1. JUST SO FESTIVAL
When: 21-23 August
Where: Rode Hall, Cheshire
Cost: Weekend adult £110, weekend child £50.
An adventure ‘beyond your wildest dreams’ awaits at Just So, a beautiful woodland shindig made up of seperate themed worlds. In the Spellbound forest are campfire stories, bonfire-lit dancing and theatre (just watch out for the lurking Gruffalo). In Peekaboo babies can get messy with paint, enjoy a massage or just have a little nap. Don’t wander too far, though – on the Village Green the Great Just So Sports Day is going on (there are bubbles and pillow fights for the wimps). The perfect land of wonder for kids, with plenty of foot-stomping live music and fun for the grownups.
When: 16-19 June
Where: Henham Park, Suffolk
Cost: Weekend adult £192.50, weekend teen £140.50, weekend child, £8.
The massive kids area at laid-back Latitude feels like its own mini festival, and the plethora of fun to be had has earned the event a ‘Best Family Festival’ award. Little Latitude is instantly recognisable from anywhere on site – just look for the stripy helter skelter on the edge of the lake. There are myriad activities and fun things to do on offer, from pond-dipping to pizza-making, and it’s all included in the price of a ticket. Latitude also know their grumpy teenagers very well – the ‘Inbetweeners’ area offers music, media and fashion workshops for anyone too cool for colouring in. There’s also a family-only campsite complete with Little Latitude Tuck Shop.
When: July 23-27
Where: Castle Hill, North Devon
Cost: Weekend adult £134.75, weekend teen £82.50, weekend child £5.00.
Magical Somersault might only be a couple of years old but it’s already the most chilled-out festival on summer’s block. Attendees are just as likely to be headed off surfing or for a wild swim as sat watching the (great) lineup, and as such there’s a very safe and happy vibe for children here, too. That’s not to say they aren’t specifically catered for – there are theatre performances and kid’s yoga classes, or for more adventurous tykes survival skils, circus workshops and other creative feasts are all taking place. Even better, the onsite ‘keepers of calm’ nannies can take your brood off your hands if you fancy a little nighttime boogie in the forest.
4. CAMP BESTIVAL
When: 30 July – 2 August
Where: Lulworth Castle, Dorset
Cost: Weekend adult £195, weekend teen £88-£113, weekend child £20, under 4s free.
The big daddy of family fests, Camp Bestival is all about the munchkins. Set in a glorious location around Lulworth castle on the edge of the sea, it’s hard not to feel the magic of Rob and Josie Da Bank’s creation. Whilst a plethora of visually gorgeous stuff is happening to keep the kids happy (medieval jousting, anyone?) big-name artists and speakers are also on the roster for parents. Just like big brother Bestival, fancy dress is king of the camp – the theme this year is wild, so get your little lions and tigers ready!
5. SAUSAGE AND BEER FESTIVAL ON JIMMY’S FARM
When: 25-26 July
Where: Jimmy’s Farm, Ipswich, Suffolk
Cost: Weekend adult £45, weekend child £25, under 2s free.
Pocket and family friendly, a shindig at TV favourite Jimmy’s Doherty farm is guarenteed to be a corker. Okay so the beer part of this mini festival might not be aimed at titchy ones but the sausages most definitely are. As well as an ace lineup including Toploader, Athlete and The Shires, there’s an insanely well-named kids area called Chipolata which includes a gypsy wagon, circus tricks, balloons aplenty and massive dance-off at the end of the day. Mums and dads can also show off by entering the hotly contested sausage-eating challenge. All for under £50 each, too – bargain.
6. LITTLE MONSTERS BASH
When: 8-9 August
Where: The Hop Farm, Kent
Cost: Weekend adult £24.95, weekend child £19.95, babies free. Camping seperately, from £19.95 for four people.
Just for the 1-10s and their grownups, Little Monsters does good as well as being great fun, with all ticket profits in aid of Tree of Hope children’s charity, which offers hope to the families of sick and disabled children in the UK. It’s a great weekend as well as giving you warm fuzzy feelings – smaller attendees can start a band, join Britain’s littlest circus and meet a whole host of their favourite characters, from Shaun the Sheep to Titan the robot. There’s also a large amount of getting splattered with foam and tickets are cheap as chips. The perfect gentle event for a family of festival newbies.
When: 29-31 May
Where: Cheltenham Racecourse
Cost: Weekend adult £129, weekend 10-15 £62, weekend 5-9 £22, under fives free.
There’s plenty on offer for the whole family at summer staple Whychwood. For the little ones, there’s a Kid’s Literature Festival is stuffed with fantastic children’s authors, including the Blue-Peter award-winning Ali Sparkes. CBeebies’ Justin Fletcher will be gracing the main stage, and there are circus workshops, old-fashioned puppet shows, forest trails, crafting, kids yoga… the list of ways to distract your offspring goes on. For grown-ups, big music names include UB40, the Proclaimers, Boney M and the Undertones.
8. EDINBURGH FESTIVAL
When: 7-31 August
Cost: Varies by performance.
Okay, so it’s more of a month-long arts and performance and less of a camping-in-a-field type of affair, but we had to include the world-famous wonder that is the Edinburgh Fringe. Perfect for dipping in and out of, as well as for using a trip as an excuse to explore the gorgeous Scottish capital, there are tons of fantastic shows and performances aimed at children on every day – so many that you’ll be exhausted trying to figure out how you’ll fit them all in. The perfect day trip if you’re not so keen on mud and wellies. Image © Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.
9. BEAUTIFUL DAYS
When: 21-23 August
Where: Escot Park, Devon
Cost: Weekend adult £135, weekend teen £65, weekend child £35, under 5s £5
Often plaudited as Britain’s best family festival, Beautiful Days does what it says on the tin for families, providing a vibrant children’s area run by the Majical Youth Theatre. Story telling, theatre and other school-age staples are on hand, and the whole event has a happy, hippy vibe that makes for a relaxed weekend. There’s also a camping field specifically for families.
10. DEER SHED 6
When: 24-26 July
Where: Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire
Cost: Weekend adult £129, weekend child £35, 3-5 £5, babies free
Family-friendly fun at Deer Shed includes 8 TONS of play sand, a sports field, fantastic workshops (finger puppets and air guitar, anyone?) and an entire science tent full of experiments and whizz-banging demonstrations. Everything’s a bit kooky at Deer Shed, and we like it – play in huge cardboard boxes, go running in the woods and run amok on the gorgeous 50-acre site in lush Yorkshire where it all takes place. The winner of the Festival Kidz Gold Award deserves all the praise it’s gathered, and we defy you not to read a bit of its cheerful and charming website without being desperate for tickets.