Top 10 Unique Summer Festivals 2013

2013 UK Summer Festivals

After what has felt like one of the coldest UK winters yet, summer is finally almost upon us. And what better way to embrace the sunshine than to pay a visit to the many festivals happening in 2013? 2013 offers music festivals of all kinds, food festivals, art festivals and even some festive parades too.

Needless to say, it was quite a challenge to narrow the list down to only 10, but here are the top 10 unique 2013 festivals you won’t want to miss - some are new, some are old, and some are just plain awesome.

You can even win tickets to one of our favourites.

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade: 17 March 2013

The annual Irish celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day has caught on with the rest of the world - making people from all over wear green and drink Guinness on 17 March every year. This year, make your way down to Trafalgar Square, as you won’t want to miss the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade - a whole day dedicated to fun for people of all ages. Attending the parade is free of charge. The festivities begin at midday and you get to be entertained by musicians and Irish dancers on the main stage, comedians in the comedy tent and films in the film tent. There are also puppet shows to help keep the kids busy and happy. Make sure to keep an eye out for the enormous and colourful inflatable dragon, The Puca.

St Patrick's Day ParadeSt Patrick's Day Parade at Trafalgar Square

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Music Without Frontiers: 29 March 2013 - 1 April 2013

This Easter weekend, pay a visit to Pembrokeshire in West Wales as it brings you a brand new music festival - Music Without Frontiers. This festival brings you music from around the world such as Europe, USA, India and even Columbia. The Oak Hall hosts the event and there will be four main shows taking place over the long weekend. You get to enjoy some delicious meals too. Watch some Columbian salsa on the Friday and swing dancing at the Cotton Club on the Saturday (a recreation of the famous New York club). On Easter Sunday, enjoy a roast dinner while watching a candlelit concert by the European Chamber Philharmonic. The last day of the festival will bring you the vibrant sounds of India and Europe. A weekend pass to this festival will only set you back £40. Not only do you get a fun-filled music festival, but you get to see beautiful surroundings such as King Henry Tudor's birthplace of Pembroke Castle.

Pembroke CastleVisit Pembroke Castle after Music Without Frontiers in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Yew Tree Beer And Pie Festival: 24 - 26 May 2013

The popular Yew Tree pub in Conderton, Gloucestershire will be playing host to the first annual Yew Tree Beer and Pie Festival. At this festival, you get to tantalise your tastebuds with some of the best pies and beers - all made by local suppliers. There will be a huge variety of pies and beers as well as some hot, yummy BBQs happening. Another plus is that you get to enjoy some live entertainment at the same time from musicians such as Wille and the Bandits, and Soul Remedy. All the hungry festival-goers also get to go for free.

Yew Tree PubThe Yew Tree Pub. Image courtesy of Philip Halling

BAMfest: 31 May - 2 June 2013

Enjoy a family weekend away and take a trip to Bedale in North Yorkshire for the first annual BAMfest. BAMfest is an acoustic music festival, bringing you a huge variety of performers of different genres. It’s an event that’s perfect for the whole family - plus it’s great for a weekend getaway as there will be a camping site especially for the festival-goers. The campsite is at the Big Sheep and Little Cow Farm and it welcomes caravans too. Concerts are taking place at the Bedale Hall and the Riverside Club, with youth concerts taking place in the Culture Shack. Ticket prices vary, but buy the Earlybird ones now and you can get a weekend pass with camping for £47 per adult and £15 per person under 21. While you're in Bedale, make sure you do some sightseeing in this little town by visiting historical buildings such as the Gothic St Gregory's Church.

St Gregory's ChurchThe famous St Gregory's Church in Bedale. Image courtesy of Mick Knapton

Park Life: 8 - 9 June 2013

Park Life is back this year and it’s bigger and better than ever before. In 2013, the music festival is moving to a much bigger venue - from Platt Fields Park to the huge Heaton Park in Manchester. With a great lineup of artists and DJs, this is the proper way to welcome the warm summer sun. There are plenty of bars and food stalls available - there are even ones that cater to the vegans out there. You can get yourself a full weekend pass for £69.50, or upgrade to a Hospitality Ticket for £98.50. This may sound pricey, but you get the full weekend pass plus private toilets, cocktail bars and even private food stalls.

