Now for a bit of a different one! When I was younger I used to love festivals (my favourite was Glastonbury, of course, just down the road from my home) but when I had kids I thought I had to give all that up. Turns out, nowadays, a lot of festivals you can attend are incredibly family friendly. A lot of the children I teach talk about attending festivals and the activities they got up to so I decided to do some research into different ones and what they offer for families attending.
July 1-3, Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire
A new location in the heart of the Cotswolds.
July 14-17, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk
In just five years, Latitude has become the festival of choice for middle-class families. Its manageable size and lovely location, bordered by a lake and woodland, play their part, but that could apply to plenty of festivals. That it pays as much attention to its comedy, cabaret, theatre and literary bills as it does to bands is the key to its success.
July 15-17, Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey
Fire shows, acrobats and the chance to meet TV characters.
Secret Garden Party
July 21-24, Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire
New at the magical weekender are giant floating islands, tunnelled labyrinths and art boats that pick up travellers on their way round the lake. Many of the crowd come in costume, there are plenty of activities for kids, with art and theatre for both young and, er, older.
July 22 and 23, East Kirkcarswell Farm, Dundrennan, Dumfries & Galloway
Wickerman takes place on 120 acres of isolated farmland.
July 22-24, Hill Farm, Steventon, Oxfordshire
It has a new main stage, an improved camp site and a Family Field with children’s activities. Gruff Rhys, the Go! Team, Graham Coxon and St Etienne perform, and there is cabaret, comedy, theatre and film. Local food and ale producers are out in force, and a woolly mammoth will wander the site hugging people. Preteens go free.
Deer Shed Festival
July 22-24, Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire
Comedy, craft and circus workshops, paintball art, a giant sand pit and nature trails should keep the kids busy all weekend.
July 28-31, Lulworth Castle, Dorset
The kids’ activities at this Family Festival Award winner are imaginative, though many end mid-afternoon.
August 4-7, Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Ledbury, Herefordshire
Some complained that last year’s Big Chill — the first since the former indie event was swallowed by promoters Festival Republic — felt too slick and corporate. Certainly, some of its DIY appeal was lost, but a larger site, better-organised activities for kids and a bill with big-name bands were obvious improvements.
August 19-21, Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons
As well as films, readings, kids’ workshops and comedy acts, there is a ceilidh, an all-night bonfire and a choice of wildlife walks. Fleet Foxes are this year’s must-see, and there are sets from Villagers, the Low Anthem and Noah & the Whale. For £40, ticket holders can camp in Glanusk Park for three days before the festival starts.
August 26-28, Limetree Farm, Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire
Folk, world and dance music across five stages. Kids can learn cheerleading, breakdancing and the secrets of the solar system, thanks to an after-dark telescope.
August 26-28, Kelmarsh Hall Event Site, Northamptonshire
This 8,000-capacity, eco-conscious family fest has a toddler play area and extensive activities for kids and teenagers.
September 2-4, Stradbally Hall, Co Laois, Ireland
Held on a 600-acre estate 50 minutes from Dublin, Electric Picnic is a fabulous fest with plenty of kids’ activities and a raft of big-name bands. Soul Kids provide dancing, drumming, singing and yoga workshops, willow weaving and puppet shows. For the under-3s, there is a soft play area.
September 8-11, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight
For kids, there will be crazy inflatables, clown shows and a junior disco.
Do you take your children to any of these? Do you have any tips for families attending or do you know of any other festivals that you would recommend for families? Let me know through the contact page!