Autumn food festivals may not be going ahead this year, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on some of the greatest foodie experiences in the country. From Yorkshire to Kent, treat yourself on an autumn weekend away to some of England’s best foodie locations.
Please note: There are varying restrictions in place across England to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Please be sure to check our Know before you go page as well as individual attractions’ websites before travelling.
Indulge in an autumn gourmet getaway in Ludlow
There's heaps to keep the fussiest foodie you know satisfied in the lip-smacking Shropshire town of Ludlow, especially come autumn when there’s a bounty of seasonal produce available. Here, local delis and restaurants are just as iconic as the town's pristine Tudor architecture. In fact, this is where you'll find most of them; tucked inside gorgeous wooden-beamed buildings or nestled along medieval streets. Take Harp Lane Deli, for example, perfect for browsing high-end produce and treats. Then there's Mortimers, famed for its exceptional gourmet dishes. Old Downton Lodge serves up delectable tasting menus in rooms that date back to the Norman Conquests, and new kids on the block, Pizza Ten, whip up artisan pizza using local ingredients. Hungry yet?
The charming harbour town of Whitstable in Kent is world-famous for its oysters which, despite the hordes of visitors who flock to the town every summer, are at their best during the off-season (between September and April).
Oyster shacks, seafood stalls and gourmet restaurants are dotted around the seaside town, and almost all of them revolve around this native delicacy. Wheelers Oyster Bar, for example, who also hosts seafood-focused cookery courses, is a local institution and said to be the oldest seafood restaurant in the country. The Lobster Shack is another celebrated eatery, serving up home-brewed beer alongside their freshly caught oysters and, you guessed it, lobster! And just outside of Whitstable is Michelin-starred The Sportsman, where the head chef is known to collect buckets of seawater to make his own salt. If you fancy cooking up a storm of your own, head down to Whitstable Fish Market, where you can buy the day’s freshest, most sustainable catches.
Nestled between Maidenhead and Windsor, this Berkshire base is a mere speck on the map, yet it boasts a massive seven Michelin stars – including two out of five of the UK’s three-Michelin-starred restaurants.
One of these is Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck. Die-hard foodies can expect a half-dining, half-theatre experience where the 15-course ‘itinerary’ is said to take you on a culinary journey through one of Heston’s childhood memories. The eccentric chef also owns a couple of other haunts in the area – The Hind’s Head, which concocts classic pub food with a Heston twist, and more informal tavern, The Crown at Bray. The other multi-Michelin-star restaurant is The Waterside Inn – a classic French fine-dining affair whipping up silky veloutes, rich jus and technically perfect desserts.
While Liverpool typically draws visitors to its maritime history, footie grounds and lively nightlife, the city’s eclectic food scene is equally as appealing. From the independent restaurants and bars lining Bold Street to picturesque waterside eateries, Liverpool’s melting pot of cuisines has plenty to keep hungry city breakers on their toes.
For middle-eastern vibes in an intimate setting, try the small plates at Maray, or grab some yoghurt chat bombs and gulab jamun from authentic Indian street food restaurant Mowgli – where all the dishes are served in tiffin tins. Duke Street food market, set in the shell of a historic warehouse, is home to a selection of street-food vendors rivalling for your attention, while The Caledonia pub is a must-visit for vegans, with its plant-based menu (and that includes the alcohol). And we mustn’t forget The Art School, an old-school fine-dining option in the Georgian Quarter. For a top night in, pay a visit to Lunya deli, who stock over 40 Spanish cheeses, wines and hand-carved jamon.
Yorkshire’s foodie capital isn’t a sprawling city or seaside hotspot, but a small market town just east of the Howardian Hills. And it’s got such a reputation that it’s added over 26 new food and drink businesses to its repertoire in the last five years.
Home to traditional butchers, bakers and pie makers, many bearing the ‘Made in Malton’ brand – from Malton Relish to Bluebird Bakery and Costello’s award-winning pie shop – you won’t run out of delicious products to tuck into. Talbot Yard is one of the town’s foodie highlights, cramming in six charming businesses inside a converted coaching yard. Just across the road is The Talbot, part coaching inn, part boutique hotel who serve up hearty meals made from local produce and even host lessons at the Malton Cookery School. If you want to try a bit of everything, join one of the UK’s top guided gastronomic tours, the Malton Food Tour.
The county of Suffolk is pretty tip-top when it comes to eating out – you’ve got Orford’s oysters, Aldeburgh’s seaside fish and chips, and award-winning markets in Lavenham – but the real jewel in the crown is Bury St Edmunds. The home of Silver Spoon sugar, this East Anglian gem is not only full of ferocious history, but the answer to your rumbling tummy.
The town’s independent restaurant scene is one that keeps on growing. Try the moreish crab cannelloni at 1921 (located right next to the world-famous abbey), tuck into an ever-changing menu of seasonal dishes at Pea Porridge, or indulge in field-to-fork cooking at Queen's – the meat is even reared by the owner, Ben Hutton. There’s a real café culture here, too, with a wide range of tearooms to choose from, including Harriet’s, who does some lovely afternoon tea. Fancy a tipple? Head to Nutshell, rumoured to be the smallest pub in Britain, get hands-on at the Bury St Edmunds’ branch of Adnams on a make-your-own gin experience, or take a tour of the Greene King Brewery – the views from the rooftop are reason enough to visit.
Last but definitely not least is Cartmel. Just south of the Lake District in Cumbria, this otherwise hidden village is jam packed with gastronomic delights. It’s particularly famous for L’Enclume – named the UK’s best restaurant back in 2014, so it’s bound to be good. Run by top chef Simon Rogan, the iconic riverside restaurant prides itself on innovative dining showcasing home-grown, hand-picked ingredients. Rogan and Co, just down the road, is the other more relaxed and accessible venue on Simon Rogan’s portfolio, which dishes up delicate plates of comfort food using the finest Lake District produce. And when you need a sugar fix, call in at the award-winning home of sticky toffee – the Cartmel Village Shop. You can now buy their puddings in shops around the country, but it would be criminal not to try their homemade sticky toffee pudding in the place it was born. The only thing you have to decide is…ice cream or custard?