Alternative Summer Festivals to Book Now

Unique seasonal events, from a musical extravaganza in Florence to a celebration of rosé wine in east London.

The New Generation Festival, Florence

Talented emerging musicians from around the world will gather in Florence's palatial Corsini Gardens for a long weekend of enchanting orchestral concerts, operatic performances and jazz-band shows. Between spectacles, dine on luxurious Florentine picnic food, sip local wines and explore the idyllic lemon orchards and wooded groves. 31 August to 3 September; tickets from about £30.

Festival No. 6 at Portmeirion, North Wales

Branded "a festival unlike any other," this celebration of music, arts, and culture in a quaint Welsh village setting has a brilliant line-up this year, featuring headline acts including The Flaming Lips and a special performance by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to mark the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper. Don't miss the bespoke dining experience, Dinner at Clough’s, hosted by chefs including the Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth; 7 to 10 September; adult tickets from £180.

Edinburgh Art Festival

Running concurrently with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is this city-wide event celebrating the visual arts. Edinburgh's leading galleries, museums, and artist-run spaces will join forces to host more than 45 exhibitions in 35 different venues, with highlights including an Ed Ruscha show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, an exploration of woman’s cultural identity expressed through textile at Dovecot Gallery and the emerging artist Ross Little at Collective. 27 July to 27 August; ticket prices vary.

Henley Festival

Enjoying an idyllic riverside setting, this festival of music, arts, comedy and food is a glorious place to spend a balmy summer evening. Jess Glynne, Pet Shop Boys, Chaka Khan, Goldie and the Heritage Orchestra and All Saints lead the impressive line-up, but there’s also country music, street theatre and pop-ups to enjoy, plus plenty of fine food. 5 to 9 July; tickets from £50.


The Good Life Experience, Hawarden Estate, North Wales

This three-day event, which takes place on the former prime minister William Gladstone's estate in Flintshire, is the brainchild of the singer Cerys Matthews. Running the gamut from literary figures to foodies, this year's bill features household names such as the Children's Laureate Michael Rosen and the chef Thomasina Miers. More than 40 makers will present their wares, and there'll be the chance to take part in workshops on cider making, abseiling, ax throwing and more. 15 to 17 September; adult tickets from £91.

Krug Festival - Into the Wild, Hampshire

Krug Champagne has teamed up with the leading chef Francis Mallman, renowned for his open-flame cooking, to host a once-in-a-lifetime event at The Grange, an 18th-century heritage site in Hampshire. Dine on meat and vegetables cooked over 10-foot-high firepits and sip champagne while watching performances by artists featured on the music-discovery platform Mahogany Sessions. 29 July; tickets cost £395 per person or £750 for a pair.

The Rosé Festival at Geffrye Museum, London

Lovers of pink wine will unite at this inaugural festival, which will give visitors the chance to sample 30 different varieties of rosé champagne and wine, as well as learning from the expertise of the producers behind them. Plus, listen to Shakespeare recitals, operatic performances, and DJ sets all day and night. £21 to 23 July; day tickets cost 15.

Lincolnshire International Chamber Music Festival

Taking place in multiple venues across Lincolnshire, this festival is designed to bring classical music to all members of the community. A highlight will be the actress Hayley Mills staged performance of Pride and Prejudice Live at Grimsthorpe Castle, featuring narration set to a score by Carl Davis. 29 June to 6 July; ticket prices vary.


A Weekend of Wonderful Things at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

To mark its 40th anniversary, the park is running a weekend of hands-on activities and events for all ages. Watch the sun rise in the James Turrell Deer Shelter Skyspace, dance to the sound of steel-pan music amid the British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové&'s sculptures as part of a Caribbean Carnival; and take part in an Ashtanga yoga class at dawn in the 18th-century chapel. 14 to 16 July; ticket prices vary.

Summer Artisan Festival at Haddon Hall, Derbyshire

This magnificent fortified medieval manor in the Peak District, which has been a filming location for productions of Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, is hosting an artisan market stocking the wares of local florists, artists, food producers, and craftspeople. Music from a brass band will keep visitors entertained as they shop. 8 and 9 July; tickets included in the £4 entry price.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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