THE ORIGINAL CORNBURY FESTIVAL JULY 1–3
The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire (www.cornburyfestival.com)
What’s the vibe An eclectic and rather eccentric musical carnival with a dynamic festival-meets-English-country fayre feel.
Musical interludes The impressive line-up includes James Blunt, Cyndi Lauper, Eliza Doolittle, The Faces (featuring Mick Hucknall), Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Status Quo, Olly Murs, The Saw Doctors and more.
For the kids With a promise of a “bigger and better children’s zone than ever”, there’s storytelling by The Yarnsmith, Bollywood dance, family singing sessions with Tin Pan Annie, and children’s yoga.
Added extras Roaming entertainers, a fun-filled fairground, relaxing therapy and massage zone, a farmer’s market, the fabulous Disco Shed and a VIP area.
Where to stay A range of on-site options from pitch-your-own to ready-erected luxury tents at Tangerine Fields or try the quirky luxury of a podpad or the rainbow-coloured beaupads. There are also yurts and their miniature equivalent, squrts.
What it costs £160 for adult weekend camping; 13–16 years £90; two under-12s free per adult.
Extend your stay After the excess, perhaps a little rehab at the Priory? Well, the Priory Inn at nearby Tetbury offers a very relaxed and family-friendly vibe and great food. Children under 12 stay free if sharing parents’ room. B&B prices start from £69 a night.
LARMER TREE FESTIVAL JULY 13–17
Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal, near Salisbury, Wiltshire (www.larmertreefestival.co.uk)
What’s the vibe Celebrating its coming of age (the first festival was in 1990), Larmer Tree is a laid-back escape-from-it-all fest.
Musical interludes Billed as “a festival of acoustic folk and world music, but also roots, blues, jazz, Americana, and reggae”, Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra open the festival, followed over 80 acts across six stages.
For the kids Hands On! workshops and fun craft activities, plus circus skills. There’s also 11 acres of gardens to explore – look out for the resident peacocks and macaws – and an adventure playground.
Added extras Take part in the carnival procession, 150 free workshops, theatre and talks, and a dedicated children’s zone, or take in a movie at the Mark Kermode Film Club. Dance and music classes and a Youth Zone for teens aged 11–17 years.
Where to stay Pitch your own or go for the “comfy camping” option at Wigwam Sam’s majestic tipi village (firstname.lastname@example.org), or book into a Hotel Bell Tent.
What does it cost Adult tickets £197 for five days; 11–17 years £158; 5–10 years £127; under-fives free. (Three- and four-day, and daily tickets also available).
Extend your stay Stay at family-friendly Woolley Grange near Bath with activities for the children and babysitting and pampering for you. One night’s B&B for a family of four costs from £225.
DEER SHED FESTIVAL JULY 22–24
Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, Yorkshire (www.deershedfestival.com)
What’s the vibe Nominated in its inaugural year as Best New Festival, this is a family-friendly music and arts festival set in beautiful North Yorkshire parkland.
Musical interludes Three stages feature a mix of indie rock, folk and country. Mancs favourites I Am Kloot and Nashville starlet Caitlin Rose headline while other bands include “kick-ass audio adventurists” The Go! Team, and The Leisure Society.
For the kids A range of free musical, artistic and energetic pursuits, including seaside fun on an artificial beach, junk modelling and badge-making and, for the musically minded, ukelele workshops.
Added extras Greentop Circus Cabaret in the Big Top, a Saturday night comedy show (with no swearing!), comedy workshops plus James Campbell, the children’s stand-up comedian du choix.
Where to stay On-site camping in tent or camper van (£15). Or stay just down the road at the very swish Crab Manor hotel in a luxury room or, a bit more rock ‘n’ roll, a log cabin.
What does it cost Adult weekend ticket £59; £15 for child six-plus; under-fives are free. Camping is free.
Extend your stay Head towards the seaside town of Scarborough, and stay at The Lodge, a luxury self-catering two-bed property in the grounds of Folkton Hall, visit North Yorkshire Moors, York Railway Museum or indulge in sandy pursuits on Scarborough’s famous beach. About £675 for four nights.
