Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott is set to open this year’s Appledore Book Festival.

The cookery legend will take to the stage for the festival’s exclusive Friends-only VIP opening event on September 17 at Skern Lodge.

Ainsley will entertain the festival’s ‘friends’ with travel tales and recipes from his latest book Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook, and ITV series of the same name.

Recipes from the book will be recreated for guests, who can pre-order the food with their ticket, and there will be music from Gypfunk.

Tickets cost £48 for a car of up to five people and include a signed copy of Ainsley’s book.

This year’s innovative festival is thought to be the UK’s first ever drive-in book festival.

The drive-in festival will run from September 18 to 22 in the grounds of Skern Lodge, with space for 100 socially spaced cars at each event.

Audiences will be able to watch and listen in via FM radio and will have an opportunity to put questions to authors, who will be interviewed on a covered stage.

As well as an eight-metre LED screen to ensure everyone has a good view, those attending will be able to pre-order refreshments direct to their car and buy signed copies of books at a drive-through stall.

There will be five events each day, and the line-up includes presenter and writer Richard Osman; Loose Women presenter and former Coronation Street star, Shobna Gulati; farmer, entrepreneur and TV presenter, Kate Humble; author, playwright and former Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo and international best-selling novelist, Adele Parks.

Also at the festival are award-winning science journalist, Dr. Michael Mosley, actor, former MEP, gay rights campaigner and life peer, Lord Michael Cashman; comedian and broadcaster, Viv Groskop; comedian, Lucy Porter; award-winning gardener and BBC Gardener’s World presenter, Mark Lane; former British Ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch; broadcaster and commentator, Iain Dale; historian, Alison Weir; international novelist, SJ Waston; and the Festival’s very own patron, author and broadcaster, Jeremy Vine.

Profits from the festival go to support its Schools’ Literary Programme which benefitted more than 6,500 children in North Devon last year through a range of fun and engaging author, poet and illustrator events.

To become a friend of the festival, visit https://www.appledorebookfestival.co.uk/friends-membership.

event information and tickets, visit the Appledore Book Festival website.