The Best Family Festivals 2018- The Lowdown
Posted on April 23 2018
In recent years we have been merely spectators of the Family Festival Scene as the thought of huge crowds with tiny children somehow didn’t seem to gel but as the newspapers start to fill with colourful scenes of families under starlight skies, we find ourselves tempted to investigate just exactly what does happen at one of these events.
Glastonbury is taking a year off but rest assured, other festivals are providing more than enough fun to go around.
Elderflower Fields, held at Pippingford Park in East Sussex- 25-28th May 2018
What's in it for the Children: Bubble shows, skateboard classes, storytelling, science experiments. A special Wildlife area including nightjar walks, bird walks, mud play, campfires, foraging advice, tree-climbing & zipwires as well as kayaks, canoe and paddleboard hire along the beautiful Sussex Downs. Trapeze workshops, campfire cooking, pond-dipping, a climbing wall, beach rugby, cricket, archery, disc golf, kids yoga, music and story-telling.
Adult Line Up- Musicians confirmed are: Swing Zazou, Soul Grenades, Huw Eddy & The Carnival, Lakuta, Al Start & The Beastie Band, Two Man Ting & John Crampton (Soul, Jazz, Blues, Funk). There is a fabulous Woodland Spa, as well as adult yoga, wild running, canoe/paddleboard hire, foraging walks.
Last Chance Weekend Ticket Price: Adult Ticket £130, Children 6-16yrs £72.50, 3-5yrs £20 and U3yrs £1. Tickets include 1 free car parking space and camping in the main camping area. Boutique camping options available at an extra cost. Pay separately for the ‘Sunday Picnic’.
Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham 1-3rd June 2018
Headline Acts: Baxter Dury (Friday), The Gypsy Kings (Saturday) and Shed Seven (Sunday).
Comedy from Matt Richardson, Patrick Monahan, other Stand Up & Cabaret.
What's in it for the Children: Carnival Parade, Silly Sports Day, Circus Skills & Workshops, Storytelling, Music & Dance Classes, Lyric Writing, Silent/Headphone Disco for the teens.
Adult Entertainment: Apart from the fabulous music, there is a mindfulness & meditation area including yoga classes as well as fashion shops, glitter boutique, circus skills, street-food (burgers, pizzas, Chinese street food so far.) Massages and treatments are also available in the Well-Being Area.
Weekend Tickets: £137.50 Adults, 10-15yrs £72.50, 5-9yrs £27.50, U5’s Free. Day passes also available. Weekend Tickets include car parking and camping in the main areas (boutique options available for an additional fee).
Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight 21-24th June
However, there is boutique camping, amazing food and this year Kids Go Free so they are clearly hoping for a younger audience.
Children’s Entertainment: tbc
Adult Line-Up: An awesome line up of international music stars including Kasabian, Rita Ora, Feeder, Depeche Mode, Liam Gallagher, James Bay, Jessie J, The Killers, Sheryl Crow, Van Morrison, Manic Street Preachers.
Weekend Ticket: £209 (includes camping and parking) Teens £150, Kids go free. Day Price- £65-75.
Make the most of your weekend and read our IOW favourite family days out here.
British Summer Time Festival, Hyde Park 6th-15th July
Line Up: Roger Walters, The Cure, Santana, Eric Clapton, Michael Buble, Bruno Mars, Paul Simon and James Taylor to name a few…
Staxtenbury 2018, Manor Farm, Staxten, N.Yorkshire 6-8th July
Ticket Price; Adult Weekend £50, U18 £27, U10 £10.
Look out for Deer Shed 9 Festival, later in July, also a small family-friendly highlight in the Yorkshire calendar.
Latitude Festival, Henham, Suffolk – 13th-15th July
Not just a cracking musical line up here, this award-winning festival in beautiful Southwold, Suffolk is very heavily family focused. There is an ‘enchanted garden’ area with a daily program of activities from family-friendly music, drama and workshops focused on art & craft as well as circus skills. There is a teenage section which offers virtual reality trips to the Amazon as well as tree-climbing, bushcraft skills sessions and a teen culture area with industry leaders. There is yoga for all, treatments for the adults and wild swimming in the lake to boot.
What's in it for the Children: Art, Crafts, Drama, Music, poetry, magic, circus skills, wildlife, science workshops and live experiment, storytelling, poetry. Films, circus shows and west end music & dance workshops. Pizza making for all ages around the campfire too.
Adult Line up: Music headliners include The Killers, Solange, alt-j, RagnBoneMan, The Vaccines, The Charlatans and Mogwai. Comedy from Harry Hill and hundereds of other up and coming talent. There is poetry, the spoken word as well as performances from Sadlers Wells, Lyric Hammersmith and an award-winning Circus. In the woodland sanctuary, Latitude have created a spiritual area where the treatments are held, art installations, ambient music & slow motion visuals.
Weekend Price: Adult £197.50, Children Under 13- £15.
Nozstock, Herefordshire 20-22 July
Weekend Adult Ticket: £125 (but nearly sold out)
Blue Dot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire 19-22nd July
Womad, Charlton Park (Nr Cirencester) 26th-29th July
4 day Adult Ticket: £225, 3 day £145 includes basic camping. Kids go free.
