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

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.

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