Cheltenham Racecourse

Top 5 festival hacks for families

Even experienced festival fans know it takes time to plan the perfect weekend, especially if you're camping with the whole family. Should you take the kitchen sink approach and face numerous treks back to the car, or only pack the essentials and enjoy more time relaxing? Should you head into the arena at first light or indulge yourself at your campsite? Our handy tips below should help you make the most of your festival summer…

  1. Thought BUMBAGs were dead? Think again!

    Picture the scene: you're boogieing-on-down to the Stranglers and you fancy a drink, so you head to the bar and do the dad-pat over every clothing compartment in a panicked frenzy trying to find your wallet – wishing you hadn’t donned the summer shorts with deep side pockets past your knees!

    PAGING 80s FASHION! Bumbags have resurged and been seen on the hips of some of the world’s most influential figures, from Sarah Jessica Parker to Will.I.Am. Get a Bumbag for your next festival and the possibilities are endless. Wear it on your hips, across the body or through the loops in your favourite pair of jeans, and carry your wallet, phone, camera and keys in safety.

  2. Establish a meeting place.

    Wychwood Festival fairground ride – the perfect meeting place.

    With overflowing activities and entertainment for all the family, it's easy for your kids (and you!) to get distracted. Losing children in large crowds is possibly a parent's worst nightmare, especially at night. So before your wonderful weekend gets well underway, determine a distinctive spot where you can regroup if you lose each other. Make sure you also check-in throughout the festival to see if you’re all familiar with the area and know the way to the meeting spot. A great suggestion is a characteristic fairground ride, something in abundance at Wychwood. These large, lit-up frameworks are perfect for both day and night searching.

  3. Prepare for British weather.

    You stroll onto the campsite with your sunnies, sunscreen and denim shorts that give you a wedgie; feeling educated (and excited) by the weather forecast you read a couple of days ago.

    Cue British Weather… unexpected clouds gathering ominously in the distance. But have no fear, you brought waterproofs, wellies and even a drying rack in the tent porch, as well as a black bin bag full of warm, dry clothes that your friends will envy when they're climbing into bed with soggy wet clothes later. Meanwhile, you'll be warm, curled up, slipping into a blissful sleep, ready for another party tomorrow.

  4. Be cosy.

    While we're on the subject of sleep, it’s time to ensure one of those moments when your kids are sound asleep by 7pm and you can't believe your luck! Bring anything with you that might make your tent feel more snug — cosy blankets, battery powered fairy lights, your kids’ favourite cuddly toy or headphones to block out the late-night noise. Hopefully, these creature comforts plus the exhaustion from their busy day will mean they're dreaming about tomorrow in no time. Meanwhile, you can chill out and watch the stars, with a glass of wine or beer in-hand.

  5. Make sure you’re having fun.

    Remember why you invested in a ticket and put yourself first for some of the time — everyone should get a turn to enjoy some festival fun. So if you find yourself feeling a little tense, remember children's areas at family-focused festivals are now of the highest quality and are for big kids too, so why not let loose and join in. For example, Wychwood Festival has invited Aardman Model Making to come down for really fun, hands-on sessions where participants can get creative with clay and discover how to make their own model of one of our world-famous characters, which they get to take home with them.

    Just an hour doing something you love can make a huge difference.

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