The Ultimate Festival Guide 2018

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Read our guide to over 100 festivals taking place in the East of England this summer. From live music to arts and food to poetry, there’s something for everyone to enjoy…

We will be updating the list as more festivals are announced so keep checking back! 

Local Festivals in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex 

The Broads Outdoors Festival, 28 April – 13 May


The 8th Broads Outdoors Festival, spans over three weeks and celebrates the Broads with a variety of events. If you fancy getting creative there’s plenty of arts and crafts to keep you entertained while those who prefer to be active can discover the very best of the Broads through a number of participant activities. There’s also something for those who just want to kick back and relax. Highlights: Visit The Horning Boat Show on 5 May.

Suffolk Walking Festival, 12 May – 3 June

With 125 walks and events, this year promises to be the biggest and the most ambitious festival organised to date. The Festival spans the whole county with history walks, nature walks, short walks and long walks – there is something for everyone. You can start your day with a Dawn Chorus and end it on a Twilight Safari. Have a go at Nordic Walking and realise the power in your legs or spend a day discovering GeoCaching and seek out treasures dotted around the landscape. Discover England’s Silk Capital, the Home of Horse Racing and a Valley of the Kings! 

Highlights: This year sees the launch of the Festival Fringe, a series of creative events that get you close to nature in the very heart of the countryside. Events include ‘Iconic Images’, a series of photo assignments capturing some of the best-known scenes in the county; ‘Hedgerow Cream Tea’ gathers your very own afternoon feast; and ‘Mindfulness and Nature’ immerses you in the landscape of Dunwich Heath with a meditative experience.

Suffolk Walking Festival

Vintage 1940s, Lavenham, Suffolk, 18-21 May

Celebrate all things from the 1940s at the Lavenham Vintage Weekend. The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa are supporting Friends of Lavenham Airfield (FOLA) to host a series of special vintage events for all ages in and around the village to commemorate the 75th anniversary of US Forces starting to arrive in the East of England in support of World War II. There will be 1940s swing dance, evacuees’ exhibition in Little Hall, a vintage fair and vehicle display, history talks and a sing-a-long vintage afternoon tea at The Swan Hotel.

Highlights: The weekend coincides with the royal wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and The Swan will be televising the ceremony at a gala lunch in its Gallery restaurant.

Lavenham 1940s vintage weekend | credit Paul Macro Photography

Bury St Edmunds Festival, 18-27 May

The 35th year of the festival is set to be a big one; taking place over 10 days, spread over 14 venues and hosting 59 events. From national musical treasures, Aled Jones and Jools Holland to the Grammy award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo to literary legend Benjamin Zephaniah and 80s chart toppers UB40, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! With so much on you may struggle to decide what to come and see!

Highlights: A new Festival feature for 2018 is a series of outdoor concerts in the beautiful landscaped countryside of Nowton Park. Performers in the park include Jools Holland & His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra featuring Marc Almond, chart toppers UB40, popular singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan and a non-stop party with Abba Mania.

Hanse Day Festival, King’s Lynn, 20 May

Taking place on South Quay and King Staithe Square in King’s Lynn, the festival is a celebration of Lynn’s medieval trading and seafaring past. There will also be a parade, Pirates vs Knights battles, and a Treasure Trail. Highlights: Don’t miss the regatta on the Ouse.

Framlingham Gala Fest, 26-28 May

Framlingham Castle, Church Street, Framlingham,Suffolk, IP13 9BP

May 2018 will see the Framlingham Gala relaunched as a three-day event called Framlingham Gala Fest. The flower power themed festival will be big, bright, full of energy, colour and music! Exciting new additions to the weekend this year include a team duathlon held on the Saturday morning finishing at Framlingham Sports Club, followed by a BBQ and live music night – Feel free to pitch up your tent and stay the night! Sunday will include more fun by the castle pond, with more music and food, along with the well loved craft fair taking place throughout the day. Monday will be the new and improved parade followed by games, magic, face painting and more music, along with the traditional fun fair on the Castle Meadow. Highlights: Entry to Castle Meadow on the Monday will be free to all.

Dancers at local festival

St Botolph’s Festival on the Green, 15, 16 & 17 June

Botolph Green, Peterborough PE2 7DD

Thirteen years ago a group of neighbours met for a BBQ because they wanted to get to know each other. And so an idea was born. Run by the residents of Botolph Green, the Festival is now firmly established and sees over 2,000 visitors enjoy a weekend packed with events. There’s snail racing fun for all the family, stage events include Retrolux, Military Wives Choir and children’s Storytelling, while the outside arena hosts a dog show, village games, Palmerston Ukulele Band and much more. There’s also stalls, classic cars, fairground rides and more making this a great day out for the whole family.

Highlights: The annual cake competition attracts seasoned bakers and teenagers proudly presenting their finest works.     

St Albans Folk Festival, Friday 15 to Sunday 17 June 2018

St Albans Folk Festival will take place from 15th to 17th June with the main events on Saturday June 16th. These will include a Day of Dance, free showcase performances, sessions, singarounds, workshops and a festival concert featuring The Dovetail Trio, Granny’s Attic, Watford Folk Club song competition winner, Julian Mount and a New Roots finalist.’s-on/major-festivals-and-events/detail/62410/2018.06.15-2018.06.17-st-albans-folk-festival 

Wymondham Music Festival, Norfolk, 22 June – 1 July

The Festival returns with a packed programme of open air events, recitals and concerts. A mix of free and paid for performances, over a fortnight there will be music of all genres, plus the popular annual Town Busking Day and Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Highlights: Book tickets to a concert in Wymondham’s beautiful Abbey.

