Family Travel

Camp Bestival ’14


Ah – Camp Bestival! 

We came. We camped. We conquered!

Then, like a trick by a circus magician, in a puff of imaginary smoke – pouff – you were gone!  But wow, what a 3 days you gave us!

We were virgins when we attended the festival in 2013 and, having popped our family festival cherry, I was excited for all that the 2014 experience had to offer. Trouble was, this year my OH was scheduled to be away and, since I didn’t relish the thought of putting up a tent with 2 kids in tow, I got online to consider my options.

There were LOTS of options – teepees, yurts, gypsy caravans – even American Airstream trailers if you’ve got a handy £2k lying around! (I haven’t!)

Then, like a vision, Hotel Bell Tent popped up.  I’ve always wanted to try out a bell tent – we had an uber cool family camping next to us last year and I was secretly jealous of their zen, nomadic set up against our garish camp-shop normality – so this was sounding promising.  A decked out bell tent waiting on arrival?  Air mattresses already blown up? Pamper tent with hairdryers? Chill-out lounge with sockets? Bedding and towels provided if I wanted it? I approached them and miraculously since I’m always Mrs Last-To-The-Party  they had space – I was IN!

HOTEBTThen, right at the last minute, Trey could come with us.  Hotel Bell Tent were more than accommodating with the extra body coming along, and I was secretly thrilled I’d have a buddy!  The tents were in the Boutique camping area which meant we also had the added joy of slightly nicer showers and toilets. It sounded like the stuff of dreams and, as soon as we’d “checked in” at their reception and been taken to our tent, that was it!  Kaya instantly set about excitedly lighting the tea lights on the gorgeous holder, I perused our festival lanyard for fun to be had and and Camp Bestival 2014 had officially begun.

BELL-TENT2The thing about the festival?  It’s HUGE!  And it would be very easy as a parent to get that “OMG – there’s a party going on and we’re not at it” feeling, racing your kids from one section and experience to another.  But this year, we decided to go with the flow and I loved our more chilled approach.  You have to accept that there’s no way you can see everything (if you did, the official line is that it would take about 17 days!) and everything you do see is a complete bonus!

We loved the Circus theme and the kids adored trying out their skills, not to mention dressing up on the Saturday (thank goodness for a late night H & M Dash – they have zebras in the circus, right?!). Kaya and Akira walked tightropes and swung in trapeze’s and hula-d and the giant bubbles you could make with the wands from BubblesInc were a HUGE hit!

ZEBRAMusical hi-lights came courtesy of De La Soul, Sinead O Connor and Basement Jaxx and Horrible Histories and Mr Tumble’s moments on the Castle Stage were THE time to explore the Castle Field and Kids Garden, since everyone was watching Justin in action (just don’t try telling your kids it’s the same person!).  It was like we had the Helter Skelter and Carousel to ourselves for a bit, before heading back in time to see Ben and Holly!

The Bollywood Bar is always one of my favourite hangouts (not because it serves cocktails – promise – kind of!) and this year it had some great circus workshops to keep the kids happy while I got a bit of light “refreshment”… of the liquid variety.

BOLLYWOODI loved the idea of The Den this year – don’t even THINK about going in if you’re not between the ages of 13 and 17, with Music Club run by the legendary camp Bestival Creator, Rob Da Banks. And The Guardian Literary Institute had some amazing sessions – where else can you get a bedtime story of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory read to you by Rob Da Bank or Jo Whiley? (who I love even more now for this)

Hi-light for my kids came in the shape of puppet shows – Mr Browns Pig and Punch and Judy. LOVE that the traditional things are doing it for them, even if I do know Mr Browns repertoire pretty well by now!  To escape watching for a third time, I nipped next door and made myself a flower garland (having earlier been laughing inside at how middle aged women put garlands on their heads at festivals!)

DENShortly after, I found myself in one of the compost loos and took THE most random, pouty #selfie EVER as I realised how ridiculous I was with my ENORMOUS garland (what was I thinking?!) and shades, pouring earth over my wee!  But hey – when in Rome!

One of my favourite things about the festival is the diversity on offer.  We watched some amazing Skate and BMX displays and Akira loved holding an owl! Both ends of the spectrum!

Having only taken basics for breakfast, most of our meals came from the brilliant Feast Collective tent which we found reasonably priced, eclectic and delicious!  Around the site, there were some excellent, and quirky, food and drink options, with something for everyone’s taste and the kids loved trying new flavours.

