Sawday’s x The Guardian travel tips: Forest foraging and orchard storytelling at our favourite food festivals

Ruth Richardson Profile Image

Ruth Richardson

Sawday's Expert

5 min read

The best food festivals offer inspiring experiences as well as fabulous food. From foraging walks in the forests of Loch Lomond, to storytelling tents in orchards in east Wales, our favourite festivals are not only a celebration of local food, they also connect us with the landscape and people that produce it. We’ve matched up some of the best UK food festivals, as recommended by Guardian readers, with special places to stay to whet your appetite for a delicious weekend away.

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Tim recommends Scottish Wild Food Festival, Loch Lomond

‘If you’ve looked at a hedgerow and wondered if anything in there would make a tasty soup (or soap), then the Scottish Wild Food Festival should be in your calendar. The festival focuses on the local, forage-able, in-season and kind to the planet. Hosted at Tír Na Nóg, a wellness centre six miles east of the beginning of the West Highland Way, the weekend makes a great start (or end) to a hike. I was treated to miso-making guidance, tasting sessions on seaweed from Fife and guided woodland foraging walks.’

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Gayle recommends Ludlow Food Festival

‘The lovely setting of Ludlow Castle is a great place for a food festival. Our recent visit, after two years’ absence, was a real treat in many ways. My teenage daughters were so inspired by their success in a pie-making contest – brilliantly run by two locals chefs – that they have been making desserts for us ever since. There were over 100 stalls selling or giving free samples of country fare such as cider, Hereford beef pie and apple crumble to all comers. A cheese-rolling game down the castle mound was great fun, plus there were bands and poetry readings with food themes, too. My husband was less (or more) successful making cider – he made some, drank it, then fell asleep for three hours on the sofa, snoring loudly.’

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Andy recommends Erddig Apple Festival, near Wrexham

‘I had no idea there were so many varieties of apple until I visited the apple harvest celebration set in the palatial grounds of 18th-century Erddig Hall near Wrexham in north Wales. Beyond the apples, there were cider press demonstrations, live cookery demonstrations, an apple trail, a tour of the orchard, storytelling, live music and poetry. Plus there are tours of the hall, described as “the most evocative Upstairs Downstairs house in Britain”, giving an insight into the lives of both the occupants and its staff.’

View our places to stay in North Wales >

Caitlin recommends Street Food Circus, West Glamorgan

‘Tucked away in Merthyr Mawr, the Street Food Circus has set up shop to deliver a food festival that showcases the best street food Wales has to offer. Set against the backdrop of the Welsh coast, the festival caters for everyone – it’s a party in the forest and a party for the palate. Street food vendors present a range of cuisines, from bao buns to scallops and, if you have room, there is even pwdin (pudding).’

View all our places to stay in South Wales >

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Ruth Richardson

Sawday's Expert

Ruth loves a good story. Following a decade living in London and working in publishing, her ears are always pricked for a spicy plot twist or unforgettable character. She delights in meeting hosts and discovering the history that brought saffron to her spaghetti, the hiking detours that will lead to temple ruins, and why someone cares so passionately about their special corner of the world. She loves that as a marketer for Sawday’s she can share these stories with others too.
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