2014 family-friendly festivals

Are you a family of experienced festival welly-wearers, or is 2014 the first year you've considered a family-friendly festival? 

Whether you fancy trying something new or need some guidance, we've rounded up five of the nicest UK summer festivals for you to bring your kids to, plus helpful tips and which acts you'd be sorry to miss. 

For more advice, check out reviews from fellow festival-goers in Mumsnet reviews. And don't forget to buy a tent - we've got five of the best big tents reviewed here. 

Jump to a festival here


Camp Bestival


31 July - 3 August, Dorset

Camp Bestival is fast becoming the family-friendly festival of choice for both Mumsnetters and hip families all over the UK. Instead of providing a few child-oriented areas, Camp Bestival dedicates itself thoroughly to providing a fully-fledged festival experience for both kids and parents.

Now in its sixth year, Mumsnetters say it's "brilliant", "everything is set up for families", with a "great atmosphere", and rate the fact that on top of the solid line-up there are plenty of non-music activities to enjoy as well. 

Don't miss: Feel-good hip hop legends De La Soul, Basement Jaxx, and TV's Mr Tumble. We also hear Sunday night's fireworks display is brilliant.

Top tip: Fancy dress is a big deal at Camp Bestival so prepare in advance by bringing your own bubbles and fairy wings from home so you don't feel pressured to blow your budget at the costume stalls.

Mumsnetters 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 Festival


14-18 August 2014, Glanusk, Wales

With a fabulous line-up for 2014, including some great names like Caribou and First Aid Kit, Green Man promises a folky, relaxing weekend of fun amid the beautiful surroundings of the Black Mountains.

There are 10 different entertainment areas, including your standard poetry and festival areas, and ultra-rustic all night bonfires to warm yourself by as you sip locally-produced cider. For young children, there's the colourful Little Folk area, while for teens aged 13-17 there's Somewhere, with parkour workshops, climbing walls and more. 

Don't miss: Astronomically popular DJ Caribou, chilled-out Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit, and gruff-voiced solo artist Bill Callahan

Top tip: The weather in Wales does have a tendency to be a bit damp this time of year, so make sure you prepare accordingly and have a tent with a porch to let wet stuff dry out. 

Mumsnetters say: "It's a lovely festival - just big enough to have lots going on all the time, small enough to be able to make it across the site between stages in 10 minutes so you don't miss anything you want to see."


Latitude Festival


17-20 July 2014, Suffolk

Latitude is among the biggest of the family-friendly festivals, selling around 35,000 tickets for the July weekend, so there's loads to see and do. As well as amazing music, there's a firm focus on the arts, meaning plenty of comedy and theatre to watch on one of the hidden woodland stages, maybe while you enjoy a bite to eat from one of the many gourmet food stalls. 

For children, there's a wealth of activities around the gorgeous central lake, with helterskelter rides, craft activities and special outdoor performances, while for older kids there's more grown-up activities to take part in at the Inbetweeners' Tween Area. 

Don't miss: Blur frontman Damon Albarn, long-haired California rockers Haim and legendary Irish comic Dara O Briain.

Top tip: The theatre events at the theatre stage can have very long queues, so get in line early if you want to get in. 

Mumsnetters 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."


Shambala Festival


21-24 August 2014, Northamptonshire

If you're a bit of a hippy at heart, Shamabala is the festival for you. Taking place over the long Bank Holiday weekend, it's an intimate festival with a green ethos, and won Green Parent Festival of the Year in 2013. With a lovely chilled-out vibe, plenty of woodland antics and a meadow with boating lake, there's plenty of relaxing downtime to be had.

In terms of performances, Shambala veers slightly towards smaller rootsier acts, with more of the emphasis on atmosphere and performance than big names. There's a dedicated kids' field, a creche with bedtime stories in the Family yurt, a crazy bike track and more.   

Don't miss: Upbeat reggae group The Gentleman's Dub Club, chilled out folk from Lisa Knapp, and A Guy Called Gerald - the godfather of acid house. 

Top tip: Bring a reusable bottle per person - Shamabala has fresh drinking water tap points around the festival to reduce plastic bottle waste.

Mumsnetters 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..."


Beautiful Days

15-17 August 2014, Devon

Now in its 11th year, Beautiful Days in Devon is a charming little festival that aims to have a community atmosphere, with six stages of entertainment, a central children's area and bars serving locally-produced real ale. It's perfect for festival newbies or those taking their kids with them for the first time with just 15,000 in attendance (compared to Glastonbury's 180,000). 

On top of music, there's your usual theatre, comedy and spoken word, plus healing fields, art and sculptures to enjoy. 

Don't miss: American blues artist Seasick Steve, unique electronic act Public Service Broadcasting and folk rock pioneers Steeleye Span.

Top tip: Beautiful Days regularly sells out so if you're on the fence, buy your ticket now. 

Mumsnetters say: "Beautiful Days is my favourite festival - small, lovely location, very family-friendly and the music is perfect. It's very down-to-earth (no glamping and VIP areas to be seen) and it's easy to get out to the shops in Honiton (or to the local pubs if you fancy a pint and a flushing toilet)."


Best of the rest...

Wilderness (pictured) - Combining nature, culture and music with great food in the lovely setting of Cornbury Park, Wilderness returns for its third year. Enjoy a hot tub under the stars, try fly fishing, book a pony ride for your DCs and watch headliners like Metronomy and London Grammar. 7-10 Aug 2014, Oxfordshire | More info

Elderflower Fields - Very popular with Mumsnetters, Elderflower Fields this year takes place in the lush surroundings of Ashdown Forest. This family-oriented weekend takes place in late May, and promises 40 acts across two stages, sports and arts camps for kids and lots of locally-produced food. 23-26 May 2014, East Sussex | More info

Deer Shed - Offering a cardboard castle making workshop for the kids and great science demos like dry ice busking (among other imaginative activities), there's also top notch comedy to be enjoyed, plus music like British Sea Power. And all in an easy-to-get-to location just off the A1. 25-27 July, North Yorkshire | More info

Curious Arts Festival - Billing itself as a "glittering celebration of talent", literary Curious Arts Festival brings a local feel to a weekend festival, set on the south coast of New Forest so you can take in music, comedy and more with a sea view. Don't miss the live drawing classes, cricket, and 'Reuben Feels', an immersive theatre experience. 18-20 July, Hampshire | More info

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Last updated: almost 2 years ago