The St Albans Food & Drink festival, now in its 14th year, features an exciting programme of events across September including Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park, Stars at the Bars and the Oaklands Farm to Fork.
St Albans, in Hertfordshire, has a remarkable history and reputation for food and drink and the month-long event is hugely popular with locals and visitors looking for an incredible foodie experience.
There will also be a 24-hour photography challenge, pub quizzes and iconic film nights, livestock events, street food nights, Bollywood dancing, live radio events and pop-ups a plenty – it truly is a jam-packed festival with something for everyone.
Manager of St Albans Bid, Denise Parsons, said…
“We are delighted to sponsor the festival which celebrates our food and drink heroes who have gone above and beyond during lockdown. There is something for everyone to enjoy, including live music which is hugely welcomed and adds to the vibrancy of our outdoor events.”
Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park event on 10th-12th September in Verulamium Park brings together special chefs, artisan products and top musicians for one big party- with live music from big names such as All Saints, Basement Jaxx, Gabrielle and the Lightening Seeds.
The awards for the district’s best food and drink businesses are one of the festival highlights but due to the pandemic have been scaled down to one prestigious award this year. Nominations for the Kate D’Arcy Award, recognising an individual who has given exceptional customer service to their community during the pandemic, are open until Monday 23rd August and the nominees will be invited to a presentation event on Monday 20th September at St Michael’s Manor Hotel.
The festival culminates with the incredible FEASTIVAL street event on Sunday 26th September. The central streets in the town centre will be peppered with over 100 food and drink stalls, street entertainment, bars with live music, art and crafts activities, cookery demonstrations, face painting and fun for all ages.
Just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London St Pancras International and excellent road connections, St Albans is easily accessible, making it the perfect day or staycation destination.
Where to stay?
Accommodation in the city centre ranges from small and intimate bed and breakfasts to large hotels including the stunning country style Manor hotel, St Michaels Manor, the luxurious Sopwell House and the Victorian Grade II listed Torrington Hall.
Find out more details about the St Albans Food & Drink Festival and where to stay at EnjoyStAlbans.com
Foodie Related Notes:
- An historic inn-keeping city, St Albans has the most pubs per square mile in the country and is home to England’s Oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, as confirmed by The Guinness Book of Records.
- Did you know the hot cross bun originated in St Albans. The ‘Alban Bun’ was created by Brother Thomas Rocliffe, a 14th Century Monk at St Albans Abbey, who developed the recipe and would feed the poor on Good Friday.
- The city is famous for its café and pub culture with a fantastic range of award-winning eating and drinking establishments.
About St Albans:
- St Albans is one of the best-kept secrets in UK tourism. A historic gem of an English Cathedral City just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London is easily accessible by road with links to the M25, M1 and A1(M).
- The city’s colourful history and heritage can be seen in the Roman remains and the beautiful medieval architecture and picturesque buildings that look spectacular all year round.
- A fabulous shopping destination, St Albans is home to an array of innovative independent retailers and well-known chains.
- There are lots of green, open spaces and parks, making St Albans a family-friendly destination.
Indulgent break for gin lovers at De Vere Latimer Estate
Let the fun be-gin at De Vere Latimer Estate, set in the heart of Buckinghamshire in the Chess Valley, with their indulgent gin lovers break priced from £185 per room*. The gin package includes an overnight stay with a £26 dinner voucher per guest and a gin cocktail each, followed by breakfast the following morning.
Relax with a complimentary G&T in the hotel’s Huntley Bar, a cosy bar which offers views across the estate’s gardens and sweeping views of the Chiltern Hills. During their stay, guests can also opt to visit the nearby Griffiths Brothers Gin distillery, located just 15 minutes away, for a tour of the distillery with tastings to be enjoyed along the way and to learn how Griffiths Brothers Gins are produced.
Spend the evening in 1838 Restaurant & Bar which celebrates classic British dishes where you’ll discover locally sourced, seasonally inspired menus with dishes including lemon & herb marinated pork tenderloin; Casterbridge 28 days dry aged 8oz Sirloin steak; grilled fillet of sustainable sea bream; and rigatoni alla parmigiana. As part of the package, guests will have up to £52 to spend between them in the restaurant during their stay.
De Vere Latimer Estate, located in the Chess Valley in Buckinghamshire, has plenty of activities on the doorstep. Why not borrow a pair of Hunter wellies and explore the beautiful 10-mile Chess Valley Walk on the hotel’s doorstep to discover a wealth of wildlife, historic buildings, water meadows and nature reserves.
Afterwards, guests can head back to the hotel where they can opt for some R&R in the pool, sauna and steam room or, enjoy a board game in The Library – a secluded spot ideal for relaxing with a drink in hand or indulging in a delicious afternoon tea.
Outdoor culture comes to Waddesdon Manor for late summer
This summer, open-air cinema screenings, picnic theatre and a food festival will come to Waddesdon Manor for some fantastic seasonal culture in the outdoors.
The Luna Cinema will pitch up in the grounds and screen four blockbuster films, with the 19th-century chateau serving as a picturesque backdrop. After arriving via a path lit with festoon lighting, visitors can enjoy the full service of the on-site Luna bar for refreshments and food.
