Thursday, 7 August 2014

Camp Bestival On A Budget

We arrived home on Monday after experiencing one of the most thrilling weekends of our lives. So thrilling that I'm even kicking myself that we hadn't been to a festival with the kids before now. Seriously, if you are reading this in two minds about booking up Camp Bestival for next year with the kids, then I urge you to go for it. It is just one of those things you really must try in your lifetime. Camp Bestival is nothing short of magical.

If I'm honest the real reason we have never taken the kids to a festival before is the cost. I assumed festivals were overpriced and that the kids would be bored stiff watching music acts all weekend. How wrong was I!

Both Hubby and I agree that a weekend camping ticket at Camp Bestival is excellent value for money and that the very full entertainment programme is mind blowing, so much to do for all ages. The memories made over those four days is worth every single penny. We took an eight & thirteen year old with us and the whole time we were there we kept saying that our older kids (in their late teens and early twenties) would have really enjoyed it too.

It doesn't have to cost the earth to take the kids to a festival, you can do it on a budget and the good thing about Camp Bestival is that they offer a weekly payment plan which makes forking out so much easier. Give the kids a certain amount of spending money for each day and take certain extras with you like glow sticks, bubble wands, flower garlands etc so they can get by on less spends.

We spent over the weekend just £105, that included our Granddaughters spending money and £30 for taxi's. Our Granddaughter had a tenner per day to spend, and we got by on next to nothing by taking our own food and drinks. It can be done on a tight budget and we still had the experience of a lifetime.

I really had no clue what to expect and I must admit I did feel a little anxious in the days leading up to our departure. So many questions swirling around in my head like 'Would the kids be able to sleep OK?' 'Would we need to take out a small mortgage to buy festival food and drinks?' 'How will we cope with no showering?' 'Will the tent be big enough?' 'What if the kids want the loo in the night?' 'Will we be able to find our tent in the dark or will we end up lost, sleeping under a tree somewhere?'

Truth is, I was worrying for nothing, because the tent was squashy but not unbearable, no showers didn't kill me, the kids slept through all night and we didn't lose our tent once. We survived and boy, what an adventure we had.

Travelling By Train - We travelled down to Dorset from Essex by train on Thursday morning and even before we had  arrived we got chatting to some friendly Camp Bestival staff on the train from the Lego tent and the Tim Peaks Coffee Trike ( @tim_Burgess ) - Big waves to you guys. One of them shared a taxi from the station with us, which saved us a few pennies. Taxi from Wool Station to Camp Bestival is £15, share with a random traveller and it's even cheaper.

Travelling with all our camping gear on a train with kids was not half as bad as I thought it might be. We had a trolley which we loaded up with our box of food, sleeping bags and camping mats. Papa Syder pulled the trolley and carried a back pack plus our 4 x man tent on his back, I pulled a trolley case with our clothes and carried our picnic bag, full of grub to munch on the train. The best advice I can give you, if travelling by train, is pack super light and be completely organised. Book your tickets in advance and buy a family railcard. The earlier you book your train tickets the cheaper they are, and I mean a lot cheaper.

If you travel by car it is quite a trot with all your gear from the car park to the camping area's, so either pack light and bring a trolley or you can jump on a festi taxi which will ferry you and all your stuff for a taxi fee. You can pick up a trolley dirt cheap in Argos and it folds up flat for easy storage.

What To Pack Light - We checked the weather forecast before we left so we knew to expect some rain on at least one of the days that we would be away so our packing went a little like this: 

Clothing: Layers
- Rain macs/ rain capes
- A light body warmer
- Wellies 
- A warm fleece or knitted poncho (evenings even after a scorching day get pretty chilly)
- Leggings/tights that you can pop on under your shorts or skirt during chilly moments.
- Comfy shoes (so important because you walk a lot. I wore my fitbug every day and clocked up 17,000 steps each day).
- A Warm onsie or PJ's.
- A Sun hat (I forgot mine and got quite badly burnt).

