Our Friendlier UK Festivals

UK festivals seem to be getting less friendly on the wallet and more restrictive to making our younger and canine family members welcome.  Here’s my breakdown of top child and dog friendly festivals in the UK in 2016…

 

Leamington Peace Festival
18th- 19th June 2016
£ FREE
A diverse and jam packed time table of events, workshops, talks, stalls and performances every year, showcasing local talent, crafts and causes as well as raising awareness on worldwide issues.

 

Dentdale Music & Beer Festival
24 – 26th June 2016, various venues, Sedbergh
£ FREE
A weekend of family fun held on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This festival takes place at various venues, pubs, and the campsites in and around Dent.

The Sun Inn and the George & Dragon provide real ales, home cooked food and a great atmosphere in the centre of Dent.
A separate area on the festival field will be dedicated to entertaining the children with a number of children’s games with a mix of live entertainment as well.

The music is usually spontaneous (although occasionally organised) so you won’t miss out wherever you are.

 

Stainsby Festival
15 – 17 July 2016
£20 day – £55 full weekend

A well-established, intimate and family friendly event in a beautiful rural setting, held in large marquees on a greenfield site in the picturesque hamlet of Stainsby, Derbyshire.  Held in large marquees in the picturesque Stainsby in Derbyshire, Stainsby Festival is a charity event with a focus on live music: hearing, playing, writing, performing, and learning. There are lots of activities for children, great comfort food, and exciting live music. Dogs are warmly welcomed as long as they are kept on a lead and all poop is scooped.

 

Ely Folk Festival
8th – 10th July 2016
£24 day – £81 full weekend camping
Taking place in the pretty cathedral city of Ely, this festival provides the opportunity to enjoy folk music in an intimate and friendly environment. As a dog friendly and activity packed event, Ely Folk Festival is perfect for a weekend camping trip or just a day out in the sun.

 

Cropredy Festival
11th – 13th August 2016
£70 day – £120 full weekend (& kids under 12 go free)

Cropredy is a picturesque village, five miles North of Banbury, which plays host to up to 20,000 music lovers each August for the annual Fairport Cropredy Convention, a festival that specialises in music that’s all about fun and positivity. The festival has a truly communal atmosphere, giving kids a warm welcome with special events such as teaching circus skills, and admitting all dogs.

 

Farmer Phil’s Music Festival
12th – 14th August 2016
£35 day – £75 weekend
Nestled in the rolling fields of Shropshire, Farmer Phil’s Music Festival is an all-encompassing, family friendly event that features 40 live music acts in three days. As well as great music, the festival also features unique entertainment such as magic shows and comedy acts, making it a great option for the whole family, including your dog.

 

Shrewsbury Folk Festival
26th – 29th August 2016
£35 day – £160 weekend
As one of Britain’s favourite folk festivals, Shrewsbury Folk Festival prides itself on providing a distinctive mix of folk and roots music. The festival is a great option for all campers, featuring amazing music, great food and drink, incredible dance, and lots of kid friendly activities.

 

Foodies Festival at Alexandra Palace
27th – 29th August 2016
£16 day – £25 (3 day)
Foodies Festival is officially the biggest food festival across the UK, featuring pop-up restaurants, street food, cooking demos, wine and champagne theatre and a vintage tea tent. Spice lovers can take part in the daily Chilli Eating Challenge or if you have a more mellow palate head to one of the stages for an eclectic mix of live music. Dogs are permitted if kept on a short lead.

 

 

Isle of Mull

Wild Scotland is never more wild as in Mull.  Even in the coldest March on record for the UK (since 1962) the rugged island has been a beautiful picture of russet-brown and bracken-clad valley. The towering mountain ridges with babbling streams and still lochs are home to an abundance of amazing wildlife. And we were lucky enough to catch a few glimpses of some very special wildlife treats…

In just five days touring the island, exploring  each day from 0ur cabin lodge, we saw: White-tailed Eagles (what locals call “flying barn doors” because of their sheer size – given their 8ft wingspan)  soaring above the ridges and nesting in (“only the tallest”) trees;  red deer  everywhere you looked – including grazing in our garden and right in front of the car before leaping up a cliff-side;  majestic circling Golden Eagles cutting through the skies;  buzzards galore – often being harassed by unusual-looking “hooded” crows; a graceful Hen Harrier flying low over the grassland; not to mention the odd playful otter, swimming and diving in the shallows, bobbing in and out of sight.

What a trip!

Here are a few of my pics:

Our cabin –

Our cabin Mull 0313

 

The local loch –

Dervaig loch 0313 v1

 

Some picturesque boat wrecks –
Boat wreck Mull 0313   Icy loch Dervaig 0313

My attempt at a long exposure down by the river (- shame about the splash mark!) –

 

Long exposure - river running, Mull 0313

Local wildlife –

Hooded crow

Hooded crow Mull 0313

 

Highland cattle

Mull Angus bw 0313 Mull calf 0313

Tobermory –

Tobermory 0313

And here are some even better ones of our photo story from Mull, March 2013, where we even managed to get a quick snap of an otter!

The rut

In October 2012 we went over to the beautiful and enchanting RSPB Minsmere to see the star attraction on the heath, the red deer rut.  Although we’d missed some of the fierce mating battles of a couple of weeks prior, we still got a glimpse of the intensity of the rut and the wildly aggressive behaviour the males were displaying.
Our jeep safari took us as close as we could safely get to the action – very often taking us to the edge of a harem containing one large stag and several hinds.
On occasion we’d be moved on by a dominant stag holding his own, antlers impressively aloft, sniffing the air as he caught our scent.
Down wind, we could sit and watch the stories unfold a little longer and witness first hand some of the drama play out like a soap opera. We saw the smaller stags (/bucks) trying their luck as they wandered into dominant stag territory to entice some of the hinds with their call.  It didn’t work for the small boys without the real, bellowing roar, but we did see some success from some of the larger stags.
At one point we were in the middle of what felt like a competition as two large, rival stags would roar their echoing, baritone calls and thrash the ground as they strutted back and forth, gauging their opponent’s size and strength. A few stray hinds left one male’s camp for the other but not enough to cause a battle to ensue.
It was amazing to learn that the males had been doing this for weeks and weeks without food. It just echoed the fact that with every battle scar, every strut and each bellowing roar, the message they were sending was that this was a battle of stamina that only the strongest would win.