Festivals have such a broad reach these days that it can be difficult to know where to start so the Young Londoner magazine has you covered with some suggestions for families looking to have some fun this summer with the kids in tow. Here are our picks for 2019.
BEARDED THEORY Festival in Derbyshire 23-26 May 2019
Best for schooling, Bearded Theory is unique in its provision of an extremely popular Ofsted approved school on the Friday of the festival. Teachers liaise with schools sending out lesson plans. The lessons tend to keep within the theme, such as maths lessons involving calculating costings of various aspects of running a festival.
Aside from the school, there is always an excellent range activities on offer for children of all ages. Older children can enjoy DJ-ing and graffiti workshops in Rogues Hideout. This is alongside top quality food and fantastic music and entertainment. The music is a good mix of old and new bands, with a proper dance tent, and a fun and friendly crowd to match. More info & to book tickets here.
BLUEDOT Festival in Cheshire 18-21 July 2019
For all the young budding scientists and astronauts, this festival is literally out of this world! Prepare to party your socks off under the glorious backdrop of the Jodrell Bank space telescope.
At Bluedot the scientists are as loved as the rockstars. Try your hand at experiments in the Science fields, meet the girl geeks from Manchester Uni, don a biohazard suit and test DNA, try a virtual reality headset, learn about space and take part in stargazing workshops. Highly recommended for kids and explorers age 6-8. Tickets here.
CAMP BESTIVAL In Dorset 25-29 July 2019
Best for big name kids’ acts, if you ask anyone to name a family-friendly festival, Camp Bestival is likely to be the first one that comes out their mouth. Not to be confused with more grown up sister-festival Bestival, Camp Bestival is the award-winning family-friendly version, which vetoes the beer sludge and raving all-nighters for more child-friendly pursuits like bouncy castles, go-carts, fairgrounds, face painting, sandpits and glitter – the list goes on. In fact most of the festival is dedicated to little party people. There’s even a Breastival Mother and Baby Chill Out spot for the newest mums. Head to the Upper Kids’ Garden on the lawn behind the castle to find the world’s biggest bouncy castle and keep your eyes peeled for visits from beloved characters. There are family shows and entertainment from Mr Tumble, Mister Maker & Big Fish Little Fish to name but a few.
Whilst there, why not see a theatre performance in The World’s Greatest Tent. No Hugh Jackman appearances (that we know of) but plenty of the UK’s top performing talent to enjoy or if you have under 5s you could practice your moves in kids’ fest musical workshops, including zumba, tambourine and magical adventures. Failing that watching Cbeebies star Mr Tumble live on stage for some classic slapstick comedy that will leave you in stitches and will guarantee you those all important parenting bonus points! One final (but oh so important) activity to bring to your attention – they have soft play!
Of course, this wouldn’t be one of the best family festivals in the UK without an A-list line-up on the main stages, right? So, get ready for a weekend of quality acts, including Jess Glynne, The Human League, Big Shaq, the Wailers and more. View their full line up and book tickets here
BEAUTIFUL DAYS Festival in Devon 16-18 August 2019
Fancy that 90s feeling? Beautiful Days is the perfect festival for anyone who spent the 90s counting down the days to the last weekend of June (nearly) every year. The bands are reminiscent of Glastonbury in its heyday. This year’s line up includes previous Glastonbury headliners Skunk Anansie alongside festival hosts, The Levellers. Newer bands feature too, such as folk punks Blackwater County who wouldn’t have been out of place on the Avalon Stage, mid 90s. The whole vibe brings back those hazy memories. Book here.
JUST SO FESTIVAL in Cheshire 17-18 August 2019
For inspiring imaginations, Just So is a truly magical place. One moment you could be watching an immersive theatre act by the lake; the next you might be involved in a huge pillow fight on the Village Green, or tramping through mud on the barefoot walk. This is a world of magic, intrigue, curiosity and fantasy. One of outlandish costumes, midnight feasts, fairies, board games and puppetry. It’s a whole world to discover.
So why not check out the brand new Curiosity Shop to learn amazing art skills like stop motion animation, illustration or textile craft or wander into the enchanting Wonderland for night-time DJs, author talks & music workshops. Other top picks include the Silent Disco, Lantern Parade, Tribal Tournament and Campfire talks with Ian Douglas.
YoungLondonist Top Tip: Turn up to Just So in fancy dress as one of six different woodland animals for its tribal tournament. This festival ‘for children and their families’ in Rode Hall Parkland, brings art, music and theatre to a series of wild natural landscapes, with immersive and whimsical activities, performances and installations. Book your tickets here.
BOOMTOWN Festival in Hampshire 7-11 August 2019
So you’re a family of ravers! Get on down at Boomtown festival which has put a huge amount of effort into its incredible kids’ field so families can now enjoy a small piece of the madness! For families who like to stay up late, and for friends/partners who can take it in turns to babysit/dance the night away – there really is nothing to compare with Boomtown.
During the day, the interactive stories through the vast site becomes a Narnia of undiscovered treasures. If your children like creating stories or treasure hunts they will love following clues through the maze. One side of the festival (where the kids’ field is) is relaxed and quiet, and the other side is completely bonkers. Every type of music, heaps of entertainment, immersive theatre, all-night raves in the woods – none of you will ever be bored.
This is, without a doubt, the only choice for the coolest kids in town; Boomtown’s annual party is always a sell-out. If you have secured your family place, Kidztown is the place to check out, with The Sandcastle Stage hosting child-friendly acts all weekend. Junior Jungle , FUNDMC and Big Fish Little Fish will help to prove that the family that raves together, stays together, with musical styles including ragga-jungle to hip-hop to club classics. Book tickets here.
