Thursday, 28 June 2012

Stepping into the unknown...Camp Bestival

In a couple of weeks I will be stepping into the unknown. I shall be taking my children to their first ever festival. Yes, we're off to Camp Bestival in Dorset and it's about now I am starting to wonder what I've let myself in for, especially as our last camping trip didn't end on a high note. This time however, we'll be taking the new member of the family, Clemmie and we're hoping this may add to the experience. (I feel like I am talking myself into this...). Can we all start praying for nice weather now? 

I have read a lot of old blog posts this week about Camp Bestival and so far, I am comforted by the reports of the Pizza Express-eating, Boden-wearing, Waitrose-shopping clientele, as lets face it, that's right up my street but I'm a bit nervous about what to expect and whether my children will cope well with all the madness and mayhem.

Camp Bestival, if you didn't know, is a family festival (sister to the mega-popular Bestival) in the grounds of Lulworth Castle in Dorset. There's so much going on there that it's practically impossible for me to list it all here but there's music, numerous activities, circus skills, shows from people like The Gruffalo and the English National Ballet, Mr Tumble and of course much, much more. Clearly, one of the things I am most excited about is the food - it sounds delicious. Apparently this isn't the usual burgers and hot-dogs, oh no, there will be many different types of food available and I cannot wait to try as much of it as possible.   I really  really wanted to try the Grand Afternoon Tea from The Hurly Burly but unfortunately it's all sold out already - you snooze you lose! Bah.

Because I'm such a festival novice, I'd like to ask you a question. Well several questions.  Can you please, please, PLEASE share your top tips for attending a festival with children? The lovely Mama Sunshine has already talked a bit about it on my blog but I'd love to hear what YOUR advice would be. What are the must-haves? Where can I buy the cheapest flower garlands for our hair (priorities, priorities..)? How do I make sure I don't lose my children? How much spends will I need for the weekend? I have so many questions. HELP!

And if you have any great ideas for fancy dress in the "Silly Olympics" theme, please share them with me! 


  1. Sorry no advice never been to a festival before, b ut I'll be looking forward to your post. That is a festival I'd love to go to - wouldit be too young for a 13 year old??? Also on posts I've seen would I be yummy mummyish enough - or is it out of my league??? xxx p.s. lusting after clemmie xx

    1. I don't think so - I hear that lots of people have teenagers there. I think from what I've read it's a good introduction to festivals for them.

      And erm, I am nowhere near being a yummy mummy so don't worry about that!!

  2. I have some festivals with kids posts on the old blog. Latest post in fact! Check out as well for loads of tips and Romany from that site also has the most lovely hair garlands for sale. Not the cheapest but worth it. Enjoy Camp B. we ae having a break from it this year due to funds but we will be back! :D

    1. Thank you! I will check out that website now.

  3. Well, as this will be our third Camp Bestival, I feel vaguely qualified to answer some of your questions:

    1. Take cash as there are only a couple of cash machines on site. They don't do free withdrawals, there's pretty much always a heinous queue and they have been known to run out of money...

    2. I wouldn't go without a trip to Costco beforehand to stock up on carton drinks for the boys, crisps and snack bars. ;)

    3. Fairy Love always have a tent selling stuff there and hair garlands are about a fiver. I seem to have fallen into the habit of buying a new one in a different colour each time. :)

    4. When you arrive go and get wristbands for you and your children before you even set up camp. They put parents' mobile numbers on the child wristbands so that someone can contact you if they go missing. We didn't do this last time and then lost the then Two Year Old for about an hour while putting the tent up. People were amazing though and he was restored to us by a large crowd of very un-judgemental and lovely strangers and stewards!

    5. We take about £300 between us - there are four of us, we don't do our own cooking, I'm a strict vegetarian and we neither of us enjoy getting drunk.

    6. We don't do the whole dressing up thing. ;)

  4. We've done 2 festivals so far this year and have one more to look forward to.
    What are the must-haves? Glo sticks (Poundland) and a bucket (night-time toilet!)
    Where can I buy the cheapest flower garlands for our hair? Primark.
    Food and drinks are generally expensive so take some drinks cartons/bottles and snacks for the kids, who will probably be hungry all the time if they are anything like mine!
    family festival guide

  5. Forgot to say that you all need a festival hat too!

  6. There are loads of blogs and bits of advice hidden away on my site but unfortunately it has all got into a bit of a mess because there's so much on there it can be hard to find everything.

    The key blog (with links to several other good bits) is the Family Festival Survival Guide (

    But really my best tip is to just go with the flow, and whatever you don't manage well this year you will learn from and have an even better time next year! Keep everyone warm, dry, fed and you should have a ball :)

  7. Hey Mrs M, see you there :)

    Flower garlands- we buy ours there cos they only get squashed en route!
    Things to buy- defo glowsticks, bubble swords, paper plates and cups, wipes, cereal bars, variety pack of cereals, (just pour the milk straight in), catering packs of coffee/ hot choc from B&M bargains. Cartons of fruit juice are good, dried fruit, nuts etc

    Do you have a festival trolley? They make like a lot easier. I am warning you now, if you are taking Clemmie it is a LONG walk from the campervan field to the main arena, so once you are out for the day, it's unlikely you will want to pop back.

    In terms of costumes, I am going for a disco theme, my husband is going for a 70s athlete look, son is probably going as a superhero.

  8. If you lose your kids, the best advice I would give you is to tell them to STAY PUT. It's a big crowd and if they start moving around, you are less likely to track them down. I'm giving my daughter a walkie talkie. The security staff are excellent with dealing with lots children.

    Its also a good idea to point out some landmarks eg the castle steps, so you can agree that if your party gets split up, you have a prearranged venue and time.

    You can make it as sensible or as crazy as you want to at CB. If it's your first time, you may want to avoid taking them to the silent disco until 3am lol

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