Guide to the St Ives Food and Drink Festival 2023

Larissa Ellis-Jones

‘Food, glorious food’ as the famous saying goes! – When it was announced that the renowned St Ives Food and Drink festival was coming back for another round, we were excited to find out all the details so we could provide you, our guests and foodie fans, with all the information you need to make the most of your visit to the annual event.

What is it about?

Taking place on Porthminster Beach, the St Ives Food and Drink Festival hosts culinary experts, attractions and a wide variety of local foods and drinks for visitors to indulge in. It’s a brilliant event that has something for everyone in the family, with lots of entertainment and activities throughout the 3 days. All the businesses that part-take in the event are local and come together to put on a truly inspiring event.

When is it? 

Friday, May 12th to Sunday, May 14th

What takes place? 

There are cooking demonstrations from some well-known and up-coming chefs, with a fine mix of influences from all over the world. There are stalls and stands selling local crafts, gifts and goodies to explore and of course, plenty of food and drinks to taste. Throughout the day and into the evening there are local bands and musicians keeping us entertained with activities going on everywhere to keep you amused whilst you try your foodie treats.

Which chefs are demonstrating?

On the Friday, at 13:45pm: Jack Stein has confirmed to be a demonstrating chef. He is known for his worldly inspired recipes and taking over the Rick Stein restaurant chain in 2017 where he implemented his own cookery school. He is perhaps best recognised as being the middle son of renowned chef, Rick Stein.

On the Saturday, at 14:30pm: Simon Stallard, a British chef who founded the Hidden Hut in Cornwall and is passionate about sustainable cooking, demonstrates how he focuses on using the things available to us in our environment. He is popular with his unique and interesting tools and techniques that he uses to cook his dishes, such as a fire pit built into the sand. In 2021, Simon was honoured to be asked by the UK Cabinet Office to cook at the G7 summit in St Ives.

On the Sunday, at 13:30pm: Kathy Slack is flexing her cooking skills for all to see, she is a cook, veg grower and writer of cook books. Kathy used to live in London and work for an advertising agency, before finding solace in moving to the Oxfordshire countryside, where she changed career paths and found comfort and joy in growing crops. Kathy demonstrates all there is to know about growing your own and cooking it up – the full cycle of mud to plate.

There are over 15 chefs demonstrating across the three days, all with their unique styles, approaches and dishes for you to see and learn to try for yourselves. 

What entertainment is on?

You are spoilt for entertainment throughout the three days at the festival. With bouncy castles, circus displays, cooking demonstrations, a giant slide, maypole dancing and fireworks on the Friday night, there is plenty to see and have a go at.

Throughout the day there will be music from local bands of all genres such as True Foxes and the St Ives Community Choir. In the evening there are some ticketed music events from some big names such as the Old Fashioned Lover Boys, a Queen tribute band and much more, not to be missed. For tickets for all the evening shows, you can purchase these through the St Ives Food and Drink festival website, tickets cost £31.50 per person for the whole weekend, or £13.50 for the individual days with under 12s going free to all events. Book your tickets here:

What time does it open and close?

It is an all-day event starting from 11am in the morning on Friday and 10am Saturday and Sunday, all the way through to 11pm on the Friday and Saturday, with it finishing at 10pm on the Sunday.

How much is entry?

This event is free for people to attend from opening to closing - meaning you can come and go as you please throughout the day. The evening music events at the Lighthouse stage are ticketed and will require you to purchase your tickets beforehand.

How do I get there?

Staying with us at Sail Lofts means you've got a short 10-minute walk over to Porthminster beach from our apartments to where the event is taking place. Leaving your car safely secure in our car park, you will be able to enjoy your hassle-free day of tasting fine foods, sampling drinks and watching the awesome cooking displays on show.

Do I need to bring anything in particular?

There is nothing that is required for this event, but if you plan on making the most of your time there then it will definitely be a good idea to wear suitable footwear for all the strolling around. You could bring along some waterproof gear just in case the weather decides to be its usual unpredictable self. Also, you may wish to bring along a picnic blanket or something similar to sit on, the event is popular and can get very crowded, so finding a spot to sit might become tricky at certain parts of the day, if you’re set-up with a blanket or pop-up chair, then you are well prepared! 

What will the weather be like?

Let’s be honest, in this country we can never be 100% certain what the weather will be like, so the best idea is to bring gear to suit all weathers. If the weather does decide to turn on us, there are plenty of bars, shops and cafes around St Ives who will gladly welcome visitors to take shelter. For those super sunny days, don’t forget your sun-cream! – but also, make the most of the many ice-cream and drinks cafes, stalls and stands around the event and St Ives itself.

What’s the event like for dogs?

Dogs are welcome at the event, but only the Friday and Saturday will dogs be allowed on the beach, from the Sunday the council will enact its yearly summer beach restrictions for dogs. There is however a small putting green next to the event that welcomes dogs for the Sunday. It is worth noting that this event does get popular and will become quite crowded at certain times of the day. If you have a dog who is perhaps nervous of crowds and lots of people, it is probably not advised to bring them along, for those dogs who are quite chilled out and happy to be out and about come what may, then there are lots of walks around for them to stretch their legs and beaches for them to have a run on. As is to be expected anybody that brings a dog along is responsible for clearing up after them and keeping them on leads when appropriate.

Staying with us at Sail Lofts during the festival:

Staying with us at Sail Lofts for the Festival weekend will give you many perks. As the event can get quiet popular, finding somewhere to park suitably in St Ives can become a bit of a chore, often leaving people with needing to go the extra mile to plan out their day, when you stay with us here at Sail Lofts, you will get your own dedicated free parking space in our car park which will relieve that worry.

Our central location means you can easily get to and from the event throughout the three days, a luxury for those who want to fully indulge in all the festival has to offer without worry. If the weather suddenly takes a turn, you are within easy distance to nip back and get what you need, and if you want to head down for the morning sessions, come back for a chilled afternoon and then get ready to hit the evening entertainment, you can do all that easily from our apartment locations.

Once you are suitably inspired by all the cooking demonstrations, techniques and talents you’ve seen, you’ve got your fully equipped kitchens in your apartments, as well as plenty of local shops to purchase those important ingredients, perfect for having a go and putting your new cooking skills to the test!

To book yourself into one of our luxury apartments to be ready to enjoy the St Ives Food and Drink Festival; click here.

We look forward to seeing you soon.