Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts

Friday, 1 September 2017

Festival Camping with Children

Our recent weekend at Wilderness festival was not only our first family festival, but our first timing camping with children too.  We were apprehensive about having four children under six in a tent for four days but we had a brilliant time and the children loved camping.

We arrived later in the day than we were hoping to and there wasn't long before the sun would be gone, but a kind stranger helped us get our tent up (trying to pitch it whilst keeping the children together was a struggle).  We were sent the Eurohike Rydall 600 6 person tent from Blacks and it was perfect for our first festival experience.  It had one large bedroom that could easily be seperated into two and both halves accomodated a queen sized airbed with plenty of space.  The living area was spacious and had both a big entrance and a smaller one so it could be as open as you liked.

festival camping, camping with children, Wilderness festival, Eurohike rydall 600 6 man tent

It rained on and off throughout the four days but it didn't dampen our spirits and we were well prepared with full waterproofs for the children and wellies for all of us.  We quickly realised what were our camping essentials and what we could have left at home.  Here are our top 5 camping with kids essentials

festival camping, camping with children, Wilderness festival, polarn o pyret

1) Full waterproofs.  

There isn't much to do inside a tent so we were relying on the children being outdoors pretty much all day.  A full set of waterproofs meant that whatever the weather they were prepared.  It was an extra layer to keep them warm in the colder mornings and meant there was nothing to stop them rolling around and jumping in every muddy puddle they could find.

festival camping, camping with children, Wilderness festival

2) A big bucket

I brought a big plastic tesco containter with me and it was perfect as a welly holder.  We all took off our boots as we entered the tent and the bucket could fit all 6 pairs in there.  It meant we didn't tread mud through our living space.  We also gave it a good wash and used it as a makeshift bath for the children outdoors and I filled it up for them to splash and play in when they needed a bit more entertainment one day.

festival camping, camping with children, Wilderness festival, Eurohike rydall 600 6 man tent

3) A good tent

We hadn't been camping before and weren't really sure what we were looking for in a tent but this one ticked all our boxes.  It was spacious enough for the six of us, easy enough to put up and take down and it felt secure for the whole weekend.  We liked the flexibility with the two entrances and the built in groundsheet was essential.

festival camping, camping with children, Wilderness festival, Eurohike rydall 600 6 man tent

4) Your sense of humour

Everyone we spoke to recommended bringing a portable potty with us incase we didn't fancy taking the boys to the toilets in the small hours.  It was working brilliantly until we awoke to find the little two splashing in it one morning.  If you don't have toddlers (or you are going to keep them in travel cots) then a portable potty can be brilliant.

festival camping, camping with children, Wilderness festival, Crotec wagon

5)  A Wagon

This was invaluable during our weekend, we used it to carry the tent, mattresses and sleeping bags from the car to the campsire and then we used it every day to cart around tired children, coats and belongings.  All four napped in there at some point in the day and we had all four in there together on ocassions too.  We put fairy lights on to make it fun and easy to spot in the evening and the hood meant we could keep the sun out too.  (I bought this from Amazon and it says Crotec on the side).


We loved our first festival camping experience with children and we are definitely planning on taking them to another festival next summer - it will be even easier now we have all the gear!




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Monday, 21 August 2017

Wilderness as a Family-Friendly Festival

Ed and I met many years ago at a festival and ever since we have talked about going back to one with the children.  We were looking online at the best family friendly options and discovered Wilderness festival, set in Oxfordshire.  Looking on the website it seemed to be a really family friendly festival so we booked six tickets and hoped for the best.  Neither of us had been camping other than at festivals pre-children but we were excited to try something new with the kids.

Wilderness, family friendly festival, Tootsa macginty

Wilderness has its own family camping area which was fantastic.  Everyone was really respectful and kept the site clean and the evenings were quiet and calm which made settling our four much easier. It was a short walk from the campsite to the main arena and as soon as you entered, the children's area was in front of you.

family friendly festival, Wilderness festival

We spent large periods of our weekend at the children's area, the bigger boys loved the circus skills area where they could learn to walk the tightrope, balance on stilts, hula hoop and more.  There were dressed up staff helping them every step of the way and when the props were put away, it was only because a show was about to begin.  The shows were fantastic for children three and over I would say, they were funny, engaging and the audience was always participating.

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival

Next to the stage was a craft tent where the children could make playdough creations, design glitter art or create a festival skirt (Dylan made a ninja skirt) with strips of mesh and elastic.  The tent was manned and completely free and there was so many resources.  The kids area also had specialist shops selling animal tails, all manner of bubbles and bubble related equipment and a mini theatre.  We went to an 80s sing a long session at the theatre and the children sat at the front colouring in pictures of Dolly Parton and Prince.

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

All three boys loved the rides, especially the helter skelter in the children's area but of course you go to a festival to listen to music, and they loved this side of it too.  We watched lots of singers and bands and they really enjoyed it.  During the day there was space to dance around and in the evening the atmosphere was brilliant.  We found that lots of families congregated together around the main stage which made a little family area.

festival wagon, Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

We bought a wagon before we went and I would highly recommend them if you are taking children to a festival.  We bought ours from Amazon and it was strong enough to carry all four when they got tired in the evenings.  During the day they would take it in turns to nap in there and we filled it with blankets and coats.  It definitely took the stress out of the weekend as they could all rest as much as they needed.

