Dancing in the Sun: Top Summer Festival Picks 2023
Dancing in the Sun: Top Summer Festival Picks 2023
Experience the excitement and fun of the season with these must-attend events.
Great entertainment, foodie heavens, top chefs, world-class opera, pop stars, family fun, both on your doorstep and a little further afield! Here’s your ultimate guide to the best summer music and culture – the fun has only just begun!
Top image: Hampton Court Palace Festival
1 Hampton Court Palace Festival – 6 Jun – 17 Jun 2023
The annual music celebration on the historic grounds features a lineup of world-renowned artists, including Gladys Knight, Soft Cell and Grace Jones. Held in the magnificent gardens of Hampton Court Palace, it offers a unique and enchanting experience that music lovers won’t want to miss.
2 RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival – 4 July – 9 July
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival is a popular gardening event that takes place in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. The festival showcases stunning displays of flowers and plants, offering a sensory experience for visitors of all ages.
3 Chestertons Polo in the Park – Hurlingham Park, 9-11 June
Get ready for an action-packed weekend of world-class polo, entertainment, and luxury experiences at Chestertons Polo in the Park. Held over three days in the picturesque Hurlingham Park, this prestigious event brings together the finest polo players from around the globe to compete in thrilling matches. Don’t miss your chance to witness the excitement up close and indulge in the luxurious offerings
4 Morden Park House Ginsecco Festival, Morden Park House, 25 June
5 The Epsom Derby Festival – 2-3 June
Held at the historic Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey, The Epsom Derby Festival thousands of horse racing aficionados from around the globe, all eager to witness the exhilarating race and soak up the unique atmosphere.
6 Pub in the Park – 23-25 June, Reigate (+other locations)
7 Hampton Court Palace Food Festival – 25-27 Aug
A deliciously tempting event that takes place in the magnificent grounds of Hampton Court Palace, one of London’s most iconic historic landmarks. The festival offers visitors a chance to indulge in a variety of culinary delights from around the world, all while taking in the beautiful surroundings.
8 AIG Women’s Open – Walton Heath, 9-13 Aug
The tournament attracts the best female golfers from around the world, competing for the chance to win one of the most prestigious titles in women’s golf. This year’s event will feature a special performance by headliner Ellie Goulding. Plus, new festival fan village will provide golf afficionados with more entertainment, including player appearances and interviews, live Q&As with inspiring women, documentary screenings, live podcast recordings and live music.
9 Kingston International Film Festival, 23 – 25 June
Immerse yourself in the world of cinema at KIFF, the perfect event for film industry professionals and movie enthusiasts alike. With a range of panel discussions, Q&A sessions with filmmakers, and networking events, this festival offers an exciting opportunity to learn from experts, connect with peers, and discover new perspectives on the art of filmmaking.
10 Barnes Children’s Literature Festival – 24-25 June
The UK’S largest dedicated children’s literature festival never disappoints! This year’s line-up includes the likes of Emma Carroll, Axel Scheffler, Nicola Davies, Sufiya Ahmed, Nicola Davies and Lydia Monks. From storytime sessions to creative writing workshops, the festival aims to inspire a love of reading and ignite children’s imaginations.
11 2023 at Grange Park Opera – 8 June – 13 July
Every summer, the company hosts a festival that brings together some of the most talented opera performers from around the world to perform in the stunning surroundings of West Horsley Place. This season will feature three of the greatest love stories in opera: Tristan & Isolde, Tosca, Werther as well as a gala from Welsh bass-baritone, Bryn Terfel.
Left: Grange Park Opera 2022 Der Fliegende Holländer / The Dutchman (Bryn Terfel) – credit Marc Brennan
Right: Grange Park Opera 2022 La Gioconda / Laura (Ruxandra Donose), La Cieca (Elisabetta Fiorillo) – credit Marc Brennan
12 Wandsworth Arts Fringe – 9-25 June
Embrace the arts in all their forms at WAF, a vibrant celebration of creativity and culture. With a diverse program of events, this festival offers a platform for both emerging and established artists to showcase their talents through theatre performances, music concerts, dance shows, art exhibitions, and more. Join in for a feast of the senses, as WAF celebrates the power of the arts to inspire, entertain, and connect people from all walks of life.
13 FUSE International – Kingston, 30 June – 9 July
Join the celebration of creativity and community at the unique arts festival that is Kingston’s 10-day extravaganza. With a fabulous programme of over eighty events across film, music, theatre, visual arts, and more, this festival showcases the power of creativity to bring people together and inspire change.
14 SURREY GIN FEST – Loseley Park, 9 Sep
Get ready to raise a glass as the exciting festival celebrating the very best of local gin returns to Loseley Park! Immerse yourself in stunning surroundings, enjoy live music, and of course, indulge in premium, craft, and international gin. This festival promises to be a celebration of all things gin, with a fantastic range of spirits to sample, delicious food to enjoy, and a lively atmosphere that’s sure to put you in high spirits. Don’t miss out on this gin-tastic event!
15 GUILDFORD BEER FESTIVAL – Guildford Cricket Club, 21-22 July
For beer enthusiasts who love to explore new and exciting brews, Guildford Beer Festival is a must-visit event. Set in the heart of Guildford, this festival boasts a wide range of local and international beers, ciders, and wines for you to sample. With a friendly and lively atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to unwind with friends and discover your new favourite brew.