FOODMy biggest mummy fail?  POOR packing.  And I mean P-O-O-R!   I think our trip to Rhodes and the subsequent sunshine of the British summertime had lulled me into thinking we were off to the Lanzarote, not Lulworth.  I hadn’t even brought waterproofs.  I know, right?! Loser!  Thank goodness the delicious Mummy Barrow was my neighbour 3 canvas doors down and she came to the rescue with Thorpe Park ponchos (I traded for a few Quavers!) and the on-site camping shop was well stocked with everything could-do-better mums like me could possibly need!

From last year I know that a trolley at a festival is key. For EVERYONE! There’s so much to see and a day with no trolley and the ENTIRE family looking longingly at all the pimped rides passing by, is enough to convince you how vital wheels are! Trolleys also give you the option to go out in the evening to catch some bands, with your kids in their pj’s, ready to fall asleep. I worked out that  by the time we’d got our belongings to the tent and hired a trolley for the duration we’d be looking at around £50. So I found Ollie’s Trolleys and picked up this green metal baby for £83.95. I loved this one because it comes apart for transport if you need it to and we’ve now got it for use around the garden. The dropping sides means it doubles up as a moving sofa – perfect for the kids.

TROLLEYWent to get a few supplies before heading off…. first stop Halfords where I finally got this hamper I’ve been coveting FOR EVER!  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about camping it’s that people put in the effort on the style front!  So this was perfect – equipped with wine glasses, plates, cutlery and a built-in cool section.  Perfect for tins of G & T and Pimms – apparently!  I also got this genius washing up bowl and kettle from Outwell which flatten down – one of those “why didn’t I think of that inventions – I used the washing up bowl as a tray too!


And, having been to CB last year, I know that there’s lots of walking but also lots of sitting and chilling, so I got this fab picnic blanket from GLTC – a friend at school had one and I’ve been coveting it ever since sitting on it’s lovely padding!  It’s gorgeous!  It’s got a waterproof back and padded top and folds neatly, with handles for extra ease – perfect for family days out, picnics and festivals.

FINALThis is my favourite shot of Kaya from our weekend, and for me it sums up what I love most about Camp Bestival. The freedom for kids to be kids!  Of all ages!  This was our second year at Camp Bestival and we LOVED it.  Tells you everything you need to know that I’ve been rocking my wristbands, long after we’ve left!

K x






  • Reply mamasvib August 19, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Katy I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I have never been to Camp Bestival (in fact I have never been to a festival)! I am determined to go next year – I really am. My tot will be 2 1/2 and think it will be perfect for her age.
    I love all you handy tips – would never have thought of the trolley! And, the point about not trying to see everything – as sometimes that can put me off things – the overwhelming feeling that there is so much to do and not enough time.

    You have inspired me to go – but only if I can get into those luxe pods/tents I have to add! 🙂

    • Reply Katy August 21, 2014 at 12:20 am

      Ooh – do it next year! It’s LOTS of fun! Just don’t forget the earplugs and eye masks xx

  • Reply Avril K August 15, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Loved this review Katy – I’m so tempted to do a festival but not sure I’m cut out for it. But then those lovely tents seem very civilised!! Is it noisy tho at night?! I know Kate S came home you see so I’m really torn after reading both your experiences!
    But festivals aside – I *need* an Ollie’s trolley in my life!

    • Reply Katy August 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      It’s FAB! But REALLY hard work! You do come home exhausted after pretty full-on days, and not great sleep (although earplugs / eye masks help). But you kind of get used to feeling a bit tired / grubby and it’s lots of fun! Going to a set up tent also made a huge difference xx

  • Reply Clare Goldsack August 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Looks and sounds fab ….. and I want a trolley

    • Reply Katy August 14, 2014 at 4:37 am

      They are a bit handy! X

  • Reply Rebecca August 13, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Oh that tent looks amazing. Much better than struggling to pitch a tent when you arrive. We haven’t tried a family festival yet but all the Bestival posts are making me think maybe next year we should give it a go. It looks so much fun.

    • Reply Katy August 13, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      It is magical. Once you get past the fact that you’ll be grubbier than usual, and can’t keep a tent tidy – it’s plain sailing! x

  • Reply börnin mín August 12, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Twas a fab weekend – and I loved your flower garland. Digging that selfie and ditto what Mummy Barrow said about keeping it real!

