Summer travel 2022: Have a blast at family-friendly festivals

This summer Scotland’s festival calendar is packed with family-friendly events set to entertain all ages, while providing the perfect opportunity to explore some of the country’s most impressive locations.

From popular music festivals to specialised cultural events and outré entertainment, there is something for all.

People are feeling the pinch, but the flip side of that is there will be a lot of staycations and days out to the zoo or safari parks, so festivals become part of that,” says John Richardson, director of Party at the Palace.

The two-day family-friendly festival at Linlithgow, West Lothian will include performances from retro acts including Ocean Colour Scene, Del Amitri, Human League and Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Foodies Festival 2018. Image: Terry Applin

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Overlooking Linlithgow Palace and loch, the site is just a ten-minute walk from the town’s train station, making it easily accessible for those with smaller children.

There will be storytelling, face painting, a climbing wall, zip wire and a chance to try out circus skills. There are also family meal deals and children’s portions on offer, and camping is available at the nearby Loch House Caravan Park.

John adds: “The camp site is one that is still a working farm, so kids love going there and feeding the horses and sheep. It is one of those places where people tend to go there and go to bed, it is not a rowdy site.”

The event runs on the weekend of 13 and 14 August, and tickets cost £55 per day for adults and £20 for children, with weekend tickets available. For more information, visit partyatthepalace.co.uk

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Belladrum 2019. Image: Paul Campbell

A similar event taking place near Inverness is Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival at Belladrum Estate. The eclectic gathering runs from Thursday, 28 to Saturday, 30 July – and organisers maintain that this year will be bigger than ever.

Headliners include Nile Rodgers and Chic, Van Morrison and Emili Sande. Also on the line-up are The Fratellis, Passenger, Edwyn Collins and Sam Ryder of Eurovision fame.

The family camping area here ensures a quiet night’s sleep, and the dedicated children’s area has grown each year since it began in 2014.

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Activities will include family wrestling, puppet and acrobat shows, and children can create their own music by trying out instruments during workshops.

Festival of Motoring passenger experience

Dougie Brown, the festival’s producer, says: “The amount of entertainment for all the family is quite overwhelming, which we are very proud of. There are generations who started coming with their own parents and have since grown up, had their own families, and now come with their own children.

“We ensure the festival always appeals to that broad demographic, so you can come with your toddlers, teenagers and parents as well.”

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A weekend ticket with camping costs £181.50 and can be bought at tartanheartfestival.co.uk

Also returning, and bigger than ever, is Fringe By The Sea with more than 200 events being staged at the Lodge Grounds in North Berwick, East Lothian, from Friday, 5 to Sunday, 14 August.

Linlithgow Loch, scenic site for this summer’s Party at the Palace

About a quarter of these are aimed at children and families, including Major Minor Music Club, Monski Mouse Baby Disco and Sam Sam Bubbleman.

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The festival combines music, comedy, literature and conversation, with musical performances from international acts including Candi Staton, Texas and the Happy Mondays.

Festival director Rory Steel says: “Fringe By The Sea is just a short 30-minute train ride from the centre of Edinburgh, and a world away in terms of atmosphere and setting.

“Being able to welcome families back without social distancing restrictions and bubbles in place, and audience members and performers interacting more freely, is going to be a sight to behold.”

It also provides an opportunity to explore East Lothian’s impressive sights and family-friendly attractions.

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Rory says: “With the beautiful Lodge Gardens surrounded by oak trees giving way to gorgeous views over the Firth of Forth to the Kingdom of Fife, the Bass Rock and Fidra island, Fringe By The Sea is hard to beat for its natural beauty.

“The town of North Berwick has two stunning beaches – lovely beaches – and the Scottish Seabird Centre that people should also explore while here.”

To view the full programme and buy tickets for the events, visitwww.fringebythesea.com

Meanwhile, for motor enthusiasts, the Scottish Festival of Motoring, in partnership with Road Safety Scotland, is returning to the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, on Sunday, 17 July.

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Three-time World Champion motorcyclist Steve Colley will showcase his hair-raising skills by taking his bike over obstacles, while the Flyin’ Fifer will make a rare return to Scotland to show off his drag car in exhibition runs.

Children can also have their photo taken in the back of the flame-painted vehicle.

An arena will showcase classic, modified, and performance cars, while a trade village will offer shopping and food. Everything in the children’s zone is free, including a bouncy castle, bungee runs, basketball and a soft play area.

“This year it is all systems go for what looks like a fantastic festival,” says organiser Alistair Munro.

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“In everything we do, we are keen to involve more families. The fact that kids get everything within the central hall for nothing, that is a major plus for parents and that is a key focus for us.

“The stunts are very popular with kids and one is a BMX troupe which children love as they can have a shot of the bikes afterwards.”

Under-tens gain free entry and tickets for 11- to 16-year-olds cost £10, and adults £20. Family tickets are priced at £50 and all are available to purchase at www.festivalofmotoring.co.uk

Foodies Festival is making its debut in Glasgow in the city’s Rouken Glen Park on Friday, 12 to Sunday, 14 August.

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The UK’s biggest gourmet food and drink touring festival will include celebrity chefs, including BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals 2016 champion Gary Maclean, and finalist in the 2021 series chef Liam Rodgers, who will be cooking their signature dishes.

There will also be a Cake & Bake Theatre, so those with a sweet tooth can enjoy treats from expert bakers.

Music will be provided by ’90s pop act Toploader and funkersTom McGuire & the Brassholes.

Director Sue Hitchen says: “I am looking forward to the children’s cookery theatre which is always my favourite part of the show.

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“Children learn about their tastebuds and learn to cook for the first time.They will learn to cook with vegetables and noodles, while preparing something healthy and colourful in a fun way.”

She adds: “I started the festival so that children could be included in a family event and learn more about their tastebuds and food.

“The thing that pleases me the most is visitors leaving the event and saying their children have tasted oysters or venison for the first time, and people come back year on year to experience different flavours.”

Now in its 18th year, Foodies Festival will feature 150 artisan producers, a street food avenue, cocktail masterclasses, a meet-the-authors session, plus more.

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Weekend tickets cost £38 in advance or £47 on the day, and children aged 12 and under can gain entry for £3. For more information about the event, and to buy tickets, go online and visit www.foodiesfestival.com

Finally, in Aberdeenshire, Stonehaven Folk Festival runs from Friday, 8 to Sunday, 10 July, and will feature Kris Drever, Shooglenifty, Rura, and more.

An aqua ceilidh will be held at the town’s outdoor swimming pool, and workshops on dry land will be run by local artists, including a family-friendly session.

Tickets cost £28 per day for adults and £15 for children, and weekend tickets are readily available at www.stonehavenfolkfestival.co.uk

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