Bestival, Lulworth Estate, Dorset- 26th-29th July
Most likely, this is one of the ones you have heard of on the ‘family-festival’ scene. Do not be confused however, Bestival is the BIG ONE, there is also CAMP BESTIVAL, the sister festival (reviewed below & although significantly smaller does boast Sara Cox, Fearne Cotton & River Cottage; Camp Bestival is THE FAMILY ONE). Bestival started out on the Isle of Wight and relocated to Lulworth last year. It is organised into different areas depending on what music you are interested in; from the soothing, meditative soundscape, paint-partying ‘release your creative self’ in Ambientland, there is also an area for super healthy; offering yoga in every possible form, experimental and ayurvedic therapies, Finnish saunas and a beautifying section for nails, hair, glitter boutiques as well as wild & foraged, plant-based food. There is a soul, funk & disco area including the world’s largest disco ball. There is an area which celebrates all form of dance from Bollywood to Rave featuring the world’s largest confetti canon and jaw-dropping pyrotechnic displays.
What's in it for the Children: Run largely by Big Top Mania, the circus performers, there is a bouncy castle & soft play area, a lego tent, face painting and magic.
Adult Line-Up: Chakka Khan, Mark Ronson, Silk City, Grace Jones, Chakka Demus & Pliers amongst hundreds of others across the musical spectrum.
Weekend Ticket Price: £160, 13-17yrs- £106.50, U12-free (but must buy a ticket). As with the others, includes mainstream camping and parking.
Verdict: More than 50,000 people attend this…?
Camp Bestival (Sister Festival to Bestival, also in Lulworth, Dorset) 26th-29th July
Still a substantially-sized festival with 30,000 attendees, Camp Bestival is located at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. Like its sister, it also boasts some record-breaking highlights including the largest disco ball in the world. With an impressive line-up of internationally acclaimed acts such as Simple Minds, Rick Astley, Clean Bandit, Orbital and Basement Jaxx as well as DJ Sets from Sara Cox and Fearne Cotton and headline acts for children of Mr Tumble, Dick & Dom & Mister Maker, it’s hardly a wonder this is the most talked about family festival on the scene.
What's in it for the Children: As well as the above entertainers from CBeebies & CBBC, there will be a flying trapeze school, live nature show, kids circus, music, storytelling, poetry and theatre. In the woodland area, there is den making, bushcraft, tie-dye & a fancy dress tent. Look out for the world’s largest bouncy castle, a kids disco, a science tent and an insect circus. You may remember from our blog last summer, we are huge fans of the beautiful Dorset coast which hardly needs a festival to attract visitors, have a read of all our suggested day trips you could add in to a Dorset holiday.
Adult Ticket Price: £187.50, 13-17 years £119, 10-12yrs £93.75, 5-9yrs £33, U4yrs £11.
Port Elliot, St Germans, Cornwall- 26th-29th July
It is not just Cornwall that lures people to Port Elliot every year, the stunning location and facilities partnered with top foodie names makes for a feast of the senses. Superb music, an interesting array of authors (children’s too) as well as comedy, performing arts, and outdoor fun make this one of the best family festivals on the scene.
What's in it for the Children: Survival skills with Teri Hatcher (!), Archery, Circus School, Astronomy, Wild Swimming, Flamenco dancing, magic, dance performances, jugglers, theatre, storytelling, a Viking camp and much more!
Adult Line Up; Alongside the eclectic, jam packed musical performances, adults can try their hand at axe-throwing, aerial yoga, archery as well as baking with Teri Hatcher (I know!) Authors, comedians, DJ’s and artists across all mediums and not forgetting the ‘well-being area’ with outdoor hot tubs, massage therapies, mindfulness and gut therapy workshops all come together in this top holiday spot for a fabulous family weekend.
Adult Weekend Ticket Price: 170, 14-17rs £105, 8-13yrs £75, 0-7yrs Free.
Wickham Festival, Fareham, Hampshire 2nd-5th August
The focus is on local musicians playing on 4 stages over 4 days. Families are catered for (cartoon cinema, comedy & craft, a funfair, bouncy castles, bubble shows) but isn’t the focus. Price: Adult Weekend Ticket: £130 (+ £30 for camping), U16yrs £65.
Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire 2nd-5th August
Weekend Ticket: £179.50 includes general camping. £15 car parking pass.
Valley Fest, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset 3rd-5th August
Originally started to honour the spirit of his parents, Luke Hasell set up Valley Fest to celebrate their zest for life and their passion for good food. Very much at the heart of the farming community, the farm has a shared ownership of 500 members and as such the festival embodies this strong sense of community. There is no ‘kids area’ because everything can be enjoyed by all the family. There is a farming area where you can meet the animals, learn farming techniques children can learn everything about growing to pickling. There is falconry as well as storytelling, poetry and plenty of music. Main stage acts haven’t been announced yet but they plan to surprise and last year included a club night and a fancy dress hoe down. Food is ALL organic this year and a special area has been allocated for picnics with a view. The weekend looks set to be a mini holiday with its ‘lakeside camping’, top notch food and rural endeavours.
Weekend Ticket: £110 and includes camping.
The Good Life Experience, 10 mins outside Chester, 14th-16th September
What's in it for the Children: There is a vintage fairground, a play fort, archery, yoga and thai chi as well as all the woodland wonders which children will love along with all the arts, crafts and campfire cooking.
Adult Line Up: Music that feeds the soul, played with passion, authors, talks including adventurer Ben Fogle. There is a packed schedule of campfire cooking including BBQ, bread-making, kids cooking, fermenting, and demonstrations from ‘Nose to Tail’, Gill Meller, Valentine Warner, Thomasina Miers and Anna Jones. Arts & Crafts are celebrated ad infinitum and include ironwork displays, woodwork, printing and ceramic workshops, pottery, weaving, mosaics, bow & arrow making, botanical illustrations and knitting. Wild Swimming, canoeing, tree climbing and bushcraft is on offer in the woodland area.
Adult Weekend Ticket Price (inc camping)- £139, Youth £72, £11 Car Parking.
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