Outdoor vibes: 10 of Britain’s best wild festivals for 2022 | United Kingdom holidays

Camp Wildfire, Sevenoaks, Kent

Ready to get in touch with your inner child? Expect good clean fun at this “summer camp for adults” – no less than 100 activities, run by monitors decked out in retro Scout uniforms, are included in your ticket. Leave your doldrums at the door and try your hand at flying trapeze, building a giant catapult or playing in a vegetable orchestra, which involves fashioning working instruments from vegetables such as carrots! Things are bit more grown-up after dark – hop between DJ sets including Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon.
26-29 August & 2-5 September, £245, over-18s only,

Verve festival, Tisbury, Wiltshire

garden workshops at Verve.
Growing enthusiasm … garden workshops at Verve

Here for a blissful time, but not for long, Verve takes over the grounds of Hatch House in Wiltshire for just one day in September and describes itself as the “ultimate reset”. It’s one of the first zero-waste festivals in the UK, and the vibe is more garden party than mosh pit. The focus here is on feeling good – head to the intimate garden area for pop-up talks on everything from medicinal plants to mindfulness, or bring your yoga mat to sample “om and bass” rhythmic yoga. Kids and teens (entry only £5) get their own tailored yoga and meditation sessions.
17 September, £69, feeltheverve.com

Summer Camp at the Good Life Society, Hawarden, north Wales

The walled garden at Summer Camp.
Time for tunes … the walled garden at Summer Camp. Photograph: Department Two

Festivals don’t get more bijou than Summer Camp, which hosts 100 guests each weekend during the month of July for a get-together focusing on nature and wild craft. An A to Z of workshops includes everything from beekeeping and mushroom foraging to wood whittling, or you can bliss out with a dip in the lake, complete with wood-fired sauna. While Summer Camp tickets are on the steep side, two-course gourmet suppers are included in the price, and when the sun goes down, there are campfires and live tunes in the walled garden. If your average festival makes you feel a bit agoraphobic, this could be the perfect tonic. Can’t make summer? There’s an Autumn Camp in September, too – think bonfires, feasts and mellow fruitfulness.
1-25 July, £485 for two tickets, thegoodlifesociety

You-Phoria festival, Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire

You-Phoria … the clue’s in the name. Photograph: Julia Benfield

As its name suggests, this is a chirpy wellness-themed weekender. Expect an upbeat approach to getting active, complete with morning raves, yoga discos and roller skating – the cheery have-a-go vibes make this festival ideal for energetic families. Rob da Bank and DJ Yoda will keep you moving after dark, and affordable day and evening passes make this the perfect escape from the city for a few feel-good hours – Knebworth Park is less than an hour and a half from central London.
20-22 May, £123.25, day/evening passes available, youphoria-festival.co.uk

Love Trails festival, Gower peninsula

Love Trails.
Running with the programme at Love Trails. Photograph: Anna Rachel Photography

Here’s proof that a shared passion for off-road running is a good enough reason to get together and party. Non-competitive trail running adventures across the Gower Peninsula and the Brecon Beacons are the backbone of this sporty festival, but once you’ve worked up a sweat it’s back to the Love Trails headquarters near Swansea for live bands and DJ sets until late. There’s a guided run to suit everyone, from 3km jogs to 55km stomps (plus a tempting pub crawl run), and non-runners can try out climbing, surfing and wild swimming sessions. If you like to explore hard and play hard, this is the place to be.
30 June–3 July, £179, lovetrailsfestival.co.uk

Take the plunge … wild swimming at Also.
Take the plunge … wild swimming at Also. Photograph: thebanfield

Also festival, Compton Verney, Warwickshire

Pack your swimsuit for Also, a “festival of ideas” with a beautiful swimming lake at the centre of the site. Join fellow festivalgoers for dawn and sunset dips, workshops for beginner wild swimmers and introductions to standup paddleboarding. Back on dry land, Also’s eclectic workshops encourage you to sample something new, from making Chinese dumplings to robot coding. Up-and-coming bands rub shoulders with comedy and cabaret on stage.
8-10 July, £120, also-festival.com

Timber festival, Feanedock, Leicestershire

secret acoustic sets at the Timber festival.
Hidden talents … secret acoustic sets at the Timber festival. Photograph: Wild Rumpu

If you go down to the woods today … you may stumble upon a party hidden among the trees. Timber festival is a celebration by The National Forest of sustainability and activism, with a big dose of music and creativity thrown in. Expect roaming art installations, talks by environmentalists and poets (poet laureate Simon Armitage returns this year) and an eclectic lineup of folksy bands. The secret acoustic sets and late-night storytelling pop-ups hidden in wooden glades are highlights.
1-3 July, £128.40, day tickets available for £42.80, timberfestival.org.uk

Alpkit Big Shakeout, Hathersage, Peak District

“Do you want to climb, ride, hike, abseil, kayak, bushcraft, cave, run, slackline, sail, swim?” Alpkit organisers ask in capital letters on the Big Shakeout festival website. If that list fills you with adventurous lust, this action-packed weekender in the heart of the Peak District is here to get your adrenaline pumping. Outdoor brand Alpkit set up their not-for-profit festival with a simple idea in mind – activities in the day, entertainment at night. The School of Adventure sessions take you exploring into the Peak District, while at festival headquarters there’s a jam-packed schedule of talks, films and live music to fill your (hiking) boots in the evenings.
24-26 September, adults £80, children £40, alpkit.com

Armchair Adventure festival, Mount Edgecumbe, Cornwall

Ready to sit back and adventure? The Armchair Adventure festival is for would-be explorers looking for advice and inspiration. Once a virtual festival, this intimate party held on the Cornish coast hosts speakers who share stories of derring-do and offers “bootcamp” workshops on a range of topics, from photography to funding. It’s all designed to help attendees plan the expedition of a lifetime. There’s active stuff on the menu too – fancy paddleboarding with dolphins or going on a wild swimming safari? Live music kicks off as the sun sets.
22-25 September, £99, armchairadventurefestival.com

Fort William Mountain festival, the Highlands

Winter adventures at Fort William Mountain festival.
On the up … winter adventures at Fort William Mountain festival. Photograph: Omega Guiding

Can’t wait until summer to get your festival fix? Fort William, the self-proclaimed “outdoor capital of the UK”, kicks off the adventure festival circuit in February, when the snowy hills of Lochaber, in the western Highlands, come alive over a long weekend with a mix of mountain workshops and adventure film screenings. Head outdoors with experienced instructors to brush up on avalanche awareness, winter walking skills, canoeing and fell running, or be an armchair adventurer back in Fort William, where various locations across the town host a jam-packed schedule of outdoorsy films, talks and live music.
16-20 February, most ticketed events and screenings £15, mountainfestival.co.uk

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