Yay! Festival season is upon us, so here’s our annual round-up of our favourite family-friendly weekenders. It goes without saying that the behemoth that is Glasto has excellent provision for little ones, but the time-consuming ticketing process, term-time timing and cost make it prohibitive for many families – plus it’s been sold out for months! So, our list concentrates mainly on smaller events.
When? 23-26 May
Where? Pippingford Park Estate, East Sussex
What? Subtitled The Family Festival, Elderflower Fields is a relatively small affair and has plenty going on for all ages, from storytelling and theatre to art and sports camps, via BG faves like Al Start on the main stage. The family picnic on Sunday involving sampling local food stuffs is always a hit.
How much? Adults, from Â£105. Children (over 5), from Â£50.
When? 29 May-1 June
Where? Nr Chepstow, Monmouthshire
What? Voted Green Parent’s Best Festival in 2013, it has a large kids’ area where they can partake of activities including recycled electrical wizardry, scrap fashion, pizza making, water powered rockets, puppet shows, drama workshops and a climbing wall.
How much? Adults, from Â£99. Children (over 5), from Â£35.
When? 4-5 July
Where? Nr Winchester, Hampshire
What? A mass birthday party, an embarrassing dad dancing competition and real life ponies – the Angel Gardens area really does have it all, plus yoga, treasure hunts, crafts and a baby care tent, where you can take casts of your tiny tot’s hands. Also, visitors are invited to create a protest at the Activitz Kids Club.
How much? Adults, from Â£90. Children (over 10), from Â£62.
Larmer Tree Festival
When? 16-20 July
Where? Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury
What? The Larmer Parler and Lawns plays host to myriad theatre and comedy performances for little people, or you could brush up on your circus skills while Mum and Dad listen to Tom Jones on the main stage. Plenty for babies, including massage, storytelling, yoga, music, a changing tent and the intriguing Clonker Boards.
How much? Adults, from Â£160. Children (over 5), from Â£60.
When? 31 July-3 August
Where? Lulworth Castle, Dorset
What? The daddy of child-friendly festivals with an astounding range of activities for little onesÂ provided by the likes of the Brit School, Insect Circus and The Royal Albert HallÂ and enough to keep grown-ups happy, too – this year the line-up includes De La Soul and Basement Jaxx. All this in a beautiful location enhanced by the quirky designs of Rob and Josie da Bank. Want to know more? Check out our reviewÂ (and video) of last year’s festival.
How much? Adults, from Â£195. Children (over 5), from Â£20.
When? 7-10 August
Where? Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
What? Emphasis on cultural pursuits with lots of theatre companies, and the Charles Dickens and Roald Dahl Museums on site. Think ping pong tables, a travelling story circus and our friends at Anorak magazine and you get the essence of the event.
How much? Adults, from Â£151.50. Children under 10, Â£5. Children 11-17, Â£78.50.
The Green Man
When? 14-17 August
Where? Glanusk, Wales
What? Stunning setting in the Brecon Beacons with family camping area and a dedicated Little Folk area for children under 12, featuring giant toadstools and all manner of entertainment and workshops in everything from spin painting and toy making to photography and journalism.
When? 15-17 August
Where? Hatfield House, Herts
What? It’s all about the children here with CBeebies stars Justin Fletcher, Mr Bloom and Mister Maker heading the bill, alongside Harry Potter’s Wizard School, Bear Grylls Survival Academy and a Stomp percussion workshop. More commercial than some but plenty for small people to enjoy.
Just So Festival
When? 15-17 August
Where? Rode Hall Parkland, Cheshire
What? A genuinely magical environment featuring all manner of delights for children, from the Peekaboo Glade for tiny tots, with baby feeding tent, yoga and massage and nightly bathtime to samba drumming, outdoor cinema, promenade theatre, lantern parade, library tents and the marvellous Cut-a-Shine hoedown.
How much? Adults, from Â£105. Children (over 3), from Â£45.
When? 21-24 August
Where? Secret Country Estate, Northamptonshire
What? Creche for 2 to 7 year olds, bush camps for 8 to 12 year olds, enchanted woods, a storytelling yurt, the Shambolympic games, a bike track – Shambala is all about family fun (there’s also a rather fab-looking spa that serves cocktails…)
How much? Adults, from Â£135. Children (over 5), from Â£35.