Best arts festivals in England

Best Arts Festivals in England – Top Cultural Events

Did you know the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the biggest worldwide1? In 2019, it sold more than 3 million tickets. England is full of art festivals that mix cultural history with today’s artistic ideas. You’ll find famous music festivals in magical places and small book events in towns steeped in art history. These events bridge the past and present, making every visit a special journey.

At Latitude Festival, you can enjoy a wide range of comedians, some of the best after Edinburgh. You might see Dara O’Brien, Katherine Ryan, and Simon Amstell2. Festival No.6, located in Portmeirion, brings a mix of big bands like The Flaming Lips and famous writers including Irvine Welsh2. Such festival variety shows the vast talent and creativity in England, perfect for your summer plans. They also offer various places to stay, from fields for camping to luxurious tents, making sure there’s an option for everyone2.

Whether big or small, from the community to global levels, England’s festivals are lively celebrations of the arts. Let’s explore some of the top arts festivals in England. They offer a chance to witness the magic and innovations that these events bring.

Key Takeaways

  • The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest global arts festival, selling over 3 million tickets in 20191.
  • Latitude Festival is renowned for its extensive comedy line-up, featuring major comedians2.
  • Festival No.6 offers a diverse range of performances, from music to spoken word2.
  • Accommodation options at festivals range from basic camping to upscale luxury tents2.
  • Exploring England’s art festivals reveals the rich cultural heritage and contemporary innovation the nation has to offer.

Glastonbury Festival: A Legendary Experience

The Glastonbury Festival is a highlight of UK Fringe festivals, unmatched in its creativity and variety. It keeps people coming back with its rich history and diverse acts. Started in 1970 by Michael Eavis, it began as a small event but now welcomes over 210,000 people each year3. It takes place over five days in Pilton, Somerset, England, and hosts a range of activities3.

Overview and History

This festival is a mix of International arts, with all kinds of music and global acts. It started with just 1,500 people but has since become very popular. Over the years, it’s seen big moments like the first Pyramid Stage in 1981 and shows by stars such as David Bowie and Beyoncé4.

Fringe festivals UK

In 1990, the festival faced a big problem when its licence was taken away. But it roared back in 1992, even stronger than before4. It’s always changing, adding new music types and world acts. Also, the TV coverage from 1994 helped make dance music more popular, with great shows like Orbital’s3.

2024 Highlights

The 2024 Glastonbury is highly anticipated, with fans excited to get their tickets. This year, Elton John will headline the last night. The festival always mixes top stars with new talent, keeping its place as a key event worldwide.

Insider Tips

Glastonbury is big, so good planning is key for a great time. Here are some tips:

  • Arrive Early: It’s crowded, so coming early secures a good spot and time to explore.
  • Explore Beyond Music: Check out the “Green Fields” for eco and well-being activities4.
  • Dress Prepared: English weather can change, so be ready for anything over the five days.

Whether you love the UK Fringe or International arts, Glastonbury unites everyone in a celebration of culture and music. Enjoy the amazing music, friendly vibes, and all the unforgettable moments this legendary festival offers.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: The World’s Largest Arts Festival

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the top global arts fest. Started in 1947, it offered a different kind of art than the main festival in Edinburgh. Now, it’s a big deal for theatre, comedy, and much more5.

What to Expect

At the Fringe, you’ll find loads of acts, such as plays, dances, and art. In 2019, there were over 59,600 acts to see in 3,841 shows at 322 places5. The festival keeps up with the times, too. The 2021 version had over 900 shows, both in person and online5.

Main Performances

Comedy is a big deal here, making up a lot of the programme5. But, you’ll also see famous and new stars in music and dance. The 2022 festival had 3,334 shows, with 50 being live online for the first time5.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival - Music and dance festivals

Visitor Information

The festival goes way back to 1959, when the Fringe Society began. It has gathered a huge following, with 1,857,202 tickets sold in 20126. Whether you like big venues or the streets full of talent, there’s something for everyone. Just remember to book your stay early, as it gets very busy. People rush to be part of the fun6.

Latitude Festival: A Multi-Arts Extravaganza

Latitude Festival is a great mix of art, held at Henham Park. It’s loved for its varied music and amazing shows. The event spans a few days, giving everyone a fun, welcoming time. It’s a top pick for families and those who love the arts. The 14th Latitude Festival was set for July 18th to 21st, 20197.


The festival’s charm is its mix of music, laughs, poems, and good reads. Everyone can find something they’ll like in the summer art calendar. Nearly 60% of 2018’s acts were found through BBC Music Introducing7. This means a mix of well-known acts and new stars for you to enjoy.

summer arts programmes

Music and Performance Line-Up

The music and shows at Latitude are always a big deal. You’ll see an exciting range of musicians across genres. Plus, Dermot O’Leary will broadcast live from the festival, adding to the buzz7. Artists like Bastille, who do amazing live and interactive gigs8, are a highlight.

