Suffolk Herring Festival 2019

Now held at The Cut, Halesworth ( , this celebrates Suffolk’s herring heritage in food, drink, crafts, music & theatre

This biannual family friendly event was last held in October 2017 and, being biennial, the next one will be 2nd & 3rd November 2019.

Many people came along for a taste – in every sense – of the glory days of the Suffolk fishing industry and the annual autumn harvest of North            Sea herring by Suffolk drifters manned by Suffolk men in jerseys and oilies


Herring James Haylett of Caister  Herring Lowestoft Big trawler leaving with a drifter on either beam .Herring Drifters leaving Lowestoft

An industry that went from this

“… great is the power of King Herring and how much is dependent on his silvery majesty’s coming and going. Year after year, the finny shoals come along, sometimes in greater numbers than at others but they are always there at the appointed time” Lowestoft Journal 1906

to this

“…..the little old sailing boats, they used to shoot 50, 60 nets. Well, in the period of me a-goin’, as the years went on, they kept addin’ more. The boats got bigger – well, you could shoot more nets, you could get more herrin’; and that kept goin’ on till they caught the bloody lot. Kept stetchin’ and stretchin’ it – yeah, that’s the truth. that’s what killed them herrin’.” Drifterman 1982

While herring isn’t as familiar an item on the menu as it once was, you probably know whitebait, which is simply the herring young. There’ll be a day-long outdoor barbecue of fresh caught North Sea herring & bloaters, as well as the chance to try the famous Dutch soused herring (maatjes haring).

IMG_4081   Herring Festival logo 2015

One of the features of the festival is ‘Show and tell’ herring stories… Many people in Suffolk have families that worked in the herring industry or maybe you did yourself. We invite you to bring any photographs, memorabilia, stories and anything else linked to this significant heritage. They are encouraged to come along to share stories, feast on some herrings, take part in workshops, hear historical talks, listen to great live music and even see a specially created play for the festival.