An entertaining day out can be expensive, so give your budget a break with the best of the UK’s free festivals.
1. Coventry MotoFest
Coventry’s city centre and ring road will be used for racing by rally cars, supercars and classics during the Coventry MotoFest weekend. It’s a free event with something for the whole family to enjoy. There’ll be track action, supercars, rally cars and classic motors. You'll also find displays, competitions, food, drink and live music.
2. English Riviera Airshow
The English Riviera Airshow is held on Paignton Pier in Torbay, and kicks off the summer season with aerial acrobatics from display teams, legendary RAF aircraft, and entertainment for all the family. The Boundless Balcony will also be visiting the show; as a Boundless member you can take advantage of free hot drinks, mobile phone charging and storage for bags and coats while you enjoy the event.
Find more great ideas for things to do this year
3. Góbéfest, Manchester
One of the oddest but most charming festivals in all Britain, Góbéfest is a celebration of Transylvanian arts and culture that takes place in the middle of Manchester. Taking place in the new venue of Cathedral Gardens for its fifth year, the festival boasts a host of good-time music and dance, as well as authentic cuisine and beer including sausages, goulash and sweet brandy to add to the occasion.
4. Youth Beatz
Dumfries is home to the Youth Beatz festival, billed as Scotland’s biggest free youth music festival. There’s also a Kids’ Zone and inflatables, and interactive exhibits from Glasgow Science Centre.
5. West End Live
Trafalgar Square hosts West End Live, with outdoor performances from the stars of some of the West End’s biggest shows (in 2019 they included Aladdin, Les Misérables, 9 To 5 The Musical and The Lion King). It’s free to attend but hugely popular so expect crowds.
6. Lambeth Country Show
For the 46th year the Lambeth Country Show returns to Brockwell Park in Brixton, with live music on both days; Saturday features funk, soul and disco, while Sunday is Roots Day with ska, reggae and dub. There’ll also be competitions for flowers and vegetables, animals on display, craft stalls and food. The show runs from noon to 8pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
7. Coventry Godiva Festival
Taking place in Coventry’s War Memorial Park, the three days of the Coventry Godiva Festival celebrate the best talent from Warwickshire and across the UK. Enjoy live music and entertainment for the whole family, food and drink, and a fun fair for kids.
8. Belfast Pride Festival
24 July-2 August
Belfast’s Pride Festival runs from 24 July to 2 August, with free events including talks and open mic nights, art sessions and picnics and walks for all ages including families. And Saturday 2 August will host the parade, from Custom House Square around the city centre and culminating at Donegall Quay.
9. Monmouth Music Festival
25 July-2 August
Covering a huge range of genres, the Monmouth Music Festival is completely free and you can enjoy performances from classical orchestras, pop and rock bands, tribute acts, jazz artists and buskers.
10. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
Europe’s largest annual gathering of hot-air balloon, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta will see the skies above Bristol transformed, with flights at dawn and dusk as well as night-glows, where balloons light up the night sky in time to music. A full supporting programme of events on the ground includes a funfair, stalls and live entertainment. As a Boundless member you can also visit the Boundless Balcony, where you can enjoy free hot drinks, mobile phone charging and storage for bags and coats, along with a great view of the balloons.
11. Feel Good Festival, Rochdale
The one-day Feel Good Festival fills the streets of Rochdale in Lancashire, with 11 hours of music on the main stage outside the town hall. There’s a food and drink village and a Family Zone, among plenty of shows and activities.
12. Eastbourne Airbourne Airshow
The town’s seafront hosts the Eastbourne Airbourne Airshow, with breathtaking aerial displays from the best teams. There’s also family entertainment on the ground, including military displays and film screenings after dark.
13. Bournemouth Air Show
Spread over miles of Dorset’s golden sandy beaches, the Bournemouth Air Festival includes amazing displays in the air and on the ground, with military ‘villages’, live music, street entertainers, and films on the big screen. The Boundless Balcony will also be visiting the show; as a Boundless member you can take advantage of free hot drinks, mobile phone charging and storage for bags and coats while you enjoy the event.
14. Porthcawl Elvis Festival
Every September, 25 miles west of Cardiff along the south Wales coast, something remarkable happens: The Elvies: Porthcawl Elvis Festival, Europe’s biggest annual celebration of Elvis sees the streets and bars of Porthcawl filled with Presley fans and impersonators for three days. There’s hundreds of Elvis shows across the town over the weekend, and most of them are free.
© Andy Chapman
15. Faversham Hop Festival
The traditional Faversham Hop Festival is a celebration of the hop harvest in the beautiful medieval heart of the Kent market town. There are 60 live bands playing across five stages over the course of the weekend, plus plenty of Morris dancing, a parade through the town, tours of Shepherd Neame brewery – Britain’s oldest brewer – and a street market with loads of local food and drink on offer. There’s camping – but it’s only an hour from London, making it an enticing day trip too.
16. Out There Festival
The streets and parks of the Norfolk seaside town are filled with 100 hours of entertainment over the weekend of Out There Festival, with performers coming from Spain, Colombia, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and more (as well as the UK). The details of this year’s 13th edition are still to be revealed, but you can be sure the tens of thousands of visitors will be thrilled by a huge variety of performers.
17. Saltaire Festival
The ten-day Saltaire Festival in the village on the outskirts of Bradford concludes on 18-20 September with a weekend of free live music: the main stage is in Roberts Park (the bandstand will also host music), and there’s also a full programme at the Caroline Street Social Club and other pop-up venues. The full festival programme includes many more free (and some paid-for) events, all in an intriguing venue: Saltaire itself is a designated UNESCO heritage site, having been built as a ‘model village’ by Victorian mill-owner and philanthropist Titus Salt.
18. Worcester Music Festival
Over 250 bands play across the town in the Worcester Music Festival in 20 venues including pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, record shops, historic buildings and breweries – and on the streets too. There’s a huge diversity of music on offer across the weekend – and a range of free music workshops, too, from taster sessions on different instruments to Q&A events with music industry insiders.
19. Culture Night, Belfast
Culture Night Belfast is a huge annual one-day festival that sees over 300 events in 150 venues, with live performance, exhibitions, discussions and interactive happenings across the Northern Irish capital. Check back nearer the date for details of the 2020 programme.