People are always asking us which festival is the best!
There’s no easy answer to this as everyone has their own favourites.
Festivals have such a broad reach these days. There really is something for everyone. Do you want luxury or basic facilities, indie or world music, laid-back or party central?
So before you dive in and buy tickets…
We asked all our parent reviewers to share their favourites with you.
These festivals are all tried-and-tested for families. They will all receive our recommended stamp for 2019.
You can read the reviews to give you an idea of what it will be like and whether it’s for you.
The festivals are listed in alphabetical order. We appreciate that there are many more great family festivals not on this list, and it was incredibly difficult for us to choose.
Please check our website for a full list of all our recommended family friendly festivals. And if your favourite one is not on here – please do let us know in the comments below this post.
Best for schooling
23rd – 26th May 2019
Bearded Theory is unique in its provision of an extremely popular Ofsted approved school on the Friday of the festival. Teachers liaise with schools sending out lesson plans. The lessons tend to keep within the theme, such as maths lessons involving calculating costings of various aspects of running a festival.
Aside from the school, there is always an excellent range activities on offer for children of all ages. Older children can enjoy DJing and graffiti workshops in Rogues Hideout. This is alongside top quality food and fantastic music and entertainment. The music is a good mix of old and new bands, with a proper dance tent, and a fun and friendly crowd to match. The unique Red Barrows are a must see!
Best for that 90s feeling
16th – 18th August
Beautiful Days is the perfect festival for anyone who spent the 90s counting down the days to the last weekend of June (nearly) every year. The bands are reminiscent of Glastonbury in its heyday. This year’s line up includes previous Glastonbury headliners Skunk Anansie alongside festival hosts, The Levellers. Newer bands feature too, such as folk punks Blackwater County who wouldn’t have been out of place on the Avalon Stage, mid 90s. The whole vibe brings back those hazy memories.
Best for budding scientists and astronauts
18th – 21st July 2019
This festival is literally out of this world! Prepare the party your socks off under the glorious backdrop of the Jodrell Bank space telescope.
At Bluedot the scientists are as loved as the rockstars. Try your hand at experiments in the Science fields, meet the girl geeks from Manchester Uni, don a biohazard suit and test DNA, try a virtual reality headset, learn about space and take part in stargazing workshops. Highly recommended for kids and explorers age 6-86.
Best for partying
7th – 11th August 2019
Boomtown has put a huge amount of effort into its incredible kids’ field so families can now enjoy a small piece of the madness! For families who like to stay up late, and for friends/partners who can take it in turns to babysit/dance the night away – there really is nothing to compare with Boomtown.
During the day, the interactive stories through the vast site becomes a Narnia of undiscovered treasures. If your children like creating stories or treasure hunts they will love following clues through the maze.
One side of the festival (where the kids’ field is) is relaxed and quiet, and the other side is completely bonkers. Every type of music, heaps of entertainment, immersive theatre, all-night raves in the woods – none of you will ever be bored.
Best for big name kids’ acts
25th – 28th July 2019
Camp Bestival is a hugely fun festival that is specifically aimed at families. The festival puts on some of the biggest names in children’s entertainment. There’s an impressive line up for adults too!
This year the Camp Bestival stages play host to CBeebies stars: Messers Tumble, Maker and Bloom. It even features Shaun the Sheep’s Vegetable Orchestra. While the music line up can’t match those big names, 2019’s includes Nile Rodgers & Chic, Jess Glynne, Annie Mac, Sister Sledge and The Human League.
Best for relaxing
Chilled in a Field
26th – 28th July 2019
Chilled in a Field lives up to its name, as a magical tiny festival that’s small enough to keep an eye on your children while you watch the music. It is not-for-profit with a strong emphasis on community. Everyone is incredibly friendly at this festival, with lots of dressing up and silliness mixed in with some great local bands and DJs.
On a gorgeous site surrounded by woodlands and wheat fields, your children will love getting back to nature, and will especially love the onsite mini steam train!
Best for the ‘posh’ experience
5th – 7th July 2019
Cornbury is great for first-time festival families, or even seasoned festival-goers who enjoy their festivals done nicely. Sparkling loos, fancy food and beautiful people abound. The site is easy to get around and loads of freebies can be garnered over the weekend. Legendary performers (the Beach Boys are headlining this year) and a fun kids’ area make this a fab all-rounder.
Best for trying new things
24th – 27th May 2019
The children’s activities programme at Elderflower Fields is hard to beat for a festival of this size. It offers a host of opportunities in sport, art, nature, science, music and food to be discovered. It’s the ideal first festival for families offering the perfect relaxed camping experience set in the stunning Ashdown Forest. Their food vendors are all sourced locally and on Sunday afternoon all guests are invited to a huge family picnic as part of their tickets.
Best for a day
Folk by the Oak
14th July 2019
Folk by the Oak is lovely, folky one day festival in a leafy park not far from London. Bring your own food if you like (the organisers encourage it!) and enjoy a picnic on the grass while accomplished folk acts play. The thoughtful kids’ activities are in full view of the main stage, meaning both adults and children get to experience the best of this lovely day out. And when the festival comes to a close, your own bed awaits!
Best for a family holiday
12th – 18th August 2019 (with Settler’s Pass ticket, otherwise 15th – 18th August)
Green Man is a beautiful festival nestled at the foot of the Black Mountains. You can buy an additional Settler’s Pass ticket which allows you to stay for seven days, park near your tent and come and go as you please. This gives you the chance to explore the beauty of Wales and do an extra shop for food supplies at Crickhowell.