Champagne may be the apt choice on the first night with Baz Luhrman’s spectacular take on The Great Gatsby (Wed 13 Sept) starring Leonardo Di Caprio. While the director’s latest, the Oscar-nominated biopic Elvis (Thurs 14 Sept), follows on the following day to fill the garden setting with Presley’s signature rock and roll. Then a modern classic, as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Fri 15 Sept), the film that kicked off one of the biggest film series of all time, will make Friday evening a nostalgic start to the weekend. The final screening will be the smash-hit of last year Top Gun: Maverick (Sat 16 Sept), starring Tom Cruise and widely cited as a saviour of big-screen cinema.
At the end of August, visitors will be transported back to Elizabethan times with the open-air production of Romeo and Juliet (Thurs 24 Aug) by the internationally-acclaimed The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier all-male company. It will be a unique opportunity to watch the traditional performance in the atmospheric grounds of one the UK’s most beautiful settings. Alongside Elizabethan dress, music and dances, and with the all-male cast, guests can watch the tragedy in a similar manner to how Shakespeare’s original tale would’ve been viewed by the public, except with the extra comfort of enjoying your own picnic in the garden.
If you cannot wait for the second half of summer to see some Shakespeare, then the Unbound Theatre company will have you covered with their free picnic performance of the comedy Much Ado About Nothing (Sun 23 July)at 2pm. They will also return for another free performance of their original play Gertrude & Dorothy (Sun 20 Aug), a crime caper throwing together the noted horticulturalist and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, and Britain’s first racing driver Dorothy Levitt, for three separate showings throughout the day.
Adding to the summer heat will be Chilli Fest (Fri 1 – Sun 3 Sept) a weekend festival featuring handpicked exhibitors, all passionate about chilli, bringing the best of local artisan condiments, sauces, and chutneys to the Manor grounds. Around 70 stalls will offer up the taste of some of the most delicious chilli-food from the UK, so you can pitch up with a picnic in the sunny grounds to enjoy for the day, and then choose your favourite condiments to take home. There will also be a range of bars and distilleries, offering everything from local vineyards to flavoursome cocktails, making the perfect refreshments after a walk in the gardens. Along with live music and activities for young ones, and with a special late-night opening on Saturday, Chilli Fest is the perfect way to enjoy the last of the summer sunshine.
Of course, if you want to escape the sun for a while, Waddesdon Manor’s impressive permanent collection will be available inside. For first-time visitors or regular guests, there’s plenty to see and enjoy, including the newly restored Musical elephant automaton, the rare Sèvres pot-pourri vase, and works by Guardi, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Watteau.
Alongside the entire summer programme, which includes more theatre shows suitable for the whole family, Waddesdon Manor is set to be the perfect late summer outing for friend meetups, evening drinks, and relaxed afternoon picnics, enjoying the most exciting culture of cinema, theatre and food in a glorious summer setting.
There are limited places available for the events mentioned above, please visit the Waddesdon Manor summer holidays webpage to book and not miss out.
Milton Keynes welcomes first al fresco rooftop venue Unity Sky Lounge
September 2023 will see the eagerly awaited opening of Unity Place – a multi-purpose destination in Milton Keynes bringing together community, business and leisure, championing social connectedness and environmental consciousness.
The new vibrant visitor attraction will be home to Unity Sky Lounge, an expansive rooftop bar and restaurant. Boasting an al fresco terrace nestled amongst the greenery and beautiful views of the city, the menu will feature the finest dishes and a selection of signature drinks, including seasonal cocktails and English wine.
Unity Sky Lounge is a sophisticated evening venue with a menu of small plates designed for sharing, allowing diners to enjoy the fun yet relaxed ambience, making it the perfect place to catch up and unwind with friends, or celebrate late into the night for a special occasion.
Drawing inspiration from British flavours, the menu showcases expertly crafted plates using only the finest ingredients, providing a dining experience that is in equal parts adventurous and comforting. With an array of vegetarian, meat and fish dishes, highlights from the menu include Devon hand-picked crab salad with apple and cucumber; Isle of Wight tomatoes with olive oil, sourdough and salt; Braised Berkshire pork with tomatoes, red wine and honey and Cured duck ham with asparagus and rapeseed emulsion.
For those with a sweet tooth, Unity Sky Lounge will offer a selection of mouth-watering desserts including Lemon posset with vanilla shortbread; Torched peach with mango and tarragon and Chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream, roasted white chocolate and honeycomb.
Turning to the cocktails, guests can indulge in the classics, all reimagined with a modern twist, or, try something new with signature creations unique to Unity Sky Lounge. From ‘Sky High,‘ made with Pinkster gin, Cointreau grenadine, egg white waste from kitchen and lime juice to ‘Thyme For Gin,‘ with local gin, lemon and thyme syrup from the kitchen waste, lemon juice and soda – the whole menu prides itself on lowering waste without compromising on flavour.
The non-alcoholic cocktails are not to be missed with a host of options from zesty citrus blends to botanical infusions such as ‘Cloudy Sky’ with Seedlip Grove 42, orange juice, grenadine, egg white waste from kitchen and lime juice, and ‘Country Garden Spritz’ with Seedlip Garden, pea syrup made from kitchen waste and Mediterranean tonic.
The addition of Unity Sky Lounge to Milton Keynes’ upcoming vibrant social scene promises to be the city’s most sought-after destination for discerning locals and visitors alike.