After weeks of planning, of excitement building, early on Thursday last week we headed off to Dorset for Camp Bestival. Our sights were set on pitching in a particular part of the Purple campsite, which we managed to get and were soon enjoying the sunshine, eating our picnic outside of our tent. To be perfectly honest we welcomed the rest after an early start and wrangling the tent to pitch perfection! Yet we also went for a wander to get into the festival spirit as some food stalls are open.
After a relatively good nights sleep, thankfully the airbeds made it a bit more comfortable, we were ready to see what Camp Bestival had in store for us this year. A little bit of pre planning for what to see and do can help make the whole festival experience better, yet be prepared to change those plans, to miss things and be dazzled and amazed by random offerings as you wander around. Now we had a little list of things we wanted to do and see but the children knew that these may not all be possible. Yet we made the best effort to cram in as much fun as we possibly could. Here are our highlights from the weekend.
Project Wild Thing and The National Trust
We spent alot of time down in Dingly Dell exploring what Project Wild Thing has to offer. There were all kinds of workshops, nature trails and activities to keep everyone amused. We also spent alot of time in the '50 things to do before you're 11 3/4' field. Armed with their journals, provided by The National Trust, the girls eagerly earnt stamps for many activities, including rolling down a big hill, making a grass trumpet and creating art with nature. We even made sure we queued up to gain a place on the tree climbing workshop, which Lucy and Amber absolutely loved. The instructor was excellent, building confidence in the children as they used their ropes attached to their harnesses to gain more height.
I have been a supporter of the 50 Things project since it started and felt that this was a fantastic addition to Camp Bestival. We are very fortunate to live in the countryside, by the sea, so can get outdoors and explore often, but I am sure for many children their time in the Dingly Dell would be one of the limited times they got to do the kinds of activities that both Project Wild Thing and The National Trust offered.
The Feast Collective
As a family we have always enjoyed trying different foods and our children have always been willing to taste an array of flavours. The Feast Collective certainly offered ample opportunity to do this, with a fantastic selection of food stalls offering all sorts of food. My favourite was definitely the tapas stall, where I enjoyed the most delicious Shashouka ever. Other firm favourites were Baba G's chicken tikka wraps and tandori fries and DJ BBQ's burgers. Sadly I wasn't up to eating much on the Sunday, but wished I had tried something from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen.
With a marketplace feel and smells to tempt the Feast Collective was definitely the perfect addition to the food choices at Camp Bestival and we certainly hope it will be returning next year.
The Farmers Market
With fresh bread, punnets of strawberries, salad bar, salami, bruschetta and delicious chocolate brownies to cheer up my tired and grumpy seven year old. This market was again a great addition and the bakery had the best Belgian buns ever!
Big Topmania - Circus Skills
This area in the Upper Kids Garden is always a favourite with our children, even the boys. With unicycles, hula hoops, balance beams, diablo's and other fab circus skills equipment, they can play for ages here. Lucy was determined to take part in the trapeze workshop this year and we made sure she was in time to get a place. Even though she only got a few minutes on the trapeze it was worth the wait to see her proud smile after completing the tasks set. There is also a section of the garden for younger children to explore, which would be great for my little nieces, as my sisters family are planning on joining us next year.
Well this has certainly grown since our first visit to Camp Bestival and is still a firm favourite with Lucy, Amber and Kitty. All sorts of creations were made and Lucy got involved with the big sculpture again and joined Kitty and I in helping to decorate the giant Art Town letters.
This was another area that the Camp Bestival team had grown and improved since our last visit. There were all sorts of workshops and stage shows throughout the day and the best part was that they went on until 7pm. So if it was busy during the day I could head back with Kitty, my budding little scientist, later in the evening.
Arsenal Football School
Andy happily took the children round this activity, determined to get the fastest ball of the weekend. However it was Amber who shone as our best player, with the coaches joking that we should invest in her! This activity was always busy but thankfully we didn't have to wait too long and was something that all our children could play together.
Lego Imagination Station
The queues for this were always very long and we had given up earlier in the day in Friday, with too many other things tempting us. So we were pleasantly surprised to see a shorter queue in the evening and welcomed the thought of being out of the drizzly rain for a little while. With Lego of all shapes and colours we filled our beakers at the entrance and headed inside to start building. Now this was Lego heaven for everyone, with so many bricks to choose from I didn't really know what to build! But some ski type legs and comical eyes helped me make an imaginary character. Meanwhile Lucy built Olaf from Frozen Kitty made a colourful window frame, Andy created a futuristic vehicle and Amber, Connor and Jack set about making Lego heads. The staff were very attentive and ensured Lucy photographed her Olaf creation with their special camera, to ensure it was added to their Hall of Fame.
As you can see we had an action packed weekend. We also managed to spend some time in the Freesports Park, watching the skateboard and bike stunts of some talented tricksters. Evenings were spent on fairground rides, honing circus skills and watching the acts on the Castle Stage. Sadly Kitty was exhausted by 9.15 on Friday, so we headed back to the tent and meant I missed James perform. But as I said, this festival is about going with the flow, not sticking to plans. Yet we made sure we saw Sophie Ellis-Bextor on Saturday night and danced as the sun began to set, cold cider in hand. A weekend of magical memories that we will treasure forever. Thank you Camp Bestival.
Until next time, take care.
Disclosure - This year I am one of the official Camp Bestival bloggers, working with them to share my top tips and reviewing the festival. They have kindly given us a family weekend ticket, however all opinions are my own.