CHILLED IN A FIELD Festival in East Sussex 26-28 July 2019
Chilled in a Field lives up to its name, as a magical tiny festival that’s small enough to keep an eye on your children while you watch the music. It is not-for-profit with a strong emphasis on community. Everyone is incredibly friendly at this festival, with lots of dressing up and silliness mixed in with some great local bands and DJs. On a gorgeous site surrounded by woodlands and wheat fields, your children will love getting back to nature, and will especially love the onsite mini steam train! If it’s a chilled and relaxing weekend you’re after book your tickets here.
WOMAD Festival in Wiltshire 25-29 July 2019
For the little world travellers, WOMAD is an excellent place to introduce children to the delights of music, food, dance & art from around the globe. There are over 200 workshops for children – including dance, music, storytelling, physics and cookery. On a country estate in deepest Wiltshire this music festival is an enchanted wonderland for grownups and little ones alike. Expect a range of music acts – from Spanish soloist Amparanoia to London-based art rock band Django Django. There’s also the ‘World of Children’ area where creative little ones can make giant puppets for the kid’s parade. It’s a delightful multicultural mix of the best that the world can offer in one weekend. Book your tickets here.
PORT ELIOT FESTIVAL in Cornwall 26-29 July 2019
By boho posh kids for boho posh kids, there’s a Narnia-like quality to this literary festival in the grounds of the oldest continually inhabited dwelling in the UK. A feast of books, food, music, art, comedy, fashion and film, there are also children’s workshops in Bollywood dancing and costume design, wild swimming and a forest school camp out.
At this seriously chic Cornish summer festival you’ll find talks from some of the biggest names in children’s literature, along with a dedicated children’s area, which provides a haven for adventure, with enchanting performances, interactive theatre, and more. There’s also kayaking and archery down by the river along with plenty of spots for wild swimming. Fun, no? You can buy Port Eliot Festival Tickets online.
THE BIG FEASTIVAL in Oxfordshire 3-25 August 2019
The Big Feastival is the UK’s best family festival if you’re a foodie! Street food to die for, an all-star line-up of professional chefs and cooking classes for you and your mini Master Chefs – this is a feast for the soul!
A proper family festival needs great music. Having scored names, such as Craig David and James Arthur in 2018, it’s easy to see how The Big Feastival has earned its spot in the big leagues. See this year’s full line up here.
Held on founder and Blur star Alex James’ farm in Kingham, YoungLondonist’s favourite part of this festival is “The Big Top” which will be your one-stop-shop for activities to keep small Feastival-goers dancing, singing, stretching, laughing and much more. So why not get stuck in with your little ones and enjoy bundles of activities that will be sure to stir the imagination by booking tickets via this link!
LATITUDE Festival in Suffolk 18-21 July 2019
Latitude must be the closest grown-ups can get to a real festival experience with the tiddlywinks in tow.
With activities and entertainment for kids, teens and families now spread across three exciting areas, it’s no wonder Latitude has previously won Best Family Festival and ‘Best Family Day Out’. It’s definitely a top family friendly festival!
A proper pop festival in the beautiful grounds of Henham Park, Suffolk. Arranged around the Latitude Lake is a stunning Kids Area, where children are entertained with fire shows, pizza-making, traditional woodland crafts and a host of exciting science experiments. There is also an Inbetweeners’ Teen Area. Here, teenagers can take part in music, media, fashion and technology workshops, or learn wildlife survival skills. Don’t forget to book your tickets.
WYCHWOOD FAMILY FESTIVAL in Cheltenham 31 May – 2 June 2019
With its laid back and family friendly atmosphere, everywhere you look there are kids running around, chasing bubbles, practising circus skills and dancing to the live music. The 15th edition of Wychood Family Festival promises to deliver big time! Over 100 acts are expected to appear on stage, including Scouting For Girls, T’Pau, Toyah,Bez and more.
Wychwood also hosts arts workshops, circus school, debates, talks and all sorts of fun for the whole family. No wonder this event is a regular nominee in the “Best Family Festival” at the UK Festival Awards! We’d say it’s time for you and the kids to join the fun…you can book your tickets here.
NOZSTOCK: THE HIDDEN VALLEY Festival in Herefordshire 18-21 July 2019
Come to the Rowden Paddocks in Herefordshire this July for a spectacular weekend at the 21st edition of Nozstock: The Hidden Valley, one of the UK’s longest running family festivals.
Wildly imaginative, as always, Nozstock 2019 will run under the truly magical (and hilariously punny) theme – Wizard of Noz. A line-up featuring Rudimental (DJ Set), Soul II Soul, DJ Zink + SP:MC and Kings of the Rollers promises an awesome festival vibe. But if you’re looking for the best entertainment spot for families, it’s definitely the Little Wonderland Kids Area where you’ll find enough arts & crafts activities to keep your little festival-goers occupied the whole weekend. Book your tickets here.
DEER SHED FESTIVAL in North Yorkshire 26-28 July 2019
Started by a group of music loving parents, dissatisfied with paying over the odds for below average music, the founders of Deer Shed know what makes a good family festival. Their success is in not regarding children as second-class citizens, but also not over compromising for that ‘family friendly’ experience. Music, spoken word, theatre, cinema and workshops are all top notch. Under-5s activities include a sensory tent and soft play. Boom Chikka Boom baby rave anyone?
Pitched as the festival that makes kids the main event, Deer Shed Festival promises to be the ultimate family festival experience. With kid-friendly music, comedy, sporting activities, science, workshops, cinema and great food on offer – you’re going to have one family weekend to remember!
Top activities include learning to solve the Rubik’s Cube with Generation XYZ. Admit it, this is one children’s festival activity grown-ups can learn from, as well as unwinding with a spa session in the Yorkshire forest in one of Deer Shed’s Siberian Larch wood hot tubs…Best family festival EVER, right? More info and to book tickets here.