10 family-friendly festivals to visit this summer

From food to film, there are festivals catering to all tastes, ages and willingness to put up with the weather! Explore some of the UK’s best lesser-known festivals and how you can get tickets…

1. Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival

15–17 June 2018
Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham

If the idea of tramping through mud and sleeping in leaky tents gives you the horrors, the UK is thankfully booming with civilised food and drink festivals. While top chef demonstrations and wine tastings might be right up your street, this festival also appeals to a wide range of ages, with plenty of live music and street theatre for the younger audience.

Look out for: James Wood’s introduction to foraging your own wild food. The kids will love helping you make dinner in the future!

Tickets: Adults £4-£7, Under 16s go free


2. Chagstock Music Festival

20–21 July 2018
Whiddon Down, Dartmoor, Devon

If you’re looking for a small, family-friendly music festival set amongst rolling English countryside, then this Dartmoor shindig could be for you. This year’s headliners are rockabilly favourite, Imelda May, and punk legends, Buzzcocks. Kids will enjoy a visit to the Chagstock Village Green, where they can take a ride on a magic bus and get involved in plenty of fun and games.

Look out for: Summer rain! Go prepared with waterproofs and plenty of layers, as the evenings can be chilly.

Tickets: Adults £95, 12-17s £65, Under 12s go Free


3. Liverpool International Music Festival 2018

21-22 July 2018
Sefton Park, Liverpool

Liverpool International Music Festival

The ever-popular LIMF returns in 2018 to the glorious Sefton Park with a music programme to knock your socks off. The sixth run of the UNESCO World City of Music’s annual festival will see 100,000 music lovers head to the south of Liverpool, showcasing the city’s love of creative cultural diversity and a range of genres to suit every music lover’s taste.

Look out for: LIMF’s Summer jam, which promises a family-friendly spectacle across many stages around the park.

Tickets: From £5. Under 12s go free


4. Belladrum Tartan Festival

2–4 August 2018
Belladrum Estate, near Beauly, Inverness-shire

Boasting around a sixth of its audience as aged 12 or under, Belladrum offers both a genuinely family-focused festival as well as an impressive set of headliners – this year, Paloma Faith and Amy MacDonald. Kicking-off true Highlands-style with a rip-roaring ceilidh, the main stage is a sight in itself – a natural bank of terraces that make for clear viewing wherever you stand.

Look out for: Belladrum now has its own tartan for sale, so you can don a kilt and get on with the shindig.

Tickets: Adult weekend passes start at £146, Under 12s go free


5. Just So

17–19 August 2018
Rode Hall, Cheshire

Just So Festival

This unique outdoor arts and theatre festival, while small in size – only 5,000 tickets – is mammoth in ambition. Join an animal tribe, compete in a wacky sports day, lie out under the stars and learn astronomy, have a pillow fight, become a storyteller... the possibilities are endless. New for 2018 is the Playground of Illusions, a hypnotic fusion of science and art and the Ministry of Games – a barn full of all the board games you can imagine.

Look out for: The Idlewood area offers tai chi, Indian head massage and hammocks for frazzled parents.

Tickets: Adult weekend passes start at £140; Children £50. Day tickets available from £45 per Adult, £20 per Child, Under 3s go free


6. Valley Fest

3-5 August 2018
Chew Valley Lake, Somerset

Situated next to a lake on a real working farm, this is a chance for you and your family to really get at one with nature, while eating some tasty organic grub and listening to some chilled-out tunes at the same time. Kids will love the chance to meet real farm animals, play in the arts and crafts tent, and then get sent to sleep after a busy day with a story in the Bed Talks tent.

Look out for: Hogsnorts – the wittily-named farm academy, for kids and adults alike to learn about living off the land

Tickets: Weekend tickets with camping: Adults £110, Teens (13-17) £45, Children (6-12) £25, Nippers (3-5) £15, Under 2s go free. Weekend and day tickets with no camping also available


7. Vintage by the Sea

1–2 September 2018
Morecambe, Lancashire

Vintage is all the rage, and what better way to get in the spirit than visiting the historic seaside town of Morecambe for Gatsby-esque hullabaloo. The Hemmingway designers transform the seafront – including the iconic Art Deco hotel, The Midland – into a lively and colourful fiesta of retro music, classic cars, street theatre, workshops, marketplaces and vintage crafts.

Look out for: The hotly-contested ‘Best in Show’ prize, awarded to the most fabulously-dressed festivalgoer over the weekend

Tickets: Free, though ticketed events from £15-£65 are available


8. Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

8–9 September 2018
South Quay, Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

Celebrate Britain’s maritime roots by visiting Great Yarmouth’s historic South Quay in festival time. Climb aboard the tall ships, take in some live shanty music and be amazed by the variety of nautical characters on parade – from the Admiral Lord Nelson, to cuddly Horatio Herring, the festival mascot. For the history buffs, there are demonstrations of traditional crafts, such as boat building and spinning.

Look out for: Locally caught traditional cooked herrings – a delicacy not to miss!

Tickets: Free entry, but ship tickets range from £2-£5.50 per Adult, free-£2 per Child (aged 5-16) 


9. Underneath the Stars

20–22 July 2018
Cinderhill Farm, Cawthorne near Barnsley

Grown organically from a series of outdoor concerts, this South Yorkshire summer festival is a sumptuous feast of music, arts and food, without the commercial tag. It’s undeniably folky flavour showcases the best of Yorkshire’s local talent, as well as national acts. Away from the music, there’s plenty to entertain folk of all sizes, with treasure hunts, story-telling and dance classes.

Look out for: Chairs at the main stage – to rest your weary feet!

Tickets: Day Adult passes from £50, 7-17s £20, Under 7s go free. Weekend Adult passes from £125, 7-17s £40, Under 7s go free


10. The Good Life Experience

14–16 September 2018
Hawarden Estate, Flintshire

Good Life Festival

Held in the shadow of two castles, Radio 6 Music presenter Cerys Matthews has created a grassroots’ treat to round off the holidays. With local food, mass singalongs, a dog show, tree-climbing, axe-throwing and a talented line-up of campfire cooking sessions with world-class chefs, this end-of-the-summer weekender encourages adults and children alike to join in and enjoy the good life.

Look out for: The Children’s Café. Guests and staff alike will be 12 years and under. No adults allowed.

Tickets: Earlybird Adult weekend passes start at £109, 11-17s from £49, Under 12s go free