10 Family-Friendly UK Festivals for Late Summer

The UK’s festival season is well under way, and with the heatwave set to continue there’s little chance of needing wellies at any of these 10 festivals.

Look out for us at numbers 6 and 8!

 

1. Camp Bestival, Dorset – 26-29th July

A mammoth sized festi-holiday packed with entertainment options for adults and children alike!

Family entertainment will include big names such as Peter Rabbit™, Andy & The Odd Socks, Mr Tumble, Mister Maker, Peppa Pig, Dick and Dom, Big Fish Little Fish and much more including an Air Guitar Championship, Beard & Moustache competitions, Dinosaur World Live and more.

2. Valley Fest, 3 – 5th August, Somerset

Looking for something closer to nature? Valley Fest is the UK’s only organic festival which takes place on a working organic farm. A small family-friendly festival in a stunning location overlooking Chew Valley lake in Somerset, kids are encouraged to run wild, get back to nature and have fun learning about looking after the land and where food comes from.

Meet farm animals, pick vegetables, play on vintage tractors or enjoy storytelling, crafts, films, silly games and pop up entertainers.

3. Wilderness, 2-5 August, Oxfordshire

If culture’s more your thing, Wilderness is packed with it for old and young. In the lovely setting of Cornbury Park you’ll find big name headliners such as Bastille and Nile Rodgers & Chic alongside theatre, poetry, dance and much more.

Family entertainment includes Polka Children’s Theatre, Splat Art School, Storystock, Forest Camps and film making. There’s even a babysitting service available!

4. LoveBN1Fest, 5th August, Brighton

An afternoon of fun in Brighton’s Preston Park, LoveBN1Fest will bring all the communities and Rainbow families together this August. Main stage artists include Nile Rogers & Chic, Jess Glynne, Gabrielle and more, plus learn circus skills, see performance artists and cabaret.

There’s lots of family friendly entertainment planned as well as a funfair, street food village and WellBeing area. Children under 11 are FREE!

5. Just-So Festival, 17-19th August, Cheshire

If you’re up north mid-August check out this intimate, weekend camping festival for children and their families – the only combined arts festival dedicated solely to families in the UK!

Described by Mumsnet as “a kids’ festival that parents are allowed to tag along to”, there is plenty for all ages with an emphasis on combining art, music and literature in a wondrous landscape of woodland, park and lakeside spots.

6. Wildchild Festival, 17 – 19th August, Dulwich

Baby Broadway will be performing at an enchanting new family festival this August. Set in the leafy green area of Dulwich, South London, Wild Child has an emphasis on the arts, creative play, STEM & wellbeing for 0-11-year-olds and their grown-ups.

We will be performing in the Harmony Hideaway but there are also dance workshops, coding and science experiments, family discos, magic lessons, theatre and comedy to enjoy across the festival. In the Crafty Den there is giant outdoor painting and cool crafts and there’s an intimate Babes in the Burrow area especially for 0-3-year-olds.

7. Shambala, Northamptonshire – 23-26th August

If you want to enjoy a festival with no environmental guilt, Shambala is the first festival to achieve a 5 Star Creative Green rating.

There are hundreds of diverse music acts alongside acrobatics and circus acts, workshops, stand-up comedy and much more including a wide variety of free children’s activities (including SOCK Wrestling, break dancing, acro balance, kung fu, soft play and a good old fashioned sing-along) to keep them busy and entertained.

8. The Big Feastival, 24th – 26th August, The Cotswolds

Baby Broadway is thrilled to be returning to perform in the Big Top stage of this fab family festival!

Created by Alex James from Blur and Jamie Oliver you’ll find top quality food and drinks, great headliners including Basement Jaxx and Paloma Faith and a disco in a cheese hub.

Family entertainment (apart from us J ) comes in the form of CBeebies’ Justin Fletcher, Andy & the Odd Socks, Dick and Dom, Peppa Pig, The Gruffalo as well as a farm, Gospel-oke, a My Little Pony makeover, a Play Doh tent, family workshops and much more. We can’t wait!

9. England’s Medieval Festival, 25-27th August, Sussex

If you’re looking for something a little more….alternative… head to Herstmonceux Castle near Hastings in East Sussex where a weekend of rustic camping and outdoor medieval-themed activities awaits!

Browse the market street for clothes, jewellery, books, handmade fairies and any medieval-inspired goods you may wish to purchase before watching a reenactment of a siege on the castle. Be amazed by real-life jousting, parades, falconry and plenty of demonstrations of a bygone age that the whole family can enjoy.

10. River Stage Festival, every weekend until 12th August, Southbank, London

A FREE outdoor festival every weekend this summer, with live music, dancing, DJs, family workshops, club nights and theatre. Whilst there you can sample tasty street food or try local craft beers and summer cocktails.