Ampthill Festival, 30 June – 2 July

This summer sees the return of the hugely popular Ampthill Festival. An annual highlight for the town, this year Ampthill’s summer weekend of music is set to be bigger and better than ever before. The fun starts with AmpRocks on 30 June, followed by the 10th Ampthill Park Proms on 1 July and Gala Day on 2 July. Bananarama, dance music duo Example & DJ Wire and Brit rock group Reef will play AmpRocks. You’ll need to be quick to snap up tickets, the festival is usually a sell out! For information visit

Hitchin Festival, 30 June

The day kick starts a programme of entertainment throughout the town. Full details at

The Oundle International Festival, Cambs, 4-14 July

The Oundle International Festival returns for its 34th year with a programme so broad in appeal that there is something for everyone to enjoy. There will be concerts by world class musicians, rising stars and local performance groups, an open air theatre, a ‘Bach Walk’ to tie in with Peterborough Cathedral’s 900th anniversary celebrations and the ‘Oundle on Show’ weekend which features Music in the Park, the Big Afternoon Tea and chance to look around some of the town’s ‘hidden’ buildings and join historical tours taking place throughout the town.

Highlights: The festival concludes with the town’s fabulous open-air party, Party at the Wharf, which is this year headlined by Toploader.

Toploader will perform at the Oundle Festival

Brentwood Festival, Essex, 13-15 July

Each year the festival grows in popularity. Now in its 8th year, the crowds gather at the Brentwood Centre, where they are treated to a weekend of live music, food, a festival market and fairground. This year’s headliners include Squeeze, Scouting for Girls and Heather Small. Camping facilities are available, plus a VIP area, street food, market stalls and fun fair. Highlights: Check out the unsigned stage which features some of the best up and coming bands in Essex.

St Ives Carnival, 14-15 July 

The two day celebration and carnival descends on Hill Rise Park for what promises to be a whole load of family fun! Showcasing the best that St Ives has to offer, the weekend begins with the annual parade, before an afternoon of fun, entertainment, food and drink begins. Following on from the successful Proms in the Park event last year, it’s back this year with Huntingdonshire Concert Band giving you the ultimate Last Night of the Proms experience followed by our grand firework finale! With many groups already booking in to showcase at the weekend, for the Love of Dogs, Cromwell Vets and St Ives Dog Handling Club will be showing off dog agility skills and a whole lot  


Cambridge ROAR, 18 May – 22 September

The Cambridge Roar, now in its fourth year and the only Festival of its kind in the region, exists to support local charities and to date has raised over £85,000. The Festival stages a series of high-profile events at Quy Mill Hotel and Spa, just outside of Cambridge. Events range from glamourous dinners and glitzy balls to corporate games, boxing matches, and afternoon teas, all the while raising much-needed funds for the nominated charities who receive 100% of the profits. This year, the charities are East Anglian Air Ambulance, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, Cambridge United Community Trust and Racing Welfare.

Highlight: The now infamous Grand Finale Ball is the show-stopping end to the series of events and this year is set to be the greatest yet with ‘The Greatest Ball’, based on the film, The Greatest Showman – expect plenty of surprises, glitz, glamour and fun!

Peterborough’s Green Festival, 11-12 August

Ferry Meadows, Nene Park

The city’s annual Green Festival – one of the longest running and biggest environmental events in the whole of the UK is moving to a new venue for 2018. Taking place at Ferry Meadows, in Nene Park, the events bring together communities and businesses and encourages visitors to discover how to live more sustainably. There are lots of opportunities for audience participation, and the Festival also includes exciting environmental-themed art works by local artists. Highlights: Fringe events with partners will run until 19th August, meaning there’s plenty of opportunities for everyone to get involved.

Music festivals in the East of England 

Slam Dunk, 27 May

Hatfield House, Hatfield Park, Hatfield AL9 5NB

Since starting in 2006 the Slam Dunk all-day festival has grown into a rite of passage for lovers of pop-punk and rock music alike. With eight stages and over 40 bands Slam Dunk Festival is now a key date in the summer festival calendar to be part of! Highlights: The Slam Dunk South After-party will be held at the University of Hertfordshire. Buses will be laid on from the Hatfield House site to transport people to the After-party.

Leestock Music Festival, Long Melford, Suffolk, 26-27 May

This year the festival has a line-up you won’t want to miss! Held in the grounds of Melford Hall the festival raises money for national charity the Willow Foundation, which supports seriously ill young adults. This year’s headliner is Feeder, plus there’s performances by Reef, The Pigeon Detectives, Republica and The Rifles. Highlights: Don’t miss headliners Feeder who will perform on Saturday 26 May.

Red Rooster, Euston Hall, Suffolk, 31 May – 2 June

Red Rooster champions the very best in RnB, Americana, Blues, Soul, Roots and Country. The go-to early summer event is for those who wish to immerse themselves in a truly Deep South weekend experience of music, food and culture. Eli Paperboy Reed and his 10 piece High and Mighty Band will headline on Saturday, while Headlining the Little Red Rooster stage are Norwich band Ida Mae. Other acts include Bristol’s Yola Carter, winner of the Americana Music Association’s UK Artist of the Year 2017, the legendary Slim Cessna’s Auto Club and Spain’s Los Chicos to name a few.

Highlights: Headliners Pokey LaFarge and Alabama 3 Acoustic, and the late night Howlin’ Woods Stage, taking the party through to the small hours.

Aldeburgh Music Festival, Suffolk, 8-24 June

This year the popular festival will celebrate Britten and America, as well as 1948, the period in post-war British history when the festival began. The music Berstein plays a major part in the festival, while America is represented by the Artists in Residence, composer Michael Hersch, flautist Claire Chase and violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Plus there’s a line-up of concerts, exhibitions, talks, films, walks and events. Highlights: The availability of £10 tickets for every performance is a new festival offer.

Newmarket Nights, Newmarket Racecourse, Suffolk, 9 June – 25 August

The line up for this year’s concerts is one of the best yet, but you’ll need to be quick, tickets are selling out fast. Combining an evening of horse racing and live music the Newmarket Nights are a great summer event. This year the line-up includes Demi Lovato on 9 June, Paloma Faith on 22 June, James Blunt on 29 June, Craig David on 20 July (sold out), Plan B on 27 July, Nile Rodgers on 10 August, George Ezra on 17 August and The Vamps on 25 August. One more name is still be announced. Highlights: Craig David and Paloma Faith.

