After 18 months of restrictions on fitness facilities, mass-participation events and indeed fitness festivals, we have all come to realise just how enjoyable exercise can be. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.
So if we all agree exercise is enjoyable, then why not enjoy it all day, or even all weekend? Now you can, because fitness festivals are returning to the calendar after taking most of the year off in 2020. Here are some of the UK’s best.
Salomon Festival (7th August)
There’s an awful lot to cram in at this one-day festival in the Chilterns, with guided 5K, 10K and 20km trail runs, plus one- or two-hour hikes for those who prefer to travel at a more sedate pace. Once you’re back at the festival village you can attend talks, try yoga classes, and learn useful trail running and hiking techniques at practical workshops. salomonfestival.co.uk
Buy tickets | £30
Soul Circus (20th-21st August)
“Put yourself back together and recalibrate” is probably the advice most follow after a festival, but that’s what you’ll be focusing on at this celebration of movement, music and food in the Cotswolds. The festival hosts over 250 daytime classes across 12 venues, with sessions in yoga, mindfulness, tai chi and more. Soul Circus is also family-friendly with kids’ yoga, circus workshops and other activities, plus children under 15 years old get in free. At night the event opens up to numerous live acts, experiences and music, with a variety of genres and all kinds of exercise intensity featured so you can find the vibe you’re looking for. soulcircus.yoga
Buy tickets | Day tickets from £79, weekend tickets from £125
RunFestRun (27th-29th August)
Running-focused festivals for all the family are rare indeed, so RunFestRun in Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire is a welcome addition to the calendar. The festival starts with an easy 3km welcome run on Friday called the Sunset Shuffle, then on Saturday there are timed races across distances ranging from 2.5km to a half marathon. Sunday takes itself far less seriously with a fancy dress fun run. As well as all that, there’s music in the evenings: the line-up for 2021 features All Saints, James Bay and a DJ set from Faithless. runfestrun.co.uk
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Verve Festival (25th September)
Not many festivals leave you feeling better afterwards than you did when you arrived, but the inaugural version of this festival makes that promise. There are yoga and Pilates classes, meditation sessions, runs and workouts to take part in, as well as a wild spa, all held in the glorious surroundings of the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wiltshire. The festival is also family-friendly with a range of children’s activities, including foraging, fire-building and craft workshops. feeltheverve.com
Buy tickets | Day tickets from £71.37
Balance Festival (12th-14th November)
You’re sure to find something to your taste as well as something new to try at this indoor festival in London, with sessions spanning everything from HIIT workouts to ancient yoga and breathing techniques. There are workouts (from £6), free yoga sessions, and talks from the best instructors and boutique fitness studios the capital has to offer. There’s also a chance to browse the latest trends in fitness clothing, beauty and wearable tech, as well as helping yourself to samples of healthy food and drink. balance-festival.com
Buy tickets | From £39.50 for a half day, early bird tickets from £34.50
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Jake was formely an intern for Coach and now contributes workouts from some of London’s top trainers. As well as training in the gym and running, he’s competed in the eight-hours-long overnight event Europe's Toughest Mudder twice and the 24-hours-long World's Toughest Mudder once.