Sunday 30 June 2024

The Best Family-Friendly Festivals in the UK featuring Carfest and More!

 One of our favourite things to do in the Summer as a family is to visit a festival. You can't beat sitting in a field watching the sun go down, listening to some cracking live music and taking in the atmosphere.  Most festivals have a dedicated kids area and here you can find all sorts of activities to keep them busy.  As the kids get older, we have started to try a few different ones and we have certainly found our favourites!

 Here’s a guide to some of the best family-friendly festivals in the UK.

1. Camp Bestival

Location: Lulworth Castle, Dorset
When: 25th-28th July

Camp Bestival is the ultimate family festival, combining music, arts, and family fun. Held in the picturesque grounds of Lulworth Castle, it features a stellar lineup of music acts such as Mcfly and Paloma Faith, alongside comedy shows, theatre performances, and workshops. Kids can enjoy the enormous Kids’ Garden with circus skills, face painting, and a dedicated toddler area. The festival also includes a wellness area for parents to unwind, making it a hit with families of all ages. Don't miss the fireworks on the Sunday evening! 

Elliot in the Lower Kids Garden, Camp Bestival

2. The Big Feastival

Location: Kingham, Oxfordshire
When: Bank Holiday Weekend August

The Big Feastival, founded by Jamie Oliver and Alex James, is a celebration of food and music set on Alex James’ farm in the Cotswolds. It features live cooking demonstrations from top chefs, a fantastic music lineup including Becky Hill, and plenty of activities for kids. The Little Dudes’ Den offers crafts, games, and storytelling, while older children can enjoy workshops and outdoor sports. The festival’s focus on good food and fun makes it a deliciously delightful experience for families.

3. CarFest

Location: Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire
When: Bank Holiday Weekend August

CarFest, created by radio DJ Chris Evans, is a fantastic blend of cars, music, and family entertainment. Families can enjoy a vibrant mix of car shows, live music, great food and a host of activities for children. The festival includes a dedicated Kids’ Kingdom with crafts, circus skills, and sports activities. The track show, featuring classic and modern cars, is a highlight for all ages, and the proceeds support UK children’s charities, making it a feel-good event for the whole family.

Carfest Car Paddock

We visited Carfest for the first time last year and it was fantastic - easily one of the best family friendly festivals we've been to. We are looking forward to heading back this year!

4. Green Man Festival

Location: Brecon Beacons, Wales
When: 16th-18th August 2024

While Green Man is renowned for its impressive lineup of indie and alternative music, it’s also incredibly family-friendly. The festival’s Little Folk area provides a haven for kids, with workshops, storytelling, and musical performances tailored for younger audiences. The festival’s stunning location in the Brecon Beacons offers plenty of opportunities for families to explore the natural beauty of the area.

5. Gloworm Festival

Location: Thoresby Park, Nottinghamshire
When: 16th-18th August 2024

Gloworm Festival is designed specifically for families with young children. It offers a magical and immersive experience with a focus on fun and creativity. The festival features live performances from popular children’s TV stars such as Maddie Moate and Andy Day, interactive theatre shows, craft workshops, and outdoor adventures. The Gloworm Woods are perfect for exploring, and the festival’s relaxed atmosphere ensures a stress-free experience for parents and kids alike.

Pic Credit - Sue Davis and girls at Gloworm Festival

6. Just So Festival

Location: Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire
When: 16th-18th August 2024

The Just So Festival is a magical, boutique festival specifically designed for families. Set in the beautiful woodland and parkland of Rode Hall Estate, it offers a variety of immersive and creative activities. Families can participate in storytelling sessions, arts and crafts, music and dance workshops, and outdoor adventures. The festival’s whimsical nature encourages children and parents alike to embrace their creativity and imagination.

7. Gone Wild Festival

Location: Powderham Castle, Devon
When: Bank Holiday Weekend August

Gone Wild Festival is a unique family festival that combines outdoor adventure with music and entertainment. Co-founded by Bear Grylls, it offers a wide range of activities, from bushcraft and survival skills to climbing, kayaking, and obstacle courses. The festival also features live music, storytelling, and workshops, making it a perfect blend of education and fun. Set in the stunning grounds of Powderham Castle, it’s an excellent choice for families who love the great outdoors.

