We have been quite lucky this year to have been invited to Camp Bestival and let me tell you we could not have been more grateful to have had this family experience.
The festival is set on the grounds of Lulworth Castle in Dorset and runs for three days, although gates open on a Thursday and shut on Monday morning to allow campers to come early and set up and not having to rush off late at night. I would highly recommend doing both if you can. Kids can get adjusted on Thursday and you don’t feel like you are missing out on anything going on during the actual festival. Leaving on Monday morning will also allow you to check out the amazing fireworks display taking place on Sunday night.
As avid festival-goers before becoming parents, we had to readjust on how we approached festivals after A was born and although we still do the big ones like Glastonbury and Isle of Wight, let me tell you, if you are looking for the best combination of family-friendly and adult entertainment, Camp Bestival has you covered!
After a shaky start due to storm Evert raging on during the night of August 29, more than once we woke up during the night thinking our tent will be flying away at some point, the festival went on without a glitch.
The beauty of this festival is that it is actually designed to find your own pace, from early morning kid entertainment to relaxing at the campsite to enjoying the more adult scene through the evening and night or discovering the amazing food at the Feast Collective. No matter what you are into, the festival caters to a wide range of families without feeling overwhelming. We personally spent most of our time at the Upper Kids field with our five-year-old obsessed over all the circus equipment and shows. Although I would have preferred spending a little more time at the Castle stage and maybe a little bit more raving during the nighttime, the look on her face when she was allowed to partake in the trapeze workshop or trying the tightrope over and over again really made my weekend.
The Best Bits
If you ask our kiddo, the Big Top Mania stage (Upper Kids Field) was her favourite part, who knew we had a circus enthusiast in our family. The rides and giant bouncy castle were also a big hit! The queue at the castle was a little long but definitely worth the wait. Mr. Tumble on Saturday morning was also the other highlight of the weekend for our kid…I mean, to be fair, we loved him too and I am not sure who had more fun dancing and singing around with him.
We simply enjoy the chilled atmosphere and be able to sit in front of the Castle stage with our friends, sharing drinks and listening to live music (who knew this would be happening again after the year we had). Acts like the Selecter and Bjorn Again were particularly good fun. The Feast Collective also held our attention, and we spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to decide what to eat at each meal, as we simply could not choose from the many options.
Caravanserai, a shanti-style, old traveling circus area, was probably my favourite part and I was a little sad we did not get to spend more time there, listening to live music. Oh well, there is always next year.
The little trip down memory lane with Fatboy Slim really had us going on Saturday night.
To be fair there was very little we didn’t enjoy, from raving to circus acts, from children’s rides to good food, from comedy to live music. We left exhilarated and already thinking about coming back to Camp Bestival next year.
What you must know before you go
Like any other festival, expect huge queues for the showers, we are part of the wet wipes shower crew and just get up and ready to go in the morning but if you like to have a proper shower be ready to queue for a while.
Food and drinks are obviously overpriced but that’s part of the experience, just be prepared for it.
Bring a trolley! Our kiddo lived inside ours, it made moving around a lot easier, as we could carry our camping chairs and blankets but it also meant, our kiddo could sit or sleep in there when she was too tired to walk or simply wanted a nap.
Buy the bubbles! The hours of entertainment these bubble wands can give your child are priceless and it will keep them going whilst you are enjoying the evening set.
Dress up! This is a family affair at Camp Bestival, every year there is a different theme and everyone goes all out for it!
Camp Bestival will return to Lulworth Castle on July 28 -31, 2022.
Disclosure: We have been gifted tickets, words, opinions, and images are ours.
You might also like these articles on the Bébé Voyage blog: