The best UK festivals to put on your radar this year

Festivals. Remember them?

Crowds of people vibing to the best live music in fields and tents, bursts of sunshine and torrential downpours, losing track of where your tent is, the horrors of the port-a-loos.

We miss festivals. Covid regulations have meant they have been impossible for more than a year… but that could be about to change this summer.

With crowds allowed in public spaces again, UK festivals are back on the cards. And we are already packing our flower crowns and our wellies.

So if you’re eager for festival fun this year, we’ve got you covered with a round up the best festivals to put on your radar.

Family fun in Dorest

What? Camp Bestival
Lulworth Castle
When? July 29 to August 1

The undisputed champion of family festival fun, Camp Bestival is back this year with more silliness than before.

Not only are Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada and comeback queen Kelis all headlining but small people are in the safe hands of right-side-of-risqué Dick and Dom, science stuntmen Brainiac Live and CBeebies legend Mr Tumble. Brand new for this year, even too-cool-for-school teenagers have somewhere to avoid their parents at festival-within-a-festival The Palace, and if you fancy a laugh, Dom Joly’s heading up Giggle Box, Bestival’s very own comedy venue.

This year’s theme is Movies so dig out your best Hollywood dress up and you’re good to go.

campbestival.net

While you’re there… Impressive natural phenomenon Durdle Door is a short drive away, as is beautiful Lulworth Cove.

Hate camping? The Castle Inn, Lulworth, is five minutes from the castle, rooms from £173pn

butcombe.com/the-castle
inn-dorset

Est Fest

What? Estuary 2021, across Essex and Kent
When? May 22 to June 13

This outdoor arts festival, which takes place along the British coastline, mixes music, films, performances and sculptures.

Estuary 2021 follows the River Thames’ estuary trail across Essex and Kent, with works at locations including Margate, Southend-on-Sea and the Isle of Sheppey. You can take part along any stretch of the striking estuary path (a 107-mile route) and experience works that focus on the landscape, from a lecture by nature writer Jini Reddy to a climate change-themed installation by Spanish street artist Isaac Cordal in the sea at Chalkwell Beach.

estuaryfestival.com

Camp it up

What? Camp Hox
Oxfordshire
When? Dates vary

Following the success of hip hotel brand The Hoxton’s pop-up glampsite Camp Hox at Eynsham Hall in Oxfordshire last year, this time they’re going mobile with new curated campervan experiences.

This one is a four-day trip along the south-east coast, with an itinerary including oysters on the Kent Riviera, a stay on a working farm, and a host of beaches, beauty spots and rambles. Your VW T6 campervan comes with a Hoxton linen, minibar, camping chairs, bikes and a BBQ.

From £795 for two, including a night at a London Hoxton hotel.

thehoxton.com/camp-hox

It’s a dog’s life…

What? Dogstival, New Forest
When: June 5-6

Dogstival is a well-deserved celebration for our furry friends, many of whom might have found lockdown hard too.

Taking place at Burley Park in the New Forest from June 5-6, it will be dedicated to all things puptastic.

Events include Barkour, a twist on parkour with an adventure playground guaranteed to put pooches through their paces; a giant K9 doggy diving pool; This Morning vet Dr Scott Miller leading talks and demos on keeping pups in top health; plus live music, over 140 food and drink stalls, and masterclass displays (all adhering to Covid guidelines).

Tickets from £8, dogstival.co.uk

Kick back in Suffolk

What? Latitude, Henham Park
When? July 22-25

Good fun, edgy and artsy, Latitude attracts a crowd that stays on the right side of reckless – reflected in its indie-leaning line-up.

Not to be outdone by its contemporaries’ big-name dance DJs, this year’s headliners – Lewis Capaldi, First Aid Kit and Bastille – are equally massive and brilliant, they just add up to a more laid-back vibe.

In keeping with its steady personality, entertainment info is being drip-fed in line with lockdown lifting but you can expect DJs, comedy and singalongs with a woodland backdrop.

latitudefestival.com

While you’re there… The pretty seaside town of Southwold nearby is peppered with Instagrammable beach huts. Also try a gin-making experience at Adnams Distillery (adnams.co.uk)

Hate camping? Rooms at stylish boutique hotel, The Swan, from £270pn, theswansouthwold.co.uk

Soak up the countryside in Kent

What? Black Deer Festival, Eridge Park
When? June 25-27

Black Deer Festival is about all things Americana and country, whether that’s chilling to the spellbinding croon of Van Morrison singing out from the main stage or drinking beers at what feels like a huge house party in Haley’s Bar.

A gritty, immersive experience, the festival is big on positivity so expect impromptu campfire performances and wild storytelling. blackdeerfestival.com
While you’re there… Take a stroll along Royal Tunbridge Wells’ Pantiles.

Hate camping? Stay at the Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells, a converted mansion, rooms from £70pn, hotelduvin.com.

Have a foodie blow-out in the Cotswolds

What? The Big Feastival Alex James’s farm, Kingham
When? August 27-29

Feastival is all about chowing down on some of the best pop-ups, street food and supper clubs the nation has to offer.

With a progressive programme of demos, talks and tastings from gourmet gurus alongside a stellar musical line-up, Feastival is far more than just a food fest, and is smashing it out of the park this year with headliners Sigala, Nile Rodgers & Chic, and Rag’n’Bone Man.

Kids can get stuck in at interactive cookery classes tailored for budding mini chefs, while parents jump aboard Alex James’s famous Cheese Hub, a double-decker disco bus combining all things tunes and cheese.

thebigfeastival.com

While you’re there… Stop off in Chipping Norton and have afternoon tea at The Tea Set, known for its vintage crockery (theteaset.co.uk).

Hate camping? Kingham’s Wild Rabbit has rooms from £125pn, thewildrabbit.co.uk.

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