We’re well and truly into festival season now and if you’re panicking how you’re going to keep the children entertained over the summer holidays, you could do much worse than throwingÂ a tent (and a few other bits – see our packing guide) into the car and heading off to a parallel universe for a few days. Guaranteed to make memories for your little people – and you. Here are a few of the best fests for families – Green Man and Beautiful Days would also have made the list, but they’re both sold out.
Larmer Tree Festival features a quirky mix of music and comedy for grown ups (this year sees Bill Bailey, Jimmy Cliff and Tom Jones take to the stage). For the under tens, there’sÂ the Larmer Parler and Lawns, which boast puppet shows, theatre, discos, yoga, crafts and all manner of musical treats, including beatboxer Shlomo. But be quick, it starts today!
15-19 July, Larmer Tree Gardens, nr Salisbury. Adults from Â£174 (from Â£39 per day), children from Â£63 (from Â£20). Under fives go free.Â
Latitude is another option for this weekend if you’ve broken up already. Creative crafting, weird science, enchanted gardens, be in a band, write a horror story, construct a rope bridge, identify animal bones and a plethora of theatre. There’s also an Inbetweeners area for teens. Parents will enjoy the huge comedy line-up, including David O’Doherty and Jon Richardson.
16-19 July, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. Adults Â£192.50, teens Â£132.50, children, Â£8. Under fives go free.Â
Camp Bestival was created specifically for children, so you can guarantee they’ll have a good time. Spoiled for choice when it comes to activities, particularly with this year’s Wild theme, but think woodland banquets, willow lantern making, mammal meetings,Â roaming dinosaurs and giraffes, plus The Cat in the Hat and Mr Tumble on the main stage and every arts activity under the sun.
30 July-2 August, Lulworth Castle, Dorset. Adults, Â£195, teens, from Â£88, children, Â£20. Under fives go free.Â
If DorsetÂ is too far south for you, Standon Calling has an interesting children’s programme, featuring tutu making, trapeze lessons, pony riding, panning for gold, wild west disco, cake decorating, treasure hunts, fire shows, hobby horse racing and, for the littlest festival goers, messy play, baby massage and stories.
31 July-2 August, Standon, Hertfordshire. Adults, Â£127, children (5-12), Â£20, infants (0-3), Â£5.Â
Wilderness is an arts festival extraordinaire (and offers theÂ chance to see the fabulous Bjork). For small people, there are workshops with the V&A, mobile theatre, the secret post office, which allows children to send notes to one another at the festival, horseriding, wild swimming, cricket, cheerleading, croquet, capoeira and and epic game of charades.
6-9 August, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire. Adults and children over 11, Â£177, children under 10, Â£5.Â
Just So is completely magical for children, there’s even a dedicated Peekaboo area for babies, with massage, bath time, music, yoga and painting. Older kids will love the pirate training camp, the fairy city, making cardboard harps, pillow fights, midnight feasts, paper plane competitions, Bollywood dancing and, of course, all the promenade and circus performers.
22-23 August, Rode Hall Parkland, Scholar Green, Cheshire. Adults Â£110 (Â£50 per day), children Â£50 (Â£20). Under threes go free.Â
The Big Feastival is Jamie Oliver and Alex James’s music and food extravaganza and has plenty for little people to do, notably in the Little Dudes’ Den, where they can bake bread, decorate cupcakes, try their hand at yoga andÂ cuddle farm animals. There are plenty of shopping opps too, with stalls from Frugi, Bo and Ted and, of course, Little Bird by Jools.
28-30 August. Alex James’s Farm, Kingham, The Cotswolds. Adults Â£125, teens Â£65. Under 12s go free.Â
Photograph Â© Carolina FaruoloÂ
On the same weekend,Â Shambala has a huge array of entertainment for children with a dedicated kids’ field, woodland complete with tunnels, dens, climbing and digging, craft area, film screenings, animation workshops, screenprinting, storytelling, rap battles, singalongs, plus children’s theatre shows and the ubiquitous Shlomo popping up.
27-30 August, Secret Country Estate, Northants. Adults Â£149, teens, Â£89, children, Â£39. Under fives go free.
Together the PeopleÂ is a brand new festival, fortunately happening just down the road from me! No camping, so a great introduction if you’re new to festivalling, but two days of music and culture, featuring local businesses and retailers, plus the big hitters of the Cat in the Hat and Horrible Histories Live for children.
5-6 September, Preston Park, Brighton. Adults Â£75 (or Â£39.50 per day), children (11-15), Â£40 (Â£20). Under 11s go free.Â
Festival No. 6 offers a varied programme of kids’ entertainment, including outlawÂ training, camp songs, den building, a children’s cinema, kids’ rave and a protest march through the village. Plus the chance to join the festival carnival, all in the completely bonkers setting of Portmeirion. Belle & Sebastian, Kate Tempest and Grace Jones are on the musical bill.
3-6 September, Portmeirion. Adults, from Â£170, teens, from Â£90. Under tens go free.Â