There’s more than music, too. You can watch plays, dance shows, and enjoy England’s open air theatre.

Family-Friendly Activities

Latitude is great for families, winning the Best Family Festival award last year7. There are lots of family activities around the festival grounds. They have fun workshops and shows for kids. The Street Feast area offered over 80 food options in 2018 and will have 60 traders this year7. This means there’s plenty of tasty food for everyone.

The Hay Festival: A Literary Gem

When it comes to literary festivals, few can rival the charm of the Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye. It’s known for its dynamic talks and idea exchanges among writers, readers, and thinkers. This makes it a top-notch international arts festival.

Event Highlights

The Hay Festival 2024 runs from May 23rd to June 2nd, offering lots to see and do. There will be conversations, performances, and the popular Morning Yoga by the Hay Yoga Collective91011. You can also visit Snodhill Castle, blending history with literature910. A Wayfaring Walk in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park will also be available, letting visitors connect with nature9literary festivals

Notable Speakers and Authors

This year, Sarah Churchwell and David Runciman join the news review panel9. There are talks on various topics, from mental health to African history, offering something for everyone10. Don’t miss out on Ros Atkins’ talks and Jon Richardson’s performances with the Futurenauts11. The festival’s diverse lineup cements its status as a premier literary and international arts event.

Accommodation and Travel Tips

Hay-on-Wye, known as the ‘town of books’, has many places to stay. You can choose from cosy bed and breakfasts to elegant inns. With lots of visitors expected, it’s wise to book early to get a place10. Getting to Hay-on-Wye is easy, with buses and trains from major cities. It’s also a good idea to book event tickets early, as popular ones sell out quickly10.

Best Arts Festivals in England

England is known for its vibrant arts scene. It has a mix of traditional and modern arts festivals. You’ll find everything from music to literature festivals. Let’s explore some of the best arts festivals in England.

Top Picks

Glastonbury is a standout choice, famous for its music and performances. It features a variety of genres, from pop to indie. The Ed Sheeran-led event has something for everyone.

The Brighton Festival and Fringe is also noteworthy. It takes place over 14 miles of beach and includes nearly a hundred shows1Best arts festivals in England. The Hay Festival, held in Hay-on-Wye, is known for its mix of historical and modern culture. It’s often called the ‘town of books’.

BST Hyde Park in London attracts 65,000 people. It showcases top musicians such as Kylie and Robbie Williams12. It’s a popular event for music lovers.

Honourable Mentions

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a real gem, selling over 3 million tickets in 2019. It offers a diverse range of performances and programs1. The Buxton International Festival and the Estuary Festival are also beloved for their unique art experiences1.

The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival is celebrating its 25th year. It features free outdoor performances. The Frome Festival in Somerset hosts various art exhibitions1.

Why England is a Cultural Hub

England’s festival scene caters to all, from London’s DevaFest to Monmouthshire’s eco-friendly Green Gathering. These events combine heritage with modern ideals like sustainability and inclusivity12. They offer diverse activities, making them appealing to everyone.

Wilderness Festival: Boutique Vibes in Oxfordshire

In the beautiful Cornbury Park, Wilderness Festival is a mix of music, fine food, and arts. This event in August turns Oxfordshire into a haven of culture. It gathers people who want a special festival adventure13.

Festival Highlights

Wilderness Festival is known for its big acts, with top bands and DJs. It features stars like Fatboy Slim and Christine and the Queens by day. Then, the nights are alive with DJs such as Honey Dijon and Eats Everything, making the beats go wild13.

Gourmet Food and Feasting

What makes Wilderness stand out is its food scene. Chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi whip up delights for the festival. For an extraordinary meal, booking early for the banquets is a must13.

gourmet food experiences

Unique Experiences

The festival goes beyond just music and food. It has special shows and arts. Plus, there are wellness activities like forest bathing and wild swimming. These activities and treatments offer a time to refresh your body and mind14.

End of the Road: Music and Art in Dorset

End of the Road Festival takes place in the stunning surroundings of Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset. It’s a perfect spot for those who love music and art1516. The event features various music genres, like indie rock and Americana, and has been popular since it began in 200616.

The site’s Victorian gardens make a peaceful setting for all the artistic displays and small performances16. The limited number of guests allows for a real bond between the audience and the performers16. This connection makes each show special.

Indie music festivals

The festival stands out for its easy layout. All the stages are close together, letting guests quickly move between acts15. It offers both famous bands and new talent, showing its support for up-and-coming musicians16.

Foodies will love the range of meals available, from local treats to gourmet dishes that fit most diets16. The event also cares about the planet, with efforts like recycling and using eco-friendly cups16.

It’s also very welcoming for families, with special camping areas and activities for kids16. Organisers help guests plan their visit well, using tools like clash-finders and Spotify lists15.

In spite of COVID-19 challenges, the festival’s warm vibe keeps fans coming back1516. It’s known for its diverse entertainment, making it a top choice for fans of indie music and art1516.

