After popping our collective festival cherries last year we couldn’t wait to get back to Camp Bestival this year. We booked our tickets as soon as we returned home last year and spent many months eagerly anticipating the delights which would be on offer this time. We certainly weren’t disappointed. With one of my favourite acts ever headlining I was thrilled and everything else was to be a happy bonus.
Then we had the news that Camp Bestival was going wild. With the announcement of the National trust 50 things meadow the children were beside themselves with excitement.
As a last minute decision we decided to give Boutique camping a whirl, remembering how the previous year pitching up in the blazing midsummer heat had been a far from pleasant experience, let’s just say I was wanting to bash more than the tent pegs with my rubber mallet 😉
Exploring our options we were somewhat limited with it being last minute and also with us being a family of five. At times it really does seem that life caters for nice tidy families of four – anyone else noticed that?
Anyway we were left with a couple of bell tent options. With seemingly little difference we went for the (ever so slightly) cheaper option. Now I was excited!
With the car
fit to burst loaded we were off to beautiful dorset, one of my favourite areas of the UK. We had booked early entry tickets for Thursday so this gave us plenty of time to travel down and to get settled in before the fun began on Friday. The journey was long but thankfully issue free and we were ready to relax. We headed straight to the boutique camping area which really did look the part and checked in at reception. The welcome wasn’t quite the one we had hoped for, we couldn’t be found on the booking list, a few moments panic there! Eventually we were found and shown to our home for the weekend a colourful bell tent albeit a faded one. With it being Boutique camping I was expecting a bit more of a glamping vibe, the reality a space filled with camp beds draped in ill fitting sheets, and a small broken led light. Glamorous? No. When paying the price that it costs to buy one of these tents (I know I have one) to hire one for the weekend you kind of hope for a little more glamour. Still we didn’t have to put it up and our campsite had slightly nicer toilets and showers so that was certainly great.
We had around the clock access to a tent to charge our phones, fantastic! Also we were looking forward to the service of reception providing hot drinks and squash so didn’t take our own supplies, the reality was that reception wasn’t open the hours we were led to believe at check in. The feeling I got was that staff were there to have a good time, if we wanted a drink, too bad. Bummer!
We stayed with podpads. The little huts they have looked really cool as did some of their smaller tents, just sadly we as a family are too large for them. Maybe next year we’ll give Hotel Belltent a whirl! Would love to hear others experiences on these guys…..
On Friday the fun began, and boy is there fun to be had. Every year we have so many things we want to try and do and every year we only manage to get some of these done, simply due to the vast amount of experiences on offer. This year we were much more laid back, exploring the different areas mostly dictated by what the children wanted to see and do. Happy children, happy grown ups!
There were so many great, new experiences for them to try. They made beautiful pendants on a drop forge which they will treasure forever.
Our youngest embraced the festival princess vibe and learnt how to work with willow, transforming it into a beautiful Headdress worthy of any fashionista fairy princess!
The older children had a blast learning natural wood working techniques with the fab folk from Spinney Hollow and made themselves Wizard wands and Ninja swords. Awesome!
We spent lots of time in Dingley dell again this year, the children adored it last year. We made rain spells and mud pies and generally frolicked in the woods in the way that children should.
We loved the wonderful extension to the dell this year, the fabulous 50 things meadow. As you may have seen previously we have embraced the list of challenges and the National trust had some fab activities which we love on offer.
We rolled down hills
Made grass trumpets. At 35 years old I finally mastered it (in the middle of a juggling show.) Go me!
The children also we able to help with making some wild art in the form of a stunning dragon fly display.
I could write for days about the wonderful things we did, watching truly talented artists, making sure we caught the wonderful insect circus – what a snail, and those French flies….
Traditional fair rides were enjoyed, bubbles blown and socks were danced off! Refuelling was easy, the only problem being which delicious food to choose next! What a dilemma, what a treat!
Last years finale of fireworks was up there in my favourite moments of all time, this year just blew it away. Magnificent! Dancing like crazy to my much loved Basement Jaxx with my daughter, followed by the best fireworks and fire show EVER. FACT! was amazing, my photos don’t do it justice. Bohemian Rhapsody will forever more make me grin like a Cheshire Cat.
Camp Bestival we love you! *doffs obligatory festival straw hat*