Craig David will perform at the RiZE Festival and Newmarket Nights

Fling Festival, Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex, 30 June

The fun and creative festival for adults returns for a day of live music, burlesque and cabaret, surreal theatre and immersive arts and crafts, plus the yummy food. Headliners include punk legends Buzzcocks  who will be taking to the main stage and DJ Norman Jay MBE who will perform in The Fling Dance Tent.

Highlights: 2018 sees the introduction of two new music stages to Fling; Bays Days and Shakey’s Sessions Unplugged.

Homegrown Music Festival, Barrow, Suffolk, 8-10 June

Homegrown Music Festival will return for its 6th year to Barrow for a long weekend of live music from the best of East Anglia’s signed and unsigned talent. Visitors can enjoy a showcase of the local bands. Unlike other festivals Homegrown is all about keeping it simple with realistically priced food and drink available. As well as great music there’s activities such as yoga and art workshops. Highlight: Over 40 local bands plus Sunday is free entry.

Culford’s Opera in the Park, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, 16 June

This magical outdoor concert with internationally acclaimed London Festival Opera returns for a midsummer’s evening to remember. Operatic favourites and popular showstoppers will be performed in Culford Hall’s beautiful grounds. This year the event will feature staged highlights in costume from Verdi’s masterpiece La Traviata and the evening will celebrate arias from the operas of Mozart, Rossini, Bizet and Puccini ending with a patriotic Last Night of the Proms Finale. Adult tickets from £26.25. Highlights: Enjoy a picnic before the performance.

Leigh Folk Festival, Leigh on Sea, Essex, 21-24 June

A fabulous festival that draws visitors from far and wide. The festival brings together over 200 artists in music, poetry and dance across 20 venues. Headliners include Digby Fairweather and Band and Richard Digance. Highlights: Soak up the atmosphere on the cobbled streets of Old Leigh and its waterside location.

Wildwood Festival

The Wildwood Disco, Horseheath Racecourse, Cambs, 30 June

The Wildwood Disco will bring world renowned DJs and music producers Groove Armada among many other musical talents such as Stanton Warriors and House music legend Seb Fontaine. Festival-goers can dance the day away or relax and listen to the sleazy disco and funk from DJs at the new Sundown Stage. Lasers, entertainers, fire pits, bars and Cambridge’s best street food will mean this is a perfectly formed mini festival with something for everyone. Tier 3 tickets are now on sale at £45. Highlights: Try to find the secret absinthe hut!

Music by the Sea, Aldeburgh, 30 June  

The free Music by the Sea open air charity concert returns to Aldeburgh this summer with a great line-up of national and local artists performing live from 4pm until dark. Taking place in the King’s Field, top acts at this summer’s concert include a dynamic ELO tribute band and popular Suffolk band Albion Mills playing their repertoire of classic rock and pop from the Golden Age of the 60s and 70s. Other confirmed performers include Everly Everly and rock ‘n roll band J.S & The Lockerbillies, who are sure to get the audience up on their feet. Dance the day away and refresh at the Prosecco, Pimm’s and beer marquees. Highlights: A  sensational firework display will bring the evening to a rousing finale at 10pm.

Everly Everly to perform at Music by the Sea

Maverick Music Festival, Easton Farm Park, Suffolk, 7-8 July

Yee-haa! Join in the Americana Maverick Music Festival as it hosts a fantastic line up of American and English music acts all waiting to bring you a taste of the American dream. Set amongst the Victorian barns and buildings of Easton Farm, visitors can see over 50 artists across six stages, both indoors and out from 5pm on the Friday. Saturday programme starts at 11am until 11.30pm and on Sunday 10.30am until 2.30pm. So gather your tent, lots of water and a slice of American Pie and book your tickets now to avoid being disappointed. Highlights: Acts include The Danberry’s, Hillfolk Noir and The Goat Roper Rodeo Band to name a few!

Latitude Festival, Henham Park, Suffolk, 12-15 July

Set in a beautiful location, Latitude Festival is a favourite among festival-goers. With a relaxed atmosphere, it’s ideal for all family members. Now in its 13th year, the Festival will once again host an impressive and diverse mix of comedy, music, theatre and poetry. The activities and sheer scale of this festival is what makes it so popular. Visitors can take swim in the lake, tuck into delicious food at the Street Feast, dance the day and night away with DJ sets and discover SOLAS; a wellbeing and healing sanctuary in the woodlands.  With an all-new look for 2018, for the first time, Latitude is pleased to announce a range of food headliners. Food has become the new rock ‘n roll and Latitude bosses believe that what you eat should be as good as what you see and hear at the festival. Foodie activities include Theatre of Food, BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, Street Feast and Up in My Grill to name a few!  

Highlights: World Theatre Day performances and headliners including The Killers, Solange and alt-J.

Battle of the Proms, Hatfield House, Herts, 14 July

The Battle Proms picnic concert takes place in the Queen Elizabeth Oak Field in the leafy parkland at Hatfield House. A summer celebration, the event begins at 4.30pm, and offers an afternoon and evening of entertainment including Napoleonic re-enactors, WWI Cavalry Display, The Red Devils, singing duo The Vignettes and evening gun salute. The Battle Proms Orchestral performance and a traditional sing-along, flag-waving and grand firework display close the event. Tickets from £39.

Highlights: A meticulously choreographed and tear-jerking aerial display is performed by Carolyn Grace in her legendary Mark IX Spitfire in the skies above the arena to accompany the concert’s opening pieces.

Folk by the Oak, Hatfield House, Herts, 15 July

The intimate Acorn Stage and buzz of the open air festival buzz of the main stage, showcase a day of award-winning musicians and inspiring new talent. The day also features crafts, workshops and a creative family area. Tickets from £39.95. Highlights: Amy Macdonald and Billy Bragg perform on the main stage.

Little Mix at Earlham Park, Norwich, 21 July 

The world’s biggest girl band Little Mix have announced that 2017 X Factor Winners RAK-SU and Australian sister trio Germein will be joining them on their huge of UK summer shows throughout July as part of the group’s ‘The Summer Hits Tour 2018’. Kicking off in Hove on 6 July, the run of 15 live shows ends in Inverness on 29 July, stopping at Earlham Park in Norwich on 21 July. The shows will see Little Mix perform their greatest hits, including ‘Touch’, ‘Shout Out to My Ex’, ‘Black Magic’,  ‘Wings’, ‘Move’ and ‘Power’. 

