AROUND 70,000 visitors will be flocking to Christchurch this weekend for the town's popular food festival which celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Taking place on May 11 and 12, the not-for-profit event, features the market on the High Street, as well as a Festival Village at Christchurch Quay, with a host of activities including demonstrations from ambassadors Lesley Waters and Dean Edwards.

New for this year, Saxon Square will be transformed into a Vegan and Vegetarian market.

Young visitors can get hands on with the return of the Kids Kitchen and the introduction of a new Learning Zone, which has been designed especially for children and family cooking.

Before the main event kicks off, a Party Night is taking place in the demonstration theatre and the celebrations continue with a Gala Dinner at the Captain's Club Hotel on June 9.


The Street Market is in Christchurch High Street and town centre with over 100 stalls, many of them local producers of top quality products, selling a huge range of everything to do with food whether it is ingredients, cookware, food to eat at home or a takeaway to enjoy whilst browsing. There are also breweries, wines and spirits to sample and enjoy.

Down on Christchurch Quay (or the Quomps as it is known) is the Festival Village, which will be in its fifth year. The Demonstration Theatre provides the focal point, with a full schedule of chefs, both celebrity and local, demonstrating all sorts of great dishes.

Saxon Square plays host to the Vegan and Vegetarian Quarter showcasing some incredible foods, be sure to walk that they on your way to the Festival Village.

Last but definitely not least is Alley Market (opposite Marks & Spencers) which includes a number of fabulous artisan stalls.


The Saxe Coburg Demonstration Theatre, on Christchurch Quay at the Festival Village is home to free-to-watch demonstrations from both celebrity and local chefs. The Demonstration Theatre is the festival’s opportunity to showcase some brilliant, award-winning chefs from local restaurants, gastro-pubs and hotels as well as celebrity chefs.

Festival ambassadors Lesley Waters and Dean Edwards will be headlining this year, with Lesley taking centre stage on Saturday, and Dean stepping up on the Sunday.


The Fun Kids Kitchen is sponsored by Christchurch Rotary in association with Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust, promoting a passion for learning about where food comes from and hands-on cookery. Children can enjoy making fruity scone bread twists, Italian meatballs and a curry during this year's range of sessions.

In addition, visitors can pop into the new Learning Zone, where Dr Sean Beer from Bournemouth University will be encouraging the audience to help with cooking, take part in quizzes and competitions and learn more about making the right food choices for a healthy diet. Sessions include cooking using fish and Roald Dahl's revolting recipes.


A party night is being held in the demonstration theatre on Christchurch Quay on Friday, May 10 to celebrate 20 incredible years of the Christchurch Food Festival. Tickets are priced £25 per person to include a welcome drink on arrival, a one-course supper from the gastropod (vegan/vegetarian options available of the night), cabaret by Lea Martin and Adele tribute Jax Hall plus a disco to keep you dancing into the night.


The final celebration takes place on Sunday, June 9, with the 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner at the Captain's Club Hotel. Six of the town's finest chefs will come together to create and cook a delicious four-course dinner with matching wines.

The evening will begin with drinks and canapes in the Quay Bar before heading into the Waterside Suite to enjoy dinner followed by guest speakers Pervin & Cyrus Todiwala OBE.

The menu is being created and cooked by: Alex Aitken – Harbour Hotels Group; Andrew Gault – Captain’s Club Hotel & Spa; Colin Nash – Three Tuns Inn; James Golding – The Pig Group; Luke Matthews – Chewton Glen and Simon Hallam – Sandbanks Hotel.

To find out more about the Christchurch Food Festival, or book tickets for any of the events, visit the website.