Wet, Wet, Wet.
And we’re not talking about the band! Pop Stars and Rock Stars descended on Lulworth Castle for Camp Bestival 2017. Camp Bestival is the younger festival of Bestival and Common People. Every year hundreds of families enjoy a quality 4 day holiday to Lulworth Castle in Dorset, England. There are 6 main camping zones, Backstage Hospitality, Boutique, Camping Plus, Pre-Pitched, General Camping and Campervan fields.
People had been avidly checking the weather forecast in the lead up to the festival and thankfully having the super organised daddy that I have, we came prepared for the worse and hoped for the best. We were due for rain over the weekend and the worse weather Camp Bestival had seen in seven years!
Thankfully the sun shone on Thursday when we arrived. After a major trauma of daddy losing our car keys in the yellow car park we found them at Mr Trolley after someone had kindly handed them in. Phew! We finally put up our tent in the dry weather and got to explore the site as it should be seen in the sunshine. We spent the evening watching the world go by at the Kidifornia stand and I happily played on their man-made beach in the hammocks.
Walking back to our tent we had butterflies in our stomach for what was in store over the weekend. Unfortunately the next day when we woke it was chucking it down with rain but unperturbed we headed out to explore the Dingly Den with our waterproofs and enjoyed a full day walking around the site.
We started off in the woods as last year Lizzie’s Way was one of my favourite areas to hang out in. The Camp Bestival woods did not disappoint and offered some shelter from the heavy rain. It was beautifully decorated and bright against the grey dark sky. We had fun dressing up and pretended to be Rock Stars on the wooden stage, taking turns to pretend to sing and play the drums.
There was lots to do in the Dingly Dell woodlands area from wild crafts and games from The ATE Trust, Lizzie’s Way, Woodland Tribe Den Building, Longdown Festival Farm and WILD tree-climbing and the outdoor zip-line. We struggled to fit everything in and unfortunately missed the new crafting corner!
There were a lot of areas set up for role-playing in Lizzie’s Way and we found ourselves ducking past the mud kitchen (who needed mud this early on? hehe!) and played with the food counters and mixing potions with water. We noticed a lovely display of paper flowers where us kids could make and plant wishes in the Wish Garden.
I spent ages writing my wish and planting my paper flower amongst the others. Afterwards one of my wishes was granted as I took to the sky and joined the WILD team for a trip up the tall zip wire in an adrenaline based activity for young kids (see our video below). While other children were climbing trees, I zipped faster than a speeding bullet in the time allocated activity (£5.00 Charge).
After our trip in the woods we ventured further afield and headed to one of the many areas on site called the Lower Kids Garden. Camp Bestival was split into 7 main areas and we enjoyed the Lower Kids Garden area, Dingly Dell woods, Bollywood and Big Top in The Magic Meadow area and The Feast Collective in the Upper Kids Garden. The Castle Field was too crowded with too many trolleys, camping chairs, umbrellas and tents blocking the views so sadly we didn’t watch many performances. Organisers could have done with another viewing screen further back! We missed The Den as it was mainly for teenagers (however the skateboard/scooter ramps looked awesome despite the rain sadly keeping them closed) and Slow Motion area which was the chill-out destination of the site.
Even though we didn’t watch many musical performances the ones we did catch were pretty epic, Dat Brass at the steampunk Oberon’s Observatory stage and House Gospel Choir were awesome and had our feet tapping. Theatre and circus performances from West End Kids, Dogs Don’t Do Ballet and Insect Circus captured my imagination. The performances in the kids tent aptly called The Greatest Tent on Earth made my fellow children and I very amused and were very welcomed given the weather.
We briefly saw Madness and listened to their new material at the Castle Stage before the heavens opened, but Mark Ronson sadly was a wash out for us. Right Said Fred, brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass, took advantage of the lighter drizzle and we enjoyed listening to their classic ‘Deeply Dippy’ and ‘I’m too sexy’, which brought back memories for my folks.
School of Rock didn’t disappoint and even though the rain didn’t let up they drew a massive crowd to the Castle Field. Their performance has definitely made us want to see the West End show. Even though the weather was pretty miserable on Saturday we had fun joining in with the Pimp My Trolley competition with Sara Cox. We eagerly headed down to the Catwalk in the Lower Kids Garden to join in with the other 20 or so decorated trolleys.
We caught the tail end of the Beard Competition which was funny to watch with some serious competitors! Luckily the weather held off while my folks and I paraded down the catwalk. The prize was weekend family tickets to next years Camp Bestival so a lot was riding on it. Sadly we didn’t win however had great fun in the parade afterwards. I did my best Rock Star impression by falling asleep in the cart just before the competition almost missing the chance to meet Sara Cox.
