11 Outdoor Adventure Festivals you should know about

Outdoor Adventure Festivals

A guest post blog, from our friends at Wild Goose Gear. As you know, we love all aspects of being outdoors, and so does Wild Goose Gear, so we’re delighted that they’ve accepted our invitation to share, with us (and you!) the world of Outdoor Adventure Festivals.

If I mention the word festival what do you think of? Glastonbury and Bestival to name two big ones? And of course, most towns have a local music festival.  Wherever you are there’s something for everyone both in the UK and the rest of Europe.

But the word festival now has another meaning. One that combines the outdoor world of sport with music and other activities. It’s a growing phenomenon. I refer to the outdoor adventure festival.

Let’s take a quick look then and pick out some of the most exciting examples I’ve found so far.   Should something in particular take your fancy and you’ve missed this year’s – well you’re prepared for 2018.

From a crossover festival for music lovers and outdoor types alike, to full on adventure festivals, or an indoor-outdoor Festival for those dark winter nights, the choice is huge.

 There’s an outdoor festival for every season so here we go with my top 11.

1. Wilderness Festival 

If you like a proper care free festival with lots of outdoor activities thrown in then this could be for you. Now in its seventh year, it’s probable that this one is the most festival like festival on my list. It’s all set in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside at Cornbury Park.

Along with the music, food and camping there’s a range of weird and wonderful outdoor activities. Running the range, they include:

  • Archery
  • Hunter-gatherer cooking
  • Fly fishing
  • Wild swimming
  • Boating
  • Wild runs
  • Mindfullness walks
  • Croquet

What more could you ask for? Not much I’d say!

The festival’s website describes better than I what they’re about:

‘Nomads and gastronomes. Rockers and roamers. Drifters and dreamers. The reclusive, the wise, the weird and the wild. Welcome. Step in and linger. We invite you on an escapade like no other.’

2. South West Outdoor Festival 

The National Trust have come up trumps with this one. A weekend of outdoor activities and entertainment in the Mendip Hills in Somerset. The aim is to provide a wide range of activities for all abilities and for the whole family. Hence, there’s something for all tastes ranging from trail running, mountain biking, road cycling, climbing and caving, water sports, snowboarding and skiing experiences.  Okay – so there’s no snow in Somerset in September. Well not as a rule at least. But you can still head to a nearby dry ski slope.

You can also explore the local countryside on some guided walks.

And, when you’ve exhausted yourself with all that activity, huddle round the campfire to listen to stories or hear some inspiring intrepid speakers. To add to all that there’s music performances too.

The South West Outdoor Festival takes place from 8-10 September 2017.

3. Boardmasters Surf and Music Festival 

For those who prefer their sporting fun to be wet, wet, wet the well-established Boardmasters Festival is a must to dive in to. Sea, surf, sand and sounds combine in Britain’s surf capital: Newquay in Cornwall.

Established in 1981, Boardmasters is now the UK’s largest professional surf event and has an enviable international reputation.

Yet, even if you can’t tell your boogie board from your board shorts you can take advantage of lessons with the many local surf schools.

With an impressive line-up of music acts there’s plenty to keep you entertained when you’re all surfed out. There’s also an option to do some glamping to make your festival a luxury experience.

Boardmasters takes place from 9-13 August 2017 at Fistral Beach in Newquay.

4. Base Camp Festival 

If you want to try your hand at a range of outdoor activities, learn from experts, meet some explorers and enjoy some music as night falls – then this could be the one for you.

What I like about Basecamp is that you’ve got an opportunity to learn about loads of outdoor related stuff which you might not otherwise come across.

You might learn how to film your adventures, write a travel blog or live a more adventurous life. To name but some!

You can practice your axe and knife throwing – who knows when you’ll need those skills?! Then there’s fire building, wood carving and whittling and yes, to cover bases, learn wilderness first aid as well!!

Basecamp takes place near Darley Dale in the heart of the Peak District from 7-10 September 2017.

5. White Star Running 

This one is a little different to the others listed here as it isn’t a single festival event.

White Star organise trail running events throughout the year with the slogan “Keep Running Rural”.

Many of the events take place over weekends. There’s several races to take part in and camping available so you can bring the kids and the dog.

The emphasis is on having fun and not being too serious about your running. The race names give you a clue about the tone of their events. With such names as  the Bad Cow Weekender, East Farm Frolic and the Dorset Invader frivolity is the name of the race.

Each event has a theme and some unique and colourful medals. They tend to involve running up hills in the Dorset/Wiltshire countryside. You’re encouraged to dress up – as in the peacock themed event at the Larmer Tree Gardens.

The famous Love Station on the way rounds provides you everything you could need.  The supplies of cake, sweets, coke, cider, alcoholic shots (never quite sure what’s in those) and a hug and a kiss if you need an emotional boost to get around the last few miles are plentiful.

White Star Running events take place around Dorset and Wiltshire throughout the year.

6. Big Bike Bash 

As the name suggest the Big Bike Bash is firmly aimed at lovers of two wheels. It’s a family weekend of bike themed races and events with live music and a beer festival.

