Gennaro Contaldo, DJ BBQ and Dan Doherty (Duck & Waffle) among others, while Elbow and Madness headline the music stage. There’s also a Magic Stage curated by Dynamo.
For fun in the sun, or a night indoors, Haig Club™ whisky is befitting of any social occasion. Which is why we’ve teamed up with our friends at Haig Club to present three top bars in which to enjoy the popular whisky.
And, for anyone looking forward to a night in, we suggest Haig Club On the Rocks.
To be in with a chance of winning one of five Haig Club gift sets – enter our competition here
HAIG CLUB ON THE ROCKS
“Haig Club pairs well with a wide range of food, and in particular it strikes a perfect balance with seafood. With its ultra-smooth texture and sweetness of flavour my personal favourite way to enjoy Haig Club with food is to serve it on the rocks. Once Haig Club has been chilled it’s creamy texture is accentuated and with its hint of citrus combines perfectly with fresh scallops." says Haig Club ambassador David Sinclair.
Method: Choose your preferred glass, fill ¾ full with fresh ice and pour a measure of Haig Club over the ice. Stir once and enjoy.
Ingredients: 50ml of Haig Club and Ice.
Luke’s Eating House
10 St John Street, Chester CH1 1DA; lukeseatinghouse.com
The stylish, contemporary restaurant has the UK’s first Haig Club dining table, with a seven course tasting menu paired with the single grain whisky. Dine against a backdrop of industrial chic on the mezzanine level then pop down to Gin Rickey’s on the ground floor for handcrafted cocktails and more.
West Thirty Six
36 Golborne Road, London W10 5NR; w36.co.uk
West London gets an injection of New York cool, with this sprawling all-day townhouse boasting some impressive food. Open from 10am until 12midnight, this is great any time of day. The house dry-aged beef comes strongly recommended.
If you don't live in London, there can be few things more nauseating than someone banging on about how amazing London is. That said, even the most anti-London sort would have to doff their cap to the awesome Sky Garden, a veritable paradise in the clouds. The atmosphere, food and drink on offer is as stunning as the sweeping, panoramic views of the Big Smoke. By day this place is a treat; at night the Sky Garden is taken to a whole new level.
The HAIG CLUB word and associated logos are trade marks. © Diageo Brands B.V. 2015