As the season of getting weird in a field draws ever closer, we thought we'd do you a solid by introducing our top picks for boutique festival experiences in Britain. Whether you're looking for relaxed weekenders offering as much in the way of wellness as they do in world-famous acts, or hoping to lose three days dancing to the best artists coming out of the country's electronic underground, we rounded up the best UK festivals to help you scope out the one for you.
Kent, August 26th-29th & September 2nd-5th 2022
One for the adventurers among us, this quirky, congenial and downright crackers festival is the perfect long weekend for joiner-inners. Going over and above your habitual drink-camp-and-dance combination, Camp Wildfire promises activities galore, from hovercraft racing and swing dancing, to zombie runs, raft building, axe throwing and even speed-dating.
Northamptonshire, August 25th-28th 2022
Dedicated to sustainability, Shambala is one of the best music festivals in the UK for eco-minded revellers, thanks to its use of renewable power and meat and fish-free food stands. On top of their planet-friendly initiatives however, there's 12 stages of music hosting more 200 musicians across the weekend, as well as circus, cabaret, comedy, poetry and an artfully curated series of talks, debates and inspirational speakers.
We Out Here
Cambridgeshire, August 25th-28th 2022
DJ Gilles Peterson is the brains behind this Huntingdon edition of UK festivals in 2022. Alongside lineups fronting some of the finest contemporary jazz talents on the planet, you'll find some very enticing foodie activities too, from charity supper clubs to bespoke natural wine bars and international street eats. And if that weren't enough, We Out Here also brings eclectic cinema nights, wellness sessions and a vinyl record fair.
Holyhead, June 9th-12th 2022
Situated in one of the most bucolic parts of the Welsh countryside, Gottwood is a small UK festival with a big reputation. This cult weekender throws focus on electronic artists and underground party starters with 72 hours of cleverly curated acts across various stages, letting you catch some of dance music's most notable disruptors and innovators against a backdrop of serious pastoral eye candy.
Brecon Beacons, August 18th-21st 2022
Flying the flag for a more alt scene, this charming event, held on a Welsh hillside, brings nothing if not the best programming, with edgy acts across a whole range of themed stages. It's not the biggest UK festival; but if you're looking for between-set activities, there's eccentric art installations, literature and comedy to see at Green Man, alongside health and fitness sessions including sunrise yoga, massages and mindfulness sketching.
Oxfordshire, August 4th-7th 2022
The thinking person's music festival, Wilderness blends big name lineups and late-night party antics with stunning gastronomic experiences and unique activities. Whether it's the dance tent, the feasting table or being part of the world's largest spooning cuddle that floats your boat is your prerogative, Wilderness is taking the quirky festival thing to new heights.
Birmingham, July 30th 2022
Bringing the party brigade to Birmingham, MADE is here to provide one of the top 10 festivals in the UK. Found in Sandwell Valley Country Park, it isn't just a top DJ and urban music showcase, there's artists, designers, visual creativity, musicians and street food to boot. Not to mention that the lineups never fail to hit the spot - previous incarnations have featured Dizzee Rascal, DJ EZ, Andy C and Kurupt FM.
Cheshire, July 21st-24th 2022
One of the biggest UK music festivals on our list, and once named the best medium-sized event, Bluedot is something of an unsung hero. This four-day celebration of music, science and cosmic culture is returning for the first time since 2019, much to our delight. From real life astronauts to Brian Cox, Kraftwerk, The Chemical Brothers and Björk, the lineup here is pretty eclectic too. With the Jodrell Bank Observatory as its backdrop, would you expect anything else?
Edinburgh, August 26th-29th 2022
Hosted at the iconic Jupiter Artland sculpture park just outside Edinburgh, this is still a relative newcomer to the Scotland festival scene. The three days of Jupiter Rising are a great chance to catch up-and-coming artists and cutting edge performances, alongside performance art, films, DJ sets, wild dining and swimming sessions. And if you fancy camping in a meadow of wildflowers? That can be arranged.
Brighton, September 24th 2022
Brighton's Stammer Park is no stranger to a good ol' festival, and on the 24th of September, Boundary Brighton will be taking over for its biggest and best bonanza yet. There will be four stages showcasing various electronic dance artists, spanning drum and bass to house, as well as an exciting vintage fair and other special treats. As the last festival of the season, its set to be a wild one.
Want more festival news? Check out our picks from across the globe.