Pub In The Park, St Albans
What I loved about it:
Taste incredible food from top UK restaurants all whilst enjoying great music.
Value for money (out of 10):
One of the last hurrahs of the Summer, chef Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park takes place in venues across the UK, with St Albans the location for its Hertfordshire event. This year’s event takes place from 8-10 September, here is my review of last year’s event:
Marketing itself the UK’s largest tour of its kind and a celebration of the very best music, drink, and food. The festival takes place over three days in each location. You can choose either a day or evening ticket and we choose the Friday evening, the first slot of the weekend, with access to the site from 5 to 10pm.
A few days of rain prior to the event raised worried thoughts of plodding through mud and not finding anywhere dry to sit, however, as luck had it, the clouds parted and the sun came out rights in time.
With top acts performing on the main stage, cooking demonstrations, celebrity chef demos and Q&As, a wide selection of pub and restaurant pop ups plus and artisan food market, there is plenty to do in the time you get. I definitely recommend arriving as soon as you can in order to get round the site, we underestimated how much there was to see and do and missed out on a few things. All the more reason the visit next year.
We went for the ‘VIP experience’ which gives you access to the VIP lounge- where you can avoid larger queues for the bar, get access to super fancy toilets, have two dishes and a drink included in your ticket, up close Q&As with celeb chefs (we saw Simon Rimmer) plus great views of the main stage.
For any foodies I would say this is a great event to have on your radar for 2023, it’s not cheap but there really is so much to see, we loved the Firepit with great BBQ demos, providing a lovely warming atmosphere when the sun goes down. The artisan market was also great, make sure you bring a strong shopping bag as you’ll be wanting to take lots of tasty treats home with you. We bought brownies from the Chock Shop to take home to the kids, and some Norfolk Rum- we may have had a couple of tasters of this before we purchased!
Artists playing when we were there were Gok Wan, who did a belter of a DJ set, Sophie Ellis Bexter- dazzling in the most sparkly outfit I think I’ve ever seen and crowd favourites McFly.
Just thinking back to the food over that evening, my mouth is watering. It’s a great chance to sample some of the dishes from award-winning and Michelin-starred eateries. The pork belly tacos from The Hand in Flowers were something else, and Atul Kochhar, who has a number of restaurants including the renown (and wonderful) Bernares restaurant in London, served a channa samosa which was the perfect accompaniment to nice cold pint. We only started looking to choose our meal later on in the evening, by which time the queues were pretty long so I would suggest going hungry and eating early on, so you can spend the rest of your time browsing the demos and enjoying the music.
All in all I would certainly suggest this to be one of the great summer events in Hertfordshire to add to your ‘to do’ list.
This year’s music line up includes legendary British drum and bass band Rudimental (DJ Set) headlining Friday night, Craig David and Sam Ryder overseeing Saturday’s event and 80s reggae sensation UB40 featuring Ali Campbell closing the fun-filled festival on Sunday.
The chef line up this year includes Karan Gokani, Thom Bateman, Tom Kerridge, Atul Kochhar and Candice Brown.
Tickets cost from £174.93 per adult and £98 per child child (6-15 yrs) for weekend tickets or individual day/ evening tickets from £47.20 per adult and £29.44 per child.