Camp Bestival

Last July, I took my then 2 and half year old son to his first weekend festival. Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. Camp Bestival is the family focussed little sister of Bestival on the Isle of Wight (which happens at the end of August). We went with friends and their children. Camp Bestival for us was a well organised pleasure of a festival. The children’s field was a blast, we listened to folk bands and to Peppa pig read stories, saw the Royal Ballet teach steps, made masks and dressed up. Older children could pick from  the house of fairy tales area, skate boarding and BMX bike displays and of course lots of bands and music. Adults were entertained with poets and comedy, bars and music tents. Adults, children, teenagers all very much catered for.

We stayed in a B&B on Thursday night to break the journey it was only an hour from the site. However, the queues onto get on the site were long and we sat in traffic for most of the morning  (be prepared).

This is my guide to surviving Camp Bestival:

Every item of food is priced at a least £5. We took basic food;  pasta, pesto, a pan and  small camping stove and fed children back at the tent. There is nothing more annoying than spending £5 on a burger which then after one bite your child rejects.

We used the stove to make tea, a God send in the morning, unless you have a willing member of the party happy to rise and go in search of tea.  Bring  a supply of tea bags, milk and sugar. Breakfast bars or brioche make for an easy tent breakfast for the kids.
A water carrier for washing pans and tea.  Camping shops sell great foldable ones.
Ear plugs and extra blankets for a good nights sleep.
Things to keep warm (wooly hat).
Things to keep wet weather at bay.

Flip flops and sun cream (sometimes the sun does shine).
Festivals are frenetic. I like time in the late afternoon early evening, chill time at the tent. So I suggest; your own personal  spirit of choice.  This is your time too and no one is driving, not until Monday anyway.

Toilet roll. The toilets were clean. Checked regularly and well stocked with loo roll but your own supply is always handy.

Hand wash and baby wipes.

Children were given a wrist band to wear, on which a parent can write their mobile number.
There was very little mobile phone signal and the tent in which you could charge your phone didn’t turn up. My iphone worked itself into a frenzy of signal searching on Friday and remained resolutely in the red battery zone for the rest of the weekend and was thus turned off. My son refused to wear the wrist band anyway.

Keep your small child in sight. Security is good.  Lost children are a regular event and appeared to be quickly reunited.

Dressing up is de rigueur, I hate dressing up, but was so glad I bothered.

Get a trolley.   The website promised you could hire them and everyone had the same thought.  The queue was long.  I admired the clever people who brought their own trolleys or wheel barrows. I staggered along with all our kit, whilst my son wandered along behind whingeing because he didn’t want to walk.

Some people had huge tents, picnic tables, barbecues, blow up beds, the kitchen sink  and someone had carried all that.  Pack what you need and then bring less.

It was pretty near perfect (carrying stuff and mobile phones aside). The sun shone and there was much to do.

My partner dislikes festivals for the fact he cannot escape.  I love them for the same reason, it’s like being marooned away from the outside world, only festival world exists. The atmosphere was happy and relaxed, not particularly rowdy or drunk.  There is a huge range of food at every turn and an enormous array of things to see, hear and do. When I checked today there were still tickets available.

This year’s Camp Bestival is 28-31st July. Lulworth Castle, Dorset. The Line-up looks great. It’s not cheap but your worth it!

This post is linked to ‘Something for the Weekend’ at Christine’s imaginative and intelligent blog Thinly Spread, if you’re looking for something to do any weekend drop in here.
Thinly Spread


  1. BlueBearWood

    We took the girls( two 3yr olds and a 4 yr old) last year and loved loved loved it. Heading there again this year. So much to do, so much to see.Very relaxed and easy as pretty much everyone is a parent.

  2. The Mad House

    We had tickets for this year, but due to my op had to give it a pass. We used to be regulars at Reading, so can not wait to take the boys, next year maybe

  3. Chris Mosler

    Very helpful! I was within a whisker of going with sponsorship, now I shall sit in the dry warmth of my house crafting and listening to loud music while wearing a waterproof poncho just to get in the mood!

      1. Liveotherwise

        Would have loved to go, but couldn’t afford it. Was offered two press passes but required me to review acts I couldn’t have done with small child in tow. Next year maybe.

  4. Alexander Residence

    Oh look, lots of my favourite people dropped in on this one, do you know what that means? Next year we are all going!
    Great post Gemma, still considering the Just So Festival, so will take all this info on board!

  5. Viv Morley

    Hi, Camp Bestval was my first festival last year & with a 4 & 2 year old. Absolutely loved it! We are counting down the sleeps in our house till Thursday! Would highly recommend it to all those who aren’t sure. A very informative blog,I also blogged about it earlier! (MelkshamMum)

  6. Pingback: CAMP BESTIVAL Going to a festival as a grown up - The Alexander Residence | The Alexander Residence

  7. Pingback: Camp Bestival - Why You Should | Helloitsgemma

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