Top UK festivals for families

A growing number of family friendly festivals offer a great opportunity to spend quality time with your partner and kids. From music to poetry and food to books, there is a festival taking place in the UK this spring, summer and autumn to appeal to all desires.   Most festivals include areas for camping so you can enjoy time in the great outdoors, yet also have a focus on the other attractions. StAnza: Scotland's International Poetry Festival Where: St Andrews, Fife When: March 5 to 9, times vary What: StAnza 2014 will be on the theme of what "home" means to poets in Scotland and beyond. The festival theme will be A Common Wealth of Poetry and there will be a focus on Poetry in Motion, all to celebrate the Commonwealth Games and Scotland's cultural connections with the Commonwealth. See StAnza Cwlwm Celtaidd What: Porthcawl, Wales When: March 7 to 9 What: A family festival of music, song, dance and workshops based in the Grand Pavilion on the town’s seafront. www.cwlwmceltaidd.org Storm of Stories When: Suffolk When: March 28 to April 6 What: Suffolk-based theatre company, Wonderful Beast, hosts the fun storytelling festival including a host of professional performers that will visit schools, libraries and accessible venues in Leiston, Aldeburgh, Saxmundham and Framlingham. Audiences will be treated to inspiring performances, including Actability Theatre Company, Collecting Stories with Caroline Moorehead and a specially commissioned community opera, The Six Swans. See Storm of Stories Homecoming Scotland 2014: John Muir Festival Various Venues Along The John Muir Way, Dunbar, East Lothian When: Apr 17 to 26 What: The John Muir Festival will celebrate the life and legacy of John Muir, the Scots born naturalist and founder of America's national Parks. The event takes place along the length of the John Muir Way, a new national pathway that stretches from Dunbar in the east to Helensburgh in the west. See SNH The Islay Festival of Music and Malt West coast of Scotland When: Usually at the end of May, date for 2014 TBC What: The clue is in the title of the festival! You’ll enjoy a varied programme of traditional music, ceilidhs, Gaelic lessons, golf, bowling and whisky tasting on this beautiful low-lying west coast island. See Islay Fest BAMfest Where: North Yorkshire When: May 30 to June 1 What: Acclaimed as North Yorkshire's premier acoustic music festival, in 2014 the line up of acts includes The Blues Band, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Martin Carthy, Babajack, The Young'uns and Jez Lowe, among the many dozens. An additional campsite this year will give space for even more overnighters. See Bamfest Beacon Festival Oxfordshire When: June 20 to 22 What: Billed as a “boutique” family event that also celebrates the longest day of summer, this festival takes place in the beautiful Chiltern Hills in south Oxfordshire. The festival plays host to more than 40 bands, including Rusty Shackle, BonGiovi, Marahaja Blues, Oye Santana, M.F.U, Billy Watman and The Hazzards. Families can also expect some amazing food, a creative shopping experience, art exhibition, workshops and a children’s zone. There is a camping area, including “posh tents”. See Beacon Festival Beverley Folk and Roots Festival 2014 Where: Yorkshire When: June 20 to 22 What: Headline acts include Billy Bragg, Chas n Dave, Home Service, Thea Gilmore, Martin & Eliza Carthy, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar at this family friendly festival. Now in its 30th year the festival claims to be small enough to have a friendly cosy atmosphere yet big enough to book the very best in folk and roots music. See Beverley Festival Alsager Music Festival Where: Cheshire When: July 12 to 13 What: More than 20 artists perform across three stages in a beautiful setting and with a host of family friendly music. The first act to be announced is Kitten Pyramid. See Alsager Music Festival Southern Fried Where: Perth When: July, dates TBC What: Perth’s festival of American roots music offers an eclectic mix of country and blues acts. See Southern Fried Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Where: Glasgow, various venues When: July 23 to August 3 What: A Scottish highlight for anyone sporty, or not, is the Games 2014, which comes to the city of Glasgow this summer. There will be plenty of free events to attend if you have not got tickets and various cultural festivals taking place during the same period. See Games 2014 Farmfestival 2014 Where: Somerset When: August 1 to 3 What: Music and a farmers' market are the unusual partners for this popular festival. The musical line up includes Public Service Broadcasting, Melt Yourself Down, Alpines, Beans on Toast, Emily and the Woods and Skinny Lister, while festivalgoers can also stroll the stalls of a large number of independent food suppliers. This year there is also a larger family camping area with dedicated attendants. Blue Skies Where: Dundee When: August, dates TBC What: Dundee’s festival of kite flying, stargazing and rainbow chasing is perfect for families and fun-loving couples. See Dundeeblueskies.co.uk The Braemar Gathering Where: Scottish Highlands When: September 6 What: The acclaimed Highland Games of which Her Majesty is the Queen patron. Added to this, the Royal Family attends every year so you can enjoy a spot of Royals spotting. From the InterServices Tug of War to the magisterial sounds of the Massed Pipe Bands, the Gathering is a fantastic outdoors event to be enjoyed by all. See The Gathering Wigtown Book Festival Where: Dumfries and Galloway When: September 26 to October 5 What: The 10-day festival takes place in Scotland’s book town and offers all kinds of bookish and literary interest for a wide age range. Expect author talks, workshops, group readings and other book-related activities. See Book Fest Lockerbie Jazz Festival Where: Scottish Borders When: End of September, dates TBC What: A lively festival brings the Borders to life for a couple of days. The sounds are mostly contemporary and the backdrop is the delightful Lowlands. See  Lockerbie Jazz Festival The Enchanted Forest Where: Perthshire When: October 3 to 26 What: Taking place in Perthshire “Big Tree Country” the unique outdoor light show offers an audio-visual feast that illuminates the woodlands close to Pitlochry. See Enchanted Forest Callander Jazz and Blues festival Where: Central Scotland When: October 3 to 5 What: With its self-proclaimed mission to “jazz up the Trossachs”, this festival proudly presents emotive and full-bodied music every September. See Callander Jazz and Blues Festival  Other festivals to look out for Isle of Bute Jazz Festival May 2 to 5, Isle of Bute Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival May 3 to 4, Perthshire Orkney Folk Festival May 22 to 25, northern Scotland Tweedlove Bike Festival May 24 to June 8, Scottish Borders Solas Festival June 20 to 22, Perth Scottish Traditional Boast Festival June 27 to 29, Aberdeenshire

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