The best grown-up festivals in the UK

The best grown-up festivals in the UK

Not a fan of mud, big crowds and camping? Don't let that put you off the idea of enjoying a festival this year. 

Around the UK, there are loads of grown-up festivals going on this summer that are a world away from the mud-splattered stories you might have heard from other festivals.

From foodie feasts to music festivals featuring the dreamboats of our past, arts and culture gatherings to festivals to bring the grandchildren along to, take a look at our pick of the best alternative festivals taking place this year. 

Best for music...

Henley Festival July 11-15

Woooah freak out! Nile Rogers of Chic fame heads up an all-star line-up of famous faces ready to get your grooving at one of the most sophisticated festivals around. 

 Once the music's over, sit back and enjoy a firework finale over the River Thames

Once the music's over, sit back and enjoy a firework finale over the River Thames

Grab a glass of Pimms and soak up the music of the likes of Rita Ora, Grace Jones and the English National Opera while overlooking a twinkling flotilla of boats passing along the river. Meanwhile there's gaggles of cabaret artists, foodie delights and comedy sessions with the likes of  Paul Merton, Mark Watson and Lucy Porter to keep you entertained. 

 It's not just about the music – there's art installations and cabaret performers too

It's not just about the music – there's art installations and cabaret performers too

Rewind Festival - Scotland Jul 20-22; North Aug 3-5; South 17-19

Across three different locations, head back in time to relive the sounds of the past with this unique music festival for grown-ups. The Scottish gathering in Perth welcomes Status Quo, Midge Ure and Bonnie Tyler, while Rewind North in Cheshire will be boogying along to The Jacksons , Billy Ocean and Marc Almond. And down in Henley-on-Thames for Rewind South Paul Carrack, Kool & the Gang and Kim Wilde will be starting one big party. 

 They'll be rockin' all over Perth

They'll be rockin' all over Perth

Folk on the Dock, Liverpool August 25-27

If you love your folk music don't miss the chance to catch one of the best folk fests around where local, national and international artists all converge on the historic Liverpool Albert Dock over Bank Holiday weekend. 

This year's revelries also includes the Liverpool Shanty Festival making the most of the city's maritime musical history for some wonderfully rousing sing-along performances. 

Cornbury Music Festival July 13-15

 Cornbury is regularly voted one of the UK's friendliest festivals 

Cornbury is regularly voted one of the UK's friendliest festivals 

Alanis Morissette meets the Hair Bikers - what more could you want from three full days of summer fun? Si and Dave of Hairy Bikers will be leading the charge of great food with their Pop Up Wood Fired Restaurant Adventure featuring a delicious menu based on their latest book and TV series The Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure. 

 Si and Dave will be cooking up a storm for Cornbury

Si and Dave will be cooking up a storm for Cornbury

Meanwhile Alanis Morissette headlines the music stage alongside Squeeze, Caro Emerald and Amy Macdonald. 

Jimmy's Festival July 21-22

You know the lovely chap from Jimmy's Farm ? Well he's creating his very own family-friendly festival packed with scrumptious food and fab music. See in the heart of Jimmy's Farm in Suffolk, there'll be songs from Paul Young, The Happy Mondays and The Bluestones as well as words and verse workshops, comedy, children's acts, den building and woodland craft.

There's also a huge ancient woodland to explore as well as Wildlife Park with animals including tapir, meerkats, wallabies and a Butterfly House. 

A Boundless Summer July 7-8

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Katherine Jenkins, UB40, Jools Holland & His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and The Gipsy Kings headline this brand new festival in the magnificent country garden of Borde Hill Garden in Haywards Heath. 

Best for a bit of culture...

Port Eliot July 26-29

Come along to this beautiful corner of Cornwall for a festival of culture, words, food, flowers and nature. Whether you’re swimming in the estuary, picnicking under a 300 year old tree, dancing away to the Park Stage, catching an intimate gig in the church or watching a cooking demo in the Big Kitchen, there's a little bit of something for everyone. 

Edinburgh International Festival August 3-27

 The Scottish capital comes to life with every kind of culture

The Scottish capital comes to life with every kind of culture

Where else could you get your fill of more than 2,000 events of music, theatre, dance and film in one city? Now celebrating its 70th birthday, this year's festival opens with an amazing live art installation, Bloom, as large-scale illuminations project onto Edinburgh's iconic buildings. 

And now for something completely different...

The Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival July 21-22

James Martin and Gino d'Acampo head up a weekend of culinary magic in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. There's tonnes of chef and crafting demonstrations to give you plenty of food for thought to take home as well as a vintage fun fair, kid's activities, tasting sessions and live music. 

The Major Oak Woodland Festival, Nottinghamshire June 9-10

In the heart of Robin Hood's own Sherwood Forest enjoy a free weekend festival celebrating the life and history of the great British woodland, with lots of demonstrations and displays showing how we take care of our woodland today. 

 Celebrate our great English woodland in a place that's full of incredible, historic trees

Celebrate our great English woodland in a place that's full of incredible, historic trees

Just So Festival, Cheshire 17-19

Get your little one's imaginations fired up for an imaginative outdoor adventure like no other at this unique camping festival in Cheshire dedicated solely to children and their families. There will be tall tales to tell, lots of mischief and mayhem to get up to plus midnight feasts, a spellbound forest theatre, curious creatures, raucous follow fights and hidden retreats as well as top notch food and drink for the grown-ups. You'll find us at the glorious lakeside Silver Screen where you can recreate famous dance scenes from iconic flicks, join a musical chorus line and get ready for Hollywood with some film star styling.  

 There's plenty to keep the little ones – and you – happy

There's plenty to keep the little ones – and you – happy

Against the backdrop of two amazing castles, musician, DJ and author Cerys Matthews a big party of artists and artisans, debates and discovery, rock n roll and relaxation. There'll be big singalong like we did at school, a free Thirties fairground, tree climbings and lots of how to... talks. 

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 Go crackers for quilting at this unusual festival

Go crackers for quilting at this unusual festival

There are few things in life quite so comforting as a homemade patchwork quilt, made with love by a friend or relative. And this fabulously unique festival in Birmingham celebrates the art of this timeless skill with a host of events. For seasoned quilters there's competitions galore and an Aladdin's cave of fat quarters, quilting machines and kits. Or if you're just keen to find out more, there's lots of demos and workshops to get you having a go.