Gone Wild Festival 

8. Victorious Festival

Location: Southsea Seafront, Portsmouth
When: Bank Holiday Weekend August

Victorious Festival is a vibrant family-friendly event set against the beautiful backdrop of Southsea Seafront. It boasts an impressive lineup of music acts across multiple stages, along with a dedicated Kids Arena featuring character meet-and-greets, live performances, and interactive activities. Families can enjoy arts and crafts, face painting, and a variety of sports and games. With its seaside location, it also offers the opportunity to relax on the beach and enjoy the coastal atmosphere.

Kids Arena at Victorious Festival

9. Glastonbury Festival

Location: Worthy Farm, Somerset
When: 27th-30th June 2024

Glastonbury is one of the most iconic music festivals in the world, and it’s surprisingly family-friendly. The Kidzfield is a dedicated area for children, featuring performances, workshops, and activities designed to entertain and inspire. From storytelling and puppet shows to arts and crafts, there’s plenty to keep the little ones engaged. The festival’s Green Kids Area focuses on environmental education and sustainable living, making it both fun and informative. Despite its massive size, Glastonbury offers a wealth of family-friendly amenities and activities.

Tips for Enjoying Festivals with Kids

  • Plan Ahead: Check festival websites for family-friendly amenities and activities.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring weather-appropriate clothing, snacks, and comfort items for the kids. 
  • Stay Safe: Keep a close eye on your children and use wristbands with contact information.
  • Take Breaks: Allow for downtime to avoid overstimulation and keep everyone happy.

These family-friendly festivals offer a perfect mix of entertainment, creativity, and outdoor fun, ensuring that both kids and parents have a fantastic time. So pack your bags, gather your family, and get ready to create some unforgettable memories at these wonderful UK festivals!

Exploring Carfest 

Monday 29 April 2024

Making YouTube Safer for Your Kids

 If you're like everybody who's in their 30s or 40s right now, the chances are high that you wasted a lot of your childhood on Saturday morning cartoons. When you come home from school, you'd settle down to the afternoon cartoons available on the TV. But kids today are different. Instead of being glued to the cartoons on regular mainstream TV with advertising, they are glued to YouTube. 

Mostly it's innocent. They're looking for cartoons or obscure anime that they can't find in their own country, but sometimes things are a little bit sketchier than that. There is so much on YouTube that has been manipulated, and even though you may choose to learn how to unblock YouTube videos so that you can view them, your kids need boundaries. It doesn't matter how good your kid is, they will always need boundaries when it comes to YouTube because of the largely unknown amount of content that's on there. So with that in mind, here's how you can make YouTube safer for your children.

Image source: Pexels

  1. Only allow YouTube under a family account. When you set up a shared Google account, you'll be able to keep an eye on the videos that your kids watch, as well as what they upload. If you don't allow your children to upload in the 1st place, that's fantastic because whatever goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. But having a family account allows you some monitoring without them feeling like they're being watched all of the time.

  2. Turn on safety mode. It's a hidden button, but YouTube has a safety mode that can block most, but not all, of objectionable content. Of course, you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the homepage to find it, but once you've found it, you'll be able to be sign in, scroll down and click on the safety button, then choose o’n’ from the choices to make sure that your children don't change the setting. You can then lock that safety mode in by going to the browser and adding your login data. When prompted to turn it off, click the link again and enter your login a second time.

  3. Create specific playlists.The safety mode is not as foolproof as it likes to be, but if the person who uploaded a nasty video hasn't selected Enable age restriction then YouTube filter won't block it. So you need to take some additional steps. It's a good idea to create a playlist of videos that you approve of and all you have to do then is click add link. You can also subscribe to family friendly channels so that the algorithm only pops up family friendly things.

  4. Be wise with it. Be sure to watch the videos that your children watch all the way through before you add them to a list. The last thing that you want is for your children to be watching Peppa Pig one minute and then watching a live dissection of a pig the next. Be wary of gaming videos too, because voice over narration usually comes with vulgarity and profanity that you would like your children to avoid listening to.

  5. Monitor it as you go. Children outgrow playlists pretty quickly, so make sure that you're installing web filtering software such as the Family Premier or McAfee Security Safe Eyes. These don't cost very much, but these programs will notify you whenever your kids watch your video and or block the objectionable ones. It's not hovering to stay on top of your family's Internet security.In fact, it's a must.

  6. Turn off YouTube entirely.If it's too much to police the content that your children are watching, you can block it entirely using a web filter. You can then redirect your kids to family friendly websites such as Netflix for kids or Disney. There are also things such as SprogTube which curates YouTube videos for kids safe content, although these do skew towards preschoolers rather than towards middle-aged kids.

