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7 of the best 2020 food festivals

Here's where you should take your rumbling tummy in 2020. Plus the chance to win a £450 stay in Exeter with VIP tickets to the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink.

Local producers, free tasters and the perfect excuse to stuff yourself silly all day long. What’s not to love about a food festival? Here’s Muddy’s pick of the biggest and best foodie events in Devon. Get them in your diary, pronto!

1/ Salcombe Crabfest, Postponed, new date TBC

boat on waterPic credit: Norsworthy Photography

Why go: It’s Salcombe, obvs! And it’s free. All the money goes to charity; this year it’s dementia and Alzheimer’s organisations.

What’s cooking: Island Street is pedestrianised for the day and filled with a street food market and over 100 local exhibitors, children’s activities, talks, live music and demo’s from TV chefs, including BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen chefs Freddy Bird and Jane Baxter. Oh, and let’s not forget Salcombe Gin.

Stay: Go boutique and book in at the glorious Salcombe Harbour Hotel, right on the sunny side of Salcombe estuary. And it has a spa, just saying.

2/ Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink, Cancelled

marquee with people

Why go: It’s Exeter’s biggest, oldest fest located in the heart of the city’s Northernhay Gardens, with live music and top-notch local producers. And early bird tickets are on sale now for £9.

What’s cooking: A great chef line-up, including Michael Caines (Lympstone Manor), Guy Own (St Enodoc Hotel), Scott Paton (Boringdon Hall) and Emily Scott (St Tudy Inn). This year there will be more plant-based options and for the first time they’re banning single-use plastic.

Stay: Southernhay House Hotel, Exeter’s only indie boutique for a luxe city-centre stay just off Cathedral Green, with a great wine list. (And you can WIN a stay here in 2020 – check it out below).

3/ Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival, Fri 29 – Sun 31 May

colourful plates of salad

Why go: it’s a free three-day shindig on the town square, a great way of enjoying the town, local food and home-grown musical talent.

What’s cooking: diverse world food, local cider, ales and wine, plus a crafty Kids’ Zone behind the stage and a legendary children’s disco where the Mudlet can dress up, throw some shapes and gorge on sweets.

Stay: Book in with Toad Hall Cottages for romantic boltholes and big cottages – some stays come with handy discount vouchers to spend in your locale.

4/ Flavour Fest, Plymouth, Cancelled

street lined with peoplee and gazebos

Why go: it’s the big ‘un. The South West’s largest free food and drink festival brings in over 100k visitors to the Ocean city’s Piazza, now in its 17th year.

What’s cooking: oodles of hints and tips from on-stage experts in the Cookery Theatre, including Peter Gorton (ex chef of The Horn of Plenty), Chris and James Tanner from the Barbican Kitchen and Simon Lydiatt from Rockfish. Pack the Mudlet’s soft toy, there’s a teddy bear’s picnic and fun craft activities run by Jeremiah’s Journey and Creation Station.

Stay: Make that foodie hit go even further by staying at Boringdon Hall, home to the multi award-winning Gaia Spa and the new fine-dining restaurant, Àclèaf. It’s fabulous.

5/ Nourish, Bovey Tracey, Sat 29 Aug

street with people and pop-up gazebos

Why go: loads on for its 7th year, Bovey’s pretty High Street is filled with Devon makers offering cheese, local produce, wine and spirits, plus they have mini festivals within the festivals, including gin (yay) and craft. Bovey’s also the home of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and their annual June festival so you’re guaranteed covetable handmade gear from top-notch makers.

What’s cooking: check out how Devon’s first whisky is progressing, see how the Bovey Paradiso team are getting on with their plan to create a cinema just across the road.

Stay: Muddy fave Ilsington Country House Hotel and its gorgeous city-style Tibetan spa is just 13 minutes away by car.

6/Powderham Food Festival, Kenton, Sat 3 – Sun 4 Oct

stilt walkers dressed as chefs

Why go: what a way to kick-start your autumn hygge, surrounded by the smell of the harvest and woodsmoke, and all in a beautiful location: a deer park in the grounds of a family-owned 14th century Powderham Castle.

What’s cooking: over 100 exhibitors, stuffed full of tempting local produce, and four miniature villages each with their own specialty, including Gin & Fizz, Wellness, Feast of Fire and Chocolate Festival. Lots of demos and tasters to whet your appetite.

Stay: If you prefer seaside to city-side (see Exeter above), Langstone Cliff is just 10 minutes down the road, a family-friendly hotel with a laid-back Devon vibe, tennis courts and two pools, indoor and out, with a lovely Victorian verandah overlooking Lyme Bay.

7/Dartmouth Food Festival, Fri 23 – Sun 25 Oct

Why go: a free festival slap-bang in one of South Hams’ most beautiful towns, don’t mind I do.

What’s cooking: fancy learning how to crack crab or fillet a fish in the Chef’s Demo Kitchen? Or even better, taste the delights of Sharpham Wine & Cheese? Yep, then you’ll be right at home here. Only a few names have been confirmed for this year but expect well-known chefs from Devon and beyond, including author and founder of the wonderful Rockfish restaurants, Mitch Tonks, and Will Lyons, The Sunday Times Wine Columnist. An intelligent festival with over 140 stalls and the chance to engage in culinary conversation with some of the top names in the food biz.

Stay: Stay central, at either The Royal Castle if you like a quirky 17th century vibe or if you’re a modernist, Dart Marina Hotel for a stylish spa stay.

WIN A luxe stay and VIP tickets to Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink

Hungry for more? We’ve cooked up the chance for you to win a fantastic foodie break, including a pair of VIP tickets to the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink, a luxury night’s stay for two at Southernhay House Hotel with breakfast in the morning, dinner and wine for two at award-winning Harry’s Restaurant, plus a £20 InExeter voucher to spend while you’re in the city. Enter in seconds here.

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