Every summer, artists from around the world descend upon Great Britain for music festival season. It’s loud, it’s muddy, and it’s a ton of fun. From the world-famous Glastonbury to new grassroots festivals cropping up every year, we’ve put together some of the best music festivals and what there is to do in the area so you can make the experience of a lifetime. Grab your wellies and get ready to rock out!
Glastonbury is Britain’s largest and best known music festival, held in the Somerset countryside every year since 1970. Featuring the biggest pop and rock acts, the atmosphere of Glastonbury Festival cannot be beaten. Held in June, you can get tickets here: www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/information/tickets
Glastonbury itself is a small, quirky town with a hippy vibe, and there are great places to explore in the surrounding beautiful countryside. Climb to the top of the Glastonbury Tor for breath-taking views of the Somerset Levels, Dorset, Wiltshire and even Wales. Explore the ruins of the Glastonbury Abbey, which sits on 36 acres of gorgeous parkland where you can find the burial place of King Arthur. You can learn about traditional English country life at the Somerset Rural Life Museum with a Victorian farmhouse, farm buildings, and cider orchard to explore.
Isle of Wight
One of the UK’s oldest music festivals is the Isle of Wight Festival. First held in 1968, the festival brings together a bunch of acts for its four days of musical fun on the gorgeous island of the south coast of England. Held in June you can get tickets here: www.isleofwightfestival.com/tickets.aspx
The Isle of Wight has no shortage of fun things to do. While you’re there for the festival, make sure you add on some time to explore the rest of the island. Head to The Needles Park, the Island’s most famous attraction that will satisfy all ages. Take the chairlift through the air for a stunning view of the needles rocks and coloured sands. Ride the carousel or take a stroll on the beach. The Isle of Wight is home to the most award-winning beaches in all of England. Grab your sunglasses and a towel and spend the day on one of the pristine beaches. Take a ride on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway where you can sit back and relax inside one of the restored Edwardian and Victorian cars and take in the beautiful island views.
T in the Park
This Scottish festival rivals the rest of Britain as one of the craziest and noisiest festivals of them all. T in the Park is the largest summer music festival in Scotland, and is usually held in July. 2014 was the final year it would take place in its home of 18 years, Balado. Next year it will be held at Strathallan Castle in Perthshire. You can get tickets here: www.tinthepark.com/tickets.aspx
Strathallan Castle is in close proximity to a lot of great sights in Scotland. Located in the town of Auchterarder, the castle is situated in the same town as the famous Gleneagles Hotel. Golf lovers can get in a round of golf at one of the most famous courses in the world. Auchterarder is also home to the longest high street in Scotland (over a mile!) that is lined with many different shops, cafes, and restaurants. Some other nearby attractions include the Tullibardine Distillery & Visitor Centre and the British School of Falconry.
Held in Reading’s famous festival arena, this fun and rowdy festival features the biggest names in rock, pop, indie and alternative. Reading is held in August and you can get tickets here: www.readingfestival.com/tickets
If you want to make an entire experience out of your trip to the Reading Festival, there are all kinds of things to do in the city centre and nearby areas. Reading has great shopping. Head to the Oracle, or the Broadstreet Mall. There you can find anything from high street brands to gifts for your friends and family. One of the really great things about Reading shopping is many areas are pedestrianised, so you don’t have to worry about traffic. Visit the Museum of Reading where there is fun for the whole family, like hands on exhibits for the kids, as well as intriguing exhibits like the world’s only facsimile copy of the Bayeux Tapestry. Take a day trip to Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, and the Official Residence of Her Majesty the Queen. Within easy reach of Reading, don’t miss the stunning 13 acres of this famous castle.
Leeds shares the same line up as the Reading Festival, but is held in the more northern city of Leeds. Just as fun and rowdy as Reading, Leeds is a great festival to see your favourite musical artists. Leeds also takes place in August (at the same time as Reading) and you can get tickets here: www.leedsfestival.com/tickets
Leeds is a great city and there is so much there to do if you want to make your trip into a whole Leeds city experience. Foodies can enjoy the food scene. There are so many amazing places to enjoy food and drink in Leeds. Head to the Tiled Hall Café where you can enjoy a tea while admiring the beautiful mosaic walls. Or stop for a pint at Leeds oldest pub, Whitelocks, dating all the way back to 1715. Walk along the canal to Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, which was once the world’s largest woollen mill. It’s also home to a 24 seat picture house within the museum. And after the festival if you’re still up for some more music, head out for a night of jamming at venues like The Wardrobe or The Cockpit.
2000Trees is still a fairly small festival, but it’s gaining momentum fast! Held every July in the rolling Cotswold Hills, 2000Trees recently won the Grass Roots Festival Award. They focus on new and underground acts, closing with some bigger names. 2000Trees is where you might discover your new favourite artist! You can get your tickets here: www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk/tickets
The festival is held every year in the Cotswolds, more specifically Cheltenham, and there are loads of things to do in this countryside town. Visit the famous Cheltenham Racecourse and take in a race, or check out the Imperial Gardens where there are all kinds of outdoor festivals during the summer from jazz to literary. Make sure not to miss out on the Cheltenham food scene, known as the Food Capital of the Cotswolds.
Wakestock is known as the festival by the sea as it’s held every July by the Welsh coast on the Llyn Peninsula. Wakestock is not only a music festival, but also home to a wakeboarding contest, and a showcase of food, poetry and comedy from across Wales. The festival started as a small gathering of 500 people and has grown to more than 20,000 attendees. You can get your tickets here: www.wakestock.co.uk/tickets
The Llyn Peninsula is one of Wales’ Areas of Astounding Natural Beauty so it’s full of amazing outdoor activities. There are 84 miles of coast in Llyn which are a part of the Wales Coast Path , making it a great location for cycling and walking. You can also take a day trip to Bardsey Island, a nature reserve where grey seals lay in the sun on the rocks.