Guide to Britain's best outdoor, music, craft and food festivals

From the Herbrides to the Channel Islands, celebrate summer with live music, traditional crafts, local food and drink, wild swimming, hiking and more with our pick of some of Britain's best festivals for 2018

27th April 2018
Tent field

Best music festivals

Tiree Music FestivalInner Hebrides, Scotland, 13-15 July

aerial view of Three music festival
The Tiree Music Festival/Credit: Alan Peebles

The Tiree Music Festival is a small, family-friendly festival on the tiny Isle of Tiree in Inner Hebrides. Its white sandy beaches and choppy waters are loved by international surfers. Amongst the acts so far announced are Elephant Sessions and Martyn Joseph. Adult tickets £85

HebceltStornoway, Isle of Lewis, 18-21 July

Image from Hebcelt festival
Taking place in the grounds of Lews Castle overlooking Stornoway harbour/Credit: Hebcelt Festival

Taking place in the grounds of Lews Castle overlooking Stornoway harbour (with daily ferries to Ullapool and the Isles), this magnificent location is where local, international, traditional and new Celtic musicians are showcased. This year Deacon Blue, The Fratellis, and more. Adult ticket £93

Sark Summer Festival, Sark, 6-8 July

Cyclists push bikes across the iconic La Coupée in Sark/Credit: Alamy
Cyclists push bikes across the iconic La Coupée in Sark/Credit: Alamy

The beautiful island of Sark hosts an array of live music, arts and crafts, yoga, tai chi, choir singing and plenty of good local food and drink at its annual summer festival. Camp nearby or take a look at our guide to Sark

Deer Shed Festival 9Yorkshire, 20-22 July

children enjoying Deer Shed festival
Making Waves family-friendly festival in Yorkshire/Credit: Deer Shed Festival

This year's theme is 'Making Waves' at the ultimate inter-generational family-friendly festival.. Music (Goldfrapp, Drenge, Field Music, Public Service Broadcasting, Gaz Coombes), comedy, sports and workshops, plus yoga, massage and hot tubs. Adult from £145

WOMAD, Wiltshire, 26-29 July

children enjoying the high ropes at womad festival
A global fiesta of music, food, dance & art/Credit: Womad Festival

Folding seats are welcome at Charlton Park grounds and arboretum where WOMAD celebrates global and British music and dance, with plenty of fusion. This year will see music from Amadou & Mariam, Camille, and Django Django. Adult tickets from £185.

Green Man, Brecon Beacons, 16-19 August

a huge 3D sculpture of a forest woman woven from organic materials
Set in the Brecon Beacons, Green Man Festival/Credit: Olivia Williams

Set within miles the Brecon Beacons, Green Man festival 2018 offers live music, comedy, theatre, walks, talks and interactive installations. If you need a sit down after all of that there is also health and holistic rejuvenation, and over one hundred independently brewed beers and ciders more sampling. Adult £180

Festival No 6, Portmeirion, North Wales, 6-9 September

Visitors paddle board in the sea
The Italianate village of Portmeirion in North Wales/Credit: Lucy Whitehead

The Italianate village of Portmeirion in North Wales hosts an eclectic music, arts and culture weekend. While the centre stage area can be busy, there's plenty of room to escape into exquisite coastal estuarine landscape. There is be a vast programme of music and the arts, with performances from The The and Franz Ferdinand. A torch lit procession makes its way through the village in the evening, and to wake up, a morning run through the Gwyllt Woodland followed by paddle-boarding is on offer. Adult from £180

Forest Live 2018, various dates and locations 

Forestry Commission forest
Head to the forest this summer for a unique concert in spectacular grounds/Credit: Getty

Every summer, The Forestry Commission opens spaces within some of the UK's most spectacular forests, to host unique concerts in a magical environment. This year Paloma Faith, Gary Barlow, and Kasabian are amongst those announced. Previous gigs have included Sir Tom Jones, Blondie, Paul Weller, Status Quo, and Robert Plant to name a few.

WychwoodCheltenham Racecourse, 1-3 June

sun shines on the stage at the festival as a band performs
WychwoodCheltenham Racecourse/Credit: Martin Reynolds

Alongside music from Shed Seven and The Gypsy Kings, this family-friendly festival offers a wealth of entertainment, a lot of which you can join in yourself. Expect Bhangra, comedy, pub quizzes, and crafting. Adult £137.50

Shambala, Northamptonshire, 24-27 August

a family has a go on the teleconfusion installation
Shambala in Northamptonshire/Credit: Ben Daure

Shambala is a utopia of eclectic eccentricity, with dance workshops, music lessons, sea shanty singing and mushroom growing. It is extremely family friendly, and their jam-packed kids' area "Playtopia" features sandpits, a golf course, craft workshops and generally an area where kids can roam wild. For those aged between 8 and 12, there is 'Bush Camp' - an off-site, overnight camping adventure hosted by storyteller and bush craft master, Chris Holland.

Committed to being as environmentally sustainable as possible, Shambala has won multiple awards for its sustainability efforts. It is now 100% renewably powered, and meat and fish free. Adult from £134.

