Summer travel: fun-filled scenes at family-friendly festivals

The festival season is now well and truly underway and there is an abundance of outdoor events for families to enjoy together at some of Scotland’s most impressive destinations.

Experiencing a festival is a great way to spend time together as a family, catch up with relatives and friends, and create life-long memories of fun-filled weekends.

One such memorable event is the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, which will be staged at Belladrum Estate, ten miles from Inverness, and – with a cartoon theme for this year – all ages will be well catered for.

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Thursday, 27 July will be headlined by Norwegian pop powerhouse Sigrid, who will be joined by Sam Ryder of Eurovision fame, The Zutons, Altered Images, and Skerryvore.

Twilight at Belladrum near Inverness. Image: Paul CampbellTwilight at Belladrum near Inverness. Image: Paul Campbell
Twilight at Belladrum near Inverness. Image: Paul Campbell

On Friday night, headliner Bastille will follow sets by KT Tunstall, Keifer Sutherland, and Newton Faulkner, while Sunday’s bill is topped by Travis.

Under-fours gaining free entry and a family camping area ensures everyone there can enjoy a quiet night’s sleep.

The Club Clan Bella is an exclusive VIP area close to the Garden Stage with comfy seating areas, complimentary teas and coffees, plus an outdoor play area for children.

In August, Strathallan Castle in Perthshire will host MugStock for the first time, following its move from Mugdock Country Park in East Dunbartonshire.

Young ones involved at MugStock. Image: Martin McCarthyYoung ones involved at MugStock. Image: Martin McCarthy
Young ones involved at MugStock. Image: Martin McCarthy

Festival director Alan Govan says: “It is about music and merriment and it is for everyone and all ages. The idea is to get enough of humanity together in a nice place and ensure they are surrounded by some of the most inspiring entertainers, plus loads of weird and wonderful activities.”

From 4 to 7 August, there will be more than 120 attractions at the event with acts including Idlewild, a DJ set by Craig Charles, beatboxer and multi-instrumentalist Beardyman, and electronic duo Utah Saints.

There will also be a dedicated Family Field with the Bumblebee Stage hosting Mr Boom.

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For parents of children with specific needs, MugStock will have a hub with charging points for electric wheelchairs and a chill out space for anyone who becomes overwhelmed. Everything in that space will be free.

Fringe by the Sea’s Big Top setting at North Berwick. Image: Scott MastertonFringe by the Sea’s Big Top setting at North Berwick. Image: Scott Masterton
Fringe by the Sea’s Big Top setting at North Berwick. Image: Scott Masterton

The team has also been working closely with local performers, including precussionists Saltire Steel and Auchterarder-based The Dance Academy, who are sure to put on stellar performances.

Also starting that day, and running until 13 August, is the 15th Fringe by the Sea which will host 225 events across East Lothian with a theme this year of Weaving Wonder.

The Big Top will return to North Berwick’s Lodge Grounds and events will be held at venues throughout the popular coastal town.

“The sense of place and community that was created right at the beginning back in 2008 is very much still at the core of the festival,” says festival director Rory Steel.

“People will see world-wide talent, such as Sister Sledge and Groove Armada, alongside billings of a local drama theatre group or the local choir. It is that real mix of community and world talent that gets the community excited.

“It has absolutely something for everyone and it is very inclusive which is part of the charm. You will see groups of 16-year-olds hanging out with each other, or their grandparents hanging out together. It is not like those situations where youngsters are embarrassed to be seen with their family, and the programme really does reflect that.”

The line up also includes Peat & Diesel, Travis, Kweku Sackey aka K.O.G, a discussion hosted by photographer Hamza Yassin, lunchtime conversation with the BBC’s Glen Campbell, and a wide range of activities and exhibitions.

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Children can enjoy a Beano-themed guide to help them make the most of the festival, and well-behaved four-legged friends are welcome.

On the final two nights of Fringe by the Sea, Party at the Palace kicks off at Linlithgow, West Lothian. Alternative rock band Shed Seven will headline the Saturday, which also features the Happy Mondays, Scouting for Girls, and indie folk act Elephant Sessions.

On Sunday, ‘80s electronic outfit OMD takes to the stage following Heather Small of M People, and singer songwriter Callum Beattie.

There are plenty of exciting activities to keep youngsters busy, including face painting, storytelling and circus skills.

As it is on a working farm opposite Linlithgow Palace, the campsite is usually quiet and children have the added fun of feeding sheep.

Ticket holders can upgrade to receive access to The Paddock, a VIP area with gourmet food vendors, an exclusive bar, fast-track entry, outdoor picnic tables and a garden.

Last year’s festival was highly popular, but this time the organisers insist they “are going for gold”.

Those seeking something more of a “gastro-Glasto”, Foodies Festival is the UK’s largest touring food and music event and will be in Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park on 4 to 6 August, and in Glasgow between 11 and 13 August.

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The line up will include stars of BBC’s MasterChef, Michelin-starred chefs, National Chef of Scotland Gary Maclean, and music from Callum Beattie and Scouting for Girls.

New this year will be Cocktails, Cabaret and Cake, showcasing on-trend mixology combined with cabaret entertainment,

The Kids Cookery School will allow children to make delicious food that they can take away with them, and there will be plenty of tasty treats to choose from in the Artisan Market.

As singer Callum Beattie said: “I’m delighted to be back with my Foodies family this summer. Great food AND great music, what’s not to love?”

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