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.

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.


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


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


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.


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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