Starry Skies, Monmouthshire, 8-12 August

Starry Skies
Enjoy an adventure at Starry Skies Festival this summer

Reconnect with nature at Starry Skies Family Camp in Wales. Ideal for families with young children, this festival encourages exploring. From climbing trees to building dens, fishing in streams or going on woodland adventures, this is a weekend children young and old will enjoy. This year the event takes place in the new location of Usk in Monmouthshire. 

Latitude, Suffolk, 12-15 July

A big top tent can be seen behind people crossing the river
Latitude Festival, Suffolk/Credit: Amy Azarinejad

With massive headline acts The Killers and Solange, plus comedy, cabaret, theatre, art, literature, poetry and more - Latitude is one of the most vibrant and exciting escapes of the summer. Throw caution to the wind as you dive into lake swimming, or get lost in the enigmatic woodland areas of Pandora's Playground and The Faraway Forest. In the children's Enchanted Forest, they can learn circus skills or wildlife crafts, meet award winning authors, or take part in kids' yoga. Adult £197.50

Truck Festival, Oxfordshire, 20-22 July

a man jumps from the giant 3D sign saying Truck
Credit: Sarah Koury

Priding themselves as an "anti-major festival" festival, they offer a real family friendly weekend. As well as great music (De la Soul, The Courteeners), food, and beer, there is a dedicated area of circus activities, children's shows, puppets, and the staple Ferris wheel and helter-skelter. From £105.

Larmer Tree Festival, Wiltshire, 20-22 July

People take part in a yoga session
Larmer Tree festival/Credit: Owen Tetley

Larmer Tree defines itself as 'the quintessential summer party'. Both intimate and eccentric, the festival has remained small despite its 27 years. Presenting top-notch music, outdoor theatre, and comedy, it's a festival which truly promotes a community shindig.

Best outdoor festivals

South West Outdoor Festival, Devon, 5-7 October

The coast of Salcombe and site of the festival
Learn outdoor skills at the South West Outdoor Festival/credit: Getty

Hosted by the National Trust, this festival incorporates stargazing, wild swimming, hiking, biking, coasteering and camp cooking with films, live local musicians and talks by adventurers. It's a real celebration of outdoor activities. Adult ticket £40

Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire, 2- 5 August

People wade in the water in the setting sun
Credit: Fanaticlive/ Carolina Faruolo

Four days of camping, music, the arts, skills and activities. With music from Nile Rogers and Chic you can also enjoy wild-swimming, fly-fishing, archery, wild running, cricket, and more. Plus there is a horse-riding school for the little ones. Adult from £179.50

The Green Gathering, Chepstow, 2-5 August

a field of tipis at the festival
credit: Stefan Handy

Intimate solar stages showcase up-and-coming acts, legendary favourites, DJs, poets, and activists. There will be magicians and mystics, crafts, permaculture, campaigns, and healing. Dance at a rave, and then wake up to an eco-breakfast, and put the world to rights. Spring advance ticket: £100

Major Oak Woodland Festival, Sherwood Forest, 9-10 June

the tree at the centre of the festival
Credit: Nottinghamshire County Council

Join the Sherwood Forest Trust for a weekend celebrating the great British woodland, in the heart of Sherwood Forest. There will be demonstrations and displays across the weekend, showcasing both the traditional and modern-day management techniques that have shaped the forests we see today. FREE entry.

The Robin Hood Festival, Sherwood Forest, dates TBC

Two men sword fight at the festival
credit: Nottinghamshire County Council

Returning for its 34th incarnation, and this year organised by the RSPB, expect a fun filled week-long festival with activities, a host of costumed characters, and a truly fantastic experience. Price TBC.

Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Shropshire, 24-27 August

a man with a megaphone and wearing a crash helmet
Credit: Richard Hammerton

A friendly festival in seated marquees by the River Severn. It features international legends but focuses on the great British folk tradition, from jigs and sea shanties to Turin Brakes. Workshops offer yoga, dance and kids' activities. Adult from £145.

The Good Life Festival, Flintshire, 14-16 September

a village of tents out the front of a stately home
credit: Vic Phillips

Eclectic music - from disco to swing - meets poetry, bush-craft, foraging and abseiling in the grounds of Hawarden Estate. A celebration of real food, vintage tweed, bicycles, books, singing and tree-climbing. Adult from £109.

Unearthed in a Field festival, Pembrokeshire 29 June - 1 July

Unearthed in a Field Festival
Unearthed in a Field Festival/Credit: Peter Bounds


The three-day ‘Unearthed in a Field Festival’ returns to the Pembrokeshire countryside near St Davids for a 6th year this June, for a celebration of live music, arts, performance, workshops and discussion.

Festival-goers can also look forward to spectacular trapeze and fire show performances, as well as a kids tent, workshop area where you can learn willow weaving, the digeridoo, daily yoga and meditation, poetry and much more.

National Trust WoodFest, Essex, 7- 9 September

The sun shines through the grass in Hatfield forest
credit: getty

Local music and open mic music programme from Friday to Sunday, and stalls open Saturday and Sunday. Traditional crafts being sold and crafted before you. Camping, caravanning and food stalls. FREE event (book pitch for camping).

