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St Albans has a long history of hostelry and hospitality. A day’s ride from London on the old stage coach route to Holyhead and the North required sleeping, eating and drinking quarters for the weary travellers.

There are more pubs in St Albans per square mile than anywhere else in the country, including Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, the Guinness Record Holder of the title of the oldest inhabited pub in the country. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we are also home to CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale, who host the Beer Festival at the Alban Arena which kicks off the Festival each year.

In 1997, it was high time that this proud past was crystalized in a Food & Drink Festival for the District. In a variety of models and styles, the Festival has developed from a ‘Farmer’s Market and Gala Dinner’ through to a week-long extravaganza of activities, events and feasting.

The Awards are sought-after, the Feastival is renowned. We are delighted that over those 10 years the number of dining and drinking establishments have risen and with such quality too. We are delighted to look back on these photographs of Food & Drink Festivals past and further past (!) to celebrate Food and drink in the District.