But won’t the kids be bored? If there’s one thing you can guarantee, it’s that no one is going to be bored at Camp Bestival, no matter what age they are. Lucy Davies, editor of Bambino Goodies, shares her tips on the best children’s activities at this year’s festival
PART 4: DO
The Lower Kids’ Garden is children’s utopia. You’ll find the amazing Make Space (formerly Art Town) with its plethora of creative activities, which this year include boats and periscopes, and an exhibition on Sunday. It’s also a great place to grab some shade if the sun is unforgiving.
The Science Tent is a favourite of my eldest (9), particularly the slime-making workshop. This year, we’re (and, yes, I absolutely include myself in that) looking forward to making CD hovercrafts, sound straws and hairy stars and watching the sometimes silly, but always educational, science shows.
The amazing Nam Nams and her team can be found in the face-painting tent – honestly, her designs have to be seen to be believed. There is usually a queue, but it moves quickly and is well worth the wait. Give yourself a makeover at The Dressing Up Area, then parade on the catwalk or pimp your trolley, then strut on the catwalk, enter the beard and moustache competition or join Saturday’s epic parade at 1pm.
If your little ones are fans of the theatre, The Greatest Tent on Earth! is the place for them, hosting theatre shows, musical spectaculars and kids’ comedy. We spent a lot of time in here escaping the rain last year.
The Lower Kids’ Garden is also the home of the soft play area – mecca for the under fives, featuring ball pools, ride-ons, slides and mini dance, music and drama classes for the smallest festival goers. The retro fairground rides and The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle (so much fun!) nearby are hugely popular – be prepared to queue if you give in to pestering.
The Upper Kids’ Garden is circus central, with Bigtopmania featuring shows and classes in trapeze and slackline and a variety of paraphernalia to test your juggling, hula hooping and balancing skills. It’s also where you’ll find pop-up performances from singers, puppet shows and brass bands while you enjoy your picnic lunch.
New outdoor circus shows for this year are the Nautical Gorilla Circus Show & Flying Trapeze School and highwire spectacular Equilibrius.
Our favourite place at the whole festival is probably Dingly Dell: Lizzie’s Way has the most amazing mud kitchen, cafe and water play, while there’s also the chance to build your own climbing frame with the brilliant Woodland Tribe, make a den with Woodland Warriors or have a go at ziplining or tree climbing. You’ll probably find me in Crafty Corner creating at some point over the weekend and I know Alfie will be fascinated by Kew Gardens’ Grow Wild, new for this year. The area also provides some welcome shade if it’s a heatwave and, this year, one of our favourite books, The Bear and the Piano, will be brought to life by author David Litchfield.
There are plenty of other great author events in The Literary Institute: explore the world of beetles with MG Leonard or make your own myth with Maz Evans, take part in a quiz or get your book signed at Pelican Post.
Spinney Hollow is another favourite destination where you can make swords, wands, flower crowns, macrame keyrings, shields and pirate ships. But, and it’s a big one, BOOK EARLY to avoid disappointment. We tried to get a place on a sword-making workshop for two years, but it was fully booked by Friday morning – get over there on Thursday. In fact, if there’s anything you can book for I’d do it asap to avoid disappointment – there’s little worse than walking around with a desolate child in tow.
In the Magic Meadow, The Blue Coats (aka Lost & Found) will be creating untold mayhem with their games – binocular football is always hilarious – aboard HMS Camp Bestival, where there’ll also be kids’ discos. If your small person is more Strictly than Saturday Night Fever, then Pig’s Big Ballroom has an array of dance classes on offer. Don’t forget to check out the quirky Bestival Inflatable Church and Love-Bot, while Caravanserai and the Bollywood Tent are good spots to stop for a drink.
If you need to chill out after all that activity, you could do much worse than sneak off to Slow Motion for a spa treatment, yoga class or quiet crafts. It’s a lovely area and ideal place to slump in a hammock and escape from the crowds for a bit. The Frozen Mole is a new child-free zone in Dingly Dell and also sounds like the perfect escape.
Obviously, the Castle Stage and Big Top play host to all the big names in the evening, plus there are children’s theatre shows (and, let’s face it, the real headliner Mr Tumble) during the day. Ballet-mad Kitty is looking forward to Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, while wannabe Steve Backshall Alfie wants to see ZSL London Zoo: Gruesome Nature Live!
My final tip is not to be tempted to pack up and leave early on Sunday to avoid the mass departure on Monday – the Son et Lumiere firework spectacular with projections onto the castle should not be missed. Have a fabulous festival!
Read the part 3 of the Definitive Guide!
The Definitive Guide to Camp Bestival part 4 by Lucy Davies