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5 amazing food festivals you won’t want to miss this summer

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Whether you’re a fresher completing your first year of madness or a final year student preparing for graduation, the academic year is drawing to a close – and what better way to celebrate than with a lengthy summer filled with exciting things to do? Or perhaps, a weekend filled with wonderful food?

This June, many food festivals are taking place all across the England and Wales with celebrity chefs, masterclasses and, most importantly, free food samples! With such a variety of events, there is something for everyone. If you’re still a bit of a novice in the kitchen, the opportunity to pick up valuable cooking tips and meal ideas will mean you only have to eat super noodles a couple of nights a week. For those looking to advance their cooking skills and ways to make food more interesting, live demonstrations from professionals will show you how.

One of the biggest food festivals taking place in June is the BBC Good Food Show, a travelling event that will be landing in Birmingham from the 16th to the 19th. There will be interviews, book signings and cooking demonstrations from some of television’s favourite chefs, including the Hairy Bikers and Mary Berry. Masterclasses will be running throughout the event in areas such as cupcake decorating and sushi making. Local and international traders gather to showcase their produce and give you the chance to try and buy. Booking your tickets online will save you £3, which brings the cost to £21.50. Your ticket also allows free entry to the BBC Gardeners World Live. If you can’t make it this June, follow the festival as it moves on to London, Belfast, and Hampton Court Palace in the coming months.

If you’re looking for a food event that won’t break the bank quite so much, then The Cheese and Chilli Festival might be perfect for you. Grab your ticket on the door for £7 or £5 if you buy in advance. The festival takes place in Christchurch, Dorset. Whilst celebrating both cheese and chilli, the event offers much more, including craft and shopping stalls, live music from local acts, and funfair rides (these might just be for children, but I’m sure they could be swayed!) The event began in 2014, and is now expected to draw in over 5,000 visitors throughout the weekend of the 11th and 12th of June. So, if you can stand the heat this summer, why not try something different and join the chilli eating and chilli sauce competitions.

Like the BBC Good Food Show, The Great British Food Festival is also taking to Birmingham with the Ragley Hall Food Festival on the 11th and 12th of June. This festival offers many different things, such as ‘men vs food challenges’ and it’s very own cake-off, as well as live demonstrations from local chefs, cooking classes, and foraging guided walks. An adult ticket is only £7.50, and if you enter a creation into the cake-off you’ll gain free entry and the chance to win a prize.

As well as these main food festivals, there are tonnes of others popping up across England and Wales over the coming months. June begins with the Monmouthshire Food Festival on the 4th and 5th of June, with not only great food but the beautiful setting of Caldicot Castle to explore. Towards the end of the month, the Shrewsbury Food Festival will be taking place on the 25th and 26th at Quarry Park, giving you the chance to embrace excellent food, drink and craft at the price of just £6.

So whether you’re a food enthusiast or just looking to try something new, food festivals are definitely something to add to the summer 2016 bucket list. They can easily be done on a low, student style budget and will be a great way to meet up with uni friends or escape the screeching siblings and nagging parents that you have recently returned to. That being said, food festivals are also a great idea for a family day out. And, for all you bake-off fans out there, who could really resist the opportunity to get Mary Berry’s signature on your book, your box-set, or maybe even her approval of your own creation?

Alex Waterson lives in Liberty Quay in Student Accommodation Newcastle. She is studying English Literature and Creative Writing at Northumbria University and is currently in her first year.

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