With miles of unspoiled land and tons of things to do and see, Northumberland and County Durham is becoming a popular destination to create amazing memories. Something else the North East of England is becoming famous for is the many food festivals on offer. This is a brief guide on some of the best food festivals and events to visit whilst staying at a Parkdean Resorts Holiday Park in the North East. Whatever your choice of delicacy – chilli or ice cream, vegan, gluten-free, and more – there will be a food festival up North that will certainly whet your appetite.
Alnwick Food FestivalWhen: September
Taking place at Alnwick’s historic market place, Alnwick Food Festival celebrates everything tasty in Northumberland and beyond. Every food group is covered here by local business from the area. In the past there have been low-fat chocolates, gourmet sausage, traditional pies, curry sauces, cakes and jams. Whatever you fancy, there is sure to be something here that will want you going back for seconds. Check out the website for some recipes using the produce on offer. Only a five minute walk from the iconic Alnwick Castle, this is a great day trip for all ages. There are also plenty of great shops and pubs to visit in the area too. The festival is only half an hour in the car from Creswell Towers Park and a little further from Sandy Bay Park, so this is well worth checking out in September
North East Chili FestivalWhen: July
Thing are hot up at Seaton Delaval Hall in July, and it’s not just the weather. The North East Chili Festival comes to the historical venue each year, attracting exhibitors and visitors from around the world. If chili or spicy food is your thing, this is must. Featuring all forms of chili including: chili jams, chili chocolate, chili infused spirits and, of course, chili con carne. For those who prefer milder foods, don’t worry: there are many other local businesses with non-chili treats including cakes, coffee, craft burgers, wine and even paella. Variety is indeed the spice of life. Seaton Delaval Hall is worth exploring in itself as it was the Georgian home to the eccentric Delaval family. Only a stone’s throw from Sandy Bay and Whitley Bay parks – this is an amazing memory to add to your next summer trip to the North East.
North East Vegan FestivalWhen: May and November
As vegan food is becoming more popular, a lot of people are looking for places to try new vegan cuisine. Although the location varies, you'll usually find the event in or around central Newcastle or Sunderland - check the Facebook page for full details. This is more than just a food festival too as there are guest speakers from the vegan community, live music and vegan-friendly toiletries on offer. This event is open to everyone and welcomes families, with free entry for under 16's. Tickets are very low priced, so those interested in a trip to the city while staying North East parks such as Whitley Bay or Creswell Towers should give it a look.
EAT! FestivalWhen: Various dates from February.
EAT! Festival comes in two servings: EAT! IN Which focuses on buying local delights, followed by EAT! OUT which is all about dining in Newcastle and Gateshead. There are also various events throughout the year, so check out their social media if you are in the area. EAT! IN emphasises local markets, food businesses and stores you can visit and buy a few treats to go home with, as well as lock-ins at various venues.
EAT! OUT holds events in local restaurants and settings where you can enjoy some of the finest meals the North East has to offer. In between the main festivals has been all kinds of smaller events including wine-tasting, chili eating contests, pop-up street food and ‘eat-along’ movie screenings. These events take place in Newcastle city-centre so travelling from Whitley Bay, Sandy Bay, and other North East parks won’t take long.
Boiler Shop Steamer
When: Every first Friday and Saturday of each month.
This event is a mash-up of street food, a craft beer festival, whiskey bar live music and pretty much everything else you want from a weekend in Newcastle – sometimes even an ice cream van. Taking place at the historical boiler shop – birthplace of Stephenson’s rocket – this attracts all kinds of local food and drink businesses. Craft beer coming from independent breweries in the North East, and whiskies from around the world, complete with large tables perfect for soaking in the atmosphere. Although this sounds like something just for more mature visitors, families are welcome as long as under 18s are accompanied by adults. This event is indoor and out – so bring a coat! Being situated behind Newcastle Central Station, this is very easily accessible by public transport.
Berwick Food and Beer FestivalWhen: Early September
Although Berwickshire is part of Scotland – neighbouring town Berwick is only two-and-a-half miles south of the Scottish Border and only a 20 minute drive from Eyemouth Park. Berwick Food and Beer Festival is the annual event which attracts 40 stalls of street food and produce from North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. This also includes veggie and vegan options as well as coffee and beers. You may also want to check out the free cookery demonstrations, and activities including cake decorating and pizza making. Located at the former military installation Berwick Barracks, this event welcomes families as under 12s go free (accompanied by an adult).The festival is nearest to Eyemouth but worth the extra time travelling from other North east destinations. There’s a small entrance fee but you will find it's worth it for the weekend’s festivities and finishing off the summer holidays on a good note.
Saltburn Food Festival and Farmer’s MarketsWhen: Late July (Festival) and second Saturday of the month (Farmer’s market – check listings)
Staying in Crimdon Dene Park, or other locations in the North East, means you have the opportunity to explore the Teesside and North Yorkshire areas. This includes the scenic town of Saltburn by the Sea. It’s handy to know there is a farmer’s market almost every second Saturday of each month (check their website for dates) to pick up some locally farmed ingredients and foods. Along with a hog roast, street food and many arts/craft stalls this is a wonderful way to create amazing memories on a Saturday morning. The market also caters for vegan and gluten-free diets.
The annual food festival special guest chefs, live cookery, and street theatre among many other things to keep you entertained. The organisers believe in pulling the community together and attracting new visitors. Admission is free but you can make a donation if you wish. After the day’s excitement you might want to see the seaside town’s shops, pubs and the famous pier. The local train station is nearby but it is less than an hour drive from Crimdon Dene Park, and easy to get to from other North East parks.