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Hay Festival, deckchairs on the grass with large tent in the background

UK food festivals and events in May

Published: May 11, 2018 at 12:31 pm
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Food festivals are great places to discover new products, chefs and foodies. Here are our top UK food festivals and foodie events in May, from a celebration of gastro pubs to a cheese festival and more

Looking for food festivals to visit in May? Here’s our round-up of the best food festivals taking place this month, from a crab festival in Devon to a celebration of independent foodies in Yorkshire. Check out all of the events, here...


Hull Street Food Nights

Held on one Thursday each month, Hull’s Trinity Square and Trinity Market are filled with food traders serving up a feast. Head there in May to enjoy a pan-Asian chicken skewer from Little Somboon, a must-try jackfruit toastie from Meltworks or a wild boar burger from Furley & Co. Wash it all down with a cocktail or two from The Lexington Rooftop Bar & Terrace.

2 May, facebook.com/hullstreetfoodnights

Artisan Cheese Fair

The UK’s largest dedicated cheese fair welcomes you to enjoy a host of cheese-themed events across one weekend in Melton Mowbray. Workshops cater both for novices and experts. If you fall into that first category you’ll want to catch Tasting Cheese – A Beginners Guide. This class is designed to help you understand all the different varieties of cheese and includes tutored tastings of goat’s cheese.

Over 70 cheesemakers will be bringing their produce to the festival this year, including rare cheeses you might not find elsewhere.

4 – 5 May, cheesefair.co.uk

Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink

Make the most of the early May bank holiday weekend by heading to Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink. This popular three-day event, now in its 16th year, is taking place in the centre of the city, in beautiful Northernhay Gardens and the grand surroundings of Exeter Castle. With over 100 regional producers taking part, visitors can look forward to a real slice of the south west, as well as live music from local artists.

As for the food, expect live cookery demonstrations in the Festival Cookery Theatre as well as the chance to try local produce – everything from locally-made pies and pastries to classic Devonshire ales. For hands-on workshops and family activities, make sure to stop by Darts Farm’s Food is Fun Teepees and learn how to make pizza in a wood-fired oven.

4 – 6 May, exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk

Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink 2018

Salcombe Crab Festival

Salcombe Crab Festival, or ‘Crabfest’, takes its name from the famous Cancer Pagurus crabs, which are caught off the south Devon coast. Bringing seafood fans together to sample the local catch and take part in crab-picking masterclasses and cookery demos, the festival celebrates all things pescatorial.

This year, learn cookery secrets from the likes of Jack Stein, Matt Tebbutt and Jane Baxter before sampling a Salcombe gin and tonic from local producers. Be sure to visit the Oyster Shack, too, for some award-winning seafood fare.

5 May, salcombecrabfest.co.uk

Salcombe Crab Festival
Credit: Norsworthy Photography
Try our top crab recipes here, including:
  • crab lasagne
  • Louisiana-style crab cakes
  • crab tacos
  • dressed crab
  • crab crostini
  • crab croquettes
Leek and Crab Lasagne Recipe

Leeds Indie Food Festival

Grab one of Leeds Indie Food Festival’s passports to gain priority event access and special discounts at this celebration of independent food and drink. With sustainability a key theme for 2019, you can expect plenty of plant-based food experiences, plus a 'Sustainable Supper' hosted by Citu and The Honest Edibles and a 'Food for Thought' series of meals and talks by The Real Junk Food Project.

If you want more tips on where to eat in Leeds, read our guide here

9 – 27 May, leedsindiefood.co.uk

Leeds Indie Food Festival
Credit: Tom Joy

St Ives Food and Drink Festival

Head to this Cornish coast in May for a weekend of chef demos, live music and food from local producers. Based on Porthminster beach, the cookery stage will see the likes of Juliet Sear, Chris Eden, Tom Brown and Hersha Patel cooking up a feast, while the market area will bring together food and drink producers including The Bearded Brewery, Freda’s peanut butter and Riverford Organic Farmers.

