The top six child-friendly festivals

Ben Walsh picks the standout calendar fixtures that welcome a younger crowd

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The Independent Culture

Underage Festival

Now in its sixth year, this achingly cool one-dayer is for 13-17 year olds only and is strictly about the music – there's no bouncy castles or playdough to be found here. Among the five stages will be 22-year-old soul and folk sensation Lianne La Havas, whose influences include Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill, London's lively grime and dance-punk act Hadouken! and Outfit, a guitar-pop quintet from Merseyside who've been compared to New Order and Franz Ferdinand.

Venue: Shoreditch Park, London N1 (

When: 31 August

Tickets: £19.50

Sunrise Celebration

Last year Sunrise won the Green Parent Magazine Best Festival Award and they've just found out that they've won again. The festival, which is renowned for its safe and family friendly atmosphere, will have an expanded kids area this year. It will centre around a giant helter skelter, with a fairground ride, a safe toddlers' area and a teen space with a skate ramp. There will also be a host of workshops for kids from basket weaving to learning about home-grown food.

Venue: Gilcombe Farm, Bruton (

When: 21-24 June

Tickets: adult £115, age 16-17 £70, age 5-15 £25, family £255

Standon Calling

This reliably imaginative festival is more child-friendly than most with its special area set aside for children, which features an art and crafts area for painting, drawing, playdough, mural making, beatboxing classes and more. The organisers recently reported that as many kids tickets have been issued for 2012 as in the last two years combined. Small wonder, as under 13s go free.

Venue: Standon Lordship, Herts (

When: 3-5 August

Tickets: adult three-day £99, two-day £78, one-day £25-£39, under 13s free

Cornbury Festival

Cornbury, arguably England's most well-heeled festival, is famed for its magical children's zone, which generously features storytelling, yoga, parachute games, a ventriloquist show, Punch & Judy, face painting, mask making, arts and crafts, clay modelling, the Orange Hat Puppet Show and circus skills African dance workshops.

Venue: Great Tew Park, Great Tew (

When: 29 June-1 July

Tickets: adult £150-£275, age 13-16 £75-£150, age 3-12 £10-£25

Larmer Tree Festival

This intimate festival, held at the exquisite Larmer Tree Gardens, is jam-packed with activities for children including the Emmy-award winning Farmer Jason with his infectious music show. Look out too for Vasalisa and the Peacock from Hinged Theatre, who also host an origami puppet, workshop for kids, as well as kids' drumming with Inta Africa, and a YouthZone for 11-17 year olds.

Venue: Larmer Tree Gardens, near Salisbury (

When: 11-15 July

Tickets: adult five-day £190, age 11-17 £155, age 5-10 £130, four-day £105-£165, three-day £90-£140, one-day £24-£60

Camp Bestival

Children are superbly catered for at this quirky festival, with the Upper Kids' Garden on the Castle's back lawn providing a big top, theatre workshop and bouncy castle, plus a separate toddlers' area and the pioneering Breastival Mother and Baby Temple. The Lower Kids' Garden, meanwhile, caters for slightly older children, featuring the English National Ballet tent, the Insect Circus and Museum and the Little Big Top. Look out too for CBeebies big shot Mr Tumble and antics from Dick and Dom.

Venue: Lulworth Castle, Dorset (

When: 26-29 July

Tickets: adult £175-£185, student £170, age 15-17 £110, age 11-14 £95, under 10s free