The best family festivals for 2016

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

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Latitude festival

When and where: 14 - 17 July, Southwold, Suffolk

What is it: A chilled celebration of ambient, pop, electro and indie, with environmentally- and politically-conscious overtones. Kids' workshops, live theatre, spoken word and comedy add to the mix.

Don't miss: Indie rock bands The Maccabees and The National are heading this year's line-up, and there's also plenty on offer on the comedy front, with performances from Russell Howard and Josh Widdicombe, among others.

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

Camp Bestival

When and where: 28 - 31 July, 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: Some big names will be taking centre stage this year, from Jess Glynne to Fatboy Slim and retro acts Bananarama and Tears for Fears. For the younger audience, Mr Tumble will be on hand while smash hit West End production Aliens Love Underpants will put on a special performance. 

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

Green Man Festival

When and where: 18 - 21 August, Brecon Beacons, Wales

What is it: A weekend of revelry in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. There's 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: Mercury prize winner James Blake returns to Green Man for the first time since 2011, while Scottish band Belle & Sebastian tops the bill and provides the disco beats. 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: 1 - 2 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: Global hip hop star Dizzee Rascal is set to make an appearance, with indie rock band Everything Everything also bringing their unique mix of genres to the stage. Highlights in the Angel Gardens family area include a dad dancing competition and cheesy disco - and a kids' activism club for future campaigners.

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



When and where: 25 - 28 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: Enjoy the chilled, acoustic tunes of Blick Bassy or the lively afrobeats of Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band. Head to the Family Yurt for some child-friendly entertainment. 

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..."


The Big Feastival

The Big Feastival

When and where: 26 - 28 August, The Cotswolds

What is it: Blur bassist Alex James hosts this food and music extravaganza on his own farm in the Cotswalds, to raise money for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, a charity which teaches essential food skills to help people make choices for a healthier lifestyle.

Don't miss: Forget festival food trucks - gourmet treats come from Jamie himself, plus Raymond Blanc and Nadiya Hussain. Music is provided by the likes of Mark Ronson, Tinie Tempah and the Kaiser Chiefs

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


Beautiful Days

Beautiful Days

When and where: 19 - 21 August, Escot Park, Devon

What is it: A small but increasingly popular festival, Beautiful Days is a good option for first-timers. Crucially, it also has a history of award-winning toilets.

Don't miss: Electronic dance act Leftfield headline along with Mancunian rock band James, with other notable performances from The Proclaimers and The Coral. The children's area hosts interactive workshops, rides and storytelling, and there's a family rave on Friday night. 

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 festival

Wilderness (pictured) 4-7 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. Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters will take to the main stage this year, alongside the Flaming Lips and Crystal Fighters. More info

Elderflower Fields, 27-30 May, East Sussex

Very popular with Mumsnetters since it began in 2012, Elderflower Fields takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Pippingford Park. This family-oriented weekend in late May promises some great acts, a huge range of outdoor activities, and a Youth Performers Competition. More info

Deer Shed, 22-24 July, North Yorkshire

One of the most welcoming family festivals, Deer Shed boasts a huge variety of child-friendly workshops, as well as milk-warming stations and nursing areas for those with very little ones. Music this year comes from the likes of Richard Hawley, Everything Everything, Beth Orton and Anna Calvi, all in a handy location just off the A1. More info

Nozstock: The Hidden Valley, 22-24 July, Herefordshire

Nozstock takes place on a beautiful working farm in the heart of the Herefordshire countryside. This year's line-up includes the likes of Imelda May and Jurassic 5. And the best part? Under 13s go free. More info

Curious Arts Festival, 22-24 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. Children can enjoy puppetry workshops and bedtime stories, and there's an impressive mix of music and comedy. Some of the best contemporary authors and poets, including Carol Ann Duffy and Deborah Moggach, will also be dropping in to talk about their work. More info

Larmer Tree Festival, 13-17 July, Wiltshire/Dorset border

A boutique, family-friendly festival set in the spectacular Larmer Tree Gardens. All children's tickets are free, and a dedicated children's headliner - CBeebies' Mr Bloom - will be on hand to entertain your little ones. There's also plenty on offer for older festival-goers, including performances from Jamie Cullum and Caro Emerald. More info

Kendal Calling, 28-31 July, The Lake District

The multi-award-winning Kendal Calling festival has been growing steadily since its humble beginnings in 2006. This year's festival promises a late-night cinema, a huge selection of culinary treats, and music from headliners Rudimental, Madness and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. More info

Just So, 19–21 August, Cheshire

Join a pillow fight or ukelele workshop on the eccentric Village Green or come face-to-face with the Gruffalo at the open air theatre in the Spellbound Forest. Described by Mumsnetters as "a kids' festival that parents are allowed to tag along to", there is plenty for all ages with an emphasis on combining art, music and literature. More info

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Last updated: 4 months ago