Dear Mummy, last weekend saw us travel to Burley in the New Forest, Hampshire for our 3rd annual pilgrimage to The New Forest Fairy Festival. It was sunny after all the miserable weather we’ve had this summer and thankfully the fairy magic had been sprinkled onto the day.
We bought tickets on the gate £10 per adult and £5 for children (under 5’s go free) and entered the site nice and early admiring festival goers attire. We’ve been previously and have reviewed our adventures at the festival but this time we wanted to enjoy the fairy festival without feeling that we needed to scrutinise every detail. As a blogger it can be hard to switch off at events like this where everything is a photo opportunity waiting to happen. There was live music, plenty of stands selling fairy wares from costumes to jewellery and food stalls. We were impressed by the number of local craftsman on site and the talent!
For the majority of the day we set up base camp near the main stage so we could enjoy the folk, rock and alternative music and watch the crowds. It was a feast for the eyes and nearly everyone had made the effort to dress up, no matter how small – even doggies had little wings on. Fairies, Steampunk Fairies, Greenman, Elves, Wizards, Witches, Fae Folk Dragons had all come out to play. Glitter sparkled in the summer sunshine while people sat in picnic blankets and enjoyed home-made picnics which were allowed to be brought into the festival. (A refreshing change to the majority of day festivals we’ve been too).
Across the way was an area cornered off for practicing circus tricks and hula hooping which we enjoyed and another area for storytelling and dancing. The festival was very colourful with beautiful flags and streamers gentle blowing in the wind. Crafted cardboard trees decorated with fairy doors, mystical horses used in set design and cast iron ornings for photo ops. It was a feast for the creative senses.
We ventured into the small village which played host to the fairy festival, Burley. It was a stones throw from the entrance and we made a beeline to the famous Coven of Witches shop. One of the first things to strike you when walking around Burley are the witchcraft shops. My mummy had visited before she was pregnant with me then afterwards carrying me in a sling, happily browsing the shelves looking for inspiration.
This time she was navigating a busy shop with pre-schoolers and lots of ‘look but don’t touch’ advice was dished out. However she made it out and with a beautiful crystal ball in one piece. Children were mesmerised by the visions of witches on broomsticks hanging from the ceilings, wooden wands and dragon ornaments inside the shop. Coupled with tales of the village from locals in the cafe across the road we were set to explode with excitement!
Burley’s association with witches is due largely to a former resident, Sybil Leek classed as ‘Britain’s most famous witch’. Sybil rose to media fame in the 1950s, after the repeal of the 1735 Witchcraft Act in 1951. She was one of the first witches to come out into the open. Sybil Leek was a “white witch” but also a colourful character. Her fame and notoriety eventually made her unpopular in the village and she lived out the rest of her days in America.
However, Sybil Leek was not the first witch to be associated with The New Forest. Gerald Gardner, who founded Gardnerian Wicca, the best known tradition of witchcraft in the UK today, claimed he had been initiated to the craft by the New Forest Coven in 1939.
Burley is one of my mummy’s favourite places to visit in the New Forest and this quaint little village is surround by miles of beautiful countryside with New Forest ponies roaming the footpaths and excellent camping sites ready for exploring. We had a mixture of fairies and witches on our trip to Burley and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s the perfect location of such an alternative festival and we can’t wait to return for another year!
Love Bella x
View our little video of the festival here:
29 thoughts on “Fairies and Witchcraft in Burley, Hampshire”
A real life fairy festival? Oh wow that is awesome you can count me in. So glad that you had a good time!
Aww this looks so magical – what a unique event to go to 🙂
Oh wow what a fab event!! I have two fairy mad little girls who would love this, so much fun!
Oh my that looks great fun for all the family. Both mine love dressing up as fairies, much to my husband’s dismay lol. I’m more than happy with Harry wearing fairy wings if he wants
New Forest Fairy Festival – argh! How did I not know about this would have loved to have gone with my daughter it looks really lovely!
We love the New Forest and spend a lot of time there, but not heard of this before. Will have to look out for it next year. Looks great fun.
This looks and sounds amazing! I love the New Forest, we only went there for the first time earlier this year but fell in love. We will definitely be going back there, maybe for the fairy festival next year. #dreamteam
Absoulately love this!!! Being a family that are pagan , the girls would of loved this !! 💜
Wow – this festival looks awesome! So much fun for the whole family and very magical!
What a lovely event, this is near us and o would love to visit with my twin girls. I’ll keep an eye out for it next year
This looks like a brilliant event! I will check out dates for next year! #explorerkids
This is such a lovely event. I would love to go there. I am surprised that it is at reasonable prices. What a beautiful day to be spending. So many weird and wonderful things to see and do. So lovely and beautiful! x
What a magical place. Bellas fairy outfit is beautiful #SharingtheBlogLove
This looks like such a cute little festival! A bit different to the norm and I can see it really appealing to children. I always love a trip to the New Forest too – I had no idea of all the witchy history to it! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
Ooh I’ve never heard of this one! My family come from near Blackburn, and I had one Great Aunt who loved the witches of Pendle Hill as I grew up – she’d have an entire room full of toy witches hanging from her ceiling which was equally weird and magical! I like that the festival isn’t too girly too – it sounds like loads of fun! #countrykids
What a fabulous festival, that looks like the type we’d really love to go to. I love your video, the dragon looks amazing!
This is just adorable. I’m sure I remember you visiting in previous years but how exciting to be going for fun this year and not as an official blogger. That said you have done at least as good a job for just doing the things you really wanted to do. With everyone dressing in theme the day looks quite magical. That fairy board is lovely, I may have to think about one of these for our fairy gardens and what a beautiful New Forest setting.
Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
How cool is this? Never knew that there was such a thing. Looks like you all had a fab time and you were really lucky with the weather! #countrykids
Oh, that looks lovely. I’d love to visit here. My little miss and probably myself more so loves fairies. I love those little witches. #countrykids
I’d not heard of this before and it looks really lovely, I think even my older girls would enjoy it. Who doesn’t love a bit of fairy magic #CountryKids
Oh wow, I’ve never heard of this festival before but it sounds like fun. I think my daughter would be in awe of it all. Shame it’s not a bit nearer to home x
This looks fantastic for kids. I know my 4 year old would love it. #countrykids
wow what a lovely post. I’ve never heard of the fairy festival before, it looks like you all had lots of fun. My little one was absolutely love this, will keep an eye out for it next year #CountryKids
What a lovely festival, I’ve not heard of this one before. My girls love fairies and this would be a big hit for them. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
I’ve never been to Burley despite having lived in Southampton for eight years. This festival sounds amazing. I love your fairy outfit Bella. Burley sounds like a fascinating place to explore as well. Definitely one to add to the “must-do-at-some-point” list 🙂 #countrykids
What a great event, looks like such fun #countrykids
What a wonderful, magical festival!
Whata great festival and family day out. My daughter is loving fairies at the moment.