Top festivals for free in summer 2016
Visiting festivals is certainly one of the UK's best traditions. Whether it's a day spent enjoying a variety of music acts, sampling local and national brews, or indulging in a selection of tasty cuisines, as an island we love spending a day in the sun (or drizzle) sampling the best the country has to offer.
What makes these gatherings more exciting, of course, is that some of the best are completely free to attend.
Whether you adore spending your whole summer rocking up through a succession of campsite gates, want a fun and free day out with the family, or simply can't stomach spending your hard-earned cash, here are our picks of the UK's best free festivals in 2016.
Festival of Love, London, July 9th – August 29th
Throughout the year the capital's Southbank Centre is a hub of all things artistic, musical and dramatic, yet it really comes into its own during the completely free Festival of Love.
Attendees can enjoy all sorts of interactive installations, interesting performances and lots of free and engaging workshops, and the atmosphere is great, thanks to the child-friendly, community-spanning nature of the event.
Umbrella Fair, Northampton, 20-21st August
First appearances of Northampton Racecourse's Umbrella Fair conjure up images of the quintessential English summer fete, but there's more to this summertime gathering than just stalls and family friendly activities.
Featuring a huge number of acts covering everything, including folk, dub, dance performances, drama, world music, jazz and classical, and a host of debates, arts activities and more, the Umbrella Fair has something for everyone – plus, it's a completely free festival!
Guildford Summer Festival, Guildford, June 12 to August 12th
The vibrant and artistic community of Guildford comes into its own throughout July and August during its Summer Festival, a fun and exciting gathering of performers, artists, craftspeople and the public.
Travellers to the southerly London town can enjoy sports events, musical offerings, comedy acts, theatrical performances and one-of-a-kind arts and crafts shopping opportunities. Click here to look through the Festival's brochure and find out what activities you can get involved in.
Open House London, London, September 17-18th
Have a hankering for a dollop of architecture, history and culture? Want to discover the hidden gems that make up the greatest city on Earth? If you do, make sure to head down to Open House London at the end of September.
Comprising over 800 different venues (all of which are free to explore) visitors can tour offices, historical sites, schools, and a load of other buildings, enjoying the beautiful treasures found inside. Architectural buffs will get the most out of Open House London, however, enjoying a front-row view of the city's top spaces.
The Notting Hill Carnival, London, August 28-29th
A list of free festivals wouldn't be complete without a nod to the UK's well-known and much-loved Notting Hill Carnival. Taking place on Sunday 28th and Monday 29th of August, the festival is a bombastic celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture, filled to the brim with wild costumery, delicious cuisine, pumping music and beaming smiles.
Dance to your heart's content across the 38 sound systems dotted across the carnival's route, enjoy fun performances tailor-made for the event, and delight as you gorge yourself on some of the city's finest, most flavourful cuisine – it's a spectacle that's not to be missed!
This summer's roster of free festivals is immense, so don your sunglasses, forget about the world and relax as you enjoy the best that the country has to offer!
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