Bring out the kids - top children's events this summer

April 11, 2014
by Laura Canning | family | festivals and events | seasonal

Wakeboarding wonder. Pic by Riley Bathurst. My. We are certainly being down with/kind to the kids this month, what with last week’s blog on festivals for creative children and now a slew of more ideas on things to do with kids this summer.

Unfortunately it’s no longer the done thing to encourage your sproglets to contribute to the household expenses by chimney sweeping or the like, but most of our suggestions hover around the cheaper end of the financial spectrum – and of course there are always piles of deals and offers to be taken advantage of too.

Whether you have your own young person or you have to borrow one from its grateful parents, try these kids' activities this summer – and have a look at our other summer series blogs on deals from £3.60 and Summer holiday ideas: the pick :

Compete at the Braemar Junior Highland Games , 12 – 13 July, Aberdeenshire

Because we don’t see why the adults should have all the Highland Games fun. 2014 is the tenth year of the junior games, allowing competitively minded youngsters aged between ten and 18 the chance to compete in highland dancing, piping, tug of war and the Creag Choinnich Challenge, a three-mile run from the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park to Creag Choinnich. The games are held on the Saturday and a family fun day on the Sunday.

Stay : If you’re bringing a tourer or motorhome to the Games – perfect for tipping an exhausted competitor into while you drive back to camp – Corriefodly Holiday Park in Perthshire is about half an hour’s drive from Braemar and has electric pitches available throughout July from £20.

Also in Aberdeenshire:

Castle Fraser Jousting Tournament , 20 – 21 July

Get stoked at the British Fireworks Championships, 12 – 13 August, Devon

Make your excited way to the Citadel and the Hoe, viewing points for Plymouth’s British Fireworks Championships every August, where fired-up companies compete to put on the best display. The Hoe is the main viewing point for the fiery festivities and will have live music, a fun fair and food stalls – but get there well before the 930pm start as tens of thousands of firework fans turn up to see the sparks.

Free range at The Old Rectory Stay : As it’s Devon in August, we assume you might want to stay more than a couple of nights…take your pick from pitches, shepherd’s huts and camping pods all within 12 miles of the fireworks and all available for the week of 8 – 15 August.

Less than four miles from the Hoe, Plymouth’s Riverside Caravan Park has tent, tourer and motorhome pitches from £150.50 – £213.50 for the week; 12 miles away at Tavistock, The Old Rectory Caravan and Camping Park has camping pods from £315 – on a farm site with welly loan, produce for sale and miniature ponies Tom and Jerry. At Newton Abbot 15 miles from the fireworks, Dartmoor Shepherd’s Huts has bell tents from £315 and shepherd’s huts from £413.

Also in Devon

Chagstock , 18 – 19 July

Fly, fly away in Sussex

Sussex has two very different flying events over the summer, both of which should appeal to high-flying kids: Airbourne , or the Eastbourne Air Show, was voted the UK’s best free air show for two years running by readers of Airscene, and will have Red Arrows displays for all its four-day run, parachute display teams, trade and exhibition stalls, and aircraft from World War II planes to modern fighter jets.

The Worthing International Birdman Festival , or you explaining to your fascinated children why those people are jumping off the pier, is decidedly not one with engines, but of course that’s part of the fun. Grown to become a huge event in recent years, this charity event carries a £10,000 prize and asks participants to fling themselves off Worthing Pier on homemade wings, to see how far they can go. Tremendous fun.

Even better, both events have free entry, leaving you with a bit of extra dosh for when your enthusiastic new flyer demands materials to build their own wings.

Inside the bell tent at Wattle Hill Oast Stay : Womble along to the South Downs and Brighton for a stay at Wombell Campsite , five minutes from Brighton city centre. Bell tents sleeping up to six come with beds made up on arrival, firepit and barbecue, and are available over the Birdman festival from £100 a night.

For Airbourne, Wattle Hill Oast at Robertsbridge also has bell tents, starting from £500 for the four nights of 14 – 18 August and including starter hamper, firepit and access to the site pool and sauna.

Watch wakeboarding in Wales, 11 – 13 July, Gwynedd

Ooh the brownie points you’ll get if you take your teenager to this one… Wakestock is the biggest wakeboarding festival in Europe, over three days and three venues on the Llŷn Peninsula and with dozens of live acts, comedy, a fun fair, beach games and activities for all ages. And just a little bit of wakeboarding too: the world’s best wakeboarders show up here to show off.

Stay : Book for a week at Rhosfawr Caravan and Camping Park , four miles from the festival site and with tent, tourer and motorhome pitches available for 11 – 18 July from £119 – £133. If you/the kids want to try wakeboarding for yourselves, the Llŷn Peninsula wakeboarding centre Glasfryn Parc is three miles away from the park and has discount wakeboarding sessions over the festival weekend.

Sculpt sand all summer in Dorset

It’s long been a sandy favourite of ours, so it didn’t go against the grain when Sandworld’s exceptional sand sculptures in Weymouth scooped best all weather visitor attraction in the ‘Best of Dorset’ awards last year. Those who smugly feel that their sandcastles are vastly superior to anyone else’s in the family, and deem efforts as 'not counting' because of a mere wonky tower (not that we’re bitter) will find their flabbers gasted at some of world’s best sand sculptures – we guarantee it.

This year’s theme is ‘Literally Sand’ and will include 3D sculptures of bookish faves like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Lord of the Rings among many others; special sculpting areas are set aside to have your own go if you dare, and there’s a play area for younger builders.

Clowning about at Sandworld. Pic by Andreas Thum. Stay : A week again, we think? Littlesea Holiday Park is a short drive from Weymouth and is a David Bellamy Award Gold winner with indoor and outdoor pools on site, crazy golf, tennis and activities for pretty much everyone, from archery to zorbing. An electric tent, tourer or motorhome pitch with awning included starts from £152 for seven nights in June – and from a bargain-filled £63 in May.

Also in Dorset:

Tankfest , the Tank Museum, 28 – 29 June

Super Summer Great Dinosaur Hunt, the Dinosaur Museum, 23 July – 31 August

Other events and ideas for kids this summer

Bristol Harbour Festival , 18 – 20 July

Football in the River , 25 August, Gloucestershire

Medieval Festival , 23 – 31 August, Leeds Castle, Kent

Seasonal savings: spring and summer deals from £3.60 a night

Cheapstock: budget festivals for 2014

Our pick of the best events for 2014

Down on the farm – our farm campsites

Family-friendly campsites

Day Out with the Kids