We love a family festival – whether you are a hardy camper or a day tripper the UK has some brilliant festivals that cater for families where you can go and enjoy creative and imaginative play, shows and experiences together. I think that being outdoors and disconnected from the usual humdrum for even one day makes us even more connected with each other which can have such positive impact on the family dynamic! So if you have never been to a family festival or even if you are a seasoned festival goer, grab your flip-flops and your face paint and check out the best ones to visit with the kids this summer……
Latitude festival has become one of the biggest and best festivals in the UK over recent years and what is so great about it is that there really is something for everyone; great music acts, comedy, theatre and performance, but here is also an amazing family area with workshops and activities for the kids that parents will get lost in too! So much so that you could quite easily spend your whole time in the family area and forget the big acts on the main stage!!! From performance workshops, wood carving, tree climbing, star gazing, cartoon workshops, making your own bath bombs and Fairy crowns, the list is endless and the inspiration is immense! Make sure you book your camping tickets for the family field and you get access to decent toilets and showers and a good coffee stand for first thing in the morning too!!!
As the winner of the Best Family Festival at the UK Festival awards, a full five times shows they must be getting something right! With an amazing range of entertainment for all ages as well as performances from artists such as Clean Bandit and Rick Astley as well as Dick and Dom and Mr Tumble for the nippers you can’t argue with the range of entertainment on offer!
Kendal Calling is set within the stunning surroundings of the Lake District which is a plus in itself but as it includes an abundance of family-friendly entertainment alongside big name and up and coming acts then it’s a winner all round!
For kids there are workshops, games, creative performance, madcap mayhem, chill out zones and arts and crafts. There are also have Tiny Tim Peaks, with craft sessions, fun & games, storytime with special guests, music and more festival fun!
And an Idea I love it all the books – lots and lots of books, where children can listen to storytellers share their favourite tales in a calm tent environment – or outdoors under a tree when the sun shines!
Arley Hall, Cheshire 25-28th May 2018
Knebworth House 30th June – 1st July 2018
The 4th annual Geronimo Festival, designed specifically for families has just taken place at Arley Hall in Cheshire but is still to happen at Knebworth House! For an insight into Geronimo 2018 see the Daisy Day’s review video here –
With Cbeebies performers, eco-friendly activities, an adrenalin zone, circus and even a Giant tortoise the variety of activities is sure delight!
The Just-So Festival, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire – 17-19th August 2018
An imaginative outdoor family adventure like no other, Just So Festival enables families to step out of their day to day lives and into a wonderland of world class literature, arts, theatre, dance, music, comedy and creative pursuits together. Underpinned by the Tribal Tournament, the most bonkers competition we’ve been part of (we were part of the Owl tribe last time; that’s all I’m going to say!) it takes families on a unique expedition of mischief and mayhem, to lands full of magical midnight feasts, curious creatures, raucous pillow fights, hidden retreats, top notch food, drink and boutique camping options and breath-taking beauty. It’s a truly unique festival- you won’t find the big name acts and music here; but you will find a part of yourself and your children that you didn’t know exist!
The Big Feastival, Cotswolds – 24th -26th August 2018
The Big feastival is so much more about food…but the food is pretty great too!! And give me good entertainment alongside great food and it’s a winning combination!!
From cookery classes, a Little Dudes’ Den which includes face painting, jam sessions and giant haystacks to Justin Fletcher and screening of Paddington, there’s food, fun and frolics to be had for the whole family!
Bonus Family festival top tips!!
And here are our top tips for making your family festival as enjoyable for everyone as possible…….
1. Don’t pack too much of the wrong things!
The number of times I have cursed having 3 foot-pumps and a one pot coffee maker but not enough baby wipes or children’s leggings because they have wet themselves again!! A good rule of thumb us if the children will be wet, cold or hungry without spares take them, otherwise don’t bother!!
2. Buy a (decent) festival trolley.
Don’t do what we did first year and buy the cheapest option on Ebay – the wheels feel off during the (first) extremely long walk from the car to the tent pitch. We tied them back on temporarily but let’s just say the ‘get in’ and ‘get out’ was far more painful than it should have been with a decent trolley with wheels! Plus a trolley is invaluable for taking stuff (and tired kids) around the actual festival activities.
3. Ditch the pushchair
Unless you have a wee baby! See above; a trolley is far more practical and fun. And for added festival sparkle dress your trolley u with battery fairy lights (ok they are not exactly in the ‘must pack’ category but the effect is worth it!!
4. Bring distraction items…
…for when you are putting up the tent and taking it down (not in the way of devices – a ball, music or some cards (for older children) all work well for us!
5. Pack the snacks!!
Depending on the type of camper you are you may also do all your own meals. Personally, we see a festival as a break for all of us and account financially for buying main meals from vendors as I don’t find cooking on a camping stove particularly easy or stress-free! But regardless of this I would definitely pack lots and lots of snacks (and then more!) and go for non-perishables. As much as a banana is a great healthy energy snack; when its brown and squashed on day 3 it’s not very appetising!
6. Wipes are your friend!
And while we’re at it so is anti-bac hand gel!! I find a number of small bottles spread across bags, trolleys and tents usually means there is at least one to hand for grubby mitts on a regular basis!
7. Love the lack of routine!
Festivals are about getting away from ordinary life and discovering something new about yourself and your family. Your child won’t suffer long term by not having their usual routine for a couple of days and nights. So let your spirit be free! You will also find it easier and more enjoyable, trust me!
8. Work out the optimal shower time!!
It’s no use trying to go first thing in the morning or at teatime as that’s when everyone wants to go and you’ll wait precious fun time queueing for hours!! I find for myself midnight just before bed is a great time, as is lunchtime if you are showing the kids!
9. Go for comfort in the clothes and shoe line.
You will regret it otherwise I promise! You can style it up with face paint glitter and flowers in the hair.
10. Embrace your inner child.
No one cares what you look like, act like or how silly you are. You are at a festival; you are meant to be. So throw your inhibitions aside and try something newl what’s the worst that can happen?