Each weekend a different company takes over the stage with their acts and artists:

27 – 29 July: Sadler’s Wells (read the full programme here)

3 – 5 August: nonclassical (read more)

10 – 12 August: National Theatre (read more here…look out for the fabulous Mrs H & the Singalong Band at 1.45pm on the 11th!)

Baby Broadway comes to a theatre near you!

Our new theatrical homes

Want to give your kids their first experience of a musical performance in a real theatre setting?

Baby Broadway is moving into some new theatrical homes – large and small – this summer.

All these venues are easy to get to with cafes and restaurants nearby or on site, so you can make a memorable day of it with your little ones!

 

The Other Palace, Westminster – Saturday 23rd June

  • Café on site (including The Other Gin Palace)
  • Very close to Victoria Train Station / Underground (which has step-free access)
  • Buggy parking
  • Baby changing
  • Disabled access

The Other Palace was beautifully renovated and reopened in February 2017 as a home for musical theatre. Discovering, developing and reimagining musical theatre is at the heart of what The Other Palace is about.

The concert takes place in the Studio space which has limited capacity, so booking is advised. Book here

Chickenshed Theatre, Southgate – Thursday 28th June (Sold Out)

  • Café on site
  • Free car park
  • Buggy parking
  • Baby changing
  • Disabled access

Chickenshed is an inclusive theatre company that first began in 1974. Primarily based at a own purpose-built venue in North London, they create theatre for all ages and run successful outreach projects, education courses and membership programmes throughout the year.

The concert takes place in the Dance Studio space which has limited capacity, so booking is advised.

Tara Arts, Earlsfield – Friday 29th June (Sold Out)

  • Refreshments available
  • Opposite Earlsfield Station
  • Buggy parking (limited)
  • Baby changing
  • Disabled access

Tara Theatre is home to a world of stories, from the classic to the new, bringing together artists and audiences under the shade of their tree. Step through the Indian front door into a world of colour, where the small is global. Tara Theatre’s 100 plush seats surround an earth floor for actors to weave their magic on.

The concert takes place in the main auditorium which has limited capacity, so booking is advised.

The Stag Community Arts Centre (Plaza), Sevenoaks – 29th June

  • Refreshments available
  • Convenient pay & display car park with direct access to the Plaza at the rear
  • Buggy parking
  • Baby changing
  • Disabled access

Originally built as the Majestic Cinema in 1936, this venue now hosts an array of events and performances which appeal to audiences of all ages. The Stag Community Arts Centre now operates as a charity and welcomes more then 25,000 people every month. It includes a theatre, two digital cinema screens, and an alternative performance and conferencing facility. Majestic in times past, and majestic today.

The concert takes place in the Plaza space of the theatre. Book here

The Churchill Theatre, Bromley – Friday 6th July

  • Central location in Bromley
  • Buggy parking
  • Baby changing
  • Refreshments on site

OK so not technically a new venue for us – we’ve been performing regularly in the downstairs bar ‘The Lounge’ at The Churchill Theatre for around a year now, and our concerts are proving incredibly popular so don’t miss out: book now!

The concert takes place in the downstairs bar, down a few flights of stairs. You can leave your buggy in the foyer, and there is a lift available.

Ambassadors Theatre, Covent Garden – dates to be confirmed

  • In the heart of the West End, close to Leicester Square tube station
  • Buggy parking
  • Baby changing area available
  • A proper West End theatre!

The Ambassadors Theatre opened in 1913 and was home to Britain’s longest running production The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie from 1952 – 1973 when it transferred next door to the larger St Martin’s Theatre. More recently it was home to the worldwide smash hit Stomp which played for over 10 years before closing in January 2018.

The concert takes place in the main theatre space which is down a flight of stairs and unfortunately has no disabled access. Book here

The Abbey Theatre, St Albans – Saturday 14th July

  • Car park with 2 hours free parking
  • Buggy parking
  • Baby changing
  • Disabled access
  • Café next door in leisure centre

The Abbey Theatre has been delighting audiences for nearly fifty years and is built and run entirely by members. They provide high-quality, affordable theatre to the local community.

The concert takes place in the Studio space which has limited capacity, so booking is advised.


Please note all performances are the usual family concerts, not staged theatrical productions: so no sets or costumes and limited props and lighting – but fantastic high-quality performances, fun and interaction with West End singers.

You are free to move around from your seats with your little ones as needed.

Ticket prices vary according to venue, visit the Events page for more information.

Why you need to try a Baby Gospel concert

Soul. Motown. Clapping. But what exactly is a Baby Gospel family concert?

Baby Gospel aims to uplift sleep-deprived parents, captivate young children and above all entertain both adults and children in equal measure. Born out of a simple connection via Twitter between Baby Broadway and CK Gospel Choir, family concerts now take place around five times a year in venues across London, and there are plans to go to new locations in 2018.

