5 ways to: Enjoy a gourmet British break

From meeting celebrity chefs to wild foraging tours, there is plenty of food fun on the menu this season
  • @lucygillmore

It’s the season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and food festivals galore. Jamie Oliver’s three-day bash, The Big Feastival kicks off this weekend (29-31 August) on Alex James’s Cotswolds farm (jamieoliver.com/thebigfeastival; one-day tickets from £32.25), while on Anglesey, the Menai Seafood Festival (29-31 August; menaiseafoodfestival.com) highlights North Wales’s fine fish.

The following weekend (5-6 September), the new Nourish Festival (nourishfestival.org) near Dartmoor will see Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood wannabes competing in the Great Bovey Bake Off. Brighton and Hove Food Festival (9-19 September; brightonfoodfestival.com) sees Drakes boutique hotel (01273 696934; drakesofbrighton.com) hosting a Three Chefs feast: a B&B break with dinner costs from £210pp.

In Northumberland, Berwick Food and Beer Festival (berwickfoodfestival.co.uk) takes place from 13-14 September, while in Monmouthsire, mid-Wales, it’s the fêted Abergavenny Food Festival (abergavennyfoodfestival.com), which takes place from 20-21 September.

Walk on the wild food side

Or rather run. The Delicious Drake’s Trail (deliciousdrakestrail.co.uk) is a food festival on the run (5 October). Starting at the former Devon home of Sir Francis Drake, Buckland Abbey, 350 runners will follow a 15-mile farm and moorland trail, stopping at pubs and food stalls en route, finishing at a food festival at the Moorland Garden Hotel.

A new gastronomic walking tour of Yorkshire comes with visits to independent producers accompanied by an expert from Yorkshire Food Finder, plus dinners at the award-winning Star at Harome, and celebrity chef James Martin’s new restaurant, The Talbot. From £750pp, including four nights’ half-board accommodation (with a five-course tasting menu on the last night) booked with Inntravel (01653 617010; inntravel.co.uk).

Harvest from the hedgerows at the Goodwood Hotel in West Sussex (01243 775 537; goodwood.co.uk) on a new wild food walking trip uncovering autumn’s rosehips, mushrooms, elderberries and more. Enjoy chef Simon Wills’s seasonal menu using produce grown on the estate’s farm. The Herbal Harmony package costs £138pp.

Reap what you sow

In Cornwall, the Harvest Food Festival at the Eden Project (01726 811911; edenproject.com) is a four-week binge, this year running from 6 September to 5 October, with demos by celebrity chefs such as Allegra McEvedy, a festival dedicated to African super-fruit, the baobab, a chilli weekend and a beer, cider and wine festival.

Cheltenham Literature Festival (Spencer McPherson)


Rural bolthole, Manor House Stables (01526 378717; manorhousestables.co.uk) in Lincolnshire offers country craft and cookery courses including, for autumn, Bringing the Harvest Home (20 September) and Harvest Festival Cakes, Rolls and Loaves (27 September; both £85). A three-night stay costs from £330 in the Bothy.

Read all about it

Chefs Tom Kerridge and Heston Blumenthal will reveal their favourite recipes at Cheltenham Literature Festival (3-12 October; cheltenhamfestivals.com) on 10 October and 6 October, respectively (£10). Other programme delicacies include Yotam Ottolenghi’s chat with Simon Schama (9 October, £12), and the chance to tuck into a tapas lunch in the sumptuous Spiegeltent (5 October; £30) with Sam Clark of London’s Moro restaurant.

Back to school

Cooks, the Carlton School of Food (01405 861662; cooksatcarlton.co.uk) launched in May in the kitchens of Carlton Towers, the stately pile of Lord and Lady Gerald Fitzalan Howard. This 250-acre parkland estate near Selby, North Yorkshire, offers autumn courses including Better Baking, with Bake Off finalist Brendan Lynch (10 September; £170). Stay overnight in one of 16 luxurious bedrooms from £95, B&B.

Carlton School of Cooking



Cottages4you (0845 268 0760; cottages4you.co.uk) has teamed up with a handful of the UK’s top gastropubs to produce a capsule collection of recipes to inspire holidaymakers to put on their pinnies – or visit a local restaurant offering the dish. Each recipe uses the same small range of base ingredients and highlights a local speciality. Participating restaurants include The Bull & Swan in Stamford, Lincolnshire, The Old School Bar and Kitchen, in Mount Hawke, Cornwall, and The Sosban restaurant in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire.