By Jasmine Stephens, Family Editor
If there’s one thing I remember like clockwork at 9am on the first Monday of every single school break, it’s that I need to get much better at planning our holiday activities in advance and not rely on googling ‘Help me!’ to find things to occupy our time. There is a huge range of family-friendly festivals and events all across the country this summer; some free, some requiring tickets, some in a city centre and others in a field or woodland, but all offering a great chance to get out and have some fun with your kids. Here are a few ideas to inspire the parents like me that may need a little help in planning ahead.
24-25 May 2015
Fairy Festival, Holt Hall, Norfolk
A magical event held in Holt Hall’s ancient woodlands, which includes bands, acts, storytellers, workshops, giant fairies, over-sized squirrels and a Grand Finale presided over by the Fairy King and Queen. Embrace the atmosphere and come dressed up as anything from a wildflower to a pirate.
21 – 31 May 2015
Hay Festival, Hay on Wye, Wales
An annual literature festival, the Hay Festival has a special programme in the Hay Fever Courtyard with events and activities from book signings to arts and crafts that will delight everyone from toddlers to teens.
For more details and tickets see www.hayfestival.com
29-31 May 2015
Wychwood festival, Gloucestershire
Britain’s best-loved family festival returns for its 11th year, boasting acts from UB40, The Proclaimers and Boney M to Dick and Dom and Justin Fletcher; let’s face it, we all know who’s going to draw the biggest – or should that be the shortest – crowd. Add to that a kids’ literature festival in conjunction with Waterstones, comedy acts and a mega roller disco and the whole family is guaranteed a great weekend.
For more details and tickets seehttp://wychwoodfestival.com/
11 – 14 June 2015
The Eden Festival, Dumfries and Galloway
Set in the stunning Raehills Meadows and renowned for its friendly atmosphere, the Eden Festival is an environmentally conscious celebration of community, music and arts. You’ll discover 9 different stages including a kids’ arena, drive in cinema, comedy, circus tent, art works and of course an eclectic mix of music.
For more details and tickets see www.edenfestival.co.uk
20 June 2015
‘Countryside Comes to Town’, Blackburn
A free family event featuring a petting farm, maypole dancing, Shaun the Sheep, an insect roadshow, a bee parade, an Ugly Bug Ball, a performance stage, a 20 foot inflatable pig by theatre company Whalley Range All Stars and an appearance by CBeebies’ star and mummies’ favourite Mr Bloom.
For details see http://www.blackburnbid.co.uk/events/countryside-comes-town/
30 June – 2 July 2015
The 3foot People Festival, Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex
The 3foot People Festival is the largest outdoor festival exclusively for pre-school aged children. The boutique event held in a beautiful village of tents and tepees will include arts and craft sessions, a mini-farm, an enormous sandpit, storytelling and much more.
For more details and tickets see www.chelmsford.gov.uk/3foot
17 – 19 July 2015
Bristol Harbour Festival, Bristol
One of the country’s largest free festivals along 2 miles of Bristol’s harbour, it features a dance village, tall ships to explore, 3 music stages, boating entertainment, regional food markets and a circus mecca by Cirque Bijou.
For more details see http://bristolharbourfestival.co.uk/
24 – 26 July 2015
Tramlines Festival, Sheffield
A ‘discovery festival’ held at Weston Park, this year’s event features The Charlatans, Basement Jaxx and the Wu Tang Clan. The event also includes activities such as break-dancing battles, street theatre, spray-can art and African percussion workshops and the Folk Forest will host woodcraft, fire-lighting and team games. Put this together with independent street food stalls and real ale and you’ve got an event to please the whole family.
For more details and tickets see www.tramlines.org.uk
31 July – 2 August 2015
Standon Calling, Hertfordshire
The 10th anniversary of the boutique festival this year features Basement Jaxx, but perhaps more importantly for the family visitor, it also has a special family programme with activities from dancing masterclasses to giant bubbles to circus skills to bedtime stories and yoga. A separate kids’ area with a view of the main stage and a chill-out space featuring activities for teenagers mean it truly caters for every age group.
For more details see https://www.standon-calling.com/
6 – 9 August 2015
Bristol’s International Balloon Fiesta
Europe’s largest hot air balloon festival expects over half a million visitors to come and watch 150 balloons in the grounds of Ashton Court Estate as they take off each dawn and dusk. The event also showcases local music talent at the Bandstand or you may like to get your kicks at the Fiesta fairground.
For more details see www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk