Summer is officially here and that means (hopefully!) endless days of sunshine, al fresco dining and some well-earned time off. But it also means it’s officially festival season, too. If the idea conjures up scenes of heavy dance music booming loudly over a field, plus enough mud to completely cover your wellies, then it’s time to reacquaint yourself with what’s on offer. Here’s our pick of the coolest chilled-out festivals happening up and down the UK this year. The bonus? They’re all family friendly…
Five Alternative Festivals to Book this Summer
5-7 July 2019
When the blurb for a festival begins: “Gather round all nature lovers, day dreamers, big thinkers” - we’re all ears. Timber festival, now in its second year, is an arts and culture festival set in the magical National Forest. Its itinerary revolves around the outdoors, encouraging attendees to explore the land by foot or bike, soak in open air wood-fired hot tubs, watch live music from treehouse perches and feast on farm-to-table food.
1-3 August 2019
Love food, the arts and dancing? Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival has it all. Located in Inverness-shire, it’s a folksy affair complete with supper clubs, ceilidhs and workshops as well as impressive headline acts like Jess Glynne, The Coral and Elbow. You can go for a day, book just a brunch or dinner or go for a full-weekend’s camping. The choice is yours.
Want a festival experience that sounds as good as it tastes? Valley Fest promises just this. Started by an organic farmer, the weekend is packed full of goodness. Headline acts include Basement Jaxx, Razorlight and Tom Odell. When you’re all danced out, you can enjoy a facial by Victoria Beckham-approved brand Weleda and then dine on the huge range of cuisines on offer. You’ll find many of Bristol’s best street food vendors serving up everything from Labenese Mezze to Cornish Pasties.
Having spent five years at the New Forest, Curious Arts Festival has now relocated to Pippingford Park Estate in the Ashdown Forest. Bringing together not just musicians but some of the finest writers, thinkers and comedians of the moment, the result is much more than a Bank Holiday full of cider and loudspeakers. Highlights include a talk by surgeon David Notts, author of the Sunday Times Best Selling War Doctor; Fawlty Towers’ John Cleese; and psychologist Phillipa Perry, author of The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read.
There’s little you can’t do at The Good Life Experience, which is the brainchild of singer Cerys Matthews. You can visit a 1930s fairground, listen to live music ranging from jazz to classical, try your hand at blacksmithing, dance, partake in axe throwing, listen to cooking talks from the likes of Thomasina Miers and the chefs behind Honey + Co, gorge on delicacies and even go wild swimming. It’s not exactly a hard sell, is it?