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Music festivals are no longer reserved solely for grown-ups and this year’s UK offering promises plenty of al fresco family fun throughout the school holidays.
From imaginative art and crafts workshops, fancy dress tents and themed treasure trails, to lasso practice, singalong guitar lessons and circus shows, there is plenty to keep children entertained alongside the music and sunshine. Here’s our pick of the best family-friendly festivals taking place this summer season.
Co-founded by two fiercely passionate yet first-time festival directors, Gill Tee and Deborah Shilling, Black Deer Festival made it's festival debut as the UK's newest Nashville-esque boutique in June 2018. Set in Kent's picturesque Eridge Park - Britian's oldest deer park, only 50 minutes outside of London, Black Deer boasts an incredible roots-inspired musical billing, fiery food demonstrations, a ubiquitous exhibition of counterculture - all with families at the heart of their community-driven summer extravaganza.
Little ones can explore Black Deer's endless opportunities in the Young Folk area, which is a complete recreation of a bygone Wild West Town (saloon and jailhouse included). There's arts and crafts, singalong guitar lessons, face painting and dressing up tents, plus cowboys and their trusty horses, riding demos, lasso practice, horseshoe pitching, campfire singalongs are sure to keep the kids entertained all weekend.
Sister of the well-established Bestival, Camp Bestival in Lulworth, Dorset arguably set the trend of family friendly festivals back in 2008.
Today the festival is perhaps the most well-known family friendly festival in the UK, with large sections of the site being devoted solely to children. Upper Kid’s Garden includes circus lessons, a bouncy castle and go-carts, whilst Lower Kid’s Garden caters for older children with fairground rides and face painting.
With food markets, music stages and entertainers left, right and centre, there’s no chance of getting bored at this festival site! There’s plenty to keep the grown-ups entertained too, with 2019’s lineup including Annie Mack, Rak-Su, The Human League and Nile Rodgers & Chic.
Consistently a festival that delivers in a big big way, Standon Calling’s core ethos is to have a festival weekend where parents and kids can experience new sights, both collectively and in their own way too - with a phenomenal programme across the board. From the interactive wonder of How To Train Your Dinosaur (Live), kids TV favourites Mr Bloom & HIs Band and the colourful energy of Dick & Dom’s DJ Battle.
The Standon Calling Dog Show sees family unite on Sundays for a sight not found at any other family festival, plus there's a built-in swimming pool for the whole family to dive into.
With Mortimer Nannies on hand to take care of the little ones when the adults want to go out and have a boogie, the bast Kids Area full of activities such as Circus Shows, Have A Go Puppet Shows and more - along with the classic Fancy Dress Parade.
CarFest is a place to have a great time doing great things. Founded by Chris Evans, it’s a super-charged weekend, packed full of happiness, kindness, and honesty. It’s about making more marvellous memories for families.
In preparation for CarFest 2019, Chris faced his toughest critics, ‘the CarFest Kids Panel’ and they’ve helped shape some fabulous new family activities for 2019.
2019 marks the year that Kendal Calling ‘Goes Jurassic’, with a dino-mite fancy dress theme! On top of all the incredible entertainment across the weekend in the shape of musical entertainment, funfairs and children’s cinema, Kendal Calling has it’s very own ‘Kids Calling’ area. Dig for dino bones, discover Neolithic cave art, bowl a monolith at ‘strikehenge’, follow the prehistoric treasure trail, and watch the volcano erupt!
Don't miss the DINO VILLAGE on Saturday afternoon – get involved in Jurassic-inspired games, arts, crafts and competitions. Plus they cater for tiny tots too in the Tiny Tim Peaks area, hosted by CBeebies’ own Alex Winters.
Ideal for the ‘foodiest’ of families, The Big Feastival is famously run by Blur bassist Alex James on his farm in Kingham.
Tasty treats and good music are guaranteed, plus under 12's go free! This year’s festival will see Jess Glynne, Rudimental and Jonas Blue take to the stage. Plus your little ones could meet their favourite characters from Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Paw Patrol!
Just as there are so many beautiful areas of UK countryside to discover, there are plenty of amazing home-grown family friendly festivals to explore, too.
But don’t take our word for it, get outside this summer and enjoy one, or some, of the many festivals that are on offer. If you’re looking for more inspiration for outdoor family activities this summer, check out some of our recommendations!