Here are 5 reasons you might want to come along:

1. Awesome vocals

https://youtu.be/eP_mJEan5r8

Click on the video above and you’ll see the full CK Gospel Choir in action. Impressed? They’re even better in real life!

A versatile professional group from London, the singers are united by their love of gospel music and have provided backing for artists such as Beverley Knight, Peter Andre and Alfie Boe.

The group is led by Harlano Weekes, who has performed with some of the biggest names in world music such as Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Leona Lewis, Enrique Iglesias, Lulu and Phil Collins as well as being an established solo artist.

Each Baby Gospel concert sees at least four members of the choir performing alongside one of their regular keys players.

2. Just as enjoyable for adults as for kids

Wouldn’t it be nice to sing along to some great music with your little ones for a change, rather than music that’s aimed at kids? Set lists change regularly, but you can expect to hear some of the following at a Baby Gospel concert:

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye / One Love – Bob Marley / This Little Light of Mine – trad. gospel / Angel of Mine – Eternal / Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder / Happy – Pharrell Williams / Oh Happy Day – trad. gospel / Make You Feel My Love – Adele / Lean On Me – Bill Withers / My Love is Your Love – Whitney Houston / You’ve Got the Love – Candi Staton

Of course, your children may not be into soul, gospel, motown or pop yet. Well firstly: you’re never too young to start. Secondly: the music lends itself really well to dancing, clapping and jumping around, which most small children are excellent at. Plus, there are bubbles at every concert, as well as…..

3. Nursery rhymes as you’ve never heard them before

Ever wondered what ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’ sounds like in a gospel-jazz style? Or heard ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ sung in 4-part harmony? Every concert offer the opportunity to experience specially-arranged versions of popular nursery rhymes, in what Harlano likes to call: “Baby Gospel Nursery Rhyme Time” (ok, the name might need a bit of work!)

It’s probably why TheSecretLifeOfMum described Baby Gospel as “like baby rhyme time but FAR cooler”!

4. Harlano’s jokes

Well….maybe not (sorry Harlano), but you can guarantee the choir’s front man will get the audience uplifted with his super-smiley demeanor and boundless energy. This picture says it all – you can’t fail to be cheered up with these guys around!

5. Benefits both you and your little one

Music has a direct link to our emotions, and different patterns of brain development are stimulated when we hear music.

Many of the songs selected for Baby Gospel concerts are uplifting, joyful and familiar which – hopefully – means you will feel better for hearing them.

Traditional gospel music typically has lots of repetition and uses hand-clapping or foot-stomping as rhythmic accompaniment – all of which is really accessible for young children to respond to, developing gross motor skills and promoting social bonding as they join in.

When The Curious Mummy reviewed Baby Gospel she said “as we left, we had a kick in our step, music in our ears and the biggest smiles on our faces.” What more could you ask for?


Visit our Events page for more information on forthcoming Baby Gospel concerts

Eight of London’s best Christmas shows and experiences for under 5s in 2017

… aside from Baby Broadway and Baby Gospel Christmas concerts, of course!

It’s December, which means that – along with the promise of Christmas cheer and lots of festive treats – there’s a pretty long stretch of time coming up, during which the children will need entertaining. Yikes.

Luckily you don’t have to rely on Advent Calendars, presents, TV or even your own Baby Broadway-esque singing skills to keep them sweet, because there are plenty of fun ways to get out and about in London this festive season AND introduce your young ones to the joys of live and big-screen entertainment.

Here’s the Baby Broadway pick of the most Christmassy shows (and other things) to do with your under 5s.

Sleepyhead at the Little Angel Theatre

The Little Angel Theatre, located in Islington, is a gem of a place. All of its shows feature incredible puppets and many are aimed at children and young people. There’s quite a lot going on this Christmas – including a fun workshop (we did it last year) where your child can make their own puppet – but this year’s show Sleepyhead is a real treat. We went this week and, although it’s aimed at 2-5 year olds, the grown ups’ faces ached from smiling.

It tells the story of a tired dad, a baby that won’t sleep, a circus, a magical rabbit and much more. If you love the silliness of The Muppets, you’ll enjoy this and at 45 minutes it’s a good length for toddlers. Ticket prices start at £11 for children.

For more information, visit the Little Angel website.

 

Boing at the Unicorn Theatre

While older children will enjoy the Unicorn Theatre’s adaptation of Christmas classic The Velveteen Rabbit, Boing is a spectacularly magical danceathon of a show designed to enchant those aged 2-6. It’s all about the excitement of going to bed on Christmas Eve, when there are beds to be jumped on, pillows to be fought with, seas to be sailed and incredible things to imagine. The Unicorn Theatre can be found near London Bridge station and tickets for Boing start at £12. The show lasts for 50 minutes.

