It’s that time of year again. The days are long, the nights are warm, those of you with hay fever look like something from the Zombie apocalypse and (if a city dweller) your face is forced frequently into the armpit of a sweaty, topless man on the tube. Yes folks – it’s summer! And that means there are even less excuses to be cooped up inside. Especially when there’s whole host of places to unleash your inner adventure-beast over the summer, and beyond.
Here’s a run-down of some of the UK’s best outdoor and adventure festivals for your diary. You’re welcome. You can hug me later.
1. YESTIVAL: The Say Yes More Festival
- When: 21st – 23rd October
- Where: In a field near London – secret venue to be announced in August
- Cost: £120 – £165 depending on how early you book
- Organised by: Dave Cornthwaite and the Say Yes More team.
What to expect: Quite possibly the most positive festival on the planet. Perfect for those looking for a new direction in life. Expect inspiring talks, health and safety briefings from a man in a silver thong, group hugs, early morning workouts, late night dancing and relaxed workshops. Family friendly and rammed to the rafters with happy joy-joy vibes, I guarantee you’ll leave this weekend feeling like you can take on the world.
2. ADVENTURE TRAVEL FILM FESTIVAL
- When: Fri 14th – Sun 16th August 2016
- Where: Mill Hill, North London
- Cost: £89 (without meals) or £128 (with meals) + special workshops booked as extra
- Organised by: Motorcycling legends Austin Vince and Lois Pryce
What to expect: Madness, creativity and an incredible line up of unique films – old and new. Curators Austin and Lois set the bar very high for film selection so you’re in for a real treat. In between the screen gazing and schedule juggling as you try to make every talk on the programme, you’ll find workshops, panels and talks from some of the UK’s top adventurers. This is a very relaxed festival attended by a hubble-bubble-hotch-potch of friendly adventurous people from all walks of life.
3. ESCAPE TO THE WOODS
- When: Fri 2nd – Sunday 4th September 2016
- Where: Clayton Organic Farm, East Sussex TN20 6RE
- Cost: Earlybird tickets now on sale at £110 (camping) or £190 (glamping)
- Organised by: Escape the City
What to expect: This one is for the go-getters, the connectors and the entrepreneurs. People in search of a new direction in life and a breath of fresh air. Head to the woods for inspiring talks, creative workshops, woodland games, workouts, casual chats around the firepit, open mics, soulful music and dancing under the stars. Food is also a highlight here, and you’ll be able to fill your belly with real ales, ciders, cocktails, juices, quality coffee or take your pick from the pop-up organic food stalls.
4. BASECAMP FESTIVAL
- When: Fri 2nd – Sun 4th September 2016
- Where: Sabine Hay, Peak District
- Cost: £126.50 – £142 depending on on how early you buy
- Organised by: Explorers Connect
What to expect: Now entering it’s 3rd year, this small festival is going from strength to strength. During the day you can fill your boots with off-site activities like mountain biking, kayaking or climbing, and if you choose to stay on-site there’s climbing, slack-lining and plenty of workshops to choose from. When the sun goes down, the main speakers take to the stage and lead everyone neatly into nights filled with food, live music and firepit chitter chatter. A lovely relaxed, non pretentious vibe.
5. WILD NIGHT OUT
- When: 16th July 2016
- Where: Anywhere and everywhere
- Cost: £20 donation to Youth Adventure Trust
- Organised by: Explorers Connect
What to expect: This isn’t a festival exactly, well if everyone got together in one place it would be. Headed up by Belinda Kirk of Explorer’s Connect, this is a chance to have a ‘wild night out’ however you wish to do it. It’s aiming to be the UK’s first national day of adventure, encouraging everyone to take to the wilds on mini adventures, sleep under the stars, and pay it forward by donating £20 to the Youth Adventure Trust.
6. WOMEN’S ADVENTURE EXPO
- When: 8th October 2016
- Where: The @Bristol Science Centre, Bristol
- Cost: TBC – tickets go on sale July 1st
- Organised by: Sisters Rebecca Hughes and Tania John
What to expect: A newbie on the festival circuit but one that hit the ground running last year, and is back by popular demand. You don’t even need to have boobies to go, willies are welcome too. You’ll find a host of main stage speakers (yours truly included), a panel in the evening and workshops throughout the day. The organisers do a good job of getting a mix of daring chica’s from all corners of adventure – cold journeys, hot journeys, short, long, expensive and cheap. Be sure to stick around in the evening for a craft beer or two on Bristol’s harbourside.
7. SOUTH WEST OUTDOORS FESTIVAL
- When: Fri 23rd – Sun 25th September 2016
- Where: Heddon Valley, on Exmoor National Park
- Cost: Free to attend, free talks some activities cost extra when there
- Organised by: The National Trust
What to expect: A new outdoor festival with hiking, biking, trail running, open water swimming, camping, star gazing and wild food foraging. According to the National Trust you ‘can build your own adventure weekend, or chill out in the West Country’s wonderful wilderness.’ I’ll be speaking at the festival on the Saturday, so if you wind up here come and say hello.
8. ALPKIT BIG SHAKEOUT
- When: Fri 23rd – Sun 25th September
- Where: Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1NY
- Cost: £60 (indivdual ticket) £150 (Family ticket) + optional extras
- Organised by: Alpkit.com
What to expect: A very family friendly festival with plenty of opportunity to get you out and about over the weekend. Jam packed with onsite activities, live music, lectures and adventure films. Activities include mountain biking, paddle making, fell running, biathlon and slack lining. Set over a nice big area, there are hay bales dotted around, home baked cakes on sale and evening talks in big ole cosy yurts. There’s even a storytelling workshop with a man named ‘Creepy Toad’. Amazing.
9. ADVENTURE SOUTH WEST
- When: Sat October 28th – Sun 29th
- Where: Royal Cornwall Showground, PL27 7JE
- Cost: Entry is free, a small cost for extra activities
- Organised by: I’ll level with you… I’m not sure. Nice adventure people, I hope.
What to expect: This is my wild card entry on the list – it’s another new festival, so I’m not entirely sure what you should expect. It seems to be a sort of adventure sports vibe. You can move between four zones: Altitude, Watersports, Trail and ‘learning live’ – trying out activities in each one. There’s not too much in the way of information on the website just yet, but it’s one for the radar if you’re a South West dweller.