    • Reply Katy August 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Loved your clown face! I guess that’s another thing I love about it – the dress up element – for adults too x

  • Reply Penny Carr August 12, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I’m green with envy at all the blog posts I’ve read about Camp Bestival. Now Master C’s that bit older I’m really hoping that next year we can pop our family festival cherry!

    • Reply Katy August 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      It’s FUN! You can also go as a day visitor if you want to break in gently x

  • Reply emma cavill August 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I sooooo want to go… in a couple of years when my boys are older, I just need to find someone to look after the farm and the yurts! I think I’d do Hotel Bell tent too – they look fab 🙂 Great Post, I am pinning it!! xxx

    • Reply Katy August 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Ooh – they’d LOVE it! Not that far for you to travel either! x

  • Reply Cass@frugalfamily August 12, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I think even I could be convinced to try camping again in that tent 😉

    It looks amazing and if it’s any consolation, I went away last year and left the kids coats at home on the settee – it was November!!

    • Reply Katy August 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      THANKYOU! I feel much better about my fails now! x

  • Reply Sonya Cisco August 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    We went too and had a beyond brilliant time – my favourite family festival by a mile – and your pics are brilliant! Have massive Bell Tent envy though, I think we are going to splash out on one next year!

    • Reply Katy August 13, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      I might have to get one too – I love the things! I hadn’t realised you could put compartments in them too if you want to. Doing a “Festival Party” for my daughter Kaya in September and borrowing one for it to road test xx

  • Reply HPMcQ August 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    so last year i read your post and it convinced me to go this year. this year i went and had such a fab time and now i want your trolley!

    • Reply Katy August 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      Oh my goodness – I LOVE that story! And the trolley was FAB – the side coming down made it so handy! x

  • Reply Carolin August 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Now in a tent like that even I would consider “camping”. Looks like you had an amazing time. I always have this panic of losing Amy at a festival, so have never considered taking her (my neighbours always take their kids to Glasto), but this looks like a really chilled out and family-friendly affair.

    • Reply Katy August 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      I have a friend who does Glasto but it blows my mind too! But they put ID bands on the kids, and you, and it’s not THAT packed that you could lose them easily – as long as they don’t run off. I’m usually like you but I’ve always felt 100% comfy x

  • Reply MummyBarrow August 12, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Please can we always be neighbours at every event we ever attend?

    Those Quavers were a life saver.

    This is such a great blog post and if ever anybody says you don’t keep it real I will remind them that it was you who took a selfie in a compost loo.

    • Reply Katy August 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      I love that selfie. Love how pouty and ridiculous I got it! There are a few other things you could tell them too! But hey – what happens at Camp Bestival STAYS at Camp Bestival! 🙂 x

  • Reply Andrea August 12, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Oh this looks like so much fun – we have just got ourselves kitted out with a tent and are hoping to hit a few family festivals next year! ps – love the picnic hamper!

    • Reply Katy August 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Ooh – you’ll have so much fun! And you so “need” a hamper! 😉 x

  • Reply otilia August 12, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Oh my i love those tents! I read so many posts about this festival these days and now i know i have to go when the girls will be a bit older! now the youngest one is just too young to enjoy!
    Lovely to see your kids having so much fun too!

    • Reply Katy August 12, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Ooh – they’d love it one day xx

  • Reply Nikki Thomas August 12, 2014 at 8:10 am

    What wonderful photos! I so want to go. I have been nagging the other half for the last two years to go, but he isn’t keen. I think I will just go with the children next year and leave him at home.

    • Reply Katy August 12, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Do it! So many people are keen to help out, it would be so do-able on your own x

  • Reply Trish August 12, 2014 at 7:52 am

    A selfie in a compost loo? Now I’ve heard everything! :-))
    A brilliant review with some cracking photos. Sounds a fabulous weekend x

    • Reply Katy August 12, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Ha! It was about the second selfie I’ve ever taken, but had to record how ridiculous I felt! 😉 xx

  • Reply brummymummyof2 August 12, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Looks amazing! I read Mummy Barrows tweet giggling about the rain and booze that was going on. I am going to V Festival this weekend. But just with the hub. I would LOVE to go somewhere with my two next year and that trolly is such a good idea. Glad you have a lovely time xxx

    • Reply Katy August 12, 2014 at 11:36 am

      It was so much fun! You must try it one year. Have fun at V! Don’t forget the earplugs x

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