Feature: Alternative festival breaks for all the family

Thursday, 9 June 2011 12:34 PM

Good news. The festival season is here! All over the UK and Europe, hordes of revellers are camping out in verdant fields to listen to the latest band and socialise with new or old friends. But with the crux of the festival scene mainly catering to care-free young people in their late teens or 20s, many of us are put off by the idea of spending a muddy weekend under the stars. But there are hosts of alternative festivals catering for families and people of all ages. And not all of them are just about music! So following on with our guide to strange and unique festivals over the county, get in that festival mood with part two...

Fun for all the family

One of the most renowned family friendly festivals in the UK, GuilFest is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, so get down here for some extra special celebrations! Set in the grounds of Stoke Park, revel with 20,000 people as you camp out only 10 minutes from Guildford High Street. This charming cobbled town is one of England’s oldest towns and a haven for shopping. But you won’t have much time to explore with the three day line-up between July 15th and 17th! As well as listening to headliners Echo and the Bunnymen and Ziggy Marley, there’s an eclectic mixture of comedy, theatre, arts and crafts, and a vintage fair. The huge 150 foot beer tent serves up the home brewed GuilFest ale, and the eight music stages playing all genres from rock to reggae will please everyone. But let’s not forget the kids! Voted the best family friendly festival in the country, part of GuilFest’s success has to do with Kid Zone, a large area designated especially for the little ones. Expect to see a whole range of activities to keep them entertained, including a special VIP visit from Peppa Pig! There will also be theatre productions of fairy tale classics like Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs alongside fire shows and acrobatic displays. Or they can just muck in with an art or music workshop, and dress up in fancy dress for the Sunday parade. Tickets for the weekend with camping
cost £120 for adults and £70 for children.

Helping the children of the third world

Another fantastic festival for all ages is Festinho, held in the grounds of a stately home in Bedfordshire. Beginning as a huge birthday party around seven years ago, it has now evolved into a laid-back festival of music and wacky goings-on for all ages. Expect bands from England and Brazil to bash out tunes from genres ranging from folk to hip-hop. Run by a dedicated band of volunteers, all workers and bands give their time for free to raise money for Action for Brazil’s Children Trust. This charity helps the desolate kids of the South American country, so definitely a good cause! A quiet campsite neighbours the main camping zone, great for families with young children, and both offer clean toilets and showers. And if you want to live it up a little, book one of the chic SoulPads, which are pre-erected tipi like structures with lots of comfy cushions! The event takes place between August 26-28, and adult tickets for the weekend begin at £90.

An eclectic mix of everything!

Serving up a mixture of music, comedy, and food heaven, Lounge on the Farm is being held between July 8 and 10 on agricultural land near the beautiful cathedral town of Canterbury. Camp out for the whole duration or rent a pre-erected tipi, yurt, or bell tent for that great glamping feeling. Chuckle over comedy headliners Holly Walsh, Sean Hughes, and Phil Kay, and listen to the likes of The Streets and Annie Mac throughout the day. The food at the festival is taken very seriously, with butchers, bakers, and cake makers all over Kent turning up to prepare delicious morsels. Hog roasts will abound alongside vegan food, sweet treats and pastries, and two farmhouse restaurants will serve ale and pies. Kids can also have fun in the Little Lounge, which will feature break dancing and beat boxing workshops, yoga lessons, puppetry, and a battle of the bands.

Art for everyone

Celebrating the great British outdoors and all things creative, the Wilderness festival is being held in Oxfordshire between August 12 and 14. Expect live music and dancing from the likes of Mercury Rev and Toots and the Maytals, delicious food on offer, intellectual debate, public lectures, and a lakeside spa with a sauna, steam room, and sweat lodge! Kids are catered for with fancy dress adventures and workshops, and a boutique babysitting service lets you know they’re in good hands! Yurts are also available for luxurious campers.

So there you are: four unique festivals with a family friendly ethos. Enjoy!

Bonfire Night celebrations in England

England's best firework displays for Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the 5th of November gunpowder, treason and plot ....... If you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate Bonfire Night tomorrow complete with cracking displays, sparklers and toffee apples, then VisitEngland have put together a list of the best places to go.

riding the rollercoasters in Europe's parks

Feature: Alternative theme-park breaks for all the family

Everyone loves theme parks: they’re fun, action packed, and always full of surprises. While America is renowned for its mega parks, there are a few little known gems in Europe. This was after all the place where they were born!

revellers enjoying one of Britain's festivals

Feature: Family friendly festivals for the summer

With the British summer well and truly upon us, people from all over the country are busy making plans for festivals. Sitting on the grass, eating delicious organic food, and listening to favourite or new bands make summer festivals brilliant fun.

summer festivals with a difference

Feature: Festival fun for all ages

Lounging on the cool grass in the summer sun, enjoying some unique music, and trying things you can’t realistically find in your home town (such as perry and vegan food!). Along with lounging on dandelion grass, this best defines a British festival.

Alternative Christmas markets

Top five alternative Christmas markets

Forget the likes of Germany and Eastern European favourites, Budapest, Krakow and Prague this year and why not head to some alternative Christmas market destinations for something a little different this festive season?

Active festive breaks on the Isle of Wight

Active family breaks to beat the Christmas bulge

There is still time to plan an active escape for the holidays - and walk off that Christmas turkey. For those looking for an opportunity to get away from loud presents and sit-down dinners, the Isle of Wight has some festive active breaks in store.

European beer festival great for short break

Feature: short breaks to European beer festivals

Short breaks are a great way to experience a long lazy weekend abroad, and with the next bank holiday just around the corner many people are planning their next break already. While trips to fantastic European cities are a great way to spend a few days together with friends or lovers, seeing sights and dining at fine restaurants

James Bond, Casino Royale

Top James Bond experiences to unlock your inner 007

With the latest James Bond book written by William Boyd, about be launched next week, fans will be eager to get their fix of the much-loved British spy. To celebrate the launch, VisitEngland have released a list of the top Bond-themed activities to try out here at home on a short break.

Coffee with a local in Amsterdam

Amsterdam

This week IdealShortBreaks.co.uk is in Amsterdam drinking strong black coffee with local Machteld Ligtvoet, who gives us tips on some of his favourite local haunts – including where you can go to find one of the best views of the city.

Top five alternative Christmas markets

Alternative Christmas markets

Forget the likes of Germany and Eastern European favourites, Budapest, Krakow and Prague this year and why not head to some alternative Christmas market destinations for something a little different this festive season?