16 Kew The Music – Kew Gardens, 11-16 July
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew provide a stunning backdrop for this spectacular outdoor music festival, held annually and featuring a unique blend of world-class music and natural surroundings. The magical atmosphere is hard to beat, with this year’s lineup including performances from Bastille, The Vamps, and Haçienda Classical. Join the crowd and experience the magic of this unforgettable festival amidst one of London’s most beautiful settings.
17 SHYNEFEST – Guildford, 3 June
Guildford’s event of the year is back for another year! There will be camping, yummy food and drink and an attractive line-up of entertaining bands and vocalists.
18 IBIZA CHILL HOUSE – East Molesey Cricket Club, 28 Aug
Get ready to enjoy the ultimate summer experience with Ibiza Chill House 2023 at the stunning East Molesey Cricket Club. This event promises to be even bigger and better than before, with an impressive lineup of DJs and top-class performers set to grace the stage.
19 WOMAD – Charlton Park, 27-30 July
WOMAD is a music festival that celebrates diversity and cultural exchange by showcasing a range of international artists from different genres, including Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Mariza. The festival also offers a variety of other experiences such as spoken word performances, tasting and cooking sessions, a wellbeing zone, science exploration, and children’s activities.
20 The Jockey Club Live – various dates throughout June, July and August
Held at historic Jockey Club racecourses across the country, the concerts offer a live experience unlike any other, with a six-race card kicking off the evening followed by a show-stopping headlining performance. Closest to us is Tom Jones, performing at Sandown on 26 July.
Worth travelling for
21 Henley Royal Regatta – Henley-on-Thames, 27 June – 2 July
Experience the thrill of world-class rowing at the Henley Royal Regatta, one of the most esteemed events of its kind in the world. Taking place each year on the picturesque River Thames, in the delightful town of Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, the regatta draws in rowing enthusiasts and spectators from around the globe. Witness some of the most skilled rowers compete on the stunning river, making for an unforgettable event.
22The Big Feastival – Alex James’ Farm, Kingham, 25-27 Aug
Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and move to the rhythm of music at The Big Feastival. Held over three days in the idyllic Cotswolds, this one-of-a-kind festival brings together an exquisite selection of world-class cuisine, live music, and family-friendly activities. Headliners for this year’s event include the talented Sigrid, Tom Grennan, and the sensational Blossoms.
23 Henley Festival – 5-9 July 2023
Prepare for a week of indulgence at the Henley Festival, where world-class music and fine dining unite against the stunning backdrop of the River Thames. This highly-anticipated event spans over five days, attracting some of the biggest names in music and entertainment. This year’s lineup includes iconic performers such as Boney M, Nile Rodgers, and Westlife, among others.
24 The Goodwood Festival of Speed – 13-16 July
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual celebration of all things automotive, held at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. The festival attracts car enthusiasts from all over the world, who come to admire a wide range of classic and contemporary vehicles, as well as witness thrilling motorsport displays.
Left: Credit Nigel Harniman
Right: Credit Tom Baigent
25 CarFest South – Laverstoke Park Farm, 25-27 Aug
CarFest South is a family-friendly festival that celebrates cars, music, and food, all in aid of UK children’s charities. Taking place at the picturesque Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire, this event is the perfect place to enjoy the excitement of cars, the rhythm of music, and the taste of mouth-watering food in a warm and inviting atmosphere.
26 Wilderness Festival – Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, 3-6 Aug
A four-day celebration of music, art, theatre, food, and nature, set in the stunning Oxfordshire countryside. It is perfect for a long weekend with family or a getaway with friends, offering a range of truly fabulous boutique camping amenities (with a 24-hour reception, concierge and trolley service), as well as a fascinating range of dining experiences and talks.
27 KITE – Kirtlington Park, 9-11 June
KITE is the festival that brings together the curious, inquisitive, and culturally minded, celebrating the richness of human creativity and diversity. The festival’s second edition promises to be a thrilling blend of literature, music, politics, art, culture, and comedy. With an incredible lineup including Hot Chip, Suede, Pretenders, and Ezra Collective, KITE offers a unique opportunity to experience some of the most exciting talent from across the arts spectrum.
28 The Cambridge Club – 9-11 June
This upcoming music festival promises a weekend of non-stop dancing and entertainment, with a star-studded lineup of disco, funk, pop, R&B, and soul legends. Fans can expect to groove to the beats of Lionel Richie, Grace Jones, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and many more. Get ready to dance your heart out and have an unforgettable time!
29 Roundhouse Comedy Festival – 5-23 August
Some of the biggest names in comedy will be taking over the London institution, including Katherine Ryan (Amazon’s Backstage with Katherine Ryan) and James Acaster (Off Menu Podcast) who is bringing his recently announced live tour Heckler’s Welcome to the main stage. They will be joined by Nish Kumar, Lolly Adefope, Ed Gamble, Dylan Moran, Nina Conti, Sindhu Vee and more.
30 Mighty Hoopla, Brockwell Park – 3-4 June
The legendary Mighty Hoopla is back, promising a ‘party for all, with more than 200 artists and performers across 10 stages embracing the best of pop, alternative and queer culture’. The line-up includes Years & Years, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Roisin Murphy Kelly Rowland and Kelis .