The festival creates a sense of togetherness, where people bond over their shared love of music and art16. Whether you’re into famous acts or new discoveries, this festival is a must for art and music fans.

BST Hyde Park: Big Acts in the Heart of London

BST Hyde Park brings big music acts to Central London’s famous park. Attendees don’t have to camp out. There are free events and family-friendly activities. It’s a top summer event that everyone enjoys.

International music acts

Event Overview

The BST Hyde Park is London’s biggest open air concert series. It showcases major international acts and unique events. In 2018, 65,000 people came to see these events17. That year’s football match, where England faced Croatia, drew the largest London crowd since 199617. However, the 2020 series was canceled because of the pandemic17.


Over the years, BST Hyde Park has featured legendary performers. The 2019 show had Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, and Florence + the Machine17. Other years saw Phil Collins, Green Day, Justin Bieber, and Kings of Leon in 201717. And Arcade Fire, Black Sabbath, The Libertines, and Neil Young & Crazy Horse in 201417. The event always offers a mix of old favourites and new hits.

Tips for Enjoying the Festival

Attending BST Hyde Park means you get to see world-famous musicians in an open concert. To enjoy it fully, come early to see the free events. Bring something to sit on but you don’t need to camp. Also, be sure to enjoy the workshops and music. It’s wise to book tickets early due to its popularity.

Find out more about the event on the official BST Hyde Park page.


Looking back at the many festivals in England, we see something special in each one. They let us soak in different cultures and dive deep into the arts. The Glastonbury Festival amazes over 200,000 people yearly18. Meanwhile, smaller events bring together over 500 artistic works19.

England’s festivals stand out for their varied shows. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe turns 75 this year20 with 3,000 shows from 58 countries. Also, the Latitude Festival in Suffolk sees 40,000 fans enjoying theatre, dance, and more on a vast site18. They all add brightly coloured threads to England’s rich art scene, uniting different kinds of art and people in joy.

These events do a lot for the economy and culture. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe had its full show lineup back since 201920. It helps local businesses and lets artists shine on a huge stage. Art sales can reach over £12,000 at a single show19. This shows how important these gatherings are.

In short, England’s festivals celebrate its love for culture and art’s many forms. They welcome anyone, whether it’s your first festival or you’re a fan already. They let us touch the arts closely and understand different cultures better. This makes England an amazing place for all art lovers around the globe.


What are the best arts festivals in England?

England is a hub for top arts festivals. Notable ones include Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe, and Latitude. Others are Hay, Wilderness, End of the Road, and BST Hyde Park. They showcase music, theatre, literature, and more.

What makes Glastonbury Festival so special?

Glastonbury Festival is not just about the music. It has a deep history. People see it as more than a festival. It’s got Elton John headlining in 2024.

What can I expect at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. Thousands of performances happen there. You’ll find shows in theatre, comedy, music, and more.

Is the Latitude Festival family-friendly?

Yes, Latitude Festival is great for families. It has activities and performances for all. The setting at Henham Park, Suffolk, is beautiful and welcoming.

Who are some of the notable speakers at the Hay Festival?

The Hay Festival hosts incredible speakers from various fields. You’ll hear from Nobel winners, writers, and politicians. It’s a big event for books and ideas.

What makes Wilderness Festival unique?

Wilderness Festival mixes indie music, arts, and food in Oxfordshire. It also features luxury activities like wild swimming. Plus, there are hidden parties in the woodlands.

Why is End of the Road Festival highly regarded by music enthusiasts?

End of the Road is loved for its folk and indie music. It offers intimate sets and fun game areas. The atmosphere is perfect for serious music fans.

What can attendees expect at BST Hyde Park?

BST Hyde Park is in London. It brings big international acts. There are family-friendly events and workshops too.

Why is England considered a cultural hub for arts festivals?

England mixes its rich culture with modern arts. Festivals here cover music, dance, literature, and visual arts. They bring people together to celebrate creativity.

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Healing Spirit festival takes place at Drummany Spirit, Milltown, Cavan, Ireland on the 4rd to 5th August 2024. Our festival is run by our small community group, Drummany Spirit, is family and child friendly and is alcohol and drug free. This boutique festival features a large lineup of live music, plus a large array of holistic events and practices including sweat lodges, yoga classes, movement meditation (ecstatic dance), pranayama/breathwork, meditation; plus alternative healing and therapies, crafts, art, drumming circles and talks by leading authorities on personal and spiritual growth, sustainability, conscious living, and healing.

We are set on beautiful sacred land overlooking Lough Oughter in Cavan. Drummany Spirit is a community group which hosts the festival each year. 2024 is our third year running the festival and it's been a major success so far with new friends from across Ireland and abroad attending. You can see the festival lineup here, see photos from previous years here and you can get tickets here (note: the festival has very limited capacity and is almost sold out) .