Jul 11, 2013

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This summer’s top events and festivals

With the school summer holidays around the corner for much of the UK, and the fantastic weather encouraging us all to get outdoors, you may be trying to come up with ideas to keep the family entertained.

And whether you’re looking for things to do now or later in the summer holidays, the UK is packed full of fun, exciting and unusual events and festivals that all of the family will enjoy.

Here is a round-up of just some of what’s on offer to get you started…

Family festival fun

Camp Bestival – Dorset

This fun family festival runs from August 1 – 4 and is set in Lulworth Castle on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.

Grown-ups can enjoy relaxing while listening to music from artists such as Richard Hawley, the Levellers, Labyrinth and the Proclaimers, while performances for the kids include the likes of Horrible Histories and Mr Tumble.

Children can also be kept entertained by trying their hand at circus skills and theatre workshops or by visiting attractions such as the Insect Circus and Art Town.

An adult weekend ticket with camping from Thursday costs £190, children’s weekend tickets for those aged 15-17 cost £113, 11-14s get in for £98, and under 10s go free – however a ticket is required.

Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – Bristol

Held from August 8-11, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is the largest event of its type in Europe. A free family event, the festival showcases around 150 hot air balloons as they take to the skies and exhibit a multi-coloured spectacle over the city of Bristol.

Balloon ascents happen at 6am and 6pm, and there are also a variety of family activities to keep you entertained such as food stalls, music, shopping and fairground rides. There are also air shows throughout the day, displays and a fireworks finale.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Looking for something a bit different?

Buddhafield – Somerset

If you are looking for an alternative festival and something to nourish the soul, why not head to Buddhafield this year?

Whether you are a practicing Buddhist or just intrigued to learn more, this festival focuses on the teaching, discussion and study of this way of life. You can get involved in meditation, yoga and Tai Chi, visit the vegetarian and vegan cafes, and attend workshops focusing on movement, dance, music and theatre.



The Wilderness Festival – Oxfordshire

Held from August 8-11, the Wilderness Festival is a celebration of the great outdoors held in the enchanting Cornbury Deer Park in Oxfordshire.

An award-winning mix of live music, contemporary arts, theatre and gastronomical delights awaits and you can get involved in activities such as green crafts, meditation, woodland medicine walks, horse riding, wild swims, den building and foraging. You can also pay a visit to the house of fairy tales, unicorn theatre and debating hall.

Children can attend this festival but  those aged 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

For arty types

Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Edinburgh

This three-week event running from August 2–26 is the largest arts festival in the world and showcases a variety of acts, exhibitions, concerts and workshops from across the entire spectrum of the arts world.

Whether your taste is comedy, musicals, dance, theatre or opera, the numerous stages across the city will present visitors with both well-known and emerging artists.

It will take some organisation to plan your trip due to the sheer scale of it, so make sure you do some research on the official website and plan ahead.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe © Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Liverpool International Music Festival – Liverpool

Held over the August Bank Holiday weekend, the former Mathew Street Festival will be showcasing a variety of music from a number of different genres.

Beautiful Sefton Park in Aigburth will be the setting for part of the event, with acts such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra taking to the stage. And no musical event in Liverpool would be complete without a nod to the Beatles, so enjoy a whole day dedicated to the Fab Four.

The Pier Head is the other venue for the festival and it will showcase a variety of acts from famous faces such as Little Mix and Stooshe through to local Liverpool talent.

For foodies

The Big Festival – Cotswolds

Foodies and music lovers come together for this two-day festival set in the Cotswolds and held by Jamie Oliver and Alex James. Running on August 31 and September 1, visitors can either purchase a day ticket or make a weekend of it by camping from Friday night.

Tantalise your taste buds with demos from leading chefs, enjoy music from top artists and visit various stands showcasing a variety of local produce. You can even brush up on your own culinary skills by attending a cookery class or go along to a Q&A session to ask those burning foodie questions you have always wondered about.

Ticket prices vary throughout the weekend depending on which date you are attending. For more information, visit the Big Festival website.

The big festival

The Big Cheese Festival – Wales

Held in the home of the popular cheese Caerphilly, this festival celebrates all things to do with this scrumptious food.

There’ll be no watching your waistline at this mouth-watering event as you take part in tastings, visit stalls from more than 50 Welsh producers, and watch ‘the great cheese race.’

Totally free to get in, families can also enjoy a funfair, falconry display, folk dancing, street acts and fire eating.

So, there is plenty going on around the country and, of course, there are also countless music festivals taking place. Glastonbury opened the season a couple of weeks ago and there are plenty more to look forward to. For more information, read our recent blog post ‘Summer festivals for first timers’.

What events and festivals are happening where you live that you would recommend to fellow readers? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!

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