From Boutique Festivals To Outdoor Cinemas: How To Have A Summer Of Fun In The UK This Year

No outbound flight booked? Don't worry, there's plenty going on to liven up your stay-at-home summer...

Summer festivals 2021

by Antonia Keske |
Updated on

Even if you haven't opted for an overseas holiday this summer, there's still lots to look foward to back home. Right now, the Government is still holding firm on its plan to ease all restrictions on June 21 - although whether this will actually happen on this date, in the face of rising cases, remains to be seen. Nonetheless, with the hope that restrictions will continue to ease at some point over the summer, lots of big events are looking to go ahead and offer staycationers lots of great music, movies and food. While the festival season is not as jam-packed as normal with some cancelled and many of the biggies sold out, the great news is there are still some great festivals with tickets remaining – but book now!

If you love the big screen, there are some great outdoor film events where you can watch a favourite film on a big screen under the stars and in atmospheric surroundings. Missed going out to eat and drink? These feastivals will help you make up for it, many of them combining food with fabulous music too. All you have to do now is enjoy yourself!

Of course, our caveat to all of this is that all events are subject to change depending on how Government advice and restrictions change over the summer.

Festival Frolics


Festival Frolics

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BIGFOOT FESTIVAL, June 18 – 20, Warwickshire

Making its UK debut, this festival fuses great music with (lots of) craft beer but also lashings of Pol Roger champagne, wine and other drinks. It all happens in the beautiful grounds of Ragland Hall and the main arena, playing host to more than 60 acts including Primal Scream and Hot Chip Megamix, is situated on the banks of a beautiful large lake. Also lakeside is the outdoor cinema and relaxation area. There's a focus on wellness too, with activites such as yoga, massage and zen workshops plus lots of fun stuff for children. Tuck into street food, restaurant dishes from the likes of 10 Greek Street, plus BBQ queen Genevieve Taylor and others will be firing up the grill. Adult tickets £120pp + £280 for a basic bell tent, children are free

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ALSO FESTIVAL July 2 – 4, Warwickshire,

Set across 30 acres of pretty parkland and around a lovely lake, this festival aims to help you make sense of the world around you. The three-day event focuses on big ideas with a host of speakers discussing the universe and beyond. You can also learn something new with workshops on the Japanese art kintsugi, creating a Matisse-inspired collage or simply appreciate wine, whisky and song. Dive into the lake for wild swimming, take a lakeside run or go on a foraging walk. As for music, it ranges from mellow to major including cabaret to late-night DJs. Tickets from £125pp

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GOOD LIFE SOCIETY SUMMER CAMP July 9 – 12, 16 – 19, 23 – 26, July 29 – August 2, Wales

Pitch up to the lovely Walled Garden of Hawarden Estate estate and set your clock to slow - for just 100 people, this is a festival about serious chilling and honing your craft skills. Choose from one (or more) four long weekends with a smorgasboard of activities and workshops such as floral art, natural dyeing, photography, cooking, furniture making and chicken keeping. Go wild swimming and paddleboarding in the private lake, take your dog for a run or play tennis. A short walk from your tent is the award-winning Hawarden Estate Farm Shop with its on-site bakery, deli and cafe. A delicious dinner, cooked by the shop's chefs is included in the ticket price. From £135pn for 2

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NEWSAM PARK July 10, Leeds

Set in the stunning grounds of Temple Newsam, a historic house with three lakes, rolling hills and leafy woodland is this brand new house and techno music festival that promises to get you dancing from 10.30am to Sven Vath, Annie Errez and Jamie Jones and others. Want more? Then head to the official afterparty at Mint which kicks on until 6am. Tickets to the festival from £77

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WOMAD July 22 – 25, Wiltshire

Travel restrictions have impacted the booking of overseas artists but this iconic festival's international flavour is still strong thanks to performers from Britain's global communities. With a focus on getting to know and love music from other cultures, as well as the more than 40 performers, there are over 80 free adult workshops on everything from Brazilian folkloric dance to Palestinian singing. Take time out with mass yoga sessions and Tai-Chi surrounded by150 foot trees, or relax in the spa. There's plenty for kids and teens, too, as well as loads of fab food to eat and cook. From £183pp (adult), £95 (teens); children under 13 are free

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STANDON CALLING July 22 - 25, Hertfordshire

It started as a birthday barbecue and turned into a boutique festival that this year celebrates its 15th birthday. Brilliantly mixing the fun and quirky with brilliant music, Bastille, Hot Chip and Primal Scream headline a huge number of acts that also include Craig David and Sophie Ellis Bextor but there's also live comedy, disco partying, the festival's famous fancy dress parade and dog show. There's loads for the kids including the infamous Dick & Dom DJ Battle and fire-camp story-telling. Day tickets from £78pp; weekend camping £195.11pp

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A starter festival for families with younger children, it's packed full of music, sports, art, crafts and fun activities in fields and woods for little people – think tree climbing, kayaking, pond dipping, raft building and lots more. An eclectic mix of music ranges from the indie alternative funk band Alexis Kings to the swing fun of the Jive Aces to the drum n' bass orchestra, Carnival Collective. There's also plenty for grown-ups such as a gin workshop, power ballad yoga, qigong, wild running and a spa for massages, reflexology and shiatsu. Weekend with camping, adults, £143. 20pp, children £71.55;

