Devon Local Guide: What's On

Devon Local Guide: What's On

In celebration of our 25th birthday, we’ve been showcasing our Devon-based team’s 25 favourite local businesses, starting with recommendations of places to eat & drink. This week, we’re featuring five of the most exciting events happening in Devon this year, ranging from flaming barrels to beautiful rose gardens.

Castlewood Wine Festival

8th - 9th June

Every summer, Castlewood Vineyard hosts its annual festival featuring live music, an array of wines, delicious food, and different attractions and activities - all set against the backdrop of the beautiful Devon countryside. Castlewood is a boutique vineyard in East Devon, nestled under the ancient hill fort of Musbury Castle, which specialises in “exceptional sparkling and still wines made by minimal interventional methods”. The festival is hosted as a celebration of their harvest, and showcases their wines from the latest vintage release, as well as wines from vineyard neighbours. As a plus, the festival is sustainably centred and has paired with VIDA natural to manufacture a single-use Castlewood flute in an effort to reduce plastic waste. This is a truly beautiful weekend. 

RHS Festival of Roses

15th June - 14th July 

RHS Garden Rosemoor boasts one of the UK’s largest collections of roses, spread across two Rose gardens with over 200 varieties, all of which can be enjoyed at their annual Festival of Roses. Immersing yourself in the fragrance and spectacle of thousands of rose buds in bloom is a beautiful sensory celebration of summer. North Devon provides the ideal conditions to bring these roses to their peak, gifting us with a breadth of colours, shapes and habitats. The festival also features the annual Rose Weekend (21st - 23rd June), which offers family entertainment and an artisan craft and food market. Even if you are not an avid gardener, these are a delightful sight to see. 

Clovelly Lobster and Crab Feast

8th September

Every year, the quaint North Devon Village of Clovelly hosts a feast to celebrate its famous sustainably caught lobsters and crabs. The event is hosted in aid of the National Lobster Hatchery, which is a marine conservation, research and education charity. As part of the event, the charity releases baby lobsters into the sea at the beginning and end of the day. Throughout the day you can expect live folk music, cookery demonstrations, delicious lobster and crab dishes, craft stalls and beer tasting. As a plus, Clovelly is a picturesque little village, making it the ideal setting for this lovely event. 

Powderham Food Festival

5th - 6th October

For over a decade, Powderham Castle has hosted an annual Food Festival in its beautiful grounds on the banks of the River Exe, highlighting the best food and drink producers in the region. Built in the 14th century and home to the same family for 600 years, the castle becomes the venue for a culinary adventure every autumn. The weekend offers an exciting lineup of events, pop-up bars, activities and cooking demonstrations which promise to entertain the entire family (including well behaved furry friends). Although there is parking available at the event, Powderham encourages festival-goers to explore alternative methods of transport, such as the train or bikes. Interestingly, it is also possible to sail, paddleboard, or kayak there along the river. 

Tar Barrels

5th November

Every year, the town of Ottery St. Mary lights up on Bonfire Night with an event that exists only there, in a small East Devon town. Some time ago, Ottery was one of many West Country towns to participate in the tradition of rolling burning barrels down the streets. Somewhere along the line, however, the town decided rolling was too tame. Since then, locals now carry flaming barrels sponsored by local pubs on their shoulders down the packed streets, creating a truly frightening and delightful spectacle which you can’t experience anywhere else. The barrels get bigger throughout the day and evening, reaching up to 30kg by midnight. In keeping with more orthodox tradition, the town also presents one of the biggest bonfires in the South West. The Tar Barrels are not to be missed.