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children, festival wagon

Our experience of festivals before Wilderness was very different to this weekend and until you have children I don't think you notice how much fun they can be through children's eyes.  I think we picked a great first festival for them all as there was so much to keep everyone entertained.  

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

A little more practical information

We managed to spend quite a bit of money whilst we were there as the food was quite expensive.  There was only one stall offering a kids size portion (a meatball and some pasta for £4) but there was a huge variety of food and the boys loved trying all the food.  As a general guide you would pay around £8 for a meal and £4 for a portion of chips.  Mr Whippy ice creams were £3-£4.  We took our own reusable water bottles and there were plenty of places we could fill these up for free, both on the campsite and in the arena.  You could also cook on the campsite (and many families did) so we will definitely think about investing in a little stove for next time.

We stuck mostly to the free activities like the circus skills and craft tent as well as the music, but there were plenty of workshops you could pay for (they weren't practical with four small ones).  The rides cost around £3 per go and a child under 3 needs an adult with them on the helter skelter (another £3). 

The toilets were kept clean and well stocked, but we struggled to find anywhere to change a baby despite the website claiming baby changing facilities were available. so mostly used our own mat in the tent and a blanket in the wagon.  

The music was on from around midday until 10pm and you could definitely hear the arena from the campsite (we were situated closer to the arena than the car park).  It was quite muted though and we had no problem getting the children to sleep, in fact I think they found the background noise quite comforting.  The family campsite had stalls selling coffee, breakfasts and snacks and a welfare area with a section for lost children.  The wristbands we were given as our entry ticket had space to write a parent's phone number on so that if one went missing, the parents could be found (somehow we didn't manage to lose any of ours!).

Despite the on and off rain all weekend, it really wasn't that muddy, but of course the children found the one muddy area and got completely stuck in (and just stuck).

I took a lot of photos so here are some more from our first family-friendly festival experience


Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children


Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children, Hatley raincoat

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children, Hatley raincoat

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children

Wilderness festival, family friendly festival, festival with children











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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Glamping with Ready Camp

We have been meaning to try camping for a while, but with four children aged five and under, glamping was starting to sound like a better idea.  Ready Camp invited us along to their bloggers weekend at their Tamworth site and it seemed the perfect introduction to life on a campsite.  Ready camp tents are no ordinary tents, set on decking they have beds, a mini kitchen and electricity so you can start the day with a cup of tea before you even venture outside.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping, glamping tent

Having never been glamping, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  I was so impressed when we arrived that I filmed a quick video tour of our tent over on my facebook page.  The tent was spacious and cosy with everything we needed and there was plenty of space for all 6 of us.   There were two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with bunk beds ( - a single on top, a double on the bottom and an extra pull out bunk). The living area had a sofa, a dining table with 6 chairs and then a mini kitchen equipped with hobs, a kettle and toaster and all the cooking equipment we needed.   The shower block was close by and it was modern and clean and most importantly warm.  There was a baby cubicle which had a baby bath as well as a changing station and plenty of space.


Cora and I arrived first and the boys not long after and they immediately began running.  The site has so much open space as well as a playground and the boys didn't once mention being bored, they never asked for something to do or somewhere to go, they just reveled in the freedom, soaked up the fresh air and explored to their hearts content.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping, glamping with four under five


Our first night was chilly, but we were prepared with sleeping bags and fleece blankets as well as the heater that was part of our tent. We all slept well (once we finally got a certain two year old to actually sleep) and the boys woke the next morning desperate to go back outside with their friends.  It took them all of maybe thirty seconds to secure new best friends and they were inseparable for the weekend.  They had never met before, but they bonded quickly in a way that only children can and they collected pine cones, played hide and seek and coloured-in on the veranda.  We had planned to explore a local castle that morning, but watching how happy the boys were on the campsite, we decided to just relax and enjoy our surroundings.  Each tent had six camping chairs so I sat out the front with my book and put Cora on a blanket with a few toys and we had a perfect morning.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping

Our afternoon was spent taking part in a tipi designing challenge which some of us took more seriously than others.  Dylan's side had a few drawings, Archie's had a blob of glitter glue, Finn's had some beautiful 'mark making' and Cora decorated hers with flowers (with a little help from a parent).  It was such a fun creative challenge using plain tipis bought from Hobby Craft and it would be a great activity to take on a glamping trip, boot space permitting. Be warned that you will find pompoms EVERYWHERE for the next few days though!




We had a bbq dinner (because quite frankly, what else would you possibly want to eat when you are glamping?) and as the children ran off the last of their energy, we enjoyed a cold beer straight from the fridge sat under the outdoor lanterns.  It felt cosy, calm and relaxing which isn't how you would usually describe a camping holiday with four small ones. The boys finally settled for the second night with rosy cheeks and worn out legs.

drayton manor ready camp, Tamworth glamping

The Tamworth site is right next door to the Drayton Manor theme park so is a great place to stay if you are visiting.  There are Ready Camp sites all over the country though, including Alton Towers and more local to me, Canterbury.  I love the fact that it can make visiting a theme park more affordable for larger families, as we wouldn't have been able to squeeze us all into one hotel room, and you can have the glamping experience as far away or as close to home as you like.

We had a fantastic time glamping with Ready Camp and are already looking to go back to a different site. We loved the freedoms of camping and being outdoors but the creature comforts that we rely on so much too and it was a great way to travel as a bigger family.





ready camp, drayton manor camping


glamping at night, ready camp

We were invited along for the weekend with Ready Camp but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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