Blow your socks off fun!! What a fantastic family festival. The first Camp Bestival Shropshire was a huge success. Impeccable organisation offering a jam-packed weekend of first-class family festival fun.
We were delighted to be invited along to the beautiful Weston Park to check out the launch of the new Camp Bestival. And what a show! The long journey was so worth the trip and the ease of arrival could not have been faulted. We drove straight in to be welcomed by helpful staff, wristbands on, and even escorted to our own parking spot in the spacious campervan field.
The backdrop of Weston Park’s country house is set in more than 1,000 acres of green space landscaped by Capability Brown and really is a fantastic place to camp for a long weekend. The varied landscape offers shaded woodland to explore and open parkland to run wild. The site is big but flat, so if you are visiting with little ones then a buggy or trolley is a good idea to save tired legs.
Entertainment venues and highlights
The Park Stage hosted the biggest acts with our personal highlights watching Becky Hill and Fat Boy Slim delight all ages plus Dub Pistols’ fab set on Sunday. Our favourite areas were Bollywood hosting dance music DJs and acts, and the crazy upside-down Caravanserai with a mishmash of all kinds of delights to discover and some rather splendid little nooks to get comfy in. We loved the weddings in the Inflatable Church, taking part in several ceremonies over the weekend then heading to ‘the beach’ for after party wedding reception dancing in the sand to Balearic beats. Our family are definitely fans of the smaller areas and quirkier places.
The Pigs Big Ballroom and ramshackle Rimskis Yard were great places to pop into on our travels to always find something entertaining. There was also a huge Big Top which we didn’t even make it into and the Amp Stage hosting none-stop silly fun with Barclaycard.
Performance highlights for our youngest were Scouting for Girls on the Park Stage and watching the fancy dress parade on Sunday. Our teenager really enjoyed the inspiring aerialists in Caravanserai and the delightful show in Temple Wood from the talented Cirque Bijou. Just loved this.
Where do we start? It would be easy to completely miss every music performance and spend the full weekend following the kids around the hundreds of activities they can take part in.
The photos below show just a snapshot of what was on offer. Highlights for us were the crazy bikes and circus fun at Bigtopmania and the Jitterbug little top fun, the Silly Science workshops and Lego time in the Science Zone, the Orchestra of Objects down Lizzies Way, sewing with Lucy & Yak, and the idyllic lake swimming. Although swimming sessions for younger kids and their responsible parents would really help as we saw a lot of upset little ones who weren’t allowed to take part for safety reasons.
You could also try death-defying highwire trapeze (advance booking), skateboard workshops with the brilliant TicTac Skate School, Treetop Climbing, SUP lessons, building your dream playground with the amazing Woodland Tribe and so much more. There was also a good mix of fun and education in addition to the huge science zone, a Living History area helping kids dive into the stone age, and a forest school area teaching survival skills.
There were a few traditional funfair rides for an additional small cost but no noisy big fair rides which was nice to see. A big highlight for many kids was the World’s Largest Bouncy Castle (£5). There was so much to do at Camp Bestival included with the ticket it’s really impossible for kids to do it all so we let ours choose 1 extra ride or paid workshop a day. This stopped them from asking constantly as they were able to plan what they wanted to do over the long weekend.
Facilities and campsites
We found toilets and showers and general festival tidiness brilliant all weekend. Well done Camp Bestival for continuing to look after your guests with these important basics. Helpful staff and excellent security who weren’t ‘over the top’ made the weekend really relaxed for us and the other parents we spoke to. Yes, tickets to Camp Bestival are at the upper end of the scale but you get what you pay for and you know where you are with facilities and standards.
Camp Bestival offers heaps of upgrade options on camping if you wish to treat yourself. The boutique camping village is the closest camping to the festival and there was also an option to book allocated camping spots for your own tent closer to the action. All these optional upgrades are nice but the general camping is more than acceptable, just a little bit more of a walk. There was also a charity concierge taxi service available around the site.
Food, drink and everything else!
Let’s get my one minor grumble out of the way first. Festival food is expensive, yes… families are happy to pay festival prices for good quality food. The standard of the first few meals we ate left us opting to eat at camp which was a shame. £11 for underwhelming plates of pasta served with a bit of a grumpy ‘we’ve run out of cheese’ and a poorly cooked Indian meal. Perhaps just unlucky choices, but when it’s £60 for a family of 4 to eat the standards should be more acceptable.
All the bars were well stocked and never much of a wait at least so we quickly got over the food and ate a lot of chips. Standard festival drink prices came with a £2 non-refundable cup levy so do pack your own cup and help reduce waste. What we really did appreciate was the festival remaining family-friendly and allowing guests to take their own food and drink. A much more relaxed approach like this makes it affordable for anyone on a budget or with extra dietary worries.
Although we didn’t make it over to the Retreat area the programme listed a full weekend of yoga, meditation, breathing workshops and many other well-being offerings including a full spa and woodfired hot tubs. Looked amazing from the other side of the lake. A definite must for our next visit.
Camp Bestival really did deliver for all our family. Amazing work on the first event and wishing it all the success in bringing this fab family magic to even more families next year.
WE LOVE YOU CAMP BESTIVAL!
Visit the Camp Bestival Shropshire factsheet here for updated info on 2023 as we get it.