Visit the Unicorn Theatre website for more.

 

Sponge at the Battersea Arts Centre

This is a Christmas show with a difference. Created entirely for babies and toddlers, Sponge takes  its young audience on a soft, bouncy adventure through lots of different sensory environments. Two friendly dancers and a leggy character called Splegs will be on hand to guide them through, giving children the opportunity to explore textures, shapes and sounds. The show is designed for those aged 4 months to 4 years and lasts 50 minutes. There are also gentler baby-only performances for those aged 4-18 months. Prices start at £10.

For more information, visit the Battersea Arts Centre website.

 

Underneath a Magical Moon at Jackson’s Lane

Jackson’s Lane in Haringey is the area’s flagship arts and cultural centre, and their Christmas show this year shows why. Underneath a Magical Moon retells the traditional story of Peter Pan through the eyes of Wendy Darling, using music, movement and more than a sprinkling of magic. Suitable for children aged 3+, the show lasts 60 minutes and tickets start at £14.95.

See the Jackson’s Lane website for more information.

 

Picturehouse Cinemas Toddler Time

This year, Picturehouse Cinemas – which has branches in Clapham, Greenwich, Hackney, Dulwich, Stratford and slap bang in the middle of the great West End – is showing a range of toddler-friendly Christmassy animations on the big screen. From The Snowman and The Snowdog to The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child (approx. running time for each 25-30 minutes) and longer big-screen classics including Frozen and The Princess and the Frog, there’s something for even the most wriggly toddler. And, as adults go free and children’s tickets start at just £3, it’s probably the most affordable cinema trip you’ll ever have in London.

For a full list of Picturehouse Cinemas and listings, visit the Picturehouse website.

 

Stick Man at the Leicester Square Theatre

If your kids love the Julia Donaldson iconic book, then Scamp Theatre’s adaptation of Stick Man would be a great alternative to a traditional pantomine if your kids are still a bit too young for all that. Featuring puppets, songs, live music, dancing and 55 minutes of top-notch entertainment, what’s not to love? It’s suitable for all ages and although prices are a little steep (starting at £16.50 for a child, although restricted view seats are available for £14) there are discounted family tickets on offer and those under 18 months are free.

For more information, visit the Leicester Square website.

 

The Ugly Duckling at The Albany

Who doesn’t love a traditional fairytale at Christmas? Even better when it comes with some magical, musical twists, like tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal’s adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic The Ugly Duckling, which comes to the Albany in Deptford this year. Suitable for those aged 3 and up, it uses live music and inventive physicality to tell this familiar tale of identity and self-worth. The show lasts approx. 50 minutes and tickets start at £8.

Visit the Albany Theatre website for more information.

 

The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre

Raymond Briggs’ much-loved story of a little boy’s wintery adventure with a magical snowman has been enchanting children for years, and The Peacock Theatre’s hit show is no exception. The stage production of The Snowman has become a festive classic, using dance, live music, storytelling and spectacular effects to bring this classic story to life. Suitable for all ages, at 1 hour 15 minutes the show lasts longer than many others on this list but there is an interval.

For more information, visit the Peacock Theatre website.

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List compiled by freelance writer Nicola Slavin. Baby Broadway did not receive any free tickets in return for promoting these shows.

What’s in store for the 2017 Baby Broadway Christmas concerts?

The nights are drawing in, Halloween and bonfires are behind us – it’s time to look forward to the festive season!

If you’re looking for something seasonal to enjoy with your little ones this year, we aim to please young and old with our family Christmas concerts. You can expect the usual musical theatre favourites from The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Elf the Musical as well as much-loved songs from Christmas films like Home Alone, The Snowman, White Christmas and The Polar Express. All ages are welcome, but we reckon that babies and children 0 – 8 will get the most out of the experience (and, of course, their grown ups!).

No less than eight professional singers will be performing across December with a huge breadth of experience in the West End, national and international tours in shows such as School of Rock, Cats, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Legally Blonde, Sweeney Todd, Avenue Q, Oliver, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and many more.

There’ll be plenty of audience interaction with bubbles, flying babies, jingly bells and maybe even some chimney sweeping ready for Santa’s visit! There’ll be actions to join in with on ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ – look out for a video on our Facebook page explaining how they work!

Last year the audience sported some fantastic Christmas outfits, including teeny-tiny elves and gorgeous mini Santas. Fancy dress is always welcome at Baby Broadway – we love to encourage freedom of expression in little ones and our performers’ Christmas jumpers will be getting an outing too!

The 2016 Christmas audiences were also a generous lot, raising £500 for Save the Children through a collection after the concerts. We always add a donation from ticket sales to the total and this year we will proudly be raising money for Unicef.

We can’t wait to bring our Christmas concerts to a venue near you for a third year running – you can book now to secure a spot, and we hope to see you there!