Just because you’ve got a family now, it doesn’t mean you have to hang up your mud-caked wellies and glitter eyeshadow just yet. Because this year, there are more family-friendly festivals to visit than ever. From small, free events to mind-blowingly big affairs with thousands of people, there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets.
So pack your glowsticks, count your tent pegs and buy a box of wine because it’s time to ramp up the festival fever and hit one of these…
For non-stop fun
Juggling, pottery, waterspouts and yoga – just a few of the things your kids can do at Lakefest in Gloucestershire on August 8th, 9th, 10th. If you can drag them away from the fun stuff for long enough, you could relive your youth by watching Shed 7 and Fun Lovin’ Criminals on the main stage.
Camp Bestival has a circus theme this year and, if last year is anything to go by, over on my blog, I have 30 reasons why you’ll love it. From big names like James and Sophie Ellis-Bextor to Ben and Holly Live, there’s something for all the family.
Anna from Family With Style was blown away by the Shambala Festival last year. Set in a secret location in Northamptonshire from 21st – 24th August, some say that with its cabaret, comedy and dance it’s the family festival goer’s best kept secret.
The Edinburgh Fringe has so much to offer kids during the month of August. Our pick would be Ceilidh Kids – dancing workshops for kids aged three and up… but the whole family can join in. Are you ready to do Strip The Willow? This review of the Fringe from Happy Muslim Mama shows how much fun can be had there.
If a one day festival is more your cup of tea, try Lollibop in August. Tired Mummy Of Two is a big fan, and it’s in a brand new venue this year – Hatfield House in Hertfordshire which is bound to be amazing. Alternatively, check out the Little Monsters’ Bash in Brighton on 9th August, where Dick and Dom are headlining. Big Fish Little Fish parties are mini festivals of sorts (hey, it has fancy dress, glow sticks, crafts and phat beats, so we’re calling it a festival.) Around The World With A High Chair went along for a rave and had fun.
For food fans
TV chef (and girl crush of many) Gizzi Erskine is heading up the food tent at the first ever On Blackheath festival in South East London, come 13th & 14th September. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of fun stuff to keep the kids entertained too. Oh and Massive Attack are playing – no biggie.
If the other TV chef Jamie Oliver is more up your street, check out the festival he runs with Blur’s Alex James. The Big Feastival takes place in Oxfordshire on 29, 30, 31st August and Steph from I’m Counting UFOs was in foodie heaven when she went last year.
The Beacons Festival prides itself on its street food – you’ll find everything from jerk chicken to gourmet pizza here. Happening between 7th and 10th August in Yorkshire, Michelle from The Crowther Clan loved the pop-up tea room best.
Chilled In A Field Festival keeps numbers down to 1000, which might sound a lot, but it’s a teeny festival. They even have a sleepy time tent for getting babies and toddlers off to sleep before you wheel them somewhere more fun for you! Takes place on 1st, 2nd & 3rd August, near Uckfield in West Sussex.
Fancy a traditional fair with stalls, games, food, crafts and family entertainment? The Summer Fair at Plas Newydd, Anglesey on 5th August is what you need. Entry is free to children in fancy dress. Now, do they want to be the Gruffalo or Elsa from Frozen?
If you’ve got a child who loves balloons, you can’t miss the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. If you’re an early bird, get there for 6am and watch the hot air balloons take to the sky as the sun rises, with a morning coffee and bacon sandwich in hand.
The Knighton Carnival in Powys, Wales has been around for over 40 years and there’s lots to see and do, from the Shire horse exhibition, dog show, craft stalls and of course the carnival procession. Check it out on 30th August.
Fun and fantasy
Southwark Belle popped her family festival cherry last year at Beautiful Days in Devon. There, her kids were wowed by fairies on stilts and stories about giants and trolls. Check it out this year, from 17th – 21st August.
Voewood Festival in Norfolk looks all serious and artsy but it’s really child-friendly and even has workshops from the Fairyland Trust where storytelling and folklore are used to bring nature to life.
All Alice In Wonderland fans should book up for the Green Man festival in August. There, you can make Wonderland character totem poles, clay cakes, bunting and ribbing skirts. Mercury Rev, The Waterboys and (sshhh) lots of edgy people we’ve never heard of (we’re so uncool) are playing on the stages too.
Festival Number 6 is an uber-stylish festival in a Welsh village with miles of sandy beaches and acres of sub-tropical woodland. Don’t miss the woodland rave, and remember to take your bucket and spade for the beach!
Helen from Actually Mummy went to last year’s Just So Festival with her kids in tow. She details the best bits and the worst bits on her blog – we think it sounds awesome but it’s good to get a balanced review of something, isn’t it? This year’s festival is happening in Cheshire from August 15th to 18th.
Storytelling and fables
Book lovers will adore Wilderness (7th-10th August in Oxfordshire). Children’s classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be retold, plus see the travelling storytelling circus, Storystock, as well as campfires and fire shows in the mystical Angel Gardens.
If you’re ever going to visit Glasgow, make it during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. There are lots of family-friendly events happening, including The Village Storytelling Centre’s pop-up yurt on Glasgow Green. Oh and it’s free entry!
The End of the Road Festival in Salisbury this August has a Woodland Library where authors do talks and you can check out books and return them next year. How cool does that sound?
Book ahead for next year
Yorkshire lass Vicki from Honest Mum had a blast at this year’s Wetherby Food Festival – she highly recommends you go next year for foodie family fun.
Buy your earlybird tickets now for 2015’s Blissfields, Near Winchester. This year, they had a onesie disco, pirate parties and 2ManyDJs headlining. Becky from Munchies and Munchkins can’t sing its praises enough.
Hello It’s Gemma is a fan of the family-run Deer Shed Festival in Yorkshire. She saw St Etienne headline but who knows who’ll be on the main stage, come July 2015?
Elderflower Fields in Sussex has only been going for three years but it sounds pretty special. This year, they had Nordic walking, live music and showings of Project Wild Thing to keep the crowds happy. Put it in your diary for May 2015.
Molly from Mother’s Always Right embraced her magical side when she went to last year’s Sunrise Festival. Her daughter loved the face painting, fancy dress and space hopper arena, while Molly liked the cold wine. Next happening in May 2015.
One festival that’s on this Tots100 writer’s must-do list is Latitude in Suffolk. Read this post from Global Mouse Travels to see why…
Somersault in Devon was a newbie on the block for 2014. Kids got green-fingered in the sensory garden and build a cardboard kingdom using recycled boxes at the Land Of Kids pop-up area. While the wellbeing area offered massages and fresh juices, and Pearl Lowe had a pop-up vintage tent where you could dress up and have your tea leaves read. Sign up for news on 2015’s Somersault.
Over in Essex, the 3 Foot People Festival, Chelmsford, was a total winner with Crafts On Sea who spent most of her time in the rave tent. Can’t say we blame her…
Have you been to any brilliant family festivals this year? Tell us what you enjoyed most about them!
[Photo credit: Top image – Shutterstock]