Tickets for Little Mix’s Summer Hits tour are on sale now at /  

Cambridge Rock Festival, Barton, Cambs, 26-29  July

Now in its 14th year, the festival features around 75 bands appearing on three fully covered stages set outdoors in the grounds of Horseheath Lodge. The festival includes real-ale, on-site camping with parking by your tent and a variety of food stalls. Highlights: This year there is the addition of a ‘glamping’ package.

Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambs, 2-5 August

One of the longest running and most famous folk festivals in the world, the festival attracts thousands each year. Its renowned for its mix of music and great line-up of artists. Over 40 acts will be taking to the stage including five artists who will play across the weekend including Peggy Seeger, Kaia Kater, Birds of Chicago, Amythyst Kiah and Yola Carter, all of which have been selected by guest curator Rhiannon Giddens, who hails from North Carolina. Camping facilities, children’s entertainment, music workshops and other entrainment will also be available.

Highlights: Sponsor Visit North Carolina in conjunction with Yep Roc Records are offering you the chance to win a North Carolina Bluegrass holiday of a life time!

Bedford Park Concerts, Beds, 3-5 August

The legendary Billy Ocean will be taking to the stage on Friday 3 August supported by soul singer Jaki Graham and ASWAD, a fantastic reggae band. Tickets cost from £35. On Sunday 5 August, the town will be alive with the sounds of the famous Bedford Park Proms. This year’s soloist is English soprano Lesley Garrett, among many other talented artists. The concert will conclude with rousing favourites for flag-waving and singing along, including Rule Britannia and Land of Hope & Glory, as thousands of lasers and fireworks light up the sky. Tickets prices from £33.50. Highlights: Headliner Billy Ocean and Bedford Park Proms.

Classic Ibiza, Blickling Hall, Norfolk, 10 August

Always a sell-out, The Urban Soul Orchestra conducted by Stephen Hussey return to perform classic Ibiza anthems under the stars, with live DJ and vocalists. A chill-out set in the first half will be followed by a half hour interval with the DJ playing the latest Ibiza tunes.

Highlights: As dusk falls, the lasers will hit the Blickling skyline, as the Urban Soul Orchestra return to bring some of the best of the White Island’s dance tunes to orchestral life.

Great British Proms, Blickling Hall, Norfolk, 11 August

The Great British Proms at Blickling, is now a firm favourite in the Norfolk calendar. This year’s event will be celebrating 100 years of the RAF. The programme will be a fantastic celebration of those magnificent men in their flying machines. The evening will be packed with performances of Proms favourites, closing with a spectacular firework display. Tickets priced £37.50.

Highlights: The National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Inglis will be joined by the Rolls-Royce Spitfire.

RiZE Festival, Hylands Park, Chelmsford, 17-18 August

A brand new festival for 2018, the event brings big names to the Essex. There will be headline sets from Liam Gallagher, who will headline the main stage on Friday night and the Stereophonics on Saturday. Other acts include James Bay, Craig David, Plan B, Bastille and many more. Festival goers can enjoy luxury camping, street food stalls, chill out area and glitter make up station.

Highlights: Performances from some of the world’s biggest artists including Rita Ora and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man.

Rita Ora will perform at RiZE Festival

FolkEast, Glenham Hall, Suffolk, 17-19 August

Now in its 7th year, the rural event hosts local and international acts. Headliners include Oysterband, Show of Hands with Miranda Sykes, and The John Langan Band, plus others including Irish Mythen, Tim Edey, Wild Willy Barrett & The French Connection, Rodney Branigan, The Magnificent AK47, The Gigspanner Big Band, and many more. Highlights: Additional activities include storytellers, instrument makers’ festival, yoga, poetry, foraging walks and more.

Maui Waui Festival, Theberton,  Suffolk, 24-26 August

Maui Waui is a three day festival of international music, performance and arts. Now in its 6th year it is fast becoming one of the area most exciting festivals in East Anglia, pulling in accomplished as well as undiscovered bands and performers from all around the globe. A family friendly festival, there’s plenty of activities for children and for adults, a host of world class bands, full circus shows in a dedicated circus tent, small upbeat bands and acoustic acts, plus cabaret and comedy.

Highlights: New for 2018 is the World Music Café Stage; an exciting new stage to showcase world music from around the globe, expect late night Flamenco shows, traditional Reggae and live African music.

Cool Britannia, Knebworth House, Hertfordshire, 31 August – 2 September

Welsh rock band Feeder and indie rockers Razorlight have been confirmed to play the new epic music festival Cool Britannia. The festival, featuring iconic acts inspired by an epic era, will also see the premier of ‘Britpop Classical’ which will feature a full orchestra together with rock band and guest soloists. Camping facilities available. Tickets from £65.45. Highlights: The festival has teamed up with Ministry of Sound and will feature some of the best club DJs of the era.

Subterranean Festival, Cambridge Corn Exchange, 15 September  

Following on from last year’s success, the indoor rock and indie festival makes a welcomed return. The Corn Exchange will be transformed into a four-stage music mecca, bursting with richly creative local talent alongside touring headliners. Three stages will be placed inside the auditorium featuring a number of bands from Cambridge and the surrounding areas, each bringing their own distinctive style and energy. Tickets are £16. Highlights: Headliners include Ginger Wildheart , Andy Cairns, REWS and Austin Gold.

Standon Calling, Herts, 26-29 July

Standon Calling is all about music and fun! Having quickly established itself as one of the most popular festivals of the summer, attracting visitors from across the country. The festival has become a much more family orientated event in recent years with entertainment including children’s craft zones, workshops and performances, plus a wellbeing area which includes yoga and hot tubs and a dog show! Highlights: 2018 headliners include Paloma Faith, George Ezra and Bryan Ferry.