10 – 12 May, stivesfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk

Eat Cambridge

Cambridge's annual food and drink festival is returning for a day of celebrations followed by two weeks of events. Taking place on Saturday 11th, the main event will see a line-up of talks including 'This Year's Trend: Local Craft Beer' with food journalist Andrew Webb and 'Chef Tales' with chefs Alex Rushmer, Liz Young, Regis Crepy, Rosie Sykes and Tristan Welch. Over the next two weeks there'll be supper clubs, masterclasses and street food markets.

11 May – 26 May, eat-cambridge.co.uk

London Wine Week

DrinkUp.London is back with its annual celebration of the capital's best wine bars. Held in Flat Iron Square, near London Bridge, London Wine Week will feature a mouthwatering line-up of renowned bars and brands including Vins de Provence, Renegade Winery and Berry Bros & Rudd.

Curated wine flights, where you can try a variety of classic and new world wines, are just £6 – alternatively, you can indulge in a full-blown dinner or attend one of the many wine tours happening across the city. A selection of supper clubs that centre around food pairing with wine will also be on the schedule, led by some of London’s most famed sommeliers.

13 – 19 May, drinkup.london/wineweek

Sager + Wilde Hackney Road Wine Bar Review

Pub in the Park

Following the success of Marlow’s Pub in the Park, which debuted in May 2017, the festival is touring Bath, Tunbridge Wells and Knutsford to showcase a selection of the UK’s best gastropubs and chefs. The first event kicks off this month on home ground in Higginson Park, Marlow, as Tom Kerridge joins a line-up of chefs to bring you top pub grub along with live music and cooking demonstrations.

Paul Ainsworth, Stephen Terry and Josh Eggleton will be among the line-up, showcasing their skills on stage, while pubs The Pony & Trap, The Coach and Kerridge's own The Hand & Flowers will be serving up a special festival menu. If you can’t make the Marlow event, check the website for details of the Bath and Knutsford festivals in June, or Tunbridge Wells in July.

17 – 19 May, pubintheparkuk.com

All the chefs at Pub in the Park

Here's our interview with Josh Eggleton...

Hay Festival

Held in a tented village at Hay-on-Wye, on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park, Hay Festival brings together film, literature and food.

At the Green Hay Forum on 23 May you'll find six events themed around 'Food, Farming and Futures', including discussions on veganism and the impact of plastics in the food industry. Other foodie highlights include a talk from Honey & Co's Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, a new festival pop-up restaurant called The Grove and a range of cookery workshops.

23 May – 2 June, hayfestival.com

Hay Festival, deckchairs on the grass with large tent in the background
Credit: Joseph Albert Hainey

Feria De Londres

On the last May bank holiday weekend, London's Southbank will play host to a celebration of Spanish cuisine and culture. The event, inspired by the fairs of southern Spain, will include live music and Flamenco dancing for a party atmosphere. Stalls will be serving tapas, tortillas, croquetas and churros, all washed down with regional wines. Fino producer Tio Pepe will be hosting a series of sherry masterclasses over the weekend, too.

24 – 26 May, feriadelondres.com

Flamenco dancing at Feria de Londres

River Cottage Food Fair

Join the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Yotam Ottolenghi and Netflix star Samin Nosrat for a weekend of food events on the farm at this year’s River Cottage Food Fair. Masterclasses include wood-fired meat cooking, jam making with Rachel de Thample and a gnocchi workshop for kids.

25 – 26 May, rivercottage.net

River Cottage Food Festival

Malton Food Lovers Festival

Yorkshire’s foodie haven, Malton, is holding its 11th annual Food Lovers Festival this May with a focus on all things regional. There’ll be a bar stocking Yorkshire ales and ciders as well as spirits from Sloemotion, a Yorkshire gin producer.

You can watch cookery demonstrations by chefs such as Great British Menu winner Tommy Banks and acclaimed food writer Sabrina Ghayour. And, should you fancy some more international flavours, check out the street food stalls offering dishes from all over the globe.


25 – 26 May, visitmalton.com

Malton Food Festival – sausage rolls

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