Summer Family-Friendly Festivals
Are you yearning for those heady pre-children days of summer cocktails and camping while listening to your favourite bands? Claire Allfree reviews five family festivals, where yes, the children can come too.
This Suffolk mainstay has won awards for its family friendliness and no wonder: it has dedicated areas for kids, teens and families and even a specially devised programme for local schoolchildren. For younger people, a theatre tent, a miniature fairground, wildlife trails and all manner of storytelling workshops and arts & crafts will keep them busy all day every day. For older children the Inbetweener’s Area offers a special programme including music, technology and an assault course among the trees. In fact, you suspect that at Latitude, it’s the children who have the best time.
Jul 12 to 15, Henham Park Suffolk.
The ‘little sister’ of Bestival, Camp Bestival, was specifically set up for families and has ‘child-friendly’ running through its DNA. Performances include a new pantomime, The Pirates of Panto, a seafaring symphony and a workshop from the Royal Albert Hall and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures ballet company. There’s also face-painting, fairground rides and activities for tots and older children and the family-friendly Dingly Dell. Perfect for festival lovers who don’t want to let their offspring get in the way of their right to rave.
Jul 26 to 29, Lulworth Castle Dorset.
This four-day multi-arts festival places great emphasis on the natural landscape – it’s set in a luscious Oxfordshire Park. The family-friendly programme includes family yoga sessions and the silliest 10am exercise class you’ll ever attend. It promises a smorgasbord of activities ranging from Splat Art School and Storystock to a residency from Wimbledon’s pioneering Polka Theatre and, most excitingly of all, a chance for children to cook and sleep out in the woods away from mum and dad. Everyone’s a winner.
Aug 2 to 5, Cornbury Park Oxfordshire.
Curious Arts Festival
The children’s programme at this boutique arts festival is a cut above the rest. Forget face-painting: here the activity line-up includes film and poetry workshops, film screenings, a ukulele club, bedtime stories and dedicated talks from the likes of Piers Torday, Lydia Rose Ruffles and Nicky Singer. So good, the adults will want to join in too.
Jul 20 to 22, Pylewell Park Hampshire.
This festival is designed exclusively with children in mind with children’s TV favourites like Justin Fletcher, Andy Day and Swashbuckle’s Cook and Line making an appearance. Jousting, puppet theatre, stunt shows, performance and science workshops, willow-weaving, crazy golf and all manner of child-friendly activities will ensure your children will be on the go from morning till night. You can’t say more family-friendly than that.
Jun 30 to Jul 1, Knebworth House.