CAMP BESTIVAL JULY 28–31
Lulworth Castle, Dorset (www.campbestival.net)
What’s the vibe The king of family festivals, having won the Best Family Festival prize from 2009–10, the little sister of Bestival is a rocking affair.
Musical interludes Blondie, ABC, Mark Ronson, Eliza Doolittle, The Wonder Stuff, Miss Dynamite and more.
For the kids The Kids Gardens host storytelling and fun workshops, and the Circus Field has performances by Mr Tumble (again) and Zing Zillas. Children love the parade on Dress Up Saturday, and the English National Ballet is also appearing with workshops for budding ballerinas of all ages and abilities.
Added extras There’s a plethora of delicious food on offer from sushi to Thai, fish and chips to Greek kebabs and everything in between, as well as the River Cottage Café. There’s also Boutique Babysitting (book early so you can catch the late-night bands) and a Heavenly Healing and Pamper Lounge for chillin’.
Where to stay Pitch your own or choose from a variety of ready-erected luxury tents and gypsy caravans, yurts and tipis, and Podpads and cute Bellepods. What does it cost Adult weekend camping £170; 11–17 years, £85; under-10s free.
Extend your stay With stunning views over Studland Bay on the Jurassic Coast, The Knoll House hotel has lots to do nearby. From £3,207 full-board for a week for a family of four.
JUST SO FESTIVAL August 19–21
Near Leek, Staffs (www.justsofestival.org)
What’s the vibe A boutique, weekend-long festival of creativity for families.
Musical interludes There’s music, dance and street theatre, plus the chance for your family to take part in the inaugural performance of the Just So Festival choir or join in with the participatory opera of The Emperor’s New Clothes.
For the kids Theatre and puppetry, trails through the woods to find the fairy queen, a jolly Famous Five picnic and donkey rides at the beach. There’s also the chance to meet children’s authors, including David Lucas, or dance in the woods to Polly and the Billets Doux.
Added extras Set amid 65 acres of ancient English woodland in Staffordshire, festival families can immerse themselves in music, art, cinema and dance in the beautiful natural landscape full of enticing discoveries. Around every corner, you might find an amazing light installation, some acoustic jazz or meet a Gruffalo.
Where to stay Weekend tickets include three nights’ camping, either in intimate woodland glades or in adjacent fields overlooking the gorgeous moorlands.
What does it cost £80 for adults; £35 for children; under-threes free.
Extend your stay Stay at Rowan House, a four-star holiday cottage in the heart of the Staffordshire Peak District in the village of Alton (and yes, if your children want still more fun take a day out at Alton Towers). From £264 for three nights.
HARVEST AT JIMMY'S September 9–12
Jimmy’s Farm, Pannington Hall Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk (www. harvestatjimmys.com)
What’s the vibe An end-of-summer celebration showcasing the very best of British food, live performers and bands.
Musical interludes Eliza Doolittle will be performing, alongside Huw Stephens, Gilles Peterson and more.
For the kids Plenty of real-life animals to see, including the cutest little Guinea Pig Village. There’s also an adventure play area, complete with pink tractor, and a dedicated programme of children’s entertainment, including The Gruffalo, den-building in the woods, face painting, animal tours, cooking lessons, craft workshops, and a butterfly house.
Added extras Plenty of fine foods and foodie chefs demonstrating their talents including Mary Berry, Richard Corrigan, Paul Hollywood and Yotam Ottolenghi.
Where to stay Pitch-your-own or glamp it from £350. New for this year is the very civilised option of the Harvest Hotel, with luxurious camping in tipis, yurts and bell tents where you can get breakfast in bed.
What it costs Adult weekend with camping £97.50; children 6–17 years £36; under-fives free. Day tickets also available.
Extend your stay If you’re festivalling with friends, continue the party at the Old Rectory, a ten-bed house near the village of Tattingstone and close to Felixstowe with all mod cons, including a games room. From £3,150.
Read more about Family Festivals, Joe's blog from Harvest At Jimmy's and cool kit to take with you.