There’s nothing ordinary about the bike events either. The Lake Jumping Competition speaks for itself. And in the Pint-2-Pint race you cycle laps and drink a pint and your way round.

Take part in the longest wheelie competition or the track stand. The latter involves standing on your bike – the last one to put their foot down wins.

This festival becomes a tad surreal with the ‘how fast can you pump up an inner tube until it explodes competition’ and the malt loaf eating competition. Kids aren’t left out with a balance bike race and a toddler’s pyjama race.

All in all this looks to be fabulous, fun weekend.

The Big Bike Bash takes place near Bransgore in the New Forest at the August Bank Holiday weekend. All sold out for this year but definitely one to look out for in 2018.

7. Aviemore Adventure Festival 

The Cairngorms in Scotland is an all year-round outdoor enthusiasts heaven. As well as all the usual summer mountain activities, it benefits from offering snow sports in the winter too. The Aviemore Adventure Festival takes advantage of this and offers a wide range of events and activities for the more adventurous out there.

Taster sessions include mountain biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, trail running and nordic walking together with demonstrations from outdoor gear manufacturers.

As if all of that were not enough theres talks from inspiring adventurers to listen to and the latest adventure films to watch.

It wouldn’t be a festival without some music and so there’s a festival party with a Ceilidh band as well.

The Aviemore Adventure Festival takes place from the 18-22 April 2018.

8.Kendal Mountain Festival 

As we head into the winter months and the traditional festival season tails off there’s still something for those who want adventures all year round.

The Kendal Mountain Festival set in is now in its 17th year and is a well-established fixture for outdoor sports enthusiasts. At the heart of the varied programme is the International Film Competition. Given the epithet the “Oscars of outdoor filmmaking”, this event attracts industry professionals from around the world. There are specialist film sessions covering climbing, biking, snow sports, caving and endurance sports.

Alongside the films are photography exhibitions, workshops and active sports events and a youth film competition. If you’d rather be outside than in there is a 10Km trail run as well.

The Festival kicks off with a torchlight procession weaving its way through Kendal Town Centre accompanied by cowbells, flags and music.

The Kendal Mountain Festival takes place from 16 -19 November proving that you can get your outdoor fix all year round!

9. Yorkshire Wolds Walking and Outdoor Festival 

With a focus on walking yet still with something for everyone, the Yorkshire Wolds Walking and Outdoor Festival seeks to showcase this wonderful landscape.

The festival appeals to casual walkers, families and enthusiasts alike. There’s a choice of outdoor pursuits. Take an historical town walk or a guided walk through the Wolds. Or try Nordic Walking, horse riding, cycling, nature safaris and bush craft. You can also learn about wilderness navigation without a map, take a ghost walk in Beverley or help with a beach clean on the Yorkshire Coast.

The Yorkshire Wolds Walking and Outdoor Festival takes place over 8 days from the 9th – 17th September 2017.

10. Eroica Brittanica

Eroica Brittanica bills itself as the “The World’s Most Handsome Bike Ride”. It’s a stylish celebration of all things cycling, heritage and culture that’s for sure. All of which makes it different to your average bike event. Based on a similar and long-established event in Tuscany, Italy, Eroica Britannica now attracts 4500 riders and 10000 visitors.

What’s unique about the festival is its focus on heritage cycling as the organisers describe below:

“Cycling on pre-1987 road bikes allows us to appreciate the serenity of slow travel, healthy sport and gives us the enjoyment of the beauty of magnificent places around us. It also allows us to connect to our bike as we marvel at its durability and craftsmanship or seek out ways to solve problems and get our heads around repairs and quirks.”

As well as cycle rides on vintage bikes the festival includes music performances, a late night cocktail and gin bar, a twilight adventure pub ride and good quality British made cycling gear for sale.

All-in-all Eroica Brittanica is about cycling in style and having a Great British adventure. It takes place in the Peak District in June.

11. Bannf Mountain Film Festival

Okay, so this is a bit of cheat, as it’s an indoor festival all about the outdoors!  If that’s not, a contradiction in terms.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is in fact a touring event which takes place between January and May every year. You’ll not be one bit surprised to learn that it originated in Banff in Canada.

The Festival now tours the UK and Ireland with a packed programme of adventure and outdoor films collated with care to cover all tastes.

This year saw some incredible films.  They included the Flying Frenchies playing instruments suspended high above a Gorge in France, four mums in a boat rowing across the Atlantic, two climbers paragliding off a volcano, a film about Dog Power and the amazing mountain bike stunt rider Danny MacAskill.

As a touring event, it will no doubt come to a venue near you! So if you want some inspiration in the dark, cold winter months then I definitely recommend the Banff Mountain Film Festival.


I hope that’s given you a flavour of some of the amazing and diverse outdoor sports festival around the UK.

Here at Wild Goose Gear, we have made it to some of these but others are still on the list so looking forward to trying them out.

Why don’t you let us know what your favourite outdoor sports festival is and why? Find us on Twitter at @wildgoosegear.  And do check out our website for all the outdoor accessories you could want for your walking and cycling needs.


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