Family friendly festivals in England

by Katie Rowe

Category: Culture Vulture
May 1 2014

Larmer Tree's Garden Stage is over 100 years old!

England is big on festivals. There’s a huge array of shindigs going on throughout the summer, spreading that Friday feeling across an entire weekend. And the great thing is, many of them are child-friendly. In fact, some even dedicate whole areas and festival programmes to children. Here’s our guide to some of the best family-friendly events in the country... 

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Larmer Tree Fest, Dorset (16th - 20th July)

The festival that puts kids first with its strictly parent-free YouthZone is jam-packed with music, comedy, street theatre, poetry and sing-along screenings of Disney’s classics.

Don’t miss… Drop-in circus skills workshops throughout the weekend.

Who’s playing? Tom Jones, Frank Turner, Tom Odell, Squeeze.

Chagstock, Devon (18th - 19th July)

Chagstock Festival, just one of many family-friendly festivals in England

Just the ticket for first-time festival goers and the budget-conscious, Chagstock is a small but perfectly formed musical haven with glorious views over the northern edge of Dartmoor.

Who’s playing? The Waterboys, Lighting Seeds, Moulettes.

Don’t miss… Hair braiding, face painting and hat making on the Magic Bus.

Deershed Festival, North Yorkshire (25th - 27th July)

Science is cool and Deershed agrees. That’s why, along with plenty of music, comedy and arts, they have heaps of events dedicated to everything from robots to stargazing.

Who’s playing? British Sea Power, Johnny Marr, Cate Le Bon, Steve Mason.

Don’t miss… Tedroids, where you can upgrade your old bear to a robot!

Camp Bestival, Dorset (31st - 3rd  August)

A family favourite set in the historical surroundings of Lulworth Castle where kids are king, fun and games is the staple theme and the Jurassic Coast is just on your doorstep.

Who’s playing? Basement Jaxx, Sinead O’Connor, De La Soul, Peter Hook & The Light.

Don’t miss… Project Wild Thing, a new people-powered movement helping children and adults to reconnect with nature.

Standon Calling, Herefordshire (1st - 3rd August)

One for the cool kids, Standon Calling has a whole area dedicated to entertaining little ones and as an added bonus, it’s set in a quiet corner close to the swimming pool. Rubber rings at the ready!

Who’s playing? Public Enemy, Maximo Park, Peace, King Charles.

Don’t miss… Maurice’s reggae nursery rhymes and a dip in the pool – it’s the only UK festival to have one.

Just So Festival in Cheshire, just one of many family-friendly festivals in EnglandJust So Festival, Cheshire (15th – 17th August)

Just So puts on an enchanting show for babies and grown-ups alike, with changing and bath tents for babes, pirate and cowboy training for mischievous young things, arty events for creative kids and yoga and massages for parents in need of TLC.

Who’s playing? Tea Club, Arthur’s Dream Boat, Gabby Young and Other Animals.

Don’t miss… The Ventriloquism Workshop. Learn how to throw your voice and convince everyone that the sock on your hand is the one doing the talking.

Shambala Festival, Northamptonshire (21st - 24th August)

Puppet cabaret, storytelling, sewing classes, thought-provoking workshops and plenty of live music are just a few of the things you’ll experience with the kids at this chilled-out eco festival.

Who’s playing? Mulatu Astatke, Public Service Broadcasting, Andy C.

Don’t miss… Children’s film-making workshops in the red velvet surroundings of the Lost Picture Show pop-up cinema.

The Big Feastival, Oxford (29th August – 31st August)

A-list chefs rub shoulders with famous musicians at a tempting family-friendly ‘feastival’. It’s curated by the Jamie Oliver Foundation and takes place at the farm of Alex James, former Blur bassist.

Who’s playing? Kelis, Fatboy Slim, Bjorn Again, Norman Jay MBE.

Don’t miss… AEG Family Kitchen where you can cook up a storm under the guidance of top chefs.

(Tickets were available for all festivals at time of publication.)

Katie Rowe

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