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Of sun and Hay - spring festivals

March 21, 2013
by Laura Canning | destinations

Where to wallow in books Spring, it has sprung. And then unsprung, but it will spring again thusly, mainly due to my monkey dance capers to the sun gods each morning before I’ve even had my coffee. Y’all are welcome.

And I’m going to the Hay Festival this year, and am already sharpening my elbows to move people out of my path as I hunt down those elusive first editions. My forthcoming attendance at a festival where I can at last wallow in books was also partly due to monkey dancing, this time of the relentless kind to extract a promise of a trip to Hay if only I’d stop doing that in public. Result.

So, in celebration both of festival-going and of the wave of glorious sunshine that will break over our heads next week (I have extra monkey dancing to the sun gods inked in for the weekend), here are five festivals around the land this spring. Huzzah!

Maltings Beer Festival, Devon, 18-22 April : To celebrate Hay. Hic. The 21st Maltings Beer Festival has 260 beers to try, all of which are available on the Saturday. Now that sounds like a challenge, or a temptation to bunker down in Devon for the month and go along to Plymouth’s first history festival , running throughout May. And the Brixham Pirate Festival on the first weekend of May – aarr, that’ll do.

For heaving 260 beers back from Maltings, Lady’s Mile Holiday Park has 25% off a five-night stay until 23 May, starting from £75 for a tent, tourer or motorhome pitch. There are several sites in the area with static caravans and lodges: Oakcliff Holiday Park at Dawlish Warren has lodges sleeping four available for three nights from 19 April from £105.

Electric Garden Festival, Blackpool, 3-4 May : Prog on the promenade? Blackpool’s progressive rock festival has moved from 2011’s Beat Club to Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the cliffs of Queens Promenade, a view you might appreciate if you manage to get your hair away from your face.

For a quiet vibe to lay down your head and hair the next day – we suspect you might need it – Oaklands Caravan Park at nearby Lytham St Annes has electric pitches for tourers and motorhomes starting from £16.

Clun Green Man Festival, Shropshire, 4-6 May : Alas, a clash with Blackpool prog rock – and Brixham pirates (and the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival ), unless those jet-powered rocket pants come on time from eBay. This traditional spring festival celebrates the Shropshire Green Man legend, and is, promise the organisers, ‘full of live music, drama, colour and medieval malarkey’. That’s all right, then. Also, we think the Green Man is an Ent.

Pod at Greenway Touring Site, Craven Arms The pub site Baron of Beef five miles away at Bucknell is family-friendly, allows dogs and has accredited real ale alongside hearty pub fare: dogs are welcome in the pub too. Level grass pitches start from £11 with electric hook-up available from £15. Baron of Beef is also within nine miles of the Ludlow Spring Food Festival from 11-12 May, with camping pods at nearby Greenway Touring Site also available from £35 a night.

Isle of Wight Walking Festival, Isle of Wight, 4-19 May : To stroll off the Maltings beer. This award-winning festival has day walks, three-day walks, fossil hunt walks and walking with alpacas – and a speed dating walk, the Tennyson Trail (with cakes) and an evening with Brian Blessed. There are several campsites and caravan parks within 20 miles of the festival: Sunnycott Caravan Park at Cowes has a one-bedroom holiday home available in May from £165 for three nights, and Ninham Country Holidays at Shanklin starts from £11.50 a night for non-electric pitches, with electric pitches available from £17.25.

Perth Festival of the Arts, Perth, 16-26 May : Horrible Histories Live on Stage is clearly the highlight of this year’s festival – for geeky me anyway – but there’s also music from Van Morrison, Jools Holland and the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, exhibitions in Perth Museum and Art Gallery and the Perth Art Trail with forty arts and crafts stalls. Haul your arty haul back to the views at Grand Eagles  a mile from Auchterarder, with hardstanding electric pitches from £19.50 a night, or pitch up at the family-run Blairgowrie Holiday Park from £18.50. Across the border in Fife twenty miles from the Perth Festival there’s Nydie Caravan and Camping Site at St Andrews, with grass pitches from £18 and wooden wigwams from £50 a night.

More festivals are available on our homepage – enter a festival name to find out where to stay nearby, or enter a keyword to find festivals around the country on a certain theme (viz., ‘beer’). There are also local festivals and events on all our search listings with their distances from the campsite, eg Newton Mill Holiday Park in Bath has the Bath International Music Festival two miles away as well as two festivals nine miles away in Bristol – the Dot to Dot Festival and Bristol VegFest . I think I’ll plot for me and my elbows to fit a few of these in before Hay.