The UK festivals offering much more than music this summer

Aside from the sunshine, alfresco dining and multiple bank holidays, the best thing about summer is of course, festivals.

Even if you’ve never been inclined to enter the traditional festival circuit, cast all visions of mudslides and soggy tents from your mind – whether you’re into music, books, food or wellness, there really is something for everyone to enjoy for 2019. And camping is certainly not obligatory.

This summer, not only are all of the country’s best and biggest festivals back for another round of top-notch live shows, but there are some new alternative additions that you should definitely consider adding to your warm-weather calendar. Ever been to a dessert festival? Well, now you can. Or, if you’re anything like us, you may have dreamed of an entire festival dedicated solely to Prosecco? That’s now a reality too.

From ‘summer camp for grown-ups’ to a celebration of the year’s best books, take your pick from the whole host of exciting festivals taking place this year. Book early to avoid disappointment!

Aperol Big Spritz Social

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Dates: 23 May – 1 June
Location: Shoreditch Electric Light Station, London and The Oast House, Manchester
Go for: Everything from an Aperol orange canal, a pergola with a slide, a Vespa carousel and the biggest Aperol Spritz Bar you’ve ever seen. They’ll also be a Fiat 500 hot tub and a giant Aperol Spritz-glass shaped ball pit. What are you waiting for?

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The London Dessert Festival

London Dessert Festival

Dates: 17-18 August, 2019
Location: Truman Brewery, London
Go for: The most deliciously Insta-worthy desserts the city has to offer. Think everything from macaron ice-cream sandwiches to cookie shots, tickets to this festival are a sweet treat you don’t want to miss.

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The Prosecco Festival

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Dates: Dependent on city
Location: Various cities across the country
Go for: Bottomless prosecco. Sample 40 types of Prosecco and fizz at your nearest branch of the festival (yes, they’re held at several locations across the country so no excuses) while indulging in Italian street food and enjoying live floor-filling entertainment.

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Camp Wildfire

Camp Wildfire

Dates: 30 August – 2nd September
Location: Sevenoaks, Kent
Go for: ‘Summer camp for grown-ups’ – and according to those who’ve been before, it’s just as magical as it sounds. There’s more than 60 activities for you to give a go, from archery and bushcraft to mask making and embroidery. Join a patrol (foxes, squirrels, hawks or badgers) and make friends for life .

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River Cottage Festival

River Cottage

Dates: 24th-25th August
Location: River Cottage HQ, Axminster
Go for: Something for the whole family – food, music, talks, masterclasses and a host of children’s activities to boot. Choose from day or weekend tickets – there’s luxury camping available on site if that’s your thing, too.

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Tropical Pressure

Tropical Pressure Festival

Dates: 12-14 July, 2019
Location: Mount Pleasant Eco Park, Porthtowan, Cornwall
Go for: An immersed experience of Latin American, African and Caribbean culture through music, art, food and dance, all in the beautiful Cornish countryside.

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Junipalooza

Gin Foundry

Dates: 9th – 10th June
Location: Tobacco Dock, London
Go for: Gin! This is the sixth year of Junipalooza, which was created by the Gin Foundry to celebrate the nation’s current favourite spirit. Sampling cups at the ready; there’s plenty of booze to test, and the suppliers are all there to talk you through it too.

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Henley Literary Festival

Henley Literature Festival

Dates: 26 September – 6 October 2019
Location: Henley on Thames
Go for: All things literature for both adults and children, including workshops, performances, Q&As and talks with some of your favourite authors.

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Daylesford Summer Festival

Daylesford

Dates: 8 June 2019
Location: Daylesford near Kingham, Gloucestershire
Go for: Stalls, workshops, debates, crafts, a dog show, singing, dancing and an array of delicious food. There’s also the Bamford Wellbeing Tent, hosting a series of workshops on wellness, nourishment and making time for self-care and reflection. This year’s theme is ‘summer of love’, so don’t forget your flower crown.

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Latitude Festival

Latitude

Dates: 18-21 July 2019
Location: Henham Park, Suffolk
Go for: The critically-acclaimed performing arts at the Theatre Arena, the wonderful adventures of Pandora’s Playground, the Speakeasy and the endless creative music stages – from SOLAS and BBC Sound to the Waterfront Stage. Oh, and did we mention you can swim in the lake?

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Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival

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Dates: 13 -14 July, 2019
Location: Weymouth Harbour, Dorset
Go for: The best of British seafood and an incredible atmosphere at the stunning Weymouth Harbour, all with a cold glass of Nyetimber in your hard.

FREE ENTRY

The Good Life Experience

The Good Life Experience

Dates: 12 -15 September, 2019
Location:  Gladstones’ Farm, North Wales
Go for: World famous chefs that will be cooking over a campfire, music, poetry and inspirational speakers. Attendees can also get involved in the axe throwing, archery, fire walking, leather-working and bushcraft.

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Blenheim Palace Flower Show

Blenheim Palace Flower Show

Dates: 21 -23 June, 2019
Location: Woodstock
Go for:  The ‘ultimate flower festival’ and the very best of gardening. Attendees can explore the show gardens and shopping village, attend talks and discussions led by the professionals and venture into the Floral Art Marquee where they will find beautiful pieces by renowned local and international artists.

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Wilderness

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Dates: 1-4 August, 2019
Location: Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
Go for: The Sanctuary. This is the part of the festival that is tucked away from the lively atmosphere and dedicated to all things holistic, nourishing and wholesome to nurture your well being – from mindful moments and an energising exercise boost, to a restorative yoga session or a healing massage.

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Cheese Fest

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Dates: Dependent on city
Location: Various cities across the country
Go for: So. Much. Cheese! Cheese Fest is the UK’s biggest touring cheese festival, boasting live music, street food, cooking demos, and of course, a pretty mega cheese market. For 2019 its celebrating 30 cracking years of everyone’s favourite cheese lovers Wallace and Gromit, so there’s lots of extra fun from Aardman Animations too.

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Pub In The Park

Pub In The Park

Dates: Dependent on city
Location: Various cities across the country
Go for: A pretty setting, brilliant food, live music and Michelin-starred chefs – well, Pub In The Park is the brainchild of Tom Kerridge, after all. Alongside music from acts like the Kaiser Chiefs, Gabrielle, David Gray and Clean Bandit, expect chef demonstrations, masterclasses, tastings and plenty of artisan shopping too.

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The Big Retreat

The Big Retreat Wales

Dates: 24-27 May, 2019
Location: Old Castle Site, Lawrenny, Wales
Go for: A holistic solo-travel experience celebrating good food, music and a plethora of wellbeing programmes. The entire festival is dedicated to those who love solo adventures and will allow you to not only enjoy your own company but mingle with like-minded people.

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Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight

Dates: 13-16 June, 2019
Location: Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight
Go for: This year’s theme – the summer of ’69, peace and love. Indulge in the ultimate nostalgia with this year’s line up which includes the likes of Noel Gallagher and the one and only Rick Astley as well as a special tribute to Bob Dylan with a live performance by Simply Dylan. Oh, and they’re hosting a fancy dress competition so come dressed to impress.

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