14 brilliant outdoor festivals you don’t want to miss

Fill your weekends with these awesome, adventure packed festivals

1. Isle of Arran Mountain Festival

When: 13-16 May
Isle of Arran, North Ayrshire
What: One of Scotland’s most popular hill walking and mountaineering festivals, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore Arran’s wild landscapes. Activities include wildlife-watching, coastal walks and scrambling on Beinn Bharrain. Prices are per activity, starting at £15, and accommodation needs to be booked separately.

2. Eroica Britannia

When: 17-19 May
Where: Bakewell, Derbyshire
What: Three days of live music, camping and food, topped off with one helluva a bike ride around the Peak District. There’s a choice of 30, 55 and 100-mile routes, depending on your fitness level. The big twist? You have to ride it on a pre-1987 bicycle (with an outfit to match…). Entry £60, camping £20.

Go retro with Eroica Brittania /dynamicpictures.co.uk

Go retro with Eroica Brittania /dynamicpictures.co.uk

3. Keswick Mountain Festival

When: 19-22 May
Where: Keswick, Cumbria
What: A stalwart of the outdoor calendar jam-packed with activities such as gorge scrambling, navigation, moonlit canoeing and Via Ferrata. The evening programme includes guest speakers James Cracknell and Julia Bradbury, and before you retire to your tent, head to the festival village to hear music from acts like Björn Again, Scouting For Girls and Toploader. Weekend tickets start at £60. OAG is an official sponsor too!

4. Stackpole Sea Kayaking Festival

When: 20-22 May
Where: Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
What: For experienced sea kayakers, this two-day fest offers up a choice of paddling trips around the Pembrokeshire coastline, including Skomer Island, Cleddau Estuary and Stackpole Quay. The festival is fully-catered (there’s even a hog roast on the Saturday) and includes speakers and live music. Tickets from £135, accommodation from £30.

5. The Bushcraft Show

When: 28-30 May
Where: Beehive Farm, Derbyshire
What: A weekend dedicated to all things bushcraft, from shelter building and firelighting to axe-throwing and wolf walking. Speakers include Ray Mears and natural navigator Tristan Gooley. Weekend tickets start at £95, including camping.

Explore the Lakes at the Keswick Mountain Festival|Seb Rogers

Explore the Lake District at the Keswick Mountain Festival|Seb Rogers

6. Totnes Canoe Festival

When: 17 June
Where: Totnes, Devon
What: Now in its sixth year. Support crews of 10 as they paddle their impressive Longbow canoes down the River Dart. Based at Longmarsh, it’s the perfect site for a family picnic, with an endless array of sideshows, food and entertainment on offer.

7. Cliffhanger

When: 9-10 July
Where: Sheffield
What: One of the UK’s best known outdoor events, Cliffhanger takes over Millhouses Park with everything from bushcraft to mountain biking on offer. Known for wacky events including duckracing and Bike Polo, the festival also plays host to the British Bouldering Championships. Tickets cost £6.

8. Pendle Family Running Festival

When: 16 July
Where: Barley, Lancashire
What: The big attraction here is the half marathon — with over 2000ft of ascent its one of the country’s toughest, but lighter options include a 10k, a 5-mile trail race and orienteering. You can bring the whole family along with children’s fun races, high rope courses and climbing walls also on offer. Camp on the grounds or stay in the bunk rooms. Prices vary.

Runstock is new family event for 2016

Runstock is a new family event for 2016

9. Runstock

When: 29-31 July
Where: Boughton House, Northamptonshire
What: New for 2016. A family-friendly, running festival raising money for Children with Cancer UK. Based around a 5k lapped course with optional obstacles, the idea is to clock in as many laps as you can in eight hours, either as a team or on your own. There’s also a camping village, live music, beer tent and kid-friendly activities. Entry costs from £45.

10. Boardmasters

When: 10-14 August
Where: Newquay, Cornwall
What: One of the biggest events on the British surfing calendar, Boardmasters is a winning combination of surfing competitions and world-class music, with performances from Chase & Status, Kaiser Chiefs and James Bay. There’s plenty of opportunities to learn surfing, while skating and BMXing complete the action-packed line up. Weekend tickets from £134, including camping.

11. Adventure Travel Film Festival

When: 12-14 August
Where: London
What: Get inspired with a programme of top adventure travel films, including Seaside Donkey, which follows ex OAG editor Hannah Engelkamp and Chico the donkey around Wales. Workshops include Travel Writing, Travel Photography and Social Media, and there’s also yoga, bushcraft and live music on offer. Weekend tickets from £89, including camping.

Celebrate the UK surf scene at Boardmasters | Graham Joy

Celebrate the UK surf scene at Boardmasters | Graham Joy

12. Wilderness Gathering

When: 18-21 August
Where: West Knoyle, Wiltshire
What: A weekend of nitty-gritty bushcraft fun, held at the Bush Farm Bison Centre. Expect workshops on tracking, firelighting, bow making, natural navigation and wild first aid during the day, with evening entertainment in the form of live music and storytelling. Weekend tickets start at £80 (£30 for children) and day tickets from £12.50.

13. The Big Bike Bash

When: 28-31 August
Where: Bransgore, Hampshire
What: Situated in the New Forest and surrounded by singletrack and XC trails, this weekend is filled with races and competitions, including Bike Limbo, a Lake Jump and night racing. Non-bike activities include canoeing, climbing and nature trails, after which you can kick back with a real ale in the beer tent. Family tickets (including camping) cost £130, adults £65. 

14. Base Camp Festival

When: 1-4 September
Where: Darley Dale, Derbyshire
What: An adult-only adventure festival mixing activities, talks and live music. Meet high-profile explorers like Sophie Radcliffe and Benedict Allen, learn to slackline, climb and forage have a go at river tubing and tandem kayaking. Workshops include packrafting, budget backpacking and expedition planning. Tickets from £102.