October festivals to attend

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October is a month to experience the great outdoors and the high-quality, local and independent produce that the UK has to offer, with something to suit all tastes. These autumn festivals have plenty of entertainment for all the family, be it cookery demonstrations or cookery sessions; this all makes for a perfect weekend trip or an October half term outing. There is also much to be seen in the surrounding areas, so make sure to plan your trip well in advance, to experience the very best of what is on offer across the UK, such as Stephen Terry’s Michelin-Star Restaurant, The Hardwick, located in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.

Stone Food and Drink Festival, Staffordshire | 2–4 October
The Stone Food and Drink Festival, now one of the biggest festivals in the Midlands, has gradually grown since the first festival in 2005. With the surrounding area getting involved in the week leading up to this event, local bars and restaurants will be having special offers and events; ultimately, they will be getting deep into the spirit of the festival. Taking place on the first weekend of October, there is a variety of over 100 exhibitors offering a taste of international cuisine, cooking up delicious food using only the finest and freshest ingredients. Across the weekend are live cookery demonstrations from leading local chefs and a ‘Talks & Tastings Tent’ offering a range of presentations; there are plenty of activities to get everyone involved, from cookery masterclasses for the adults, and cookery classes, face painting and a funfair for children. Expect to find a traditional beer tent, the new ‘Gin Jamboree’: offering a variety of at least 60 gins and plenty of tonic, and a champagne and cocktail bar. On the Saturday, there will the famous Festival Farmers’ Market, offering local Staffordshire produce. Last but not least, for this exciting three-day event, there is – new for 2015 – an on-site free circus; from workshops to puppet shows, this offers excitement for all the family.

Admission: One day, £7, Three days, £15, children under 16, Free 

Lincolnshire Sausage Festival | 24 October
The Lincolnshire Sausage Festival is an annual event, dedicated to the celebration of sausages; with more than 30 000 sausages eaten on the day, this one-day event is visited by many from all over the UK. The festival takes place in the castle grounds and surrounding castle square of Lincoln Castle, where there will be stalls offering a complete range of sausages, from the traditional Lincolnshire sausage to different infused sausages. Although a sausage festival, there will be stalls selling all types of fresh Lincolnshire produce, and expect to witness cookery demonstrations and live entertainment for all the family. For the children, there is a Children’s Marquee, hosting entertainment such as face painting, and there will be cookery sessions based on sausage related dishes. There will be an extra Virgin Trains East Coast service on the day from London to Lincoln, departing from Kings Cross at 09:10am, for the convenience of travel to the festival.

Admission: £1 with children, Free

Monmouthshire Food Festival | 10–11 October

On the scenic south-east coast of Wales lies the Monmouthshire Food Festival; at the heart of this lies strictly all things food. The two-day festival is held in the breath-taking grounds of Caldicot Castle, which is easy to reach via the M4/M48. It is not every day that you get to witness chefs from the Royal Navy preparing and cooking dishes; but this is one of the many activities on offer at this food festival. Proving both educational, engaging and entertaining, they will demonstrate the use of ration packs and provide first-hand insights into their role in the Royal Navy. There, too, will be highly acclaimed local chefs in Monmouthshire, who can be found cooking in the demonstration and cookery theatre; between them they have a history of fine-dining and hold AA Rosettes and a Michelin Star. The finest food producers across Wales, particularly from Monmouthshire and its surrounding counties will be present, offering a variety of the highest quality artisan, award-winning and organic cuisine and drink; among these, are Marmahs Cheeses: organic and handmade artisan Welsh cheeses, and the Warner Edwards Distillery, craft distillers of gin. Expect to see plenty of demonstrations, tutored tastings and talks, featuring an artisan baker, Bill King, a master chocolatier, Jules James, and Rayeesa from Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen, to name a few. This is a family-friendly festival; there is a Children’s Quarter especially for younger visitors, where they can decorate biscuits, make healthy food kebabs, and even create their very own place mats to take home.

Admission: £5 and children under 5, Free

North West Food Lovers Festival | 23–25 October
The North West Food Lovers Festival returns to Cheshire in October; now in its eighth year, 15 000 visitors are expected to attend over the three-day event, which is expected to hold over 100 producers from the county and North West, offering the best available produce and international cuisine. There will be cooking demonstrations from well-known chefs, including headline chef Simon Rimmer, who will be joined by the Great British Menu winner (2013 and 2014) Adam Simmonds, and Nisha Katona, who has mastered contemporary takes on Indian food. There will be plenty of entertainment for all the family, such as a Birds of Prey display and children’s entertainers. The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts will be providing children’s healthy cooking workshops, lasting approximately 40 minutes each.

Admission: £6 and children under 12, Free

Dartmouth Food Festival | 23–25 October
The Dartmouth Food Festival is one of the most well-established food events in Devon and  the UK, with over 10 000 visitors annually, and according to The Guardian is one of the top ten food festivals in Britain. With high-quality produce that has been locally sourced, alongside regional cuisine, this is a festival to taste the very best of what the south-west has to offer. The festival is about more than cuisine though, as it too celebrates wine; with wine tasting and seminars across the event, both food and wine and culinary skills are at the centre of the festival. There will be a range of activities, from cookery demonstrations featuring award-winning chefs, with the likes of Mitch Tonks and Simon Hulstone, to food and drink debates and taster sessions, with writers, critics, producers and chefs. Another family friendly festival, with children’s entertainment: biscuit decorating, face painting, apple bobbing and a flag decorating competition, and local art gallery exhibitions in the evenings.

Admission: Free

Pick up a copy of the October edition of Good Things magazine out on the 2nd. To download a digital copy click here or buy in store at select Waitrose and Tesco stores, WHSmith High Street, WHSmith Travel, Wholefoods, Marks and Spencer and News on the Wharf.

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