Most of the time, younger children won't be watching YouTube because they'll be watching cartoons that you choose for them. But as they get older and have a little bit more free rein with controllers, you can allow them to watch YouTube as long as it's safe. Following the tips above is going to help you to make sure that the content your children are watching is age appropriate and isn't going to cause them any particular mental harm. 

Thursday 14 March 2024


 We love taking our kids to festivals and we usually try and book one in every Summer. Over the years, our favourites have been Camp Bestival, Gone Wild and Lamer Tree Festival but this year we wanted to try something different. 

Step forward...Carfest! Billed as the UK's biggest family fundraising festival, Carfest successfully blends motor shows with live music and entertainment for the whole family. It was founded by radio DJ Chris Evans and has raised millions of pounds for children's charities. It ticked all our boxes - lots of fast cars for Elliot to see, a huge kids area for Erin, plenty of yummy food and drink for my husband and an amazing line up of live music for me. We were excited to experience it all! 

Day 1 - Saturday

We had weekend tickets but decided to stay in a local hotel rather than camp. It just meant having to take way less stuff and who doesn't love a comfy bed after a busy day at a festival! We left bright and early from Poole and arrived at the festival site around 9am. We found it nice and straightforward to find the carpark and it was well sign posted from the main roads into Overton. Unlike Camp Bestival, the walk from the carpark wasn't too bad and it probably only took us around 10-15 minutes. 

We were soon picking up our weekend wristbands and deciding where to explore first. The festival is split into different areas including Starfest, Spafest, Adventurefest, Kidsfest, Foodfest, Retrofest and then of course the card and music! 

Our first port of call was the Costa area - Costa are one of Carfest's sponsors and we had heard great things about the giveaways! Paul was happy - coffee for him whilst the kids tried their luck on the digital spin the wheel. We didn't win the Nintendo switch but we did come away with bubbles, lots of coffee, brownies, biscuits and even a really nice travel mug. I'd definitely recommend visiting this bit with kids! 

One thing about the music/stage area at Carfest that we quickly realised was people pitch up in the morning with their chairs/wagons/flags etc and just leave their stuff for the day. This seemed to be a bit of a contentious subject on the Carfest Buddies FB group but for us, it made sense to leave our festival wagon. It gave us a central base to return to throughout the day if we needed to and saved lugging everything around! It also meant we were guaranteed a good spot for the evening music. 

We spent the next few hours exploring the cars and there was so much to see. We caught some fantastic displays and the roar of the engines and being up close to the race track was something else! Elliot is car mad so he was in his element. We even bumped into Richard Hammond at the Smallest Cog workshop which was exciting although Elliot got confused and thought it was Ricky Gervais 😁

Richard Hammond - The Smallest Cog Workshop

When we're at a festival we don't like to be too strict about timings and prefer to explore and see what we stumble upon but one of our must sees was kids favourite Andy and The Odd Socks in the Kidsfest area. We've been fans of Andy's since Elliot was a toddler and it's always great to see his band and their live show. And of course we had to get some selfies after the show 😎 

Andy and The Odd Socks - Carfest

The Kidsfest area was home to Pudsey's Spot and there were lots of chances to meet some familiar faces there over the weekend. We met Bluey and Bingo and I'm not sure who was more excited, me or Erin!

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the food festival area and there was something for every taste bud at the Farmers Market. Packed full of stalls selling everything from gourmet brownies to spicy sauces, we managed to pick up lots of yummy treats including some amazing scotch eggs. We also caught a few demos by Candice and Bryony from GBBO which was really interesting. There seemed to be a lot going on in this area such as foodie workshops, book signings, chef talks, cocktail making - even a pop up pub with live music. We could have spent lots more time here and feel like we only scratched the surface but there was so much more to see...

We spent some time checking out the cars - there are regular track shows through out the day and it's nice and easy to find a good viewing spot along the side. Even for a non car-fanatic like me, it was exciting seeing some gorgeous cars up close and the kids loved the theatrics of the skids and hand brake 360s! There are lots of car brands at the festival and many opportunies to pick up freebies...which, lets face it, who doesn't love a freebie. The kids were buzzing to win hats, air freshners, tote bags, mints and even a few pens along the way. 

