Great Britain does music festivals like no other place in the world. Yeah, we’ve got killer acts from every musical genre. But we’ve also got some of the most epic settings you’ve ever seen for live music. That’s why every summer, artists from around the world descend upon Britain for some of the best music you’ve probably not heard ’til now.
The big one: Glastonbury Festival | June 21–25, England
Glastonbury is Britain’s largest and best–known music festival. It happens in June, in the Somerset countryside. The town is small and quirky, with a bit of a hippie vibe, and there are parks, views, ruins and orchards to explore in the surrounding area.
- Lineup: Headlined by Foo Fighters this year, you can expect music from all around the world. There are 12 or so main stages, but no end to the musicians you can explore offstage.
- Scenery: Climb to the top of Glastonbury Tor for breathtaking views of the Somerset Levels, Dorset, Wiltshire and even Wales.
- Ticket strategy: Tickets sell out easily when you’re trying to get to one of the most popular music festivals in the world. Initial release tickets for 2017 are already sold out, but there is a resale of returned tickets in the spring.
- Ruins: Explore the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, which sits on 36 acres of gorgeous parkland where you can find the burial place of King Arthur.
The getaway: Isle of Wight Festival | June 8–11, England
First held in 1968, Isle of Wight is one of the UK's oldest music festivals, taking over a gorgeous island off the south coast of England for four days every June.
- Lineup: This year’s confirmed lineup includes Arcade Fire, Run DMC, and David Guetta, to name a few.
- Scenery: Head to The Needles, the island’s most famous attraction, where a chairlift gives a stunning view of jagged crags and colored sands.
- Beaches: The Isle of Wight is famous for award–winning beaches. Grab your sunglasses and a towel and spend a day by the sea.
The rowdy one: Reading | August 25–27, England
Just a short jaunt from Windsor Castle in the county of Berkshire, this fun and rowdy festival holds court each August and features rock, pop, indie and alternative bands in a modern city with medieval roots.
- Lineup: This year Reading has an amazing lineup, including artists like Eminem, Kasabian and Muse! You can see the full details for each day on their website.
- Shopping: Many areas are pedestrianized (“walkers only” to non–Brits) so you can take a break from the festival and window shop at a leisurely pace. The Oracle and the Broadstreet Mall are two local favorites.
- Castle: Take a day trip to Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, and the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen.
The North Star: Leeds Festival | August 25–27, England
About 200 miles north of Reading in the county of Yorkshire, this festival shares the same artists over the same August dates, but offers a very different city scene, centered on dining, bars and clubs in its redeveloped industrial area around Call Lane.
- Lineup: Expect the likes of alternative favorites such as Bastille, Flume and Major Lazer.
- The afterparty: Still up for some more music after the festival’s done? Head out for a night out of jamming at venues like The Wardrobe or The Cockpit.
- Food and drink: There are many ways to enjoy the food scene. For tea, there’s the Tiled Hall Cafe, where you can sip while admiring the beautiful mosaic walls. If you fancy a pint, there’s Leeds’ oldest pub, Whitelocks, dating all the way back to 1715. Another good option is Trinity Kitchen hosting a lineup of street food traders that changes every month.
The upstart: 2000trees Festival | June 6–9, Cheltenham, England
2000trees is still a fairly small festival, but it's gaining momentum fast. Held every July in Cheltenham, in the rolling Cotswold Hills, 2000trees recently won the Grass Roots Festival Award.
- Lineup: The festival focuses on new and underground acts. Past bands include Frank Turner, Refused, Twin Atlantic, Frightened Rabbit, The Bronx, and Wolf Alice.
- Scenes: The Imperial Gardens are well cultivated not only with flower beds but also with cultural events ranging from jazz to literature to science.
- Food and drink: Cheltenham is famous as the food capital of the Cotswolds, and there are food– and drink–related festivals throughout the year to prove it.
The artsy one: Festival No.6 | Portmeirion, Wales
Festival No.6 celebrates music, arts, food and entertainment in one of Great Britain’s most surreal locations: Portmeirion, Wales. The festival feels like a fairy tale with Brits in eclectic costumes, art stations, workshops and different music stages. Picture lights filling the night sky, hot tubs with beautiful views, and great music. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
- Lineup: This year’s lineup includes artists like The Flaming Lips, Mogwai, Bloc Party and James Vincent McMorrow.
- Food: Don’t expect your classic festival food here. You can find everything from street food to long–table banquets curated by Michelin–starred chefs.
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