Like the idea of leaving a festival feeling better than when you arrived? Look no further. More and more wellness-focused gatherings are popping up across the UK, proving festivals don’t have to be all about booze and mosh pits. From lakeside yoga retreats to adrenaline-fuelled fitness events, these festivals are all about nurturing mind and body. Here are the best UK wellness festivals for 2020. Get booking!
Set in the idyllic Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, Wilderness Festival is hailed as one of the UK’s top weekend wellness retreats. While it holds many of the aspects of a traditional music festival including a stellar line-up – this year’s includes Foals, Kelis and Loyle Carner – guests can also take part in activities like wild swimming, fireside cooking sessions and mindfulness classes. Think yoga brunch clubs, foraging workshops, supper clubs and live theatre shows, alongside relaxation time at The Sanctuary & Lakeside Spa, complete with outdoor hot tubs.
Where? Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
When? 30 July – 2 August
Tickets from £165. wildernessfestival.com
Live Well London
Liz Earle MBE, Dame Kelly Holmes and Jonny Wilkinson CBE are just some of the names announced for the line-up of Live Well London, which returns to Old Billingsgate this February. As well as an array of inspiring talks from leading figures in the wellness industry, visitors can choose from over 130 fitness classes from boutique studios across London, catch live cooking demonstrations, chill out in the meditation zone and get a health check at Bupa’s station. Industry Talks will also return to the festival following its success in 2019: a day dedicated to celebrating growth and innovation in the wellness industry. It’s the perfect opportunity for budding wellness entrepreneurs to learn about starting up a career in the wellness world – which is now estimated to be worth $4.2tn globally.
Where? Old Billingsgate, London
When? 28 February – 1 March
Tickets from £39pp. livewelllondon.com
Lululemon’s largest-scale community event in Europe, returns to Tobacco Dock this June to celebrate its fifth anniversary. Over 5,000 visitors are expected to attend the two-day festival, which coincides with the International Day of Yoga. This year’s line-up is yet to be announced, but guests can expect 48 hours of sweating and stretching alongside inspiring panels and talks.
Where? Tobacco Dock, London
When? 20 – 21 June
Tickets from £35pp. lululemon.co.uk
Explore some of the UK’s most beautiful coastal sights, tidal islands and ancient woodland at Love Trails, a festival which combines running, music and adventure. Taking place on the spectacular Gower Peninsula in South Wales, there are a number of organised runs taking place, ranging from trail runs to mindfulness runs to pub crawl runs. But if you’re not big into running there are plenty of other fitness activities to get stuck into, including wild swimming, orienteering, paragliding, rock climbing, surfing and sunrise yoga. Talks, debates and live interviews also take place throughout the weekend from the likes of Hannah Phillips, Sarah Thomas and John Kelly.
Where: Gower Peninsula, South Wales
When: 2 – 5 July
Tickets from £139. lovetrails.com
Is it possible to design a perfect society? Which foods are beneficial for both humans and the planet? Is clean eating really good for you? These are just some of the questions to be debated at Life Lessons, a brand new thought festival taking place at The Barbican Centre in February 2020, curated by The Sunday Times. A line-up of bestselling authors, world-class thinkers and influential figures will come together for a weekend of talks and debates, including Bill Bryson, Derren Brown, Richard Dawkins, Alain de Botton, Rangan Chatterjee and Ruby Wax. The aim is for visitors to go away with not only a fresh perspective, but tangible knowledge to carry forwards into their day-to-day lives. The festival will tackle questions big and small, covering topics such as nutrition, health, psychology, society, business and sustainable living.
Where: Barbican, London
When: 15 – 16 February
Tickets from £60. lifelessonsfestival.com
Work out with global fitness experts, learn from top wellness gurus and sample some of the hottest health foods of the moment at Balance Festival, returning to The Old Truman Brewery this April. Top London fitness studios including KXU, Barry’s Bootcamp and F45 will be offering classes, alongside live cooking demonstrations, talks, meditation sessions and more.
