Think your festival days are behind you, now you’re a parent? You’re wrong! Lifestyle journalist, and mum, Alison Perry discovers that there are loads of brilliant, fun-packed, festivals that are just as much fun for the little ones as they are for you…
Just So Festival
1. Just So
Billed as the ultimate magical enchanting festival, Just So in Cheshire has no big names to draw the crowds, just a reputation that speaks for itself. It’s a spellbinding weekend where families can play, dance and create together and see theatre, dance and music. Babies can play with squishy clay or enjoy a sensory explorer session while older kids (and adults) can take part in the Tribal Tournament – pick a tribe (owls, foxes, stags, fish, frogs or lions) and get involved earning points by being the best dancer, the grubbiest baby or having the most impressive costume). The winning tribe is announced on Sunday at the Wild Rumpus Parade!
When: 19th-21st August, 2016
Where: Rode Hall, Cheshire
Tickets: £125 for an adult weekend ticket, £50 for a kids’ weekend ticket (Under 3s are free)
More info: Just So Festival
Latitude Festival - Photo by Dan Medhurst
With a dedicated family campsite (The Enchanted Garden), a kids’ area and an ‘inbetweeners area’ for teens, there’s no denying Latitude is family-friendly. For grown ups, The Maccabees and New Order are playing on the main stage, or there’s comedy from Russell Howard. For the kiddos, there’s crafting, making fashion from recycling, storytelling and bubble tricks. There are even activities happening in the family campsite from 9am, for early risers, so there’s no chance of your little ones getting bored!
When: 14th-17th July, 2016
Where: Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk
Tickets: £205.50 for an adult weekend ticket, £8 for a weekend child ticket (age 5-12), under 5s are free.
More info: Latitude Festival
3. Camp Bestival
Organised by Rob and Josie Da Bank, Camp Bestival is the ultimate family party experience and this year, it has a space theme! Expect a collaborative space mural with OKIDO magazine, space-themed LEGO building workshops and the Silly Science Team’s Slime Workshop. For grown ups, Fatboy Slim, Tears for Fears and Jess Glynne are playing (and there’s plenty of Pimm’s to be drunk). Glamping options are available and we love Hotel Bell Tent where packages start from £415.
When: 28th-31st July, 2016
Where: Lulworth Castle, Dorset
Tickets: £197.50 for an adult weekend ticket and kids’ tickets from £15 (Babies 1 and under are free)
More info: Camp Bestival
4. Deer Shed
Billed as the North’s answer to Latitude, Deer Shed prides itself in making sure everything is family friendly – from the comedy to the theatre. With a huge range of workshops (80 and counting) you can make Aardman models, learn stage combat (pow!) or try screen printing. Kids will love the photo booth dress up, playing footie with Middlesborough FC, soft play and the giant sand pit. Music comes courtesy of Richard Hawley, Beth Orton and Ed Harcourt. You’re guaranteed to have a great time!
When: 22nd-24th July, 2016
Where: Baldersby Park, Yorkshire
Tickets: From £135 for an adult weekend ticket and kids’ tickets from £5 (under 3s are free)
More info: Deer Shed Festival
The Big Feastival
5. The Big Feastival
Now in its sixth year, The Big Feastival festival run by Jamie Oliver and Blur’s Alex James has an equal emphasis on food and fun. It’s jam-packed with kids’ activities, from a big top to face painting and from farm animals to a vintage funfair. Dick and Dom will be there to entertain the crowd, along with Justin Fletcher and Reggie N Bollie. Top chefs who’ll be appearing include the main man Jamie himself and Tom Kerridge, Raymond Blanc, Gizzi Erskine and Nadiya Hussein – it’s a foodie’s heaven! Oh and there’s music too, from Mark Ronson, Foxes and Kaiser Chiefs.
When: 26th-28th August, 2016
Where: Alex James’ farm, The Cotswolds
Tickets: £174.50 for adult weekend ticket, £32.25 for 12s and under.
More info: The Big Feastival
Some say that Shambala – with its cabaret, comedy and dance – is the family festival goer’s best kept secret. It’s got a bit of a hippy vibe with creativity workshops, a harmony yurt and drum and bass aerobic workouts. Kids can enjoy costume-designing, hula hooping, face painting, trampolines and a crazy bike track, while there’s great chill out areas for babies. If you fancy some grown up time, you can book your kids into the on-site crèche for £7 an hour, and take yourself off to the spa for a riverside sauna, hot tub and glass of bubbly.
When: 25th-28th August
Where: A secret country estate in Northamptonshire
Tickets: From £119 for an adult weekend ticket and £45 for 5-14 year olds (under 5s free)
More info: Shambala Festival
Rave-A-Roo at Wilderness Festival
Need to switch off from real life? This is the family festival for you. Set in an Oxfordshire nature reserve, with a deep crystal clear lake to swim in, foraging sessions and wild medicine walks, you can truly immerse yourself for the weekend. Little ones can get involved with campfires and marshmallow toasting, watch a theatre show or make origami puppets. Rave-a-Roo will be there too, hosting a kids’ rave (which we suspect you might enjoy, too!)
When: 4th-7th August, 2016
Where: Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
Tickets: From £175.25 for adult weekend ticket
More info: Wilderness Festival
8. Larmer Tree
26 years on from the first Larmer Tree, it has grown into a music and arts festival that many families go back to, year after year. And it’s clear why! As well as Jamie Cullum and Tom Odell headlining the main stage, there’s story-telling, poetry, theatre, African drumming and a knitting tent. Mr Bloom will be there, for the little ones and the Crash Bang Carnival Workshop promises to be noisy fun! Pregnant mums can take part in a pregnancy yoga class and the Dorset Farmers’ Market will keep everyone fed and happy.
When: 13th – 17th July, 2016
Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, Wiltshire
Tickets: £230 for an adult 5 day ticket (kids are free)
More info: Larmer Tree Festival
Green Man - photo from Visit Wales
9. Green Man
Set in the beautiful Brecon Beacons, Green Man sees Belle and Sebastian, Laura Marling and James Blake provide the music while there’s plenty for kiddos to do. The Little Folk area has a jungle theme – expect face painting, workshops by OKIDO magazine, crafting and music – in fact there’s so much to do, you might find it hard to explore the rest of the festival! Split into ten magical areas, Green Man is fairly small, so you can get around it with small people, easily. With a fantastic choice of food and drinks available too, it’s one of our favourite family festivals!
When: 18th – 21st August, 2016
Where: Brecon Beacons, Wales
Tickets: £175 for an adult weekend ticket, £20 for 5-12 year olds (Under 5s are free)
More info: Green Man Festival
The Good Life Experience
10. The Good Life Experience
Founded by singer Cerys Matthews, and one of the newer family festivals on the scene, The Good Life Experience is growing in popularity, fast. With an emphasis on the great outdoors, you can expect campfire butchery displays, knot tying and woodcraft workshops as well as an appearance from Ben Fogle. Food comes courtesy of Bill Granger, Thomasina Miers and a whole host of impressive culinary names. Children will have a whale of a time at the free vintage fairground, and one of the festivals USPs is that everything is aimed at both adults and kids (yes, even the axe-throwing!)
When: 16th-18th September, 2016
Where: Hawarden Estate, Flintshire
Tickets: £99 for an adult weekend camping ticket and under 11s are free.
More info: The Good Life Experience