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Family Friendly Festivals UK

Monday 10 June 2024

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The UK is notorious for hosting festivals of all kinds, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that they might not be the most family friendly. However, there are countless festivals with great music, comedy, food and drink that are suitable for all ages. If you’re looking for some quality time with a difference, take a look at the best festivals for families in the UK with CrossCountry. 

Wychwood Festival

A festival that keeps getting bigger and bigger since it started in 2005, Wychwood Festival is also well known for being one of the best family festivals in the UK, having won the award of ‘Best Family Festival’ at the UK Festival Awards previously. There are four main stages hosting some of the most beloved names from the world of Indie, Folk, and Pop music, as well as a stage dedicated to both famous and up and coming comedy acts. 

Over the last twenty years, there has been a continuous effort to provide further entertainment for all types of festival goers, especially younger kids. This past year, ‘Story Box’ was a huge hit, with children being able to meet their favourite authors and illustrators and listen to them read some of their popular works. There were also plenty of creative activities too, including a decorative fan making workshop. Wychwood has established itself as one of the go-to festivals during the UK summer. Combining both huge names in entertainment with a homely and cosy feel has helped them become a leading family friendly festival. 

Taking place at Cheltenham Racecourse, the Wychwood Festival is ideally located. Cheltenham Spa, the closest train station, is just over four miles away, with CrossCountry train running directly from Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads and Manchester Piccadilly. Additionally, Cheltenham hosts the annual Cheltenham Jazz Festival in early May, offering another wonderful opportunity to introduce children to the joy of music and dance. 

Gloworm Festival

Gloworm Festival prides itself on being a true family festival, with the whole event aimed at families with children under thirteen. Not only is there live music and creative workshops to enjoy, but live theatre and even cooking too.  

There are a multitude of kids favourites that are partnered with the Gloworm Festival that only adds to the excitement, such as CBeebies, Care Bears and Playmobil. Playmobil even has its own village which features a whole host of exciting activities. Kids can take this opportunity to try out the latest toys as well as meet some of the characters from the Playmobil universe. To add to the entertainment, there are also plenty of learning opportunities in the ‘Great Outdoors’. Meet the animals at White Post Farm, watch the interactive theatrical performance of Sherwood Outlaws and explore the outdoors with Little Adventurers Forest School. With all of this spread across three days, there’s no chance of little ones running out of things to do. 

The Gloworm Festival has two locations in Nottingham and Warrington, with Nottingham being the original location. If you’re travelling to Nottingham, there are a number of popular routes that include a change at Derby station. From there it’s just a twenty-minute onward train journey.  

A parent and child at a festival

The Long Road

A country focused event in Leicestershire, The Long Road is another great festival for all ages. Even though the festival is a little less eclectic musically, there are a number of stages that have any country aficionado covered. There are also plenty of activities for everyone in the family to get involved in beyond the music. 

The Long Road isn’t just for families, but it has several events designed to immerse kids in the Americana experience. Everyone can get involved in wide ranging workshops all over the festival, like learning about songwriting and about how music is made. There is also the ‘Lil Possum County’, specifically for the younger festival goers. Here there are rangers on hand that organise different activities each day, from exhilarating water fights and wooden boat building to more relaxed events such as bush crafts and story time around the campfire toasting marshmallows. With classic American style food and drink trucks offering up mac n cheese and Texas style BBQ, it is tough to find a more authentic American experience outside of the US. 

The Long Road is in the picturesque grounds of the stately Stanford Hall in Leicestershire. Despite its more rural setting, you can still catch a train from nearby, with Nuneaton station or Coventry station being among the closest serviced by CrossCountry. With regular services from as far south as Bournemouth to Coventry, you’re then only thirty minutes away from pitching up your tent. 

Edinburgh International Children's Festival

Perhaps a little less conventional than the other festivals mentioned, the Edinburgh International Children's Festival is a nine-day extravaganza of the best of Children’s theatre and dance, suitable for young and old.  

This festival is just one of a number of free things to do in Edinburgh, and it invites theatre companies from all over the world to showcase their various performances. These performances are also age specific, with theatre for 0–5-year-olds, to 11 plus. Each show also touches on topics that are wide ranging and educational. TRASHedy for example is aimed at teenagers and delves into consumer culture and freedom of choice through their act. There are also more sensory experiences aimed at toddlers where they are encouraged to interact with the performance.  

Alongside this, there is also a chance to see homegrown Scottish entertainment for free all throughout the National Museum of Scotland over the nine days. With plenty of regular and direct CrossCountry trains heading to Edinburgh Waverley from major stations like Glasgow Central and York station, there’s no reason you can’t see some of the most exciting and family friendly theatre from global acts. 

If you’re planning to visit any of these family friendly festivals, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here

Written by Julia

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