There are more and more child-friendly festivals in the UK, as promoters recognise their increasing popularity as a family summer holiday. It’s not just a matter of providing a kids’ area or activities to keep them out of your hair, though. The most family-friendly festivals do all they can to create a welcoming wonderland for all ages. But the right choice really depends on what you and your kids want from a festival.
Here are a few you might like to consider this year:
For “kids of all ages”
Shambala – 21-24 August, a secret countryside location in Northamptonshire
Winner of the inaugural Festival Kidz 2013 Festival Of The Year award, this riot of music and fancy-dress is a long-standing favourite of the festival aficionado and his/her inner child. Across the site are interactive games and artworks kids are free to climb on. There’s also separate family camping with it’s own entertainment, workshops, activities and campfire.
Tickets currently on sale are £135.00 for adults, £79 for teens, £35 for kids and free for under 5s.
For mixed-age kids
Camp Bestival – 31 July-3 August, Lullworth Castle, Dorset
Voted Best Family Festival at the 2013 UK Festival Awards, this is one of the biggest British festivals with a child-friendly ethos. Parents love the big name main-stage line ups, and there’s a ridiculous amount of kids’ activities and shows in the Kids’ Gardens, sub-divided by age-group. There’s even entertainment laid on for the adults sitting around. The 2014 fancy dress theme is ‘Circus’.
Tickets currently on sale range from £195 for adults to £20 for 5-10 year olds and free for under 5s.
For big families with dogs
Lakefest 8-10 August, Croft Farm Waterpark, Gloucestershire
Lakefest’s holiday-camp site makes the whole family festival experience that bit more manageable, with watersports ranging from windsurfing to swan rides on offer beside the circus shows, craft workshops and a Saturday fancy-dress free-for-all. The music is always great, with Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Lee Scratch Perry already announced for 2014.
Four day camping tickets are £100 for adults, £10 for teens and free for under 11s. Friendly dogs welcome.
For muso families
Bearded Theory – 23rd-25th May 2014, Keddleston Hall, Derbyshire
This cosy event’s loyal crowd voted it UK Festival Awards Best Small Festival 2013, and it’s already announced an impressive bill including Peter Hook & the Light and a specially reformed UB40. The children’s village has cabaret and dance tents and offers activities like drama, art, DJ-ing and drumming. Don’t forget your fake beards.
Tickets are £87 for adults, £45 for teens and £25 for kids or £220 for a family of four (under-5s free), but expect this to sell out.
Check out Festival Kidz for a wealth of reviews and advice and more recommendations.