5 festivals to build your UK break around

Fancy going on holiday and going to a music festival? Here's our five recommendations to get the best of both worlds, alongside a few accommodation tips too

Jamie Bowman

Last updated: 30th Mar 2016

With 2016's festival season on the horizon, you may be in holiday planning mode for this summer. And if you love the idea of doing something a bit more than just following the usual tourist trail around the UK, building your break around a music festival can be a great way to go. Below we've picked out five festivals that could act as a great climax to a UK break or the jumping off point for an exploration of some of the most beautiful spots across England, Scotland and Wales. 

Scarborough Fair 

The Grand Hotel, Scarborough  

Kicking off this summer's festival season over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend is Scarborough Fair which takes place against the backdrop of the stunning Cayton Bay on the Yorkshire coast. The line up is full of left field names from veteran troubadour Billy Bragg to retro-futurists Public Service Broadcasting. Former Verve front-man Richard Ashcroft launches his comeback in one of the headline slots and there are plenty of treats for dance fans thanks to Back to Basics and Dave Beer hosting the after hours entertainment. 

Tourists have been flocking to Scarborough for nearly 400 years and the town is often regarded as the world's first seaside resort. The stunning scenery and glorious beaches help but there's plenty to do if you decide to stay in the area for a few days. Scarborough has a particularly busy arts community, with numerous little galleries tucked away down side streets, and bigger galleries in the town’s ‘cultural quarter’, which centres on the historical Crescent just off the main town centre.

There's loads of options of places to stay, including the regal Grand Hotel Scarborough (see below) which has been housing holiday makers since it was built in 1863. It was heralded as one of the 'Seven wonders of the English seaside' by Historic England last year, and is an excellent choice if you want to enjoy this North East coast gem in style.

Hotels near Scarborough Fair.

Festival No. 6

Few festivals can actually boast that they take place at one of the UK's most stunning holiday destinations but then Festival No. 6 isn't really like any other UK festivals. Based in the surreal surroundings of Portmeirion in North Wales, 'The Village' was the setting for cult '60s TV show The Prisoner. A Mediterranean-inspired fantasy coastal village with incredible views of the sea, mountains and forests, during the festival the village and the surrounding woods come alive with music that this year will include sets from Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Super Furry Animals and Hot Chip.

Portmeirion is also a great base to explore the beautiful surroundings of North Wales, especially the nearby Snowdonia National Park, Harlech Castle and Penrhyn Quarry, near Bethesda which is home to the longest zipwire in the northern hemisphere. There are some great options for where to stay from bed and breakfasts, bunkhouses, hostels or of course you could opt for the wilds with holiday cottage, caravan, or campsite.

Hotels near Festival No. 6


LeeStock Festival, created in memory of Lee Dunford from Sudbury, is now in its ninth year and has raised over £65,000 for the Willow Foundation who provide special days for seriously ill young adults. The Feeling are the latest in a line of high-profile headliners at the festival which is held in the grounds of Melford Hall - a National Trust owned Tudor Hall in the heart of Suffolk. 

The county of Suffolk makes a great destination for a holiday with attractions ranging from the grand Ickworth House (see below) to beautiful Constable Country. Family attractions in Suffolk include Bury St Edmund’s Curve Motion which offers roller skating, body zorbing and has the biggest play frame in East Anglia.

The Black Lion provides a great historic hotel to stay in while at Leestock and is within walking distance of the festival site.

Hotels near Leestock


Returning to Newquay and situated across two locations along the beautiful Cornish coastline, Boardmasters is a great festival if you want to combine a love of surfing with a love of music. This year's event sees an impressive line up appearing including James Bay, Deamau5, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Kaiser Chiefs, Primal Scream and Craig David.

Cornwall is one of the UK's most popular tourist destinations full of iconic landmarks to visit like St Michael's Mount, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Minack Theatre, Tate St Ives, Land's End, Tintagel Castle and the Eden Project and you're spoilt with places to stay throughout the county. 

The iconic Headland Hotel (see below) is situated on a clifftop overlooking Fistral Bay. Over the years it's hosted royalty and was the setting for the film version of Roald Dahl's The Witches - making it a firm favourite for kids of all ages

Hotels near Boardmasters.


Taking place in late September in a remote village on the West Coast of Scotland, 60 miles from the nearest town, Loopallu is the perfect festival if you want to combine music with a proper break away from it all.  2016 sees the festival enter it’s twelfth year with a line up that's yet to be confirmed but with previous names to play the festival including Paolo Nutini, Mumford and Sons, The Damned, Twin Atlantic, Shed Seven and Franz Ferdinand, it's bound to be decent. 

Ullapool is the nearest village to the festival site and its population doubles during Loopallu. It's the perfect base to explore the Highlands, Ross-shire, Cromarty and Sutherland with Loch Ness only about one hour's drive to the north. A wide range of accommodation is available from bunkhouse, youth hostel, caravans and camping, self-catering, B&B's, motels and hotels, large and small. 

The Riverside is popular hotel with motorcyclists and walkers right in the centre of the village. 

Hotels near Loopallu.

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