The best virtual UK food festivals: summer 2020
Check out our round-up of the best online UK food festivals for summer 2020, from meat-fuelled cookalongs and virtual producer tours to drive-through cinemas (and snacks)
Want to take part in a virtual food festival? Looking to escape from the comfort of your home? Read about the best foodie events in the UK below, then check out our virtual travel experiences here.
The Great Feast of London, 3-5 July
A new festival for 2020, designed to ‘merge the digital and physical’, has been created by Street Feast founder Dominic Cools-Lartigue along with Bejay Mulenga (listen to them on the olive magazine podcast here). The chef line-up includes the likes of Nuno Mendes (who’s hosting a virtual supper club) and James Cochran, who’ll be joined by fellow chefs as well as speakers and musicians (think Goldie through to Groove Armada) to bring to life a programme that’s packed with talks, interactive experiences (take part in everything from fashion couture life drawing to yoga and guided journalling) and entertainment.
Festival food comes from top London restaurants, including Snackbar, Kricket and Patty & Bun, and is available for delivery to London postcodes (either as a finished dish or as a recipe kit with online cookery demos), wherever you’ve set up camp for the day. Plus, every meal ordered during the festival will be matched with one for a Londoner in need, courtesy of charity partner A Plate for London.
This meat-fuelled festival usually happens in the cool, industrial surrounds of London’s Tobacco Dock, but this year you can get your fix via #Meatopiaathome – a series of Instagram demos and cookalongs from Meatopia’s chefs and pro pitmasters. Ingredients lists are posted prior to each new tutorial and videos are saved afterwards for fire-loving homecooks to return to again and again. From “super-juicy” barbecue chicken by Anna Haugh to “lambchetta” by Wales’ Chris Roberts, these recipes have all the heat and attitude of the long-standing London festival itself. Look out for new video announcements.
Food and Drink Festival Online 2020, ongoing
This site acts as a virtual market for artisanal makers and festival stallholders to sell their produce, in lieu of the live events they’d usually be at. Packed with independent businesses from all over the country, the online marketplace is free for suppliers to be listed on, meaning there’s a huge range of the smallest and most unique makers from far-reaching regions of the UK. From Binary Botanical’s Prosecco-esque beer to Screaming Chimp’s fiery chilli sauces, this market will have something to pique your foodie interest. Go and grab your festival haul here.
Drive and Dine Theatre, various dates
Tom Kerridge’s now-country-wide Pub in the Park food and music festival has long been getting foodies all fired up for summer. This year the team have replaced them with something new to keep would-be festivalgoers happy – the Drive & Dine Theatre. Happening in eight locations around the country, the events will be showing a range of films (as well as Mark Watson’s Carpool Comedy Club) while promising a top-drawer food offering. Dishes like cheeseburgers with smoked cheese and five-bean chilli vegan burritos are joined on the menu by full-to-the-brim picnic boxes, desserts and drinks, all to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own car.
VegfestUK, 15-16 August
The organiser of some of the country’s biggest vegan events is planning some socially distanced fun this August, with Summerfest Online. The festival’s online platform will host live streams, interactive panel discussions, cookery demos, marketplaces and, of course, plenty of festival-style entertainment from musicians to comedians. Discover new and exciting producers and listen to fascinating talks from the experts on topics surrounding plant-based eating. If you like what you see at this free event, then sign yourself up for Vegfest London 2020 Online too, which is happening in November.
Virtual Food Festival, next date TBA
Championing local food and drink has never been more important, with the health crisis having left small, independent producers navigating huge difficulties. This not-for-profit online festival aims to connect great South West produce with hungry food-obsessives. Some key players in the cheffing game have already taken part – we’re talking Paul Ainsworth, José Pizarro and Angela Hartnett. Meanwhile, live-streamed events include demos, cookalongs and visits to regional producers. There’s even an online market where you can shop for local goodies. Check out the YouTube channel to catch up on all the previous festival goings-on.
Happy Place Festival, ongoing until 12 July
Founded by Fearne Cotton as an extension of her popular wellbeing podcast, this festival has moved online for 2020. Perhaps work up an appetite with a spot of yoga before ordering some artisanal produce from the virtual marketplace, or maybe you’d prefer to visit the online bar for a cocktail masterclass and then hang around afterwards to watch a music set while you sip your expertly made concoction? There are talks a-plenty, too, as well as crafting sessions and family workshops. All the events in the month-long programme are free but donations to the festival’s charity partners are encouraged if you’re in a position to contribute.
Carnaby Together, June
The Carnaby community is hosting a virtual festival this year with a series of live demos and cookalongs from the area’s foodie stalwarts. Chef and founder of Darjeeling Express Asma Khan will whip up her famous palak gosht (meat with spinach) with matar pulao (get the recipe list on Instagram), while burger restaurant Stax Diner is sharing its burger secrets and Pizza Pilgrims will be showing everyone how to get the best results at home with its Pizza in the Post Kit. Don’t worry if you miss any of the live streams as they’ll all be uploaded to Carnaby London IGTV.