Dartmouth Food Festival (October), Dartmouth, Devon
Dine at a pop up event, watch demos from local chefs and participate in tasting seminars. Or simply shop, taste, eat and drink your way around Dartmouth Food Festival, soaking up the convivial atmosphere in this popular maritime town.
Dartmouth Food Festival takes place around the harbour and all around the town
If you’re looking for an autumn break in Devon, head to Dartmouth for this annual food festival. There’s lots to do and eat and there are fantastic foodie attractions nearby including Sharpham Vineyard and Riverford Farm Restaurant. A short boat ride away along the River Dart, you’ll find Greenway, the former holiday home of Agatha Christie which is now managed by the National Trust.The Foodie Travel Guide
- Taste South West produce
- Watch cookery demos
- Go to the festival bar
- Take part in a masterclass
Dartmouth Food Festival
This annual three-day October festival has been running for over 13 years and takes place all around the town – in marquees along the quayside; in buildings such as Flavel Church and the Royal Castle Hotel; in restaurants including the renowned Seahorse; in the historic market; in gardens and even in boat showrooms. The programme changes each year and is packed with creative and fun ways to showcase the best of the region’s food producers and local food champions.
Meet Local Food Champions
There are usually around 100 exhibitors taking part. Taste delicious cider from Ashridge ciders, speak to Riverford Farm about ordering one of their fantastic veg boxes, enjoy an ice cream from the Dartmouth Ice Cream Company or try the jam at the National Trust Shop. You could start your Christmas food shopping early by buying your Christmas pudding from Figgy Puddings and excellent boxed gifts from Godminster Cheese (check out the Bloody Mary gift set and heart-shaped cheese).
Quench Your Thirst at Drinks Seminars and Tastings
Drinks seminars at previous festivals have included ‘Cocktails and Crab’, a cheese and wine tasting session hosted by the Sharpham Estate near Totnes and ‘thinking pink’, a tasting seminar devoted to tasting the best rosé wines produced in the South West. After a long day tasting, shopping and sampling, relax with a local tipple in the festival bar. It features South West drinks producers such as award-winning wines from the Pebblebed Vineyard in Topsham; Tarquin’s gin and pastis which is distilled in Cornwall and beers from the Bridgetown brewery in Totnes.
Watch Chef’s Demonstrations
Local, regional and nationally known chefs come to the festival and you can see them in action at restaurants throughout the town and on the festival stage. Local food heroes include Mitch Tonks who opened the Seahorse restaurant in 2008 and Mark Hix who set up Hix Oyster and Fish House in nearby Lyme Regis.
Participate in Cookery Workshops and Eat Your Words
There’s usually plenty of opportunity to improve your cookery skills – learn how to dress a crab or filet a fish. Alternatively, sit down at ‘Eat Your Words’, one of the highlights of the festival, where renowned food journalists, writers and experts in their field chat about food topics that whet their appetites. Past topics have included foraging in Devon hedgerows and a history of the West Country pasty.
Dine at a Pop Up Supper Event
If you’ve still got an appetite in the evening, go to a pop up supper evening hosted at the excellent hotels, restaurants and cafés in the town. Past events have included a food and wine pairing tapas evening at The Royal Castle Hotel and dinner at The Seahorse restaurant with guest speaker Tom Parker-Bowles.
- It’s a busy and popular festival – book your accommodation and dinner reservations well in advance
- The festival programme changes every year. Do check the festival website for the official line-up
- Parking in the town can be tricky – consider parking in Kingswear on the other side of the estuary and taking the ferry over
- You can also travel to Kingswear by steam train from Torquay or get the ferry to Dartmouth from Totnes
- Volunteer to help out at the Dartmouth Food Festival
For a taste of the sea, cook this dish from The Bistro in Fowey – mussels, squid, octopus, samphire and cherry tomatoes sautéed with garlic, coriander, chilli and lime. Serve with olive focaccia bread.
WHERE TO STAY IN DEVON
Historic Dartington Hall in Totnes boasts a medieval courtyard and beautifully landscaped gardens.
Rooms from £66 a night.
Kaywana Hall offers modern rooms and a pool and is 15 minutes’ walk from the lower Kingswear ferry.
Rooms from £150 a night.
Dart Marina Hotel
The Dart Marina Hotel offers stylish rooms and a luxury spa overlooking the River Dart.
Rooms from £150 a night.
Doggie heaven. Lots of pals to play with and as the festival is mostly outside, you can take me along.