We was fortunate enough to be gifted a family ticket for Camp Bestival this year which is situated in Dorset (around 3 hours from London) and we are so gratfeul. I was a little apprehensive about taking Oscar because it was going to be the first time he had stayed in a tent and also the first time he did not sleep in a bed with sides. We purchased Oscar a pony bed to entice him into staying in the bed all night long (luckily it worked).
We left on the Thursday, a few hours after we said we was going to – STANDARD! We had to go back to the house for a few things and we had to pop to a few shops on the way. Why is it that you have months to prepare and yet you are still rushing around like a headless chicken days before the event trying to find cheap glitter and face gems- wishing you had been organised and ordered batches off of amazon way before!!
When we arrived, check in was very very smooth and that is something that we have experienced to be lacking at other festivals. Miles and I made a plan. We have been to many festivals without the children and Milo has been once before and we felt we needed a plan of action.
Plan: Take the tent and the gazebo to find a pitch and put these up before doing anything else.
From pervious experience we know that if you arrive late you get a Shit spot. Usually near the stinky toilets. I know we arrived later than we wanted to but it also made me feel better than people often arrive on the Friday too and there has to be space for them! We vaguely looked at the map before we arrived but we kind of forgot where we wanted to camp (organised much?). When we arrived we noticed a lot of people had actually camped near to the loos and we gathered maybe because their kids might need the loo or the adults would be ok going to the loo in the middle of the night because they could see their tents from the toilets.
I herded Oscar along the path trying to stop him from pulling on peoples guide ropes and from entering peoples imaginary camping boundaries they had created the buntings and flags. Miles pulled the tent and gazebo along whilst we hunted for a spot. We are not completely converted to family festival style yet. We are used to people being on top each other (tent wise) and eagerly rushing to put tents out or even tissue roll out to mark our camping space (is this just a young festival thing?).
We found a spot, and managed to piece our tent together. We didn’t bother greatly on the guide ropes as we was in a heatwave. The guide ropes are to pull your tent out to make sure no water gets in and just generally makes the tent a long stronger.
The boys were loving running around, playing with our neighbours and just being free to roam where they pleased.
Inside the arena, we could not believe how geared towards children it was and how well organised it was. There was heaps of toilets (some just for children to0), free water facilites, free childrens activites that will keep the kids entertained, lots of yummy food, meet and greets with favourtie show stars, rides, fancy dress shops and much much much more
The entertainment was endless and atmosphere was awesome!
Then Friday evening/ early Saturday morning I was awoken by our tent shaking vigorously. It was very noisy and I could hear people talking and crying that their tents had deflated whilst they were in it! I got up immediately and woke M up too. He was out at 3am in the pouring raining and winds of up to 35mph hammering in those guide ropes we didn’t think we needed (lesson learnt- always need those).
I went into the other pod (we all slept in one pod and the other pod was for our clothes and food etc) just to pack a bag incase we needed to head to the car. I was met with two massive puddles (definitely lesson learnt- we need the guide ropes next time). Heaps of our things were wet and we had to try to save the remaining things by clearing up the puddles with our towels! Thankfully the pod the boys were sleeping in survived and the kids slept all night.
The next day, we discussed with M that the winds were meant to get up to 53mph and we think we should head to a nearby hotel. Many people were already packing up and there was a lot of empty spaces from people who had gone already. We searched and searched and many hotels were fully booked. We gathered other people must have been doing the same thing. We used the generic search engine sites and there was no hotels available. We then went on to hotel websites and managed to find a Premier Inn around 25 mins drive away (lesson learnt- Don’t trust search engine sites).
We went into the arena for the day and left to pack up our gear at around 4pm when the weather started to decline again. Milo was a little upset but he also understood why we thought we should get to the hotel. We went for dinner and it was actually nice to sit at a table again (sounds drastic but honestly how I felt) and to later in the evening to sleep in a bed!
The next day we kept up to date with the Camp Bestival Instagram and they eventually announced that for the safety of the staff and campers it was safer to not open the arenas again. This gave me a huge feeling of relief. We was no longer at fault for taking Milo away from the festival. The festival had to cancel because of the strong winds and there was no point in us being there just to sit in a tent.
Instead, we decided to head to a soft play on the way home and we all had an amazing day!
We are going to another festival this month with both of the children and I have definitely learnt a thing or two.
I made the kids each a snack bag for each day. We all know how important snacks are in a toddlers life and it can be hard to source the snacks they usually eat in a festival. Milo appreciated them too. I put things in there such as raisins, strawberry flakes, bread sticks, rice cakes and ice gems (for M). These are a total life saver as you have everything you need for each day.
It was amazing for the journey and the the festival. The sites can be really big at festivals and when they need to go they need to go. Its also good for the mornings and just before bed times.
When M was hammering in the pegs at 3 in the morning, this was essential.
It allowed the kids to sit outside but we did not worry about the sun as much.
Next time we go camping, I am going to take wellies even if it isn’t forecast for rain, extra jumpers, rain macs, bed sheets for the duvets and my eyebrow pencil and my mascara!!! If you have any tips for me. Hit me up!!
Have a watch of my first weekend vlog that includes our trip to Camp Bestival!