Festival season is almost upon us! The next few months’ worth of weekends hold plenty of partying, great music and (hopefully) bright weather.
Whether you’ve never been to a festival or you’ve been to fifty, it can be easy to write off big hitters like Glasto, Reading and T in the Park once you’ve got little ones in tow. Fortunately, the UK is home to some fantastic family festivals. Usually smaller in scale, with all the amenities you need and plenty going on to entertain all ages – they ensure no member of the family will miss out on the fun this summer.
Here are a few of our favourites.
Barn on the Farm
2018 dates: 5th – 8th July
Hidden among the beautiful countryside that surrounds Gloucester, Barn on the Farm promises a rustic, rural small festival experience. Musically there’s a real focus on all things acoustic and indie, with organisers renowned for their ability to spot up-and-coming talent; the likes of Ed Sheeran and James Bay having previously topped the bill. Its smaller size means you get all the fun and thrills of a festival without the huge crowds and raucous behaviour, which is why it’s so great for families. If that wasn’t enough, kids under 10 get in for free!
If you’re heading to Over Farm this July but would rather skip the camping, Jurys Inn Cheltenham is just a 10-minute drive from the festival grounds.
Curious Arts Festival
2018 dates: 20th – 22nd July
Taking place at the heart of the New Forest in the beautiful Pylewell Park, Curious Arts is a sensory escape for the whole family. All things creative and culture are celebrated at this quirky boutique festival; with live music, stand-up comedy, literature and poetry all filling the bill. Kids are well catered for, with a huge number of workshops taking place over the weekend and plenty of authors dropping in to share a bedtime story or two. Whether it’s snail racing or a midnight bat hunt, there’s plenty going on that the whole family can enjoy together.
If you’re looking for a nearby base to see you through the weekend, Jurys Inn Southampton is just a 40-minute drive to the festival gates.
The Big Festival
2018 dates: 24th – 26th August
The brainchild of Blur bassist Alex James, this fun and friendly festival takes place on his farmland near Chipping Norton. Expect plenty to keep all ages entertained, be it riding the vintage funfair, dropping in to visit Peppa Pig or watching Paloma Faith and Clean Bandit take to the stage.
Aside from music, Alex James’ second passion is for food, and that really shows here. Expect tons of quirky independents and street food supremoes, and drop in on a cookery class to learn the trade for yourself.
If you’re heading over to Alex’s farm this summer but would rather trade the sleeping bag for a big, comfy bed; Jurys Inn Oxford has you covered. It’s just a 35-minute drive away.
2018 dates: 17th – 19th August
A boutique event that stands out from the crowd, Beautiful Days is a great choice for first-time-festivaling families. It hosts six different stages, plus a dedicated children’s area at the centre of the site, with everything from walkabout theatre, art installations, comedy, food and crafts taking place there over the course of the weekend. Older members of the family will enjoy a tipple at one of the festival’s real ale bars, while Manic Street Preachers’ headline set is surely not to be missed.
Its setting at the beautiful Escot Park means you’ll get the proper rural festival experience, but fortunately all the amenities of Exeter are just a short drive away. This includes Jurys Inn Exeter – just a 25-minute drive from the festival, it could easily serve as your base.
Somewhere in the Northamptonshire countryside
2018 dates: 23rd – 26th August
Shambala is an exciting and original festival that boasts more than 200 acts across its 12 uniquely themed stages. There’s a real focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness, and being at one with nature is part and parcel of the Shambala experience. You’ll enjoy workshops, debates, theatre and comedy; when you’re not watching a fantastic host of musicians take to their stage.
The festival was founded by five students who used to throw wild parties, and some two decades later their gatherings have certainly grown in size and scale. While a fully-fledged festival weekender, Shambala remains small and inviting, and that makes this a particularly great choice for families. Be sure to keep an eye out for the exceptionally decorated stages, and make sure you explore the entire site – you never know what you might stumble across!
Shambala’s a secret festival, and its location will only be revealed to the lucky few who bag a ticket. We’ve been reliably informed that it’s just a stone’s throw from Jurys Inn Milton Keynes – a great base if you’re not that keen on the camping.
Leave the tent at home and enjoy what the UK’s family festivals have to offer, when you book your stay with Jurys Inn.
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