A guide to the multi-generational festivals this summer from Wilderness to Boardmasters

There is nothing better in summer than a festival, especially one that offers fun, food and frolics for the whole family. 

From a four-day spectacle in Oxfordshire with a top musical line-up to a Cornish beach party with an eco-friendly message, there’s plenty of festivals to choose from this year.

Here’s our guide to the best multi-generational extravaganzas around the UK…

Star-studded history

Wiltshire’s Chalke Valley History Festival includes a D-Day Dance and Dress Up. There is also a comedy panel show

Dedicated to bringing the nation’s past to life, Wiltshire’s Chalke Valley History Festival – sponsored by the Daily Mail – hosts an impressive roster of historians from all over the globe.

A World War II trench recreation lets generations young and old experience life on the front line. Plus, there’s a D-Day Dance and Dress Up to mark 75 years since the liberation began.

Grown-up treats: The comedy panel show Histrionics, with Harry Enfield and Dan Snow.

Children will love: The giant replica of a rocket-firing Hawker Typhoon jet.

Details: June 24 to 30. Event tickets from £5. Camp from £5 a pitch or splash out on a glamping pod, sleeping four, for £275 a night. Call the box office on 01722 781133 or visit cvhf.org.uk.

Petrolhead heaven

What started as a mere kernel of thought in the zany mind of DJ Chris Evans has become a summer staple. 

The motors at Cheshire festival CarFest North are a thing of beauty, of course, but this annual shindig – which raises money for children’s charities – also comes with top chefs, a wellness area, kids’ kingdom and even a bespoke super-group on the main stage.

Grown-up treats: Car freaks will coo over hot rods, movie cars and F1 racers.

Children will love: Meeting Dick and Dom in adventure playground The Fort.

Details: July 26 to 28. Day tickets from £69 for adults. Children six to 16, £16 and under sixes go free. Weekend family camping (two adults and two children) is £356 (carfest.org).

Celebrity chefs

Pub In The Park is a chain of festivals rustled up by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge

Pub In The Park is a chain of festivals rustled up by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge has brought his Midas touch to a chain of festivals called Pub In The Park, crafting eight family friendly foodie extravaganzas in some of the UK’s prettiest parks including Tunbridge Wells, Chiswick and Warwick.

The likes of Texas, Soul II Soul Soundsystem and Razorlight provide the soundtrack.

Kerridge has brought his chums along, too, with chefs including Monica Galetti, Angela Hartnett and Rick Stein offering informative cooking demonstrations.

Grown-up treats: Kerridge’s minted lamb pie, with mash and liquor (and a pint).

Children will love: Decorating their own cupcakes in sessions for mini-bakers.

Details: Until September 15. Tickets from £30 for adults, £20 for children. Those five and under go free (pubintheparkuk.com).

Music mania

Oxfordshire's Wilderness festival is a four-day spectacle featuring a huge array of performances and workshops

Oxfordshire’s Wilderness festival is a four-day spectacle featuring a huge array of performances and workshops

Now nine years old, Oxfordshire’s Wilderness festival has been a pioneer for the current wave of festivals that welcome the whole family — wander through the gates and it’s like you’ve joined a commune.

Set in ambrosial Cornbury Park, this four-day spectacle features an overwhelming array of performances and workshops, with the arts, wellness and eclectic music firmly at its heart.

Tom Odell, Robyn and Bombay Bicycle Club are this year’s big names.

Grown-up treats: God’s Jukebox, a 47-piece orchestra that plays music picked by festival-goers.

Children will love: The madcap Flying Seagull Project.

Details: August 1 to 4. Adult camping tickets are £179.50. For 13 to 17-year-olds it’s £126.25, six to 12-year-olds cost £39.75, and those five and under are £6.25 (wildernessfestival.com).

Cakes and tales

Bookworms should head on down to the Henley Literary Festival, where readings take place on a riverboat, or at Grade II-listed Phyllis Court

Bookworms should head on down to the Henley Literary Festival, where readings take place on a riverboat, or at Grade II-listed Phyllis Court

Listen to literary luminaries pouring forth at the Henley Literary Festival, in association with the Daily Mail. 

The Thames-side spot lures stellar names, with some readings on a riverboat, or at Grade II-listed Phyllis Court.

Look out for Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain, Jacob Rees-Mogg and comic-turned-children’s writer Julian Clary.

Grown-up treats: Mary Berry waxing lyrical.

Children will love: Learning how to draw a T-rex with top illustrator Sophy Henn.

Details: September 28 to October 6. Tickets from £7 per event. Call the box office on 01491 575 948 (henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk).

Cornish beach party

At Boardmasters, surfing pros show off their skills at Newquay's Fistral Beach and festival-goers can try their hand at kayaking and coasteering. Musical performances also take place

At Boardmasters, surfing pros show off their skills at Newquay’s Fistral Beach and festival-goers can try their hand at kayaking and coasteering. Musical performances also take place

Newquay’s Fistral Beach is the venue for Boardmasters, which offers seaside fun served with an eco-friendly message.

Surf is definitely up, with pros showing off their skills and ‘have a go’ sessions including kayaking and coasteering.

Enjoy the gorgeous scenery, all while the likes of Florence + The Machine and Wu-Tang Clan belt out tunes from the clifftop above.

Grown-up treats: Wood-fired hot tubs, with champagne, in the wellness zone.

Children will love: Taking their own music to the silent disco.

Details: August 7 to 11. A five-day camping ticket costs £179pp for adults and older children. Those aged seven and under pay £5. Family surf lessons cost £31.50 (boardmasters.com).

Gen X meets Y and Z

Marrying science, the arts and sport with a dollop of music, Deer Shed Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary at North Yorkshire’s Baldersby Park in 2019.

Proof they’re expecting different ages? The theme is Generation X, Y and Z.

Hi-jinks include a giant game of classic British Bulldog, Harry Potter-themed yoga and RSC acting classes.

Grown-up treats: The comedy — it’s so good it rivals the music for centre stage.

Children will love: Urban dance lessons, retro gaming and a ‘bubble rave’ for tots.

Details: July 26 to 28. Weekend camping, £155pp for adults, £50 for ages six to 15, and £20 ages three to five (deershedfestival.com).

Food for thought

River Cottage Festival in rural Dorset guarantees fun, food and frolics

River Cottage Festival in rural Dorset guarantees fun, food and frolics 

In late summer Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall’s HQ in rural Dorset flings open its foodie doors to host the River Cottage Festival.

There’s high-brow debate on food sustainability, with Countryfile’s Anita Rani and fashion designer Alice Temperley among those appearing. There’s also cool sounds from Stompin’ Dave and Honeyfeet.

Grown-up treats: The food, of course. Learn to wood-fire a fish, forage for herbs, and mix a ‘wild’ cocktail.

Children will love: Fire-starting in bushcraft classes, and star-gazing sessions.

Details: August 24 to 25. Day tickets are £25 for adults, and under-16s go free. Weekend family camping costs from £190 per tent (rivercottage.net).

Cumbria spectacular

Musical legends including Tom Jones and Nile Rodgers and Chic are booked to temporarily breach the peace at Kendal Calling in the Lake District.

Lowther Deer Park will host 14 themed areas — rave like it’s the Nineties at Houseparty, hear poetry on the Soapbox stage, or find yourself in Lost Eden.

Grown-up treats: Deer Lodge promises ‘proper bed’ glamping.

Children will love: Bowling a monolith at ‘Strikehenge’, a Neolithic take on ten-pin.

Details: July 25 to 28. Camping for two in a luxury Podpad costs £645 (kendalcalling.co.uk). 


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