Party on! 27 Festivals to book now
Are you ready to make some noise?! From 80s extravaganzas to chilled retro jamborees and opera weekends, these are the festivals you need on your radar this summer.
After more than a year of having to pretend our garden bunting looked like Glasto (it didn’t) we’re so ready for a weekend of dry shampoo, Aperol on tap and partying with, err, actual people.
Still not sure? OK. Whatever your festival vibe – be it a classy picnic with opera, or wild dancing with your besties, we’ve got a jam-packed festival season ahead of us, and there’s something for everyone. Keep scrolling for free ticket giveaways, grab your glow sticks, and let’s go …
The UK Fantasy Forest Festival, Sudeley Castle, Cheltenham, 16 – 18 July
Let us whisk you off to a spectacular fantasy festival right in the heart of the Cotswolds. The UK Fantasy Forest Festival is three days of unleashed, fantasy-themed fun for the whole family. With a fairytale backdrop of the grand Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe near Cheltenham it’s a riot of characters, costume, live music, street food and brilliant entertainment. If you’re a fan of GOT, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Marvel superheroes, pirates, fairies and medieval days of yore you will be in total heaven. This lively festival is packed with family-friendly entertainment and activities. There is 3-day camping still available (be quick!), or adult day tickets starts at £23.95 with children under 7 going free. Book here now. PLUS Want to WIN a Family ticket for 4 for Saturday 17 July? Hit our Reader Treats page now to enter and win!
Cloud Nine Glamping Festival, Bathurst Estate, Cirencester, from 19 July to 30 August.
This gorgeous retro-feel glamping festival is making a star appearance at the stunning Bathurst Estate in Cirencester this year – for six (yes six!) whole weeks of wholesome family fun. It’s got a real Swallows and Amazon vibe and has been curated by families for families so you’ll find endless activities and escapades designed with the kids in mind. What will you try first? Archery, bushcrafts and cookery or wild runs, yoga and pony trekking. Via the gin tasting and silent disco to keep all the parents happy. Short breaks start from £132 per family per night. You get your very own boutique glamping accommodation, a private portaloo next to your Bell Tent or an en-suite if you book a Tipi, Safari Tent or Airstream, access to hot showers, with plenty of room to change and to help little ones, bedding, pillows and towels for every family member, more than 25 free activities, gourmet street food and of course unlimited star-gazing! Read more and book here.
Longborough Festival Opera, Moreton-in-Marsh, 01 June – 31 August, Glos
This is legit Glos’s very own opera extravaganza! The Longborough Festival Opera is the most soul-lifting, spectacular intro to opera if you’ve never experienced it before. New for 2021 is it’s fabulous Greatest Showman-vibe Big Top venue (see above). Three of the festival’s 2021 productions will take place in this new venue: Cosi fan tutte, The Return of Ulysses and The Cunning Little Vixen. Perfect for a balmy summer evening when you fancy a bit of high culture (don’t worry there are subtitles too!). You can order a bespoke picnic hamper for £40 (including vegetarian) which comes with cutlery, plates and napkins and enjoy your feast with stunning views over the Cotswold hills before the show.
Phoenix Festival, Cirencester, Glos, 28 – 29 August
One of Muddy’s boutique faves, the Phoenix Festival is completely free and takes place in the stunning setting of The Abbey Grounds in the market town of Cirencester. A brilliant youth and community led fest you’ll get two days of gratis music, entertainment and family fun. This year headline act is Bruno – a must-see Bruno Mars tribute act, Uptown Funk let’s have ya.
Great British Food Festival, Sudeley Castle, Cheltenham, 19-20 June
The Great British Food Festival comes to Sudeley Castle with a dazzling array of tempting treats for gobbling, chef wizardry for goggling, live music for boogie-ing, and a mini zoo because – well, why not? If you fancy yourself a bit of a kitchen whizz yourself, enter the Cake Off for a chance at baking glory — and automatic free entry to the festival, of course. It’s a foodie’s dream and great day out. Tickets are otherwise £10. PLUS: Want to win tickets? We have a Family Ticket for 4 people to give away! Head to our Reader Treat page now to enter and win.
The Fake Festival, Gloucester and Worcester, 10 July and 28 August
What’s not to like about headliners with these names … Guns 2 Roses, Jam’d, Oasish, Really Hot Chili Peppers, Kings of Lyon, Blondied, The Total Stone Roses and New 2 (U2)! Welcome to the UK’s only fully fake festival, what a blast we reckon it’s going to be. Performing in Gloucester (10 July) and Worcester (28 August) six top UK tribute acts grace the stage at this festival with a show that is wall-to-wall bangers. There’ll be food and drink on tap in the Entertainment Zone too to refuel in between the ‘greats’.
PRIDE in Gloucestershire, Gloucester, 11 Sept – a brilliant uplifting event for the LGBTQ+ community (and just anyone who loves a good party).
Cheltenham Science Festival, Cheltenham, 10 – 13 June – this year a hybrid mix of online events with some ticketed in-person workshops.
Cheltenham Music Festival and Jazz Festival, 02 – 11 July – 10 days of exhilarating live performances from top flight musicians across Cheltenham venues, and a free Stage at the open air Imperial Gardens.
Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, 5 June – this one is cancelled unfortunately, but stay tuned to their socials for a virtual festival on the same date.
A wellie wang away! …
The Big Feastival, near Kingham, 27-29 Aug
Another posh nosh extravaganza, and an unbeatable excuse to eat yourself silly. Hosted on the farm of cheese-obsessed Blur bassist Alex James, The Big Feastival promises top notch chefs, family fun and chart-topping artists: good food, and great music. The line-up this year includes DJ Sigala, Rag’n’Bone Man, Zara Larsson, and Tom Walker plus others. Adult day tickets from £82.
WOMAD, Charlton Park, Wiltshire, 22 – 25 July
It’s title stands for the ‘World of Music, Arts and Dance’ and it certainly lives up to its name. Fans are keeping everything crossed for it to be able to open this year and so are we, as this fantastic festival is a brilliant family-fabulous event. The line-up for this year is still under wraps as we went to press, but it is sure to be packed with top names. An adult four-day ticket is £225.
Lakefest, Eastnor, Herefordshire, 12 – 15 August
WIth a line-up of the likes of Tom Jones, Seasick Steve and T’Pau this brilliant boutique festival is just over the border and well worth a visit. Set in the grounds of the stunning Eastnor Castle you can camp or just do a day trip. It has something for everyone from BMX skate parks to yoga workshops, great food and a ton of activities to get stuck into.
Truck Festival, near Abingdon, 23-25 July
This veteran South Oxon festival in a farmer’s field, known to some as “The Godfather of the small festival scene”, hits all the right notes: family-friendly feel, good food, thumping indie tunes. Headlining this year are Bombay Bicycle Club, The Kooks, and Royal Blood among others. Tickets are sold out (sob) but you can sign up to the waiting list, or have a crack at making it big by applying as a band to play.
Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park, 6-8 Aug
The most revered of the Oxfordshire festivals, Wilderness returns for a four-day boutique banger. There will be music (line-up TBC, but names have been big in the past), long-table banquets, woodland parties, theatre, film, dance, and a pop up spa (well, we are in Oxfordshire). It’s generally a heady mix of right-on hippiness (yoga, skinny-dipping, hot hubs) and top-tier music. Tickets are now sold out, but you can still book camping arrangements if you’re lucky enough to have got your hands on one.
Retro Carfest, Bicester Heritage, 13-15 Aug
A whirlwind timewarp to the days when flares were wider, cocktails had umbrellas, and cars were cooler. Retro Carfest is a brand new family festival jam-packed with music, films, gadgets, cars and legends from the glory days. Hosted by Chris Evans and featuring other TV and radio favourites, the line-up includes Scouting for Girls and the Happy Mondays among others. Adult day tickets start at £74.
Blenheim Palace Food Festival, 20-22 Aug
A sizzling feast for all the senses: great food, great music, stunning location. Blenheim Palace Food Festival showcases the very best of produce from local and national stallholders, with something tempting for everyone. Festival entry is included with a Palace, Park and Gardens ticket.
Pint-Sized Towersey, 27-30 Aug
Veteran folk celebration Towersey Festival (which, confusingly, is now held at Claydon Estate, rather than Towersey village) returns in a pint-sized form this year, but with zero compromise on fun. A smaller, Covid-safe version, there will be plenty of space and lots of activities: yoga, a circus, community singing, Tai Chi, and more. The line-up includes Steeleye Span, This is the Kit, and She Shanties among others. Join the waiting list for tickets here.
Foodies Festival Oxford, 28-30 Aug
The UK’s biggest food festival returns to Oxford South Parks over the Bank Holiday weekend, featuring MasterChef Champion Tom Rhodes. Get ready to eat, enjoy good music, learn new skills, and then eat some more. Adult tickets from £17.
Have wellies will travel …..
Wireless Festival, London Finsbury Park, 2-4 July. (Line-up: Future, Skepta, Migos)
BST Hyde Park, London, 9-11 July. (Line-up: Pearl Jam, Pixies, Duran Duran, Nile Rodgers & Chic plus Grace Jones)
Latitude Festival, Suffolk, 22-25 July. (Line-up: Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, First Aid Kit and Snow Patrol)
Kaleidoscope Festival, London Alexandra Palace, 24 July. (Line-up: Groove Armada, The Coral, Norman Jay MBE, Greg Wilson)
Camp Bestival, Dorset, 29 July – 1 Aug. (Line-up: Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, Becky Hill, Kelis)
All Points East, London Victoria Park, 27-30 Aug. (Line-up: Jamie XX, Kano, Tom Misch, Slowthai, Arlo Parks)
Edinburgh Summer Sessions, 6-15 Aug. (Line-up: DMA’s, Tom Jones, Michael Kiwanuka, Lionel Richie, Travis and Simple Minds)
Boardmasters, Cornwall, 11-15 Aug. (Line-up: Gorillaz, Foals, Lianne La Havas, The Kooks, Becky Hill)
Isle of Wight Festival, 16-19 Sept. (Line-up: Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi, Jess Glynn, Becky Hill, You Me At Six, Primal Scream, Snow Patrol)