Heaton Park ManchesterEntrance to Heaton Park. Image courtesy of Richerman

International Youth Arts Festival: 6 - 28 July 2013

Venture into Surrey’s Kingston Upon Thames in the month of July and dive into the most creative festival for the youth. The International Youth Arts Festival is perfect for young people that wish to express their creativity; from toddlers, to teens to students. Entering its 5th year in 2013, the festival has proved to be incredibly successful since it began in 2008. Festival-goers get to see all types of art forms such as dance, theatre, music, film, an arty carnival and the circus; right down to face painting for the little ones.

Youth Art Festival ShowA performer at the International Youth Art Festival

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Buddhafield: 17 - 21 July 2013

About seven miles south of Taunton, Somerset, you will find a festival with a difference: meaning no alcohol and no crazy mosh-pits, but rather a place of healing and well-being. The Buddhafield Festival allows people to practise and learn about meditation and Buddhism - which all ties in with working on your inner wellness. There are workshops to help you understand and study the different areas of Buddhism, as well as themed areas such as Women’s Space and the awesome Kids Area. Here you will get your exercise, as you can practise Yoga and Tai Chi, and also some relaxation and downtime with some massages and other treatments. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a proper festival without some entertainment - there will be music and cabarets for you to enjoy. Tickets are £117 for adults, £40 for kids under 16, and £20 for kids under 12.

Buddhafield FestivalMeditate at Buddhafield Festival. Image courtesy of Charlotte Baxter

Clitheroe Food Festival: 10 August 2013

You will have to have an empty tummy when you go to this festival in Clitheroe, Lancashire. The Clitheroe Food Festival promises to bring you the best food festival yet this year, and it looks very promising! Entrance to the festival is free of charge, but some of the activities will require you to buy a ticket at the venue. Obviously, with “food festival” in the title, there will be tons of delicious foods for you to choose from - and all produce and chefs are strictly local, all hailing from Lancashire. Foodies attending the festival will be treated to cookery demonstrations by Nigel Howarth and Matthew Fort. There will also be workshops, tutored tasting and over 100 stands to shop at. Not to mention all kinds of live music from choirs to bands, and also a lot of activities for children. There is something for everyone here.

Clitheroe in LancashireThe quaint town of Clitheroe will be hosting the Clitheroe Food Festival

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One Love Festival: 16 - 18 August 2013

Damyns Hall Aerodrome in Essex brings you the 6th annual One Love Festival. This ultimate reggae and dub festival started in honour of Bob Marley’s One Love concert in 1978 - and its goal is to push forward the message of peace and love that Bob treasured so much. Named the UK’s best reggae and dub camping festival, this is definitely one to attend for the whole weekend. The lineup this year is huge and includes some great live acts including U-Roy, Black Uhuru, The Orb Sound System, Al Campbell, Joseph Cotton and Creole ft Dub Master to name a few. The lush green campsite has toilets, hot showers, 24 hour security and cafes. A full weekend with camping will set you back £110 per adult and £60 per child. Come and spread the love of peace and music this year and enjoy the sounds of One Love Festival.

One Love FestivalOne Love Festival

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Win Win Win - 2 Tickets To One Love Festival!

Essential Travel in conjunction with One Love Festival is giving one lucky reader the chance to win 2 Adult Weekend Tickets! To win, just tell us what your best festival memory is on our Facebook competition page.

Click to go to the competition page

Stratford Food Festival: 14 - 15 September 2013

Visit Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford Upon Avon in mid-September this year and you’ll come across the town’s biggest food festival - the Stratford Food Festival. The organisers are expecting about 20,000 visitors, so they’ve moved the event to the Stratford Racecourse for 2013. There will be many cookery demonstrations from local chefs as well as foodie talks about all kinds of food from the local suppliers of fresh produce. Stratford Food Festival has also just announced the famous chef who will be headlining the festival. Prepare to blown away by live baking demonstrations by the famous Paul Hollywood, star of BBC’s Great British Bake-Off. Paul will be giving three baking demonstrations on the Sunday as well as some meet and greet sessions. Tickets will be available on their website from July 2013.

Stratford Food FestivalStratford Food Festival 2013 will attract even more visitors than 2012

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Zoe Harrington

After graduating with a degree in English Literature and a passion for writing, Zoe finally ended up at Essential Travel. An avid animal lover, Zoe is also an enthusiastic traveller and loves the richness it brings to one's life. Born in London, she has been to many European countries, the USA, Thailand and Singapore, making her always keen to inform others of the wonders of travel through her writing.