8 great cultural festivals across the UK this summer

We explore Britain’s finest boutique festivals... and there isn’t a muddy field or portable loo in sight!

Groups of festival-goers sit under large tents in the sunshine at Green Man 2017

GREEN MAN Nr Crickhowell, Brecon Beacons

Groups of festival-goers sit under large tents in the sunshine at Green Man 2017

Immerse yourself in the Welsh countryside and explore miles of untouched mountains, forests and rivers with a trip to eco-friendly retreat Green Man. Alongside a stellar line-up of musicians, visitors can enjoy family-friendly activities, plus plenty of locally sourced food and drink. For those looking to explore beyond the festival grounds, you’ll find art galleries, gardens, castles and sites of natural beauty just a short car journey away. Adult camping tickets start from £180, or invest in a ‘Settler’s Pass’ (£225) for a week of camping. 0161 813 2222; greenman.net


PORT ELIOT FESTIVAL St Germans, Cornwall

A view over the Port Eliot estate as the sun sets
Image credit: Michael Bowles

Set amid the vast lawns, sun-dappled woodlands and ornamental gardens of this lush Cornish estate, Port Eliot Festival is a far cry from the muddy wellies and plastic ponchos of a traditional music festival. Alongside sampling live music, festival-goers can enjoy talks from A-list authors and big- name comedians, plus there are demonstrations from celebrity chefs and wellbeing experts. Visitors are also encouraged to embrace the outdoors with a wild swim in the estuary, or an indulgent hot tub session in Cornwall’s roaming eco-spa, Kernow Springs. Prices for adult day tickets start from £62.50, with weekend camping from £170. porteliotfestival.com


HAY FESTIVAL Hay-on-Wye, Powys

An open-sided tent at the Hay festival, covered in multi-coloured bunting

A must-visit for those interested in books, the arts and beautiful scenery, the Hay Festival brings together acclaimed writers and speakers from around the world for a calendar of discussions and performances. Make time for antiques-hunting between talks too, as Hay-on-Wye is a hotspot for independent shops stocking antiquarian books and collectable finds. Entrance to the festival site itself is free and tickets to individual talks range from £5-£40. 01497 822629; hayfestival.com


LATITUDE Beccles, Suffolk

A view across the Lake and a large moon sculpture at Latitude Festival
Image credit: Matt Eachus

For a genteel and refined music festival experience, Suffolk’s Latitude is a well-mannered salute to live music, contemporary arts and the British summertime. Highlights for culture vultures include waterside dance and theatre performances, plus live podcast recordings, film screenings and stand-up comedy. Of course, there’s plenty of music – but for those looking for relaxation and luxury, you’ll find wellbeing and spa sessions, lake swimming, a children’s enchanted garden and endless glamping options. Prices for adult weekend camping tickets start from £197.50. Be quick, because they sell out fast! 020 7009 3001; latitudefestival.com


VINTAGE BY THE SEA Morecambe, Lancashire

A pair of ladies dressed in 1950s blouses and skirts with teapot hats

Combine a trip to Morecambe’s Victorian promenade with a celebration of all things vintage at Vintage By The Sea. Pay tribute to timeless design from the 1920s through to 1990s, with live music, classic cars, a pop-up dance hall and old fairground rides. Dressing up is optional (although we never pass on the chance to slip into a Fifties sundress!) and festival-goers clad in their finest 20th-century garb can enter the hotly contested ‘Best in Show’ competition. Entry to the festival is also free, leaving spare pennies for antiques and vintage shopping, of which there is plenty. vintagefestival.co.uk


FESTIVAL NO. 6 Portmeirion, Gwynedd

A view over Festival Number 6 at Portmeirion
Image credit: Jenna Foxton

During the summer, it’s easy to mistake the clear blue waters of Portmeirion for that of a Mediterranean seaside town. Festival No.6 is a civilised affair. Described as a ‘boutique music and arts festival’, it delivers indulgent food, illuminating talks, immersive theatre and plenty of popular music to boot. Prices for adult weekend camping tickets start from £180. 0844 967 0002; festivalnumber6.com


CURIOUS ARTS FESTIVAL Lymington, Hampshire

An oversized gold picture frame at Curious Arts Festival

Surrounding the lavish estate and pleasure grounds of Pylewell Park, Curious Arts Festival is a rip-roaring escape for those with an eye for fun, creativity and a touch of the eccentric. Festival-goers are just as likely to while away evenings listening to A-list musicians and comedians, as they are to find themselves caught up in a cocktail-mixing masterclass, a revitalising yoga session or ambling through the countryside on a midnight bat walk. Prices for adult weekend camping tickets start from £128. 0333 300 9911; curiousartsfestival.com



Festival-goers stroll alongside a large sign for the Cheltenham Literature Festival

Established in 1949, Cheltenham Literature Festival is one of the UK’s oldest literary events. Taking place after the high-summer festival season, visitors can witness the town transform into a celebration of the written word. Delight in talks from award-winning writers, or enjoy a new book in the autumnal sunshine. The main festival site is free to enter and individual tickets for each event can be bought separately. 01242 850270; cheltenhamfestivals.com