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GATEWAYS FESTIVAL August 6-8, North Yorkshire

Kick off the weekend at the outdoor cinema watching Boheniam Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman before spending the next couple of days dancing to the likes of Feeder, The Lightning Seeds, Razorlight and Scouting for Girls, Buzzcocks, Toploader, Emily Capell. Plus, enjoy all the fun of the fair and tuck into something delicious from the many street food vendors. Weekend ticket, £71.50 (adult), £38.50 (child)

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ALL POINTS EAST Victoria Park, London, August 27 – 30

This exciting festival debuted in 2018 is back this year on but later and over four days instead of two weekends and incorporating the Field Day festival on Sunday (but this is sold out). London Grammar, Jamie XX and Foals headline a brilliant line-up on the remaining days. Day tickets from £73.70

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TRNSMT FESTIVAL September 10-12, Glasgow

Scotland's biggest festival is another that has returned later than usual in the year but it's definitely worth the wait. In the heart of the city, the festival boasts three stages and a fantastic line up with headliners Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers joined by Primal Scream, Snow Patrol, Sam Fender, Blossoms, Dermot Kennedy, Amy Macdonald and new music stars Little Simz, Becky Hill, Griff, Tom Odell, Georgia and more. From £62.50 day tickets, from £165 weekend tickets

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ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL September 16 – 19, Newport

Known for its big names it's usually the last big festival of the summer. This year Liam Gallagher, Snow Patrol, David Guetta and Duran Duran headline but there's also Tom Jones, Becky Hill, All Saints, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Supergrass and many, many more. More details are still to be announced but tickets are already selling fast. Weekend and camping £185pp (adult), £165pp (teen); day tickets £70

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Summer Screens

Twenty stunning locations - think the lawn of a country house, to the ruins of a medieval cathedral and a boat floating down the Thames – and a choice of 20 classic blockbusters from The Breakfast Club to Leon and La La Land. One highlight is the 40th anniversary screening of An American Werewolf in London, under a blue moon and in the atmospheric setting of Reading Abbey Ruins. Choose between allocated picnic pitches, double deckchairs or private gazebos. BYO food and drink or partake of the fully stocked Summer Screens bar, gourmet popcorn and loaded nachos menu. Adults from £15, children from £10.50

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Film & Food Festival

At 15 locations around the country, enjoy four days of outdoor cinema showing short films and classic and recent favourites. Thursdays are for specially curated short films from independent filmmakers. The rest of the selection varies depending on location but some of those on the programme are Grease, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Greatest Showman and Queen & Slim, as well as films for children. All events have a live comedy host, plus plus a myriad of street food stalls, excellent craft beer, prosecco, gin and cocktails. From £18.50

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Taste London July 7 – 11 & 14-18

Regent's Park is the venue for this food-fuelled garden party starring many of the capital's hottest foodies. Plus, tickle your tastebuds with cocktails that communicate with your brainwaves, desserts with insect sprinkles and whisky from vending machines. Take a cocktail masterclass, enjoy a wine tasting or two or hop between the craft beer alleys on a hunt to discover your next microbrewery fave. There's also plenty of live music and performances form London REIGN. Due to covid, tickets are in sessions and start at £23

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Pub in the Park

This foodie festival promises a 'laid-back celebration of the very best food, drink and music'. At each of its eight venues around the country, award-winning pubs and restaurants 'pop-up' serving £6 tasting dishes plus there are chef demos, an artisan food market and bars selling a huge variety of drinks. As the sun goes down, the stage lights up for live music from the likes of Beverley Knight, Craig David and All Saints. Day tickets from £37.28, evening tickets from £47.28 (adults); £21.30, £31.30 (children); under 6 free

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Foodies Festival July – October, nationwide

At 10 locations around the country, a jumping mix of fabulous food and music. Chefs and performers change according to location but at the first one in Tatton Park, Cheshire, new Masterchef champion, Tom Rhodes, will be sharing his kitchen tricks, alongside other Masterchef finalists and champions plus GBBO's Candice Brown will be showing off her skills in the Cakes & Desserts Theatre. Head to the Drinks Theatre to taste the best wines and champagnes while kids can learn to cook in the Kids Theatre. There are street food stalls and a restaurant tent, and music is from Sophie Ellis-Bexter, Maybe Gaga and The Killerz along with live performances from 50 emerging bands and soloists. Tickets from £19 (adults), £5 (teens), children under 12, free

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Culture in Coventry

Coventry is the UK City of Culture 2021 which means that from May, the city kicked off a huge progamme of events from dance, film and theatre to exhibitions, workshops and outdoor events. To find out more and to book tickets

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It's the dodgems..

.... but with a difference! Within London's Somerset House courtyard, joyfully decorated by designer Yinka Ilori, ride the dodgems where thanks to Mercury Prize 2020 nominee Anna Meredith and BAFTA-winning sound artist Nick Ryan, every thump of the bumper car triggers explosive new musical material. Plus, culinary star Jimmy Garcia hosts a new pop-up, serving up summer favourites from street food to seriously extra sundaes. Dodge Lates on Thursday and Friday evenings includes takeovers from from leading DJ; Special weekend Bump & Brunch features unlimited dodgem rides, cocktails, DJ sets and homemade waffles. Tickets are for a table and dodgems and start from £10pp;


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