We arrived early afternoon on the Thursday and entered the car park quickly, the routes in and out this year were changed and I have to say this was a great improvement. The walk from the car to the entrance was less than 5 minutes and we set up camp about 100 metres in. Three trips from the car to the campsite and we were up and good to go.
A small area of the festival site was open on the Thursday evening and the kiddies loved the hammocks - or banana hammock as Alban called them *snigger* - and the impromptu display of mountain biking in the dark on the Freestyle Park which, according to Alban, was "awesome" - help me please, my 4 year old already sounds like a teenager. And Edith's favourite part of the first night? A free hug from a slightly merry fairy!
The next three days merged into a blur of pure happiness; chilling, playing, laughing, listening to music, eating good food, walking, experiencing theatre in the woods, watching circus displays, exploring the Insect Museum, making pom poms, trying to find the fairy giving out free hugs - sadly we didn't find her again. But, we were invited to a wedding, I learnt some hip hop moves, I re-lived my younger days with some late night dancing, we saw the Knights of Lulworth jousting AND I finally met the lovely Annie Mammasaurus, Anthea BlueBearWood, Becky WritingForFun and Penny AResidence! And all of that is just some of the things on offer - I can't guarantee the fantastic bloggers though.
In my opinion, for what it's worth, I have to say Camp Bestival has to be one of the best places to go with your children whatever their age. We saw a six week old baby to teens to parents to Grandparents - there is something for everyone. Yes, it is a chore setting up camp and yes, you have to rough it a bit - showers are available but we had a trug and a kettle of hot water! - but that's all part of the fun. A bit of grubbiness mixed in with the suncream isn't going to hurt anyone is it?!
Some info for you - Camp Bestival is very family friendly - you can take food and drinks which helps to keep costs down but the food on offer is of good quality. We 'ate out' every evening and had wood fired pizza £6-£8, Pieminister pie and mash £7, children's jacket potato and drink £4.50, burritos £6-£7, crepes £4-£5. The farmers market sells fresh fruit and salad and children's packed lunches. The Young British Foodies tent had a great array of food. And there were countless stalls for teas, coffee, cakes, snacks, ice cream - you will find something you like!
There are countless free activities for the children in the craft tents but do take some pocket money for the carousel, helter skelter, big wheel and face painting all ranging from £2-£3. This year saw an increase in stalls and my two were drawn to the Bubbles Inc stall for bubble swords and blowers. There is also the Fairy Shop, The Secret Emporium for a range of clothing and jewellery and many other stalls to tempt the pennies out of your purses. So, as with many things it can be as expensive an experience as you choose to make it!
So, I leave you with some of my photo highlights and if Camp Bestival appeals to you keep an eye out for early bird tickets for next year on their website here. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.
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Disclaimer: I very kindly received free tickets from Camp Bestival in order to review this year's festival.