Food & Drink Festivals in East Anglia 

CheeseFest, Colchester Leisure World, Essex, 12 May

If you are passionate about everything cheese then head to Colchester this May for a festival that celebrates all types of cheese from around the planet. Some of the UK’s best cheese traders and street food vendors will be descending on Charter Hall to delight you with their range of cheese products whether that be mozzarella sticks, mac n’ cheese or cheese wheels. This huge selection of cheese will also be supported by an ample range of craft beers and wines in what promises to be a day of cheese indulgence not seen before in the county. Highlights: Combine your cheese tasting with a selection of craft beers and wines.

Norwich Gin Festival

Norwich Gin Festival, The Halls, Norwich, 6-8 July

The UK’s original touring festival of gin has set its sights on Norwich, returning for the fourth year running, with tickets expected to fly. Explore the different zones including lively bars, a generous and informative brand room, plus the creative cocktail bar all under one roof. Taste a variety of flavoured gin and mixers at either an afternoon or evening session. Bottoms up! Tickets from £14. Highlights: This year features new Schweppes 1783 premium range mixers.

Cheese Festival at The Gog, Stapleford, Cambridge, 16 June

The multi-award winning specialist food shop based just south of Cambridge, will be hosting a day dedicated to cheese! Set up in a market style, English cheese makers will be showcasing a number of cheeses for visitors to try. It’s a great opportunity to meet and chat with producers and learn more about your favourite flavours. A must for all cheese lovers! Highlights: Stop by the Neal’s Yard Dairy stall.

Ely Food & Drink Festival, Ely, Cambs, 4-7 May

Rounding up Ely’s Eel Festival is the ever popular two day Food and Drink Festival now in its fifth year. Over 75 artisan and specialist food and drink traders will be showcasing their wares. There’s a great Street Food Scene, plus beer tent and cocktail bar with some easy listening, live music to enjoy. Back on St Mary’s Green is the Kitchen Pantry with a selection of goodies to help stock your pantry and this year’s Cookery Theatre will host celebrity haute cuisine teacher, Rosemary Shrager and the original TV Chef, Brian Turner who will be demonstrating a variety of dishes alongside some of our much loved local chefs. Highlights: Cookery demos from Rosemary Shrager and Brian Turner.

The World Food Festival, Welwyn Garden City , Herts, 12 May

A celebration of cuisine from around the world, there’ll be plenty of food to try and buy as well as a cookery demonstration stage and live entertainment for the whole family.

Essex Fine Food Show, Chelmsford City Racecourse, 12-13 May

Featuring James Martin and John Torode cooking live, this is a real one for the foodies out there. There will also be some demonstrations from top local chefs including Mick Binnington from The Windmill in Chatham Green, Adam Townsend from The New London in Chelmsford and local master butcher, David Innes. As always, there’ll also be plenty of food to try and buy and of course, live entertainment too. Highlights: Discover and sample lots of local produce.

EAT, Cambridge, 19 May

The annual Eat Cambridge Festival returns on 19 May with a huge foodie fair, followed by two weeks of foodie events. The festival celebrates Cambridgeshire’s delicious independent food scene. Highlights: pop-ups and supper clubs, food and wine tastings, cookery lessons, chef talks and demos alongside plenty of other things to tickle your tastebuds.

Cromer and Sheringham Crab & Lobster Festival, 19-20 May

The towns are partnering up again this year for their annual Crab & Lobster festival, celebrating the best of Norfolk’s catch, over the weekend of the 19 and 20 May. Enjoy a seaside variety concert at the Famous Pier Pavilion in Cromer, enjoy plenty of crab and lobster, watch cookery demonstrations and enjoy some of Norfolk’s finest food and drink. There’s also a crabbing and crab sandwich competition for those of you who enjoy a bit of healthy competition. Highlights: Take part in the annual world crabbing competition.

Taste of Sudbury, St Peter’s and Market Hill, Sudbury, 20 May

Sunday 20 May also sees the Taste of Sudbury return for its 6th annual event. Enjoy watching some of Suffolk’s best foodie talent in cookery demonstrations, tuck into great Suffolk produce on Market Hill as it is filled with stalls, stands, funky vans and more selling delicious food and pop into St Peter’s Church to explore over 30 of the finest small-scale artisan producers. Highlights: Watch chefs live on stage from 10am-4pm. 

Norwich City of Ale, City Centre, 24 May – 3 June

Norwich City of Ale is a 10-day celebration of local pubs, breweries and real ale taking place throughout the city. BBQs, live music and pub quizzes are among the festivities. Highlights: Try one of the foot and bike friendly ale trails.

Cambridgeshire Food Festival, East of England Showground, Peterborough, 23-24 June

Tickets sell out quickly for this hotly anticipated event, so snap them up now! There’ll be plenty of great food and drink to sample and buy, plus amazing cookery demonstrations, free activities and more, including dancing. There are also camping tickets available for the whole weekend. This really is a weekend of foodie fun to remember. Highlights: Dance the afternoon away to music from local talent.

Oundle Food Festival Street Market, Saturday 23 June

The Oundle Food Festival street market remains one of the most popular dates in regional foodies’ diaries, when over 75 of the region’s finest independent food and drink producers as well as makers of kitchenware gather in the town’s Market Place and New Street.  Local venues run demonstrations, events and offers throughout June, providing more opportunities to learn about, experience and enjoy the region’s produce.

Highlights: Music and dance from the Oundle Fringe Festival, street entertainment from Balls Up Juggling Club and a brilliant atmosphere make it a great family day out.

Essex Festival of Food and Drink, Cressing Temple,  14-15 July

Take a dash of Tom Kerridge, a pinch of Chris Galvin, a sprinkling of food love from Fred Sirieix and a veritable feast from local chefs. Plus over 150 food and drink stands from all over the East. Highlights: Don’t miss Chris Galvin and Fred Sirieix cooking together on the chef’s stage.

Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival, Snape Maltings, 29-30 September

Now in its 13th year, this year’s festival will have over 100 producers taking part in the two-day event, the focal point of a two-week food-related fringe programme. The popular Hill Farm Family Meadow will be at Snape again this year as will the Adnams’ Drinks Experience and the Wild Suffolk area. Tommi Miers, Dan Doherty, Melissa Hemsley, Chetna Makan and Maunika Gowardhan are on the list of exciting chefs confirmed so far for September. Tickets on sale 1 July. 

