The Curious Arts Festival

Heading down to Pylewell Park, Lymington for the Curious Arts Festival means getting ready for something more than a little bit unique.

Billed as a festival for the mind, this isn’t necessarily the place to go for glow-sticks and raves. What you will discover is a treasure trove of activities for the whole family to enjoy, and they tickle everything from your artistic impulses to your literary bend to your urge to hunt down monsters.

Curiouser and curiouser might just been the event’s motto. Even for adults, you’ll find attractions as diverse as breathing classes, life drawing workshops, and snail racing.  However, it’s lovers of the written word and written worlds who will find themselves most at home.

Britain’s most remarkable contemporary authors flock to The Curious Arts Festival, with upcoming literary luminaries including Carol Ann Duffy, Michel Faber, Poet Laureate Andrew Miller, Andrea Wulf (winner of the Costa Prize for Biography), as well as television and film’s Celia Imrie. Talks, debates, and question-and-answer segments will all be given, and signed works will be available from a Waterstones pop-up bookshop.

Once you’ve had your fill, make sure you enjoy the event’s three nights of live music. An eclectic host of acts will make an appearance, including Lucy Rose, Billy Bragg, Willow Robinson, The Great Brain Robbery, and Harriet Rose. Further attractions include a showcase of stand-up comics and even the Curious Opera.

For the kids, there’s even more on offer, and that’s part of what makes this such a wonderful family destination. Writing workshops, family yoga, insect walks, and poetry trails help you connect, and further kid-centric activities include:

  • The Curious Bear Hunt: Performers lead children on a hunt through Pylewell Park for a friendly and loveable bear.
  • Imagination Lab: Embracing scientific and artistic creativity, your kids will partake in anything from scavenger hunts to stop-frame animation.
  • The Week Junior Journalism Course: Little ones create their own magazine front cover to tell their unique festival story.
  • The Jabberwocky Hunt: Turn the tables on ‘the claws that catch’ by hunting down the Jabberwock with Major Jack Union, monster hunter to Queen Victoria.
  • History of Monster Hunting: Learn of daring historical tales from author and cryptozoologist Kit Cox.
  • Delightful Stories: Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Jennifer Bell, and Paul Blezard enchant with readings from favourite children’s books.

From the oldest to the youngest, The Curious Arts Festivals holds treats aplenty and a wonderfully inviting atmosphere.


Milefest 2016 saw 25 acts play across two stages from Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd of July in Hartpury,

Gloucester. Performers included Nigel Clark, The Drawing of the Three, The Purple Shades, and the Rumble.

Of course, Milefest is one of those special festivals that, while certainly centred around great music, is really about so much more. This is an event where the performers form an acoustic backdrop for family fun, as well as family fundraising. All proceeds are given to the Milestone school from which the festival derives its name. Happily enough, this vital special needs school received £8148 from last year’s Milefest alone, and that’s a pretty good reason to get out to Gloucester with your whole gang for a weekend of amusements.

Of course, you’re always welcome to picnic with the family while you listen to one of the festival’s acts, but the event is also packed to the gills with things to keep the kids smilingly occupied.

If you want them to unleash all their energy while getting enjoyably messy to boot, just take a trip to the Mud Tent. It’s a great excuse for your kids to indulge their disorganised sides, and adults are encouraged to join in – just remember to bring a few spare sets of clothes.

If you’d prefer to keep things a little more civil, try the Sensory Story Tent. Fully stocked with an engaging mobile hoist and big, squashy bean bag chairs, it forms the perfect place to sit back and get creative with your children. You can even turn that creativity into a hands-on experience by taking a walk on over to the Robot Tent, where you can supervise the building of a robot suit.

Milestone boasts the happy distinction of being completely accessible for the disabled, and the site itself has been chosen for its flat, level fields to make pushing wheelchairs a breeze. For when you all get peckish, there are two outlets to deliver yummy snacks and meals, complete with plenty of vegetarian options. Grown-ups who need to take a little break can snatch some cake and a drink in the tea garden.

If you’re looking for a festival that’s focused on family and plenty of fun for people of all ages, Milefest might be just what you’ve been searching for. Better yet, ticket prices don’t break the bank, and everything you do contribute will be going towards a very worthy cause.

milefest 2016

Green Man Festival

The Green Man Festival is a fantastic family event that takes place across four days in the Brecon Beacons.

From live music to face painting, this unique festival comes with its own open and inviting identify. Better yet, it offers ten separates areas into which you and your kids can leap for a few days of fun and excitement.

Far Out

24-hour-party-people can enjoy live music around the clock, and even an immense dusk ‘til dawn bonfire. The more chilled can check out anything from cult classics to blockbuster films at the Cinedrome.


Mountain’s Foot

The Festival’s mainstage is framed by the Black Mountains rolling away in the distance, and you can always pick up a few refreshing drinks at the nearby Mountain Bar.


Walled Garden

Green Man’s festival-within-a-festival, this grassy courtyard features smaller live sets and picnicking around the Maypole. Take a pint from the Green Man Pub in the day; enjoy DJs when the sun goes down.


Babbling Tongues

Chill out with your family in front of stand-ups like Tim Minchin or Caitlin Moran. You’ll also be able to enjoy live talks from numerous other entertainers.


Einstein’s Garden

Got a prodigy bustling among your brood? Make sure you swing by Einstein’s Garden for some interactive fun. OKIDO, the arts and science magazine for young children, brings a range of science-related games and activities, while Hack Your Brain provides a fast-paced, interactive show to uncover the quirks of your grey matter.


Nature Nurture

Nature Nurture is available when you need to unwind. Rejuvenate in a hot tub or experience a yoga workshop; there’s even a special kid’s yoga class.


Little Folk

With colourful creations, swings, and face-painting tents, this is the place to come to let your youngest ones work off their energy and have a blast. This year’s theme is the jungle, so expect to leave with a stream of little tigers, lions, and zebras in your wake.


The Courtyard

You’ll find The Courtyard right in the middle of Green Man, with plenty of places to pick up a delicious snack.


Fortune Falls

Secluded amongst a clear stream, tall trees, and a miniature waterfall, Fortune Falls is home to breath-taking art installations. You’ll find new and upcoming artists at The Rising Stage.



While Little Folks takes care of tykes to 12-year olds, Somewhere provides an action-packed arena for 13­17 year olds. From film making to football and from singing to circus tricks, there’s plenty to entertain even the surliest of teens.