Top of the Gorge Festival, Cheddar Gorge, 22 -24 June

A couple relates at the top of Cheddar Gorge
credit: getty

Challenge yourself with outdoor action, relax with live music and enjoy local food. There will be axe-throwing, guided walks, crafts, outdoor yoga, and fun competitive sport - all at the top of the incredible Cheddar Gorge. Adult £50, dogs are welcome!

The Neverworld Festival, Kent, 2- 5 August

people dressed as pirates at the festival
credit: Jason Purple

Second star to the right, and party on till morning. If you have ever wanted to explore Neverland, and fight pirates or swim with mermaids, Neverworld Festival may just be your dream come true. Made up of three magical realms, children and parents alike will love this festival. Now that is a happy thought.

Camp Wildfire, Sevenoaks, 31 August -3 September

People paddle board in the lake at the festival
credit: Camp Wildfire

Camp Wildfire promises festival goers an unforgettable weekend of adventure activities and forest parties. This is not one for the children though, and is exclusively for adults. Release your inner child at Camp Wildfire with adventure sports, bush craft, and much more including with DJs and live music.
 

BBC Countryfile Live, Oxfordshire, 2-5 August

Countryfile live
Join the TV show at the third BBC Countryfile Live event at Blenheim Palace

Join the Countryfile presenters for a spectacular family feel-good show, where you'll get unprecedented access behind the scenes. There'll be plenty of surprises along the way, from acrobats to animal antics. Matt, John, Adam, Ellie, Anita, Tom and Charlotte will take to the stage to share their passion for the nation's favourite programme. 

Best food festivals

The Big Feastival, Oxfordshire, 24 - 26 August

The swings at the festival with lots of lights
credit: Justin Goff / The Big Feastival 2017

Chefs including Raymond Blanc, Marco Pierre White, and Masterchef winner Saliha Mahmoon Ahmed. Farm park, vintage fun fair, children's entertainer Justin Fletcher, and Peppa Pig, and Alex James' Cheese Bar, cookery schools, and music from Basement Jaxx, David Rodigan, and Paloma Faith. Adult £179.50

National Trust Festival of Food & Drink, Nottinghamshire, 15-16 September

The church in Clumber Park where the festival is held
Credit: Getty

Back for its sixth year, this is the biggest food fest in the region. Food and drink producers, celebrity chefs, street food, and pop-up cafes. Expect also live music and cookery schools. Adult day £7

Shrewsbury Food Festival, Shrewsbury, 23-24 June

visitors enjoying the food festival sitting in the sun, on the grass or in chairs
Credit: Shrewsbury Food Festival

Sample the delights of Shropshire's artisan food producers amidst 29 acres of picturesque parkland. With a packed programme of entertainment, there is something for whole family to enjoy. Adult £8

Arts & culture

Bath Festival, Bath, 11-27 May

musical notes strung up down Milsom Street in Bath
credit: James Cheadle

Politics, poetry, music, literature, and everything in between from some of the best speakers, singers, guests, and performers the UK has to offer. Individual tickets to be bought for each event.

Hay Festival Wales, Brecon Beacons, 24 May - 03 June

A woman sits and read a book in a deck chair
credit: Joseph Albert Hainey

Hay Festival takes place on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons and includes talks, poetry and music from Benjamin Zephaniah, music from Laura Mvula, comedy from Jeremy Hardy, and hundreds of other guests including Rose McGowan, Gordon Brown, and Bear Grylls. The Wild Garden is new this year, with workshops in camp-fire cookery, RSPB safari and treasure hunts, and activities from The Wildlife Trusts.Tickets range between £5 and £40.

26 May

bluebells at Blickling estate
credit: getty

To celebrate the return of our beautiful bluebells, Blickling Estate is turning blue for a whole month. The Blue Festival will culminate with an afternoon of music in the garden on Saturday 26 May, from 3pm - 7pm. Adult £12.

National Trust Wimpole History Festival, Cambridgeshire, 22 - 24 June

The facade of Wimpole Estate
credit: getty

A weekend of history and heritage for the whole family, set in the beautiful Wimpole Estate with its country mansion, rolling parkland and library of more than 10,000 books. With talks, book signings, and living history, there will be activities for young history lovers too, including sword school and dressing up as a Roman Emperor. Tickets TBC  

National Trust Great Barn Arts Festival, Wiltshire, 26 and 27 May

The walled garden in the Buscot and Coleshill estate
credit: getty

A family friendly Festival of the Arts, offering a wide variety of separately ticketed events ranging from Shakespeare to drumming, medieval storytelling to comedians. The evening opens up to food vans, bars, and music. FREE event (admission to estate applies)

Also Festival, Warwick, 29 June - 01 July

A little boy runs past the 3D sign which reads Also
credit: Also Festival

This "small festival with big ideas" returns to the heart of the Midlands, in a landscape sculpted by Capability Brown. There will be award-winning historians, Nobel Peace Prize nominees, quantum physics, interactive gospel, partying, and much much more. 

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