10 unmissable UK festivals

From music and sport to theatre and circus skills, we pick some of the best UK festivals and Summer 2013 events to entertain all ages and tastes.

Manchester International Festival
North west, July 4-21
For 2013, this celebrated arts festival is great if you’re looking for things to do with the kids; includes three low cost shows for ages 4yrs+, 9yrs+ and 15yrs+, and a free interactive experience for all ages 3yrs+.
GOOD FOR Older children and teenagers.

Oxfordshire, July 5-7
This is a weekend music festival even young kids won’t get bored with plus it has none of the usual bad bits festival-goers often have to suffer! Great loos, delicious food, live music and lots for children to do – from pantomime and model making, to Bollywood dance.
GOOD FOR A for a day out with the kids.

Penn Festival
Buckinghamshire, July 19-21
Plenty of entertainment with live music, a disco tent and a free kidzone area, with circus skills workshops.
GOOD FOR A music festival you can take the kids to.

Monmouth Festival 2013
Wales, July 26-August 3
A free music festival. Carnival day on July 28 has a particular family focus.
GOOD FOR Sharing music with the kids, for free.

Playhouse Children’s Festival
Derry/Londonderry Northern Ireland, July 22-August 2
Art, drama, dance and other activities especially designed for children of all ages.
GOOD FOR Kids who love to get creative.


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Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Scotland, August 2-26
Looking for things to do in Edinburgh this summer? Head to the UK’s most vibrant cultural festival, which has lots of free events. Many comedy shows are on late afternoon/early evening, so you can have a giggle and still get back to collect the kids from a playdate! The website is easy to search by event type or free/2-for-1 ticket prices etc.
GOOD FOR Cheap and free fun for grown-ups, throughout August.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
West Country, August 8-11
A free, colourful air show where you can watch 150 balloons take off and wander the stalls and side attractions.
GOOD FOR A sporty day out with a difference.

London, August 16-18
If you are looking for things to do in London that will appeal to young children, this lively annual festival is sure to be a hit. The festival is held this year at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (where the 2012 Games were held). There are live performances from kids’ TV favourites, games and activities for under-10s.
GOOD FOR Very little children to dance, sing and play.

Just So Festival
Cheshire, August 16-18
There are lots of activities for children at this energetic kids’ festival, from live music and an outdoor cinema to storytelling, and crafts.
GOOD FOR Varied entertainment appealing to all pre-teens, from toddlers upwards.

Mayor’s Thames Festival
London, September 14-15
A great UK festival with free live entertainment and lots of fun things to do along the Thames and its riverbank in the centre of London. Head for the South Bank and explore upstream or downstream from there.
GOOD FOR Older children who can watch the sideshows, and spectacular displays on the water for all ages.

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