Afterwards a change in the weather forced us to abandon our Guns & Roses costumes and don more sensible attire in the form of wet weather overalls. My folks were pretty glad considering their wigs were water-logged and they looked like drown rats.
The last day offered mild weather and beautiful sunshine. We wandered the festival site without a care in the world making sure to step in every bit of mud and visit the stands that we had previously missed. I had a whale of a time while my mummy’s heart was in her throat waiting for me to fall flat on my face in the mud! Thankfully I only covered my legs and arms in the gooey mud.
We stopped by the Dorset Cereals stand that were handing out free cereals and muesli with fresh natural yoghurt. Sitting in their deck chairs with the sun on our faces was pure bliss. We got to sample fresh milk with my favourite blueberry muesli for free and had two helpings! My mummy and I played noughts and crosses in the mud and knocked down the giant jenga.
The food at the festival was tremendous, if a little over priced, we had breakfast in our tent and then treated ourselves to lunch and dinner. Our food highlight was visiting the Feast Collective in the Upper Kids Garden next to the circus breakout area. The nice thing about Camp Bestival is that festival organisers have no problem with you bringing in your own food, just as long as there is no glass. This makes it more cost-effective for families but didn’t seem to deter everyone from sampling the food and drink!
There were also plenty of stands handing out freebies and we loved visiting the Rowntrees Taste Tour and I had fun selecting Fruit Pastels and packets of free Randoms from the sushi inspired conveyor belt (see our video). I loved the LEGO Friends Party stand and received a free goodie bag packed with Lego, while playing games on the stand and joining in the silent disco.
We wanted to taste some culinary delights so made a beeline for SeaDog at the Feast Collective tent who specialise in world flavoured dishes using locally caught Devon fish. I had the SeaPup box which included aromatic rice, fresh battered fish with Asian inspired flavours. It was very exotic and tasty but when my daddy came out with a Piecaramba Bounty Hunter’s chicken pie I couldn’t resist nicking his lunch! It was amazing and we can’t wait to visit their pie shop in Winchester! My mummy finished off my SeaDog lunch and we all left happy with warm food in our bellies.
I also liked the range of stalls throughout the site especially CORN, where I had my favourite corn on the cob. A hidden gem was the WI Tent which offered cost-effective hot beverages, sandwiches, cream teas and cake and was our go to tent to eat in. Coffee was a much more reasonable £1 compared to £2.50-£4 on other stands.
The evenings were awash with colours and crowds formed around the large disco ball in the Magic Meadow to watch the light show. We also loved walking around the Dingly Den at night to see the art installations lit up (see our video). The big wheel was lovely lit up at night and we enjoyed going on it during the day and seeing the festival site from above. The fireworks were epic and you can catch them on You Tube and they were a perfect ending to the festival. It’s just a shame there wasn’t more in-crowd performances and we didn’t catch a single parade, even though we waited for the evening one in the Magic Meadow. So we never got to see the fabulous costumes like last year.
We didn’t mind the mud and had plenty of fresh clothes and weather appropriate clothing during the rainy periods. However it was the wind that got to us a bit in the evenings shaking our tent at night, thankfully previous experience of bad weather meant Daddy used storm pegs which helped us stay put during the weekend in our trusty Voyager Elite 6 tent.
Some weren’t so lucky and had gazebos and tents collapsing. But this definitely hasn’t put us off visiting Camp Bestival which tends to be a sunny and dry festival. It wouldn’t be a UK festival experience without a little bit of mud and rain! There was a well stocked camping stand as well for those that weren’t as prepared.
After 3 days of rain showers and high footfall the site did resemble a mud bath on the last day. No worse than your average Glastonbury but for families and some fair weather folk it all got a bit too much. It was hard to pull a trolley and navigate a push chair in the thick oozy mud, so we abandoned our trolley and took to the puddles. It was one of my highlights and I have never seen so much mud, however many adult folk were worried about packing up and leaving the site with cars. We needn’t have worried as we sailed out of the yellow car park, even if we did skid a couple of times.
Even though it rained for 80% of our time at the festival we still had an enjoyable experience and it just goes to show that you can still have a good time at Camp Bestival in any kind of weather. It’s not just the entertainment and food that makes it so great but also the army of people involved and the other festival goers. Please can the toilets be a bit more serviced next year?! Keep your eyes peeled for early bird tickets and payment plans for Camp Bestival 2018 at www.campbestival.net.
We didn’t get round to seeing everything as there was too much to see and do! We loved dressing up, so the theme yet again rocked our world! Did you go to Camp Bestival 2017? What was your experience? Catch our short video above and see what we got up to!
Love Bella x
Disclaimer: We were offered tickets to Camp Bestival in order to conduct our review. All on site purchases where are own.