Top 10 family festivals in the UK

Ah, the Great British festival. Mud-encrusted wellies, wailing guitar solos and paper cups of cider strewn on grass - not exactly an ideal environment for the kids (unless they're old enough to go on their own).

But fear not, you don't have to forgo your annual dose of summer festival fun. Thankfully, there are plenty of child-friendly family festivals on offer and, handily, lots of them have been reviewed and rated by your fellow festival-goers in Mumsnet reviews.

Listed here are your top 10 family festivals, plus the best of the rest.


Galtres Festival, 24-26 August, York 

"A great little family festival"

Rural Galtres Festival prides itself on its local and organic food choices and its selection of more than 100 beers and ciders. It also boasts a children's wonderland. Now in its eighth year, the festival will see Ash, the Buzzcocks, Guillemots and many more playing across its five stages.  

Mumsnetters say:  "Imagine a festival as the usual mud bath, then imagine it again with back-to-back kids' activities (making, singing, drumming, playing, story time), great headline acts and super-talented folky bands, huge selection of real ales, and a tent for afternoon tea (but all day!) complete with homemade cakes, flowery carpet and table cloths! This is a great little family festival with a family camping field. Despite the weather the event was magnificent!" LittlePushka


Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, 3-4 August, Inverness-shire

"Superb atmosphere"

Now in its ninth year, Belladrum offers cinema, cabaret, dance and alternative therapies alongside a solid line-up, including Travis and Frightened Rabbit, and, of course, plenty of entertainment for children. And don't forget to bring along your best Jubilee-tastic outfits for a recycle - this year's fancy dress theme is Royalty. 

Mumsnetters say:  "An absolutely fantastic festival for families. I've taken my two-year-old son twice now, and both times he's had an absolute ball. The family area is brilliant and we never even got to do or see half the activities that were on offer for him. A superb atmosphere, and kids under 12 are free - bonus!" galaqueen


Greenbelt, 24-27 August, Gloucestershire 

"Fascinating blend of Christian art, music and other stuff"

Billing itself as an arts, faith and justice festival, Greenbelt has been running for 40 years. With a Christian ethos, the festival plays host to more than 100 speakers, with workshop and debates on faith and politics - and lots of music, too. 

Mumsnetters say:  "A fascinating blend of Christian art, music and other stuff! From a very memorable tea-making ceremony in a yurt to a piano made of water. There's loads for kids to do, so they absolutely love it. My advice would be don't try to do too much, as it impossible to see and try everything!" Chickflick


Beautiful Days, 17-19 August, Devon

"The best small festival ever, by a very long shot"

Beautiful Days has been selling out in advance every year since 2003, so it's no surprise it's was winner of the Best Family Festival in the 2011 UK Festival Awards. With a capacity of 13,500, a friendly crowd and loads of weird and wonderful entertainment for children and parents alike, it's a great balance. 

Mumsnetters say:  "The best small festival ever, by a very long shot. We're quite seasoned festival-goers, our daughter enjoyed her first one at three months, and we all agree that Beautiful Days is the best one so far. Everyone is friendly and it definitely has the family at the centre of its planning." mammamic


Just So Festival, 17-19 August, Cheshire

"Brilliant - basically a kids' festival that parents are allowed to tag along to"

Just So festival aims to be the most child-friendly festival in the UK, so almost everything has been designed with families who have small children in mind (including a rather decadent sounding breast-feeding boudoir). Whether you take part in a jive dancing lesson at the Jitterbug stage or enjoy bedtime stories at the 40 Winks tent, you can be sure there's much more than music on offer. 

Mumsnetters say: "Brilliant - basically a kids' festival that the parents are allowed to tag along to. Good attitude, good ideas, and decent location." LottisDad


Underage Festival, 31 August, London

"Underage Festival is really fun, and a great experience for any teenager"

Exclusively for 13-17 year olds (with strictly no over-17s allowed), Underage Festival has been a fixture of London's East End for the past four years. With bars only selling soft drinks, plus plenty of the newest names in music spread out across the site, it's a brilliant place for teens to enjoy the festival atmosphere. 

Mumsnetters say: "Underage Festival is really fun, and a great experience for any teenager. There is so much to do and loads of different performers to see. I also liked the funfair rides scattered all over the festival ground. It was great to be surrounded by people your age and still feel like you're in a safe environment." Huxley, 13 (uploaded by RachelMumsnet)


Best of the rest

  • Orchestra in a Field - beat-boxing, guitars and handbells will all feature at this festival, which offers a different take on classical music - perfect for all ages and tastes. Plus, a dedicated children's area, which includes drumming workshops and vintage fairground rides. 30 Jun - 1 Jul, Somerset.
  • Voewood Festival - a relative newcomer to British festivals, Voewood hosts a sturdy musical line-up, plus talks from children's authors, as well family puppet shows and tasty pop-up restaurant picnics. 24-27 Aug, Norfolk.
  • Shambala - with a huge children's' area, guerilla science displays, debates, politics, music and fancy dress costumes galore set against a carnival atmosphere, Shamabala is a treat for grown-ups and children alike. 23-26 Aug, a secret location in Midlands.
  • Sunrise Celebration - alternative culture and sustainable living take the spotlight at Sunrise Celebration, with an eclectic mix of dub, reggae and ska (among other genres), plus a dedicated children's area with graffiti walls, circus shows and more. 21-24 Jun, Somerset.

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Last updated: almost 2 years ago