- A solar phone charger.
- Glow sticks.
- Bubble wands.
- Flower garlands.
- Face Paints.
- Picnic blanket.
- Ear plugs/ear defenders for the adults as well as the kids.
- Gas cooking ring, mess tins, small chopping board, plastic cups, collapsible water carrier, tin opener, cutlery.
- Baby Wipes - At least 4 packets for full body washing, wiping out mess tins, cups and washing hands etc.
- Antibacterial Hand Gel.
- High Factor Sun Cream
- Kitchen Roll - Good for cleaning out mess tins.
- Loo roll
- Bunting and battery powered fairy lights to decorate your tent - This also makes it easier to spot your tent in the dark.

Food - The food available at Camp Bestival was amazing. So much to choose from like 'Chunky Chips and Wicked Dips', 'Cotswold Corn Roast' (very popular, everywhere I looked someone was munching on corn) 'Fine Fish Co', 'Nando's', 'Tea an Toast', 'The Green Brownie', 'The Soup library', 'The Tea Stop', 'Whole Hog Roast' (Another popular one, big queue for this), The 'Womens Institute' Tent (a personal favourite, cheapest place to buy a cup of tea - £1) plus so much more including Moroccan and Thai food. There was also vegan, vegetarian, juice and smoothie stalls. For my fellow juicers - a fruit or veggie juice cost £4.50.

You could easily spend a fortune on food but limit yourself to one main meal per day from the stalls and cook back at the tent for the rest of the day and you will save lots of cash.

Eat On A Budget - You know me, I like to do everything on a budget, so a cheap way to eat is buy a tray of chips from the 'Fish and Chips' van for £4 which we shared between four of us, buy some nice bread or rolls from the farmers market, take them back to your tent, cook some ravioli, hot dogs or tinned spaghetti and viola you have a warm meal on the cheap. Not exactly the tasty gourmet you cook at home, but trust me when I say it will taste like the best meal you have ever had. The farmers market includes a bakery, fruit stall, shellfish, coffee, poultry, bacon, sushi and cheese all locally produced.

Foods To Take With You:
- Marshmallows and skewers (For Toasting)
- Hot Dogs
- Tinned spaghetti, beans, ravioli, curry
- Sachets of hot chocolate, ketchup, salad cream, coffee, tea bags, milk pods, sugar cubes.
- Cup a Soup's
- Mini Wraps
- Treats like chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, crisps etc
- Cookies
- Noodles
- Peanut Butter
- Rice Cakes
- Bag of wine - from inside a box of wine and/or Bags of ready mixed cocktails (if you like a tipple or two).
- Bottle of squash for the kids.
- Individual water bottles to refill every day (saves buying any drinks and can be filled at one of the many water points dotted around the festival site)

Early Bird tickets for Camp Bestival 2015 (July 30th to Aug 2nd) Are Now on sale: Ticketline /0844 888 4410 

WEEKLY PAYMENT PLAN - Watch out for details of the weekly payment plan for Camp Bestival 2015 later this year.

*We are offical Camp Bestival Bloggers 2014 and were provided with complimentary tickets for the family for review purposes. Our opinions are honest & entirely our own.


  1. Great post. Love the tips about taking some of your own food and making a meal out of bits from the farmers market :) Was lovely to meet you.

    1. Thanks so much, was awesome to meet you guys too xxx

    2. So glad I came across this review. Would like to take my 6yr old this year. Will be her first ever 'proper' festival including camping. You've answered every query I had. Cant wait now!

    3. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you found our review useful. You will love Camp Bestival, it is a magical experience xxx

  2. Good tips, and we did the same one meal a day out and self cater the rest and it worked out fine for us budget wise. Glad you had such an awesome time, and lovely to see you both, think you were the blogger I bumped into the most.

    1. Was lovely to see you again Ella xxx

  3. It looks ace, my friend went with her daughter this year and loved it. Her daughter is 2

    1. Thanks Holly, it was lovely. Great for all ages xxx



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