When: 17 – 19 April
Where: Shoreditch, London
Tickets from £27.50. balance-festival.com
Taking place in the lakeside setting of Warwickshire’s Park Farm, Also Festival is all about reconnecting humans with nature. The ‘Out Of The Woods’ theme stretches across wellness activities, forward-thinking discussions, workshops, art and theatre, with a number of theorists, authors and comedians hosting talks around topics such as parenthood and our relationship with technology. The 50-acre landscaped grounds also offer space for outdoor activities like forest bathing and wild swimming, while family-style dining events encourage festival-goers to meet new people and get inspired.
Where: Park Farm, Warwickshire
When? 3 – 5 July
Weekend tickets from £120. also-festival.com
Yoga and wellbeing festival Soul Circus has soared in popularity since launching in 2017. Held at the picturesque Cotswold hills of Elmore near Gloucester, festival goers can try an array of different types of yoga, from aerial to restorative, as well as other exercise classes such as barre and boxing. You can also enjoy a wide selection of locally sourced, healthy food, live music and DJs, attend one of the many workshops on offer, or simply chill out in a lakeside hot tub. The gardens and woodlands make a beautiful backdrop for the festival’s many light shows and parties, which run late into the night.
Where? Elmore, Gloucestershire
When? 21 – 23 August
Tickets from £175. soulcircus.yoga
Fancy the best of both worlds? Head to LoveFit, a festival that fuses fitness with classic music festival vibes. By day you can take part in everything from spinning to boxing to paddle boarding, but by night it’s all about music, DJs and late-night partying. The line-up is yet to be announced, but last year saw some of London’s hottest fitness studios in residence, including Kobox, F45 and Fierce Grace, alongside an abundance of good, healthy food to fuel the weekend. The ultimate detox-retox.
Where? St Clere Estate, Kent
When? 17 – 19 July
Tickets from £124. lovefitfestival.com
Ultra-zen hideout-come-retreat, Green Man Festival is a haven for nature lovers, explorers and health enthusiasts alike. Not only does it offer your usual yoga and pilates, they have a dedicated Nature Nurture garden, a quiet corner tucked away in the Welsh countryside complete with gong baths, restorative hot tubs and Indian summer massages.
Where? Brecon Beacons, Wales
When? 20 – 23 August
Tickets from £195. greenman.net
Mind Body Spirit
Founded in 1977, Mind Body Spirit Festival was the first exhibition in the world dedicated to the pursuit of healthier and more fulfilling lifestyles. This year they’re bringing life tips, tools and inspiration to Birmingham NEC in October. Expect a whole host of motivational speakers, health food brands and holistic retreat exhibitors, plus a range of experiences to try including wellbeing studios, spas and pop-up temples.
Where? Birmingham National Exhibition Centre
When? 30 October – 1 November
Tickets from £8. mindbodyspirit.co.uk
Ever worked out in an area of outstanding natural beauty? Here’s your chance: VERVE festival, set in the beautiful Cranborne Chase. Activities on offer include sound baths, yoga classes, storytelling and farm runs, alongside talks on topics related to physical and mental health such as sober curiosity and fertility. Guests can also explore the non-alcoholic bar, try a CBD IV drip, and meet like-minded friends at evening supper clubs. VERVE is also taking steps to conserve the natural beauty of the earth: it’s one of the UK’s first zero waste festivals, and there’s no plastic on site.
Where? South Wiltshire
When? 4 – 6 September
Tickets from £45.87, kids go free. feeltheverve.com
In Your Element
It’s been used as a setting for programmes including The Crown and Young Victoria, but this July Belvoir Castle will be playing host to something slightly different: a brand-new wellness festival. Launching this July, In Your Element is based around the theme of the four elements – fire, earth, air and water – with a programme centred around the mind, body and spirit. One of the UK’s finest regency castles set across 16,000 acres of valleys, lakes and parklands, Belvoir Castle will be utilised to great effect throughout the weekend, playing host to everything from forest bathing outdoors to yoga in the Guard’s Room to cooking classes in the castle’s original kitchen.
Where? Belvoir Castle,
When? 4 – 5 July
Day tickets from £80, weekend tickets from £150. inyourelementfestival.com