Returning in 2023
Location: Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset/Wilts borders
A wonderful well-established festival in one of the most gorgeous Victorian Pleasure Gardens in the UK. Everyone is welcome here whether you are 1 or 101. Provision for kids is nothing short of excellent – from rhyme times, storytelling, arts and crafts, woodcraft workshops, famous Cbeebies faces, and dance workshops. Music is eclectic, activities are varied fantastic, and there really is something for everyone.
Highlights for Kids and Families:
The Children’s Area has everything you would expect from an area set up with families in mind, with baby changing, toilets, face painting, crafts and activities for all children.
For those at the age where it’s all about escaping the parents for a while, Larmer Tree provides a very safe environment to explore. The numerous stewards are super-friendly and as a consequence there are often many groups of happy teens enjoying their first tastes of independence, individuality and self-expression… and not in a bad way either, Larmer Tree seems to attract a more considerate, socially-aware type of teenager!
What makes Larmer Tree so special?
The line-up never fails to disappoint. LTF may not always host the biggest names, but they always choose amazing ones. One of the best things about Larmer Tree Festival is discovering new music talent and going home with new discoveries. I love that ‘wow’ feeling when I’ve danced my socks off to the most amazing band my friends have never even heard of.
The food is great (lots of veggie/vegan/organic options). The surroundings are absolutely stunning (even without the amazing site art that adorns the garden during the festival). The atmosphere is relaxed. The crowds are friendly and considerate. LTF has a remarkably safe and welcoming feel. There are peacocks roaming free and macaws in the trees. It’s really quite a special and magical place.
Plenty of street theatre with crazy and unexpected interactive theatrical performances popping up right in front of you. We love the story-telling and poetry sessions, bedtime stories, the song-writing workshops and the musician’s talks. The kids learn so much as a result of hearing the journeys that artists have been on, and discovering the stories behind the music.
The comedy tent hosts both big names and rising stars and the Village Inn is a great place to enjoy some intimate gigs. The indulgent Larmer Spa has wooden hot tubs, a sauna yurt and Bedouin chill out zone… idyllic.
Tip: Search for the teeny fairy doors hidden in tree trunks (Larmer Luminaries).
Site and Facilities:
The walks from car to tent, and from tent to festival are not too unbearable. Short distances are especially relevant if you don’t want to lug everything you are going to need for the entire day around with you – and consequently nipping back to your tent for something you’ve forgotten is also not too big a deal.
Larmer Tree limits daily capacity to just 4,000 per day, making it one of the safest festivals around and free from the huge queues one might find at other family events. The brilliant ‘Missing and Found Children’ team will set minds at ease, and there’s even a family camping area to ensure you’re near people with similar sleep requirements!
Hot showers are available . There are separate camping areas for live-in vehicles, general camping and family camping. There are also some great ‘comfy camping’ options, including ready parked caravans, airstreams, gypsy caravan, and even just cheap and cheerful pre-pitched basic tents.
The toilets are really good and plentiful (they won Best Toilets and Best Family Festival a couple of years back) and the site itself is relatively flat and therefore buggy-friendly. There are baby change tents and specific activities aimed at under-5’s such as Playsongs, Baby Yoga and Storytime.
We have seen a couple of very muddy years, which does make buggies and wagons very hard work indeed. The muddiest areas tend to be in the main village area by the entrance gate. Beyond this first field there are several concrete paths in addition to protective coverings on the lawns by the stage which prevent the ground being too churned up.
Despite the feeling of dread at the prospect of a muddy festival, kids often have incredible fun in the mud! Read a festival-virgin’s experience of her first ever Larmer Tree here – she went in 2012 and boy was it a muddy initiation to festivalling!!
This festival is good value considering the amount on offer in terms of music, additional entertainment and workshops.
NB: This much-loved independent festival often sells out so be sure to buy your tickets in advance. Snap up early-birds because they offer the best value.
More of our Larmer Tree photos can be found on our Facebook page – see Photo Albums.
Larmer Tree Festival 2016: