The best family festivals for 2015

Whether you're donning wellies as a family for the first time or you're a seasoned festival-goer, we've picked the best family-friendly festivals this year has to offer.



When and where: 16 - 19 July, Southwold, Suffolk

What is it: A chilled celebration of ambient, pop, electro and indie, with environmentally- and politically-conscious overtones. Among the kids' workshops and live theatre, there'll also be a number of panel debates.

Don't miss: Britpop fans will be pleased to hear Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds are taking to the stage, and there's plenty on offer on the comedy front, from Josie Long to Jason Manford and ventiloquist Nina Conti.

MNers say: "For us the highlight is the kids' area, which is lovely. The children are never bored and can take part in craft activities, processions, face painting, theatre etc. It's just perfect for little ones."


Camp Bestival

When and where: 30 July - 2 August, Lulworth Castle, Dorset

What is it: A veritable explosion of music, arts and creativity, Camp Bestival prides itself on blending kids' and adults' experiences through spoken word, live theatre and a diverse musical line-up.

Don't miss: Tween favourites Clean Bandit and Ella Henderson are on this year's bill, alongside a few less, er, youthful acts - like the Buzzcocks, Level 42 and Soul II Soul. There's also the premiere performance of Julia Donaldson's The Scarecrow's Wedding, and the Gruffalo hiding among revellers.

MNers say: "We're going for the fourth year in a row. We love it! It's such a great atmosphere and there's so much to see and do."


Green Man

When and where: 20 - 23 August, Brecon Beacons, Wales

What is it: A weekend of revelry in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. There are a wobble-inducing 99 varieties of local beers and ciders on offer for the parents, and plenty of interactive workshops and performances for the kids.

Don't miss: US singer-songwriter and Grammy winner St Vincent tops the line-up with her unique indie-pop sound, while Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens is on the decks. Einstein's Garden, a firm fixture of the festival, returns this year with an area dedicated to science, art and discovery.

MNers say: "It's a lovely festival - there's lots going on, but it's small enough to be able to make it between stages in 10 minutes so you don't miss anything."




When and where: 3 - 4 July, Winchester

What is it: From humble beginnings - basically, a party in a field - Blissfields has grown into an eclectic weekender in Hampshire, staging new artists from the worlds of indie, electronica and hip-hop alongside big names.

Don't miss: Gothic shoegazers The Horrors head up the main stage on the Friday, while Simian Mobile Disco will be pumping it out on Saturday night. There's also a host of DJs for those who want to get their moves on - and a kids' activism area for future campaigners.

MNers say: "I took my DD to Blissfields last year and it was fab. She loved wandering around the stalls, too."


When and where: 27 - 30 August, Northamptonshire

What is it: A hippie paradise in the rural heart of the East Midlands. Fancy dress is par for the course, as is audience participation from kids and adults alike.

Don't miss: If you fancy trying swing dancing, Shambala is the festival for you. The Big Swing flashmob is open to all revellers, and you can even have a free taster lesson before the festival.

MNers say: "Seriously, you want to go to Shambala. It is the best festival, for kids or for adults (and I've been to a lot of festivals). There are hot tubs..."


Jamie Oliver's Big Feastival

jamie oliver feastival

When and where: 28 - 30 August, The Cotswolds

What is it: Jamie Oliver and Blur's Alex James are the hosts of this food and music extravaganza, held on Alex's own farm in the Cotswolds.

Don't miss: Forget festival food trucks - gourmet treats at the Big Feastival come from Jamie himself, plus Raymond Blanc and Monica Galetti. Music is provided by the likes of Groove Armada, Dizzee Rascal, Ella Eyre and Paloma Faith.

MNers say:
"It was brilliant. We're making plans to return this year. Also, the toilets were spotless."


Beautiful Days

When and where: 21 - 23 August, Devon

What is it: A small but popular festival that's in its twelfth year. With average attendance relatively small at around 15,000, it's a good option for first-timers. Crucially, it was also the proud winner of the Best Toilets award in 2013 and 2014.

Don't miss: Lively Celtic punks Dropkick Murphys will be on the main stage alongside The Levellers, who also plan and manage the festival. 

MNers say: "Beautiful Days is my favourite festival - small, lovely location, very family-friendly and the music is perfect. It's very down-to-earth and easy to get out to the shops in Honiton."


Best of the rest...

Wilderness (pictured) 6-9 August, Oxfordshire

Combining nature, culture and music with great food in the lovely setting of Cornbury Park, Wilderness is a cultural haven for all ages. Legendary pop star Bjork will be taking to the main stage this year alongside Ben Howard, Roisin Murphy and the funk-tastic Parliament. More info

Elderflower Fields, 22-25 May, East Susse

Very popular with Mumsnetters, Elderflower Fields this year takes place in the lush surroundings of Ashdown Forest. This family-oriented weekend in late May promises 40 acts across two stages, as well as a dedicated Youth Music Zone supported by the Arts Council. More info

Deer Shed, 24-26 July, North Yorkshire

One of the most welcoming family festivals, Deer Shed boasts a giant sand pit, soft play, and milk-warming stations for those with very little ones. Music this year comes from the likes of John Grant, Billy Bragg, Dutch Uncles and Emmy The Great, all in a handy location just off the A1. More info

Curious Arts Festival, 17-19 July, Hampshire

Described as 'one of the UK's top boutique festivals' by The Guardian, Curious Arts Festival is a celebration of artistic talent against the lush backdrop of the New Forest. Your DCs can enjoy puppetry workshops and bedtime stories and there's an impressive mix of music and spoken word from George The Poet, Esther Freud and Lucy Porter, among others. More info

Kendal Calling, 30 July - 2 August, The Lake District

Winner of the Best Small Festival award in 2010 and 2011 and Best Medium Festival in 2013, Kendal Calling is growing steadily and includes a late-night cinema, a huge selection of culinary treats, and music from headliners Elbow, Snoop Dogg and the Kaiser Chiefs. More info

Just So, 21 – 23 August, Cheshire

A magical family festival with a fairy city, dedicated baby/toddler activities,  gravity-defying circus tricks, aerial artistry in trees and a theatre set in an arboreal amphitheater. Described by Mners as "a kids festival parents are allowed to tag along to" there is plenty for all ages with an emphasis on combining art, music and literature. Bring your fairy wings and imagination.   More info

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Last updated: 6 months ago