Apart from the carefully curated music programme (Four Tet, Father John Misty and Idles headlining in 2019), there is loads for children to do and see, including the Little Folk area, science field, aerial displays and chilling out in the giant Green Man sculpture.
Best for inspiring imaginations
Just So Festival
17th – 18th August
Just So is a truly magical place. One moment you could be watching an immersive theatre act by the lake; the next you might be involved in a huge pillow fight on the Village Green, or tramping through mud on the barefoot walk. This is a world of magic, intrigue, curiosity and fantasy. One of outlandish costumes, midnight feasts, fairies, board games and puppetry. It’s a whole world to discover.
Best for jazz
5th – 7th July 2019
Set in the beautiful South Downs in Sussex, Love Supreme features some of the best names in the world of Jazz and Soul. The 2019 line up includes Lauryn Hill, Jamie Cullum and the legend that is Gladys Knight. There are fairground rides and a kids’ area with a great range of free activities.
For festival goers looking for an extra bit of indulgence, there are several options for glamping. You can also upgrade to Supremium for VIP treatment and even book a banquet.
Best for green initiatives
22nd – 25th August 2019
Shambala Festival has led the way in sustainability initiatives in energy, recycling and eradicating plastic use. They went completely meat-free in 2016, and even had a stall selling insect street food. They have a vast array of workshops in subjects include sustainability, community and permaculture. As well as all that Shambala has a huge amount on offer for families, including wood-fired baby baths, a family camp fire, family hot tubs, mini-golf, an overnight bush camp and onsite creche.
The programme is as thick as a phone directory – including fantastic world music, spoken word, theatre, craft workshops, wild food walks, tiny venues offering weird interactive events, and a gorgeous woodland area full of interactive art.
Best for family raving
23rd – 26th May 2019
There are some fantastic artists performing at Shindig, and if you like to rave as a family you will find plenty of other families dancing down the front. The kids’ field is packed with free stuff to do including a climbing wall, and there’s some great climbable artwork and activities across the site. It has beautiful quiet areas to watch the sunsets and loud crazy areas where everyone is dancing.
Best for free range children
31st July – 4th August 2019
Put aside the pressures of modern parenting and let your kids run free at Starry Skies. This isn’t the lost childhood of the past, it’s better than that.
If they run off and play in the woods they might find an audio looping wheelie bin or a thrilling zip wire. Den building can produce a giant pirate ship, and why just roll down a grassy slope when you can spend joyful hours on a massive soapy hillside slide? Starry Skies is a huge lung full of fresh air for the whole family.
Best for nature lovers
5th – 7th July 2019
Timber Festival was launched in 2018 and was a tiny treasure. This is a small, relaxing festival that is at one with the peaceful surroundings of the National Forest .
Roam the fields, dance in the forest, listen to stories around the campfire. Play with the woodland creatures who will say hello, ride a tiny carved wooden merry go round. Particularly suitable for younger families due to the compact nature of the site and plentiful showers.
Best for little gardeners
2nd – 4th August 2019
Valley Fest is set on a community farm, and is a brilliant way to get the children interested in growing and cooking vegetables. The farm tour is fascinating, and the family cooking session lets them pick and cook their own. Added to that it has a friendly community bonfire, great food and a high quality music line up in a beautiful setting.
Best for city and sea
23rd – 25th August 2019
Having the ocean as a back drop gives a really special feel to this festival. Behind the huge Victorious sign, you can watch big name bands on the Castle Stage with the waves crashing behind you.
Due to its unique location in walking distance of Portsmouth’s city centre, you can stay in the city and do some sightseeing (or avoid camping!)
Victorious always boasts an awesome line up. So far this year, they’ve already announced (among others) The Specials, Clean Bandit and James Bay. The family field at Victorious is excellent with all activities and entertainment included in the ticket price. There is a circus, climbing wall, circus skills, a rock school and so much more.
Best for a village feel
1st – 4th August 2019
Wickham Festival takes place on the edge of the village of Wickham in Hampshire. The village feels a part of the festival and Wickham history walks are available over the course of the weekend. Quirky kids’ activities, like the inflatable laser zap keep the kids entertained, while a host of quality folk performers are lapped up by the adults. It draws a laid back, friendly crowd and was a gem of a discovery for Festival Kidz last year.
Best for culture vultures
1st-4th August 2019
Wilderness Festival oozes sophistication. Endless culture on a gorgeous site which includes wild swimming in a lake. There’s plenty of posh dining and cocktails, with a price tag to fit. If you want glamping options there are lots of good ones to choose from.
There’s always an eclectic line-up – 2019 hasn’t been released as of writing this but 2018 saw Chic & Nile Rodgers, Bastille and dance from Sadlers Wells. This is the best place for celeb spotting too!
Best for world travellers
25th – 29th July 2019
WOMAD is an excellent place to introduce children to the delights of music, food, dance & art from around the globe.
There are over 200 workshops for children – including dance, music, storytelling, physics and cookery.
It’s a delightful multicultural mix of the best that the world can offer in one weekend.
Best for experiencing ‘The Good Life’
17th – 19th May 2019
Wood thrives on sustainability. This tiny festival works tirelessly to improve its green credentials year on year. It really feels like you’re going off-grid for the weekend. Compost loos and wonderful wooden hand-washing stations make for some of the nicest washroom facilities at any festival.
A wealth of wonderful workshops and talks for both children and adults are available, with a huge focus on environmental issues. Children roam free all weekend. This is a place to go back to basics and focus on your impact on and connection to the land.