Jimmy’s Festival, Jimmy’s Farm, Ipswich, 21-22 July

An annual celebration of food and music, with full of family entertainment such live music, theatre and poetry, woodland walks, den building, workshops, tastings, a butchery masterclass and more. Adult ticket £37.45, children 6-16 years £16.05. Highlights: Paul Young, The Bluetones, Dick and Dom and Mint.

LeGateau Chocolat Iconsat NNF18 – Credit-Eli-Schmidt

Arts & Cultural Events in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire 

Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Norfolk, 11-27 May

The 2018  programme, which spans performance, theatre, music, visual arts, literature and events for children, includes over 10 world premieres, a large scale art installation, one-off spectaculars, and a host of free events! There’s a jam-packed programme with something for everyone to enjoy. Make sure you catch the opening spectacular from Transe Express as carnivalesque drummers take over the streets and living dolls on stilts transform the city centre into an open-air opera house. Follow us on Instagram @eastlifemag for our live snaps & stories from the festival!

Highlights: World premiere of Mercury Music Prize winner and pioneer of Asian Underground music Talvin Singh, the City of Literature Weekend and the Adnams Spiegeltent headline show; Shift. 

Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios, various Norfolk locations, 26 May – 10 June.

Hundreds of artists will be throwing open their studio doors to the public as part of the event, which is firmly established as one of the biggest open studios schemes in the country. Celebrating its 24th anniversary, more than 420 artists will be taking part this year across 241 venues throughout Norfolk. Throughout the duration of the scheme many of the artists will be holding additional events, demonstrations and workshops.

Highlights: 15 Art Trails will be running, allowing audiences to visit a number of artists in a particular area, stopping at studios and local attractions along the way.

Pulse Festival, Ipswich, Suffolk, 31 May – 9 June

If you’re a fan of theatre and the arts, this is one festival not to be missed! Returning for its 18th year, this 10 day festival offers a bright and inspiring snapshot of contemporary theatre with established and emerging artists, both local and those from further afield. Performances and events take place at a number of venues across the town including the New Wolsey Theatre, Jerwood Dace House and HEG High Street Exhibition Gallery. Highlights: Check out Suitcase Day on 1 June.

Southwold Arts Festival, 23-30 June

The fifth Southwold Arts Festival will feature over 30 events including a wide range of music, comedy, art and drama. Highlights include the opening parade and street event, rhythm and blues giant Georgie Fame, Jazz at the Movies, comedy from Barry Cryer and talks from ding BBC and Royal Correspondent Michael Cole; Radio and television actor Terry Molloy to name a few! Highlights: A spectacular finale with internationally renowned soul and gospel music singer, Mica Paris.


Holt Festival, Holt, Norfolk, 21-29 July

Year after year this vibrant cultural festival serves up the very best arts and performances from across the region. The town comes alive with a vibrant mix of comedy, poetry, dance, music and more with  something for everyone to enjoy. The open-air Theatre in the Woods is a must visit! 2018 acts include Tom Baxter Band and Leo Sayer. More acts are still to be announced.

Highlights: Don’t miss Jasper Carrott’s new stand up show, on 29 July at the Theatre in the Woods.

Felixstowe Book Festival, Suffolk, 27 June – 1 July

Now in its fifth year, the festival has become one of the highlights of the East Anglian arts calendar. From politics to sport, crime fiction to romance, there’s something to capture everyone’s imagination! Highlights: There’s a whole programme of pop up events.

Rapture Gaming Festival, Colchester Charter Hall, Essex, 20 July

This is one event gamers will not want to miss! A brand new festival which celebrates all things gaming, the spectacle brings the virtual gaming world onto the live stage. There’s nine different zones including a cosplay village. The main Rapture Stage will host tournament finals, interactive games and panel interviews with experts on how to become an online streamer. For adult gamers there’s even an 18+ night, creating a festival after-party atmosphere! Highlights: A 60-hour Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) LAN party. 

ART EAT, Ipswich Waterfront, Suffolk, 14-15 September

ART EAT will bring together Suffolk’s inspiring artistic talent in an inclusive, vibrant and delicious exploration of creativity, culture and flavours for all the family. Events including street entertainment, live music and DJs and visual arts, will take place at Quay Place, UOS, Dance East and St. Peter’s by the Waterfront. There will also be collaborations with local businesses, cafés and restaurants.

Country Shows in the East of England 

Hertfordshire County Show,  The Showground, Redbourn, 26-27 May

The Hertfordshire County Showground is the setting for many events throughout the year, including the annual Hertfordshire County Show, which traditionally takes place over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. The event attracts up to 38,000 visitors and displays the best of Hertfordshire. Come and see animals ranging from huge bulls to tiny ducks, spectacular displays and educational demonstrations. A fantastic family day out, combining free entertainment, fun, food and shopping. Highlights: Don’t miss the new Stampede Stunt Company and Happy’s Big Top Circus.

Bedfordshire Country Show

The Suffolk Show, Trinity Park, Ipswich, Suffolk, 30-31 May

The annual show celebrates agriculture and farming life. Its renowned for its grand ring displays, amazing animals, spectacular show jumping and local produce. There’s also a dedicated shopping area with fashion from local boutiques, crafts and homeware. Highlights: Shetland Pony Grand National and cookery theatre

St Albans Steam and Country ShowOaklands College, St Albans, 2-3 June

A full day’s entertainment will be available for everyone. In addition to the old engines and farm equipment there will be stalls, a fairground and refreshments including a licensed bar. Demonstrations will be set up to show how the old equipment was used in days gone by. A working sawbench, threshing machine, stone crusher and other machinery will be at work. Ring events and parades will enable all the mobile exhibits to be moved on the field (if weather conditions allow). Highlights: Check out the ring events and parades.

The Weald Park Country Show, Brentwood, Essex, 6-7 May

The Weald Park Country Show is set to be bigger and better this year with so many new and added attractions including Jonathan Marshall from Game of Thrones, Motorbike Stunts, Heavy Horses, Falconry, Rural Crafters, Celebrity Chef’s and Food Festival, Children’s Festival and so much more. Highlights: Jonathan Marshall from Game of Thrones.

Festival of Dogs, May to September

Calling all dog lovers! Bring your furry friend along for a fun family day out as the Festival of Dogs pops up across the region this summer. There’s plenty of have-a-go agility courses, the scurry, Dogs Have Talent contest and fun dog shows including waggist tail, most handsome dog and dog who looks most like their owner to name a few! The show will be at Weald Country Park on 6-7 May and 29-30 September, Highfield Park in St Albans on 30 June and 1 July, Elvedon from 7-8 July and Cassiobury Park Avenue in Watford from 26-27 August.

The Wayland Show, Watton, Norfolk, 5 August

One of the UK’s longest running traditional agricultural shows in the UK, it provides families with a fun-filled, dynamic and educational day out in the Norfolk countryside. This year there’s animals galore, family fun, a dog show, shopping and a horticulture marquee. Tickets from £10. Highlights: Visit the Health and Wellbeing Marquee.

The Cambridgeshire County Show, Wimpole Home Farm, Cambs, 3 June

This year the show celebrates its 19th anniversary. With its roots firmly in agriculture and the rural community, the classic country show offers an exciting day of traditional crafts, livestock, food hall, rural crafts, displays, vintage tractors, fairground and ring events. Highlights: Discover the region’s best produce at the food hall.

The Bedfordshire Steam & Country Fayre, Shuttleworth, Biggleswade, Beds, 14-16 September

The annual Bedfordshire Steam & Country Fayre attracts over 20,000 visitors each year. The Bedford Steam Engine Preservation Society aims to give an insight into the country life at the turn of the 20th Century when steam was in its heyday. Many working demonstrations are taking place wherever you may care to roam on the 400 acre site.

Steam, Crafts & Country Life Fair, Knebworth House, Herts, 11-12 August

There will be something for everyone; Steam & other Vintage Vehicles, children’s entertainers and circus workshops, plus rustic crafts, gifts and food marquees and trade stands. On the Sunday the event will host the Companion Dog Show – bring along a canine friend and have a go! Highlights: Don’t miss the Equestrienne Horse Stunt Display Team.

Quirky Festivals

Weird & Wonderful Festival, Haughley Park, Nr Wetherden, Stowmarket, 19-20 May

Over 120 artists and crafts people come from all over the country. Demonstrations include carving and sculpture, fine furniture making, musical instrument making, displays by traditional fletchers and bowyers, chain saw carving and more. Workshops, for both adults and children are free and include activities such as archery, den building, tree climbing in nets and more. Highlights: There’ll be a working mobile sawmill on site, if you want to bring your own tree, it can be cut for you!

Pirates Ball


Into the Woods ‘A Pirate’s Ball’, Thorington, Suffolk, 11-12 May

This year the event takes place across two days! Featuring live music this fun and quirky festival offers a fabulous mix of live bands, DJs, interactive shows and cabaret. Join in the fun and dress up as a pirate! Highlights: Watch the circus and cabaret performances, with a chance to try your hand at the circus skills throughout the day.

Duxford Air Festival, Cambs, 26-27 May

Experience the thrills in the sky above, and enjoy the fun on the showground at the Duxford Air Festival. Enjoy dynamic flying over the skies of Duxford’s historic airbase, showcasing the skill and capability of pilots in amazing aircraft, witness hair-raising aerobatics and aerial ingenuity from powerful aircraft and take part in the live entertainment across the show ground including music, family activities and interviews. There’s also a delicious festival food!

The East Anglian Storytelling Festival, Jimmy’s Farm, Ipswich 15-17 June

Created by a group of East Anglian Storytellers – known as The East Anglian Fabulation, the festival will feature children’s stories, adult stories, story rounds, professional development sessions and guest tellers. Highlights: Taffy Thomas MBE and John Row.


3foot People Festival, Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex, 26-28 June

Attracting over 14,000 visitors, the hugely popular 3foot People Festival, aimed exclusively at pre-school children will feature a mix of music, theatre, storytelling, arts, crafts, sporting activities and play.

Wildwood Rumpus

The Wildwood Rumpus, at Horseheath Racecourse, Cambs, 30 June

Organised by My Little Festival, this magical one-day family festival set in a woodland will feature enchanting activities and performances around every corner. Art installations, story-tellers, woodland crafts, children’s theatre and authors, plus fantastic food from local street food vendors, bars, and live music from the Brass Funkeys and local bands are all on the line up. The Wildlings area will be curated by the team behind the kids areas at Wilderness and Standon Calling, where children (and adults) can make nature wands, dream catchers and much more plus there will be a tent for under 5s with fancy dress, stories and baby changing facilities. The event will see the Fairyland trust create a trail in search of the fairy king and queen, and a brilliant theatre troupe will lead processions through the trees. There’s also a literary tent, totem pole painting, bush-craft, den building, face painting, mad hatters tea party and much more. It’s the perfect excuse to get children away from the screens and into the great outdoors!

Highlights: The Kid’s Bubble Disco and Mad Hatter’s tea party hidden in the forest.

East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, 11 August

Teams across East Anglia come together to battle it out on the water in aid of charity. Join the thousands of spectators and cheer on participants or enjoy the embankment activities such as inflatable games, funfair, kid’s activities and food and drink stalls.

Retro Dub Suffolk VW Festival, Trinity Park, Ipswich, 21-23 September

Returning to its original venue, this year promises to be bigger and better than ever before. There will be a huge display of VW’s, plus the Norfolk Suffolk Retro Riderz Bike Show and Show and Shine competition.

Outdoor Cinema in the East of England 

 Luna Cinema, various locations, 14 June – 13 July

This year Luna Cinema celebrates its 10th anniversary with more screening than ever before with new blockbusters, award winners and cult classics on the line up. Pack your picnic and blanket and enjoy a film on the big screen under the stars. Luna Cinemas will be popping up across the region showing Pretty Woman, Moulin Rouge, The Greatest Showman and Harry Potter to name a few! Book your seat for a night at the movies at Hatfield House from 14-16 June, Holkham Hall on 29 and 30 June, Highfield Park in St Albans on 5 July, Knebworth House from 7-8 July, Audley End House from 6-8 July and Hylands House from 11-13 July.

