A couple of weeks ago we headed off to Dorset to Camp Bestival. We had been looking forward to the festival for months and I’m not going to lie – I was on constant weather watch in the two weeks leading up to it. As I type this, I’m wondering if every single other blogger has mentioned the terrible rain in their opening paragraphs! I almost didn’t, just to be different but if I’m honest the weather did impact our first Camp Bestival experience BUT it didn’t spoil it.
Camp Bestival was actually my first festival EVER! I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect but I left that place with a beaming smile from ear to ear, as did Justin and Rose. We had a magical weekend, read on to find out why Camp Bestival is so epic…
We left Bristol to head to Lulworth Court at 6 am on the Friday morning. From what I can gather many festival goers arrive on Thursday to set up camp. I’m quite glad we left it until the Friday as there was next to no traffic entering the festival and we were parked up and waiting for the box office to open by 9 am. The journey and getting in was all super easy.
We were in general camping which is the bit you get allocated with a weekend ticket. There were hundreds of tents already pitched so Justin in his wisdom decided to find the flattest bit of ground left (which was great) unfortunately it was right next to the carpark (sad times) We set up camp without realising just how far it was from our tent to the festival action. I would estimate it was a 20-minute walk from where we’d pitched which is pretty hard going with a toddler who isn’t keen on walking. As we were such newbies we didn’t take a trolly or even a pushchair which to be honest was a rookie mistake.
When we walked into the festival for the first time I was amazed by the size of the sheer size of it. It just goes on and on and on. I think even if you were there for the full four days it would be almost impossible to experience everything. It is absolutely incredible. My first thought was how geared up it is for kids, and very welcoming too. Camp Bestival is full of colour and practically everyone makes an effort dressing up. I made great use of my sparkly leggings and obligatory flower headband and face glitter!
Our first stop was Dingly Dell which is like a magical enchanted forest. Everyone in Dingly Dell was really lovely and made such an effort with Rose. I thought Lizzie’s Way was gorgeous and we all loved the Woodland theatre and dressing up area. Highlights were making mud pies and visiting the baby chicks.
After a wonderful morning, we headed into the main area of the festival and Rose and I went on the Big Wheel which she absolutely loved! We caught up with my blogging Bestie Aby who had come with her husband and daughter all the way from France. Rose was so delighted to have Ava to play with and we all had brilliant fun dancing in the rain. We spent the afternoon listening to the acts on stage – Reverend and the Makers were seriously awesome.
We also popped into the Bollywood tent and caught the end of Junior Junglists which was amazing. There were so many parents in there raving with their kids and it made me laugh because we’ve all done in without kids and now look at us all!
At this point, it was hammering down so we grabbed a bite to eat. The food at Camp Bestival is really good, we are vegan and there was so much choice for us from pizza and pasta to the most amazing veggie burgers. The average cost of a meal is about £7.00 which I thought was reasonable.
After a quick nap in the tent, we made the long walk back to the festival to watch All Saints and wait for the headliner Mark Ronson. If I’m honest I felt Mark Ronson was on way too late. Rose was absolutely hanging by the time he was due on and although I appreciate that Camp Bestival isn’t just a festival for kids I did feel we missed out as we ended up having to take Rose back to the tent.
Unfortunately, that night disaster struck in our tent! We are not campers and our tent is very old. We were unprepared should anything go wrong and one broken pole later and a half collapsed tent meant we were a couple of inches deep in water by the morning. Thank God my lovely friend Caro had said to me days before “Ames, take sleeping bags as well as your duvets you will thank me” and she was right! I think I vowed then never to camp again and I can’t really understand how people enjoy it (sorry!)
Determined not to allow our camping shortcomings ruin our time we headed off for a day full of fun and we weren’t disappointed. We had the best cup of tea and slice of cake in the WI tent, it was dead cheap too! Rose had an amazing time painting in Art Town and really enjoyed going down the Helter Skelter. I loved looking at her face as she watched mesmerised by a young theatre company performing on the stage and I thought to myself several times over the weekend: This is what it’s all about.
It was amazing to see all my blogging friends at the PR event. We had a real laugh at the Bollywood bus drinking gin cocktails and catching up. The weather did come up plenty of times in conversation but it really didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits which was lovely.
Overall as a family, we had the most wonderful experience at Camp Bestival. I feel like if we go back next year I’d be more prepared because I know what to expect. I wouldn’t opt to camp in our own tent again. Instead I’d look into hiring one ready pitched or better still – a bell tent (well a girl can dream, right?!) I do wish I’d planned our time a little better as we missed out on Caravanersari completely which was a real shame but despite that our two days were jam-packed with adventure and we really couldn’t have fitted any more in.
It’s a shame we didn’t get to lie on the grass drinking cocktails while children merrily played around us, but a bit of rain never killed anyone and I saw smiling happy faces everywhere I looked.
Camp Bestival is definitely not just about the live acts, there is so much more to it than that and it really is the perfect way to spend a weekend. Ok, the rain was crap but it didn’t spoil our fun, in fact, we bloody loved it!
Here’s our Camp Bestival ‘best bits’ in one minute!
If you would like to join in the fun next year, pre-sale tickets for Camp Bestival 2018 26th to 29th July are on sale now.
*We recieved complimentary weekend tickets in exchange for a feature on the blog