Summer is the season of festivals and as kids all over the country eagerly wait to kick-start the holidays, parents on the other hand will find they are busy trying to come up with exciting ways to keep their children entertained.
Unless your young ones are old enough to go themselves, festivals can be jam-packed places with crowds of thousands letting loose on the best of Britain’s mud-strewn fields – not exactly an ideal place for young children.
But, who’s to say that festivals can’t be fun for the whole family? After all, what used to be a strictly adult affair is now a playground of fun for the kids as more and more child-friendly festivals are popping up every year.
Summer 2012 is no exception and after some careful research, we’ve found you the best family-friendly festivals taking place in the UK throughout the school holidays. From music to painting, cabaret and puppet shows - say bye bye to babysitters and hello to fun in the sun for everyone.
Here’s our list of the top five family-friendly festivals. Enjoy!
1. GuilFest, July 13-15, Guidford
Twice voted as the best medium-sized family-friendly festival in the UK at the UK Festival Awards, Guilfest, an independent music and arts festival, is all about great summer fun for the young and old alike. Set in the beautiful surroundings of Stoke Park, Guildford, the three-day event offers fantastically eclectic line ups of great live musical entertainment set across eight stages, crossing all genres. As well as live music, there is comedy, theatre, arts and crafts and more importantly a fun and friendly atmosphere. There’s everything from a kidZone which includes dragons, pirate fairies and a family circus amongst the many spectacles available to participate in, as well as a 150 foot beer tent serving its very own GuilFest bitter for the adults. There are even two outdoor swimming pools to ease away the mayhem of the festival grounds.
Tickets: from £35 - £130
2. Deer Shed, July 20-22, North Yorkshire
Shortlisted as Best Family Festival last year at the UK Festival Awards, the Deer Shed is a chilled three-day festival put together by a team of parents who know exactly what families want. Deer Shed provides a safe and fun environment for some 6000 festival goers, catering to all ages, who come along to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere with music performances, arts and crafts markets and a circus cabaret.
Tickets: £15 - £70
3. Truck Festival - July 22–24, Steventon, Oxfordshire
Celebrating its 15th Anniversary, Truck is an independent and friendly festival with a dedicated family field. It rolls out over 600 acres of Oxfordshire countryside, bringing together music, cabaret and theatre for a fun-filled weekend. Known as “the godfather of small festivals” its eclectic mix of performers, the best of folk, rock and heavy rock, will leave you dancing in the moonlight on each of its three fantastic days.
Tickets: from £29 - £99
4. Kendal Calling, July 27-29, Lowther Deer Park, Lake District
In the name of music, fun and frolics, Kendal Calling is Cumbria’s largest and most anticipated family-friendly festival of the summer. It offers the most diverse array of live music, world cuisine and games with artists such as Dizzee Rascal, House of Pain, Frank Tuner and Calvin Harris previously taken to the stage. There’s something for the young ones at Ladybird, a creative and dazzling kids area as well as a Glow Dance Tent for the teens and a real ale tent for the adults.
Tickets: waiting list
5. The Shambala Festival, August 23-27, Northamptonshire
Most of the line-up is kept under wraps, and even the location of the festival is kept secret until you purchase a ticket, but Shambala, a small family-friendly festival held in Northamptonshire, celebrates being free and having fun under the stars. Now in its twelfth year, the festival promises four days of all kinds of entertainment with a large kid’s area, tons of arts and crafts workshops, crazy carnivals, woodland activities and pure partying in fancy dress. The family-oriented festival is expected to have a dozen or so stages of music plus a roller disco, karaoke, circus acts such as trapeze and acrobats and many more surprises.
Tickets: from £20 - £120.
Shabana Adam @Shabana_FAM