Essex Outdoor Cinema, 2 June – 29 September

Get cosy under the nights sky and watch star-studded films from Essex Outdoor Cinema at a number of Essex locations. Films such as Pretty Woman, The Goonies, Grease and Bridesmaids to name a few will be popping up at Maldon Promenade Park, RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Upminster Windmill, Capel Manor Gardens and Braxted Park.

Sundown Cinema, Suffolk, Cambs, Herts & Beds, 13 June – 1 September  

This year IWM Duxford, Hitchin Lavender, Hitchin Priory, Luton Hoo, Shuttleworth House, Ickworth House, The Jockey Club and Wimpole Estate welcome Sundown Cinema. Enjoy an evening in the great outdoors while watching classic films such as Top Gun, Dirty Dancing and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Enchanted Cinema, Cambridgeshire dates TBC

The popular pop up cinema returns for another summer of movies under Cambridgeshire skies. You’ll be able to catch family-friendly classics at Burwash Manor while Brewboard Brewery will host cinematic marvels including Bladerunner and Pulp Fiction. This year Enchanted Cinema will be returning to the pretty inner city hidden garden at The Gonville Hotel for a showing of the Great Gatsby, Grease, Dirty Dancing and much more. 

Screen St Ives, Cambs, April – September

The independent community cinema based at the Corn Exchange in the town centre has a summer schedule of exciting films planned. Films are shown on the third Friday of each month in the main hall. The programme will feature new releases such as Oscar winning drama the Darkest Hour, and the highly praised Yorkshire set drama God’s Own Country. There will also be classic such as A Canterbury Tale and a collaboration with the Cambridge Film Festival with a screening of the documentary Dawson City: Frozen Time. Tickets cost £5.

Garden Shows in East Anglia 2018 

The Hertfordshire Garden Show, Knebworth House, 5-7 May

The event will inspire visitors to make their garden look extra special. Experts will be on hand to share tips, while exhibitors sell quality plants, flowers and furnishings. Make sure you stop by the craft and cut flower marquee! Entry is included with Park & Gardens admission, £9.50 per person. Open 9.30 am to 5pm.

Ely Cathedral Flower Festival, 21-24 June

Ely Cathedral’s long awaited Flower Festival returns this June, and will be titled ‘Kaleidoscope of Life’. There will be up to 100 exhibits with the help of over 35 Flower Guilds from across the eastern region. Highlights will include a water feature, a floral arch the length of Ely’s impressive nave (third longest of any UK Cathedral) and an entire area dedicated to commemorating the end of WWI.  The crowning glory is a 12 metre wide kaleidoscope of flowers positioned in splendour directly under Ely’s famous Octagon tower. Throughout the four day event there will be musical performances, talks and demonstrations by floral experts, delicious food & drink outlets and a bespoke Gift & Craft Marquee located in the Cathedral grounds.

Highlights: TV presenter and gardening expert, Diarmuid Gavin, will be special guest at the opening evening on 20 June.


Woburn Abbey Garden Show, 23-24 June 

Prepared to be wowed at the ninth annual magnificent horticultural display set in 42 stunning acres of Woburn Abbey. This year’s show will be headlined by the BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Adam Frost and author and blogger Pippa Greenwood. The show provides an opportunity to enjoy an introduction to gardening hone or learn new skills and purchase plants and garden items. Other show highlights include floral demonstrations, a garden advisory desk and Q&A sessions.

Classic car shows

Concour’s d’Elegance, Heveningham Hall, Suffolk, 30 June – 1 July

Taking place alongside a country fair, the event will see an exhibit of 50 of the world’s most iconic motor cars, plus a simultaneous aviation concours featuring some of the world’s rarest aeroplanes. New for 2018 is the Horsepower Hill, which will provide the opportunity for concours’ owners to burn rubber in their own cars in a timed burnout. 

Classics in the Park, Knebworth House, Herts, 26-27 August

Music and memories from a bygone age with live entertainment all day in the grounds of Knebworth Park. There will be up to 1,000 classic cars each day and the live arena will include the now famous ‘Decibel Duel’, where owners compete to find the loudest car of the show. The arena will host a series of parades and interviews during the two days.

Classic and Vintage Vehicle Show, Peterborough, Cambs, 1-2 September

Held on Embankment Road, the show attracts approximately 500 vehicles each year and more than 3,000 visitors from all over the region and further afield. Visitors can view vehicles ranging from cars and motorcycles to agricultural and military. There will also be family entertainment and shopping opportunities.…/classic-and-vintage-vehicle-show/

Beer Festivals in East Anglia 

Cambridge Beer Festival, Jesus Green, Cambridge, 21-26 May

First held in 1974, the festival has a long legacy. Now in its 45th year, The festival features a wide range of local and national beers of all styles, as well as cider, perry, mead, wine and bottled & draught beers from around the world. The festival is also famous for its CAMRA Cheese Counter.

Colchester Real Ale & Cider Festival, 29 May – 2 June

Enjoy a great selection of ales, ciders and perry,alongside live music.

Chelmsford Summer Beer and Ale Festival, Admiral’s Park Essex, 10-14 July

A great selection of beers and ales, plus entertainment.

Oundle Food Festival Street Market, 23 June

More food than beer but still great fun, the Oundle Food Festival has become a highlight in the local foodies’ diaries. Over 75 stallholders will gather in the  town centre and there’s also events, special menus, produce launches and offers in the week before the market. Try a range of beers and ales from local producers.

North Norfolk Railway Beer Festival, Sheringham Station, 13-15 July

The annual Beer Festival will feature beer, food, drink and entertainment over the three days at Sheringham station. The Beer Festival is established in the calendars of beer (and rail) enthusiasts’ alike. The festival continues to be successful with each year building on the last!

Peterborough Beer Festival, The Embankment, Peterborough, 21-25 August

This year the festival celebrates it 41st anniversary. An annual knees-up, visitors will enjoy a lively atmosphere and over 400 real ales, ciders, perries and wines.


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