Soon it was time to head back to the main stage for the evenings musical entertainment. There are plenty of food stalls near the stage for when you get hungry and although it was busy, we never really had to spend long queueing. Prices were quite steep however (think it was almost £30 for two lots of burger and chips) but it's a festival and you do expect this. We shared a couple of meals between us, plus I took lots of snacks to keep the kids happy. I did get talked into a very expensive milkshake though! 

The music for the evening was brilliant, kicking off with the Bootleg Beatles. I loved hearing the crowd singalong to Hey Jude! The star of the evening for us though was undoubtedly Rick Astley. Never realised just how talented he is - he doesn't just sing but plays a multitude of instruments. Elliot really likes his songs so he was so excited to see him live and Rick didn't disappoint! It was such a great atmosphere with the lit up funfair behind us, and families of all ages singing along. 

We headed back to the car after a long day of festival fun but couldn't wait to do it all again in the morning. 

Day 2 - Sunday

After a quick charge of the car and a Mcdonalds brekkie at nearby services, we were heading back to Overton and looking forward to seeing what was in store for the day. We had no set plans but did want to explore the areas that we didn't visit yesterday. 

Our first port of call was to set up our chairs and area in front of the main stage. We then spent a bit of time exploring the Retrofest area. You can find all sorts here, like retro clothing stalls, cars, games and we even stumbled upon some energetic aerobics displays featuring lots of lycra! Some of the highlights of Retrofest included an area set up with old war vehicles and weapons. The kids were allowed to sit in the landrovers and even hold the guns, Elliot was living his best Fortnite life! We also found The Deloreon which was pretty impressive - the owner was so knowledgeable and we loved all the little bits of memorabilia inside such as a hoverboard and hologram photo.

We caught a few car displays and especially loved seeing the Ghostbusters car doing the laps! The track winds throughout the festival so it's not hard to find a spot to watch the live shows. 

We found ourselves in the Adventurefest field and this was probably one of our favourite areas. There was a large scouting section run by Hampshire scouts and the kids made a bee line for the climbing wall - rather than than me! We had a go at archery, and the kids added their Beaver/Scout troop to the Scouting map. 

We were also very fortunate to catch Tim Peake who was chatting to the scouts - Elliot managed to say hello and shake his hand which made his day! My husband was rather envious that he missed him but he did get to watch a Q&A with Tim later on in the afternoon at the Discovery Hub stage. 

Meeting Tim Peake at Carfest

Adventurefest was also home to Bugfest which as the name suggests, was a great place to get up and close to lots of creepy crawlies. This was one of the few paid for activities we did, and I think it was £5 per person to enter the Bugfest tent but the kids loved it and it was money well spent. There was no time limit and they were able to hold a tarantula, millipede, stick insect and many more. 


We dipped back into the Kidsfest for a quick bounce on the giant bouncy castle and we made sure to pick up some freebies from the Capri Sun and Pip Organic stalls. We also headed back to the farmers market where we couldn't resist another scotch egg! 

With the afternoon almost over, we decided to spend some time exploring the Motorsport Paddock where Elliot was in his absolute element! It was a chance to get up close to some of his favourite cars and he thoroughly enjoyed spotting lots of Aston Martins. Aside from seeing Rick Astley, I think this was probably his favourite part of the weekend. 

Back at the main stage, we grabbed some food and settled in for the evening. There was a real variety of acts including Alex Horne's Horne section, Ricky Wilson from Kaiser Chiefs, The Feeling and The Village People. Unsure of how many of the original Village People line up were left but it was entertaining nonetheless! (Even if they did take an awful long time to start their performance)

The Village People - Carfest

Texas were the headliner for the Sunday night and I would have loved to have stayed to see their entire set but we decided to call it a night a few songs in with some very tired children in tow. We did  however stumble across a silent disco at the Bp Pulse tent so of course we had to stop and have a little boogie! 

We had such a brilliant weekend at Carfest and there were so many memories made - too many to mention in this blog. Highlights included meeting Tim Peake, dancing to Rick Astley, and hearing the roar of the engines on the track. 

Carfest certainly lived up to it's reputation and I feel like we only scratched the surface of the activities on offer. The kids are already asking if we're going again this year. We might even be brave enough to camp 😃

Ticket are already on sale for Carfest 2024 and can be found here

*Disclaimer - We were gifted weekend tickets for Carfest but all thoughts and opinions are honest and we genuinely had a fantastic time! 

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