Standon Calling Festival – a fabulous family day out

This year we were lucky enough to be able to visit our local family-friendly festival, Standon Calling in Hertfordshire, for the second time. Two years’ ago we went for the whole weekend and had a fabulous time, this year we were given day passes so we headed there on the Saturday. We had a large group of people with us this year, ranging from 9 years through to the 50s. What a perfect day out we had, with something for every age group. I have never thought of visiting a festival for a day, as usually we do the whole camping thing but if you can’t then it’s still worth a visit for the day.

We arrived about midday, wanting to be in time for the fancy dress parade. The costumes were literally ‘out of this world’! Excuse the pun ha…

Our boys spent two weeks perfecting their cosmic astronaut outfits, and really believed they were going to win with their creations…

Alas it was not to be, unfortunately for them there were many more awesome and show stopping fabulous outfits that they didn’t get a look in!

They didn’t seem to mind as they were totally in the zone and amazed at how great everyone looked, they forgot there was even a prize to be had.

The boys, Freddie and his friend Finley, both aged 9 were absolutely buzzing from start to finish, from dodgems, to bumper balls, music and dance and much more…

I did notice a big difference in what Freddie enjoyed this year in comparison to two years ago when he was 7. At 9 he seemed much more interested in the music and live acts than the children’s area. Now this is when I wondered if it was his age, or the fact that we didn’t camp and only went for the day. Every time I suggested doing an activity his friend and he were too focused on the acts on the stages. Music is a big part of their lives and their current idol, George Ezra, definitely stole the day for them.

There really is something for all ages at Standon Calling: here is a little look at what was on offer this year…

If you are thinking of visiting next year then why not grab some early bird tickets:

Weekend tickets are now available with entry to the festival from 12pm on Thursday 25thJuly 2019. Price includes camping in the general camp site or family camp site (car parking must be purchased separately). If you are looking for a little more luxury then opt for the Lavish Lands camp tickets, slightly more expensive but with hot showers, extra toilets, free parking and nearer to the festival.

Early Bird weekend prices (including booking fees) are:

£128.84 per adult

£118.12 16/17 yrs

£107.39 13-15 yrs

£38.74  4-12 yrs

£6.56   0-3 yrs

Pre-payment tickets and boutique camping tickets will be on sale soon and day tickets on sale spring 2019.

We are so excited to see what is going to be next years theme and will definitely be attending whatever the weather and hopefully camping again if our diary allows!

Some images courtesy of Standon Calling.

Standon Calling – was our first ever family-friendly festival & we are going back this year!

The festival season is well and truly under way and family-friendly festivals are a plenty, it’s so hard to choose which one to take your kids to. We are attending a few this year and will have a round up at the end of the year, but for now we are talking about Standon Calling in Hertfordshire 27th– 29thJuly. We are so lucky to be going this year and two of our boys , both 9 years, are especially excited…

We live in Hertford and so our local kid friendly festivals are Standon Calling and new kid on the block Wilkestock. Our first ever festival with Freddie was two years ago when we spent the weekend at Standon Calling. My husband was a little dubious about attending a festival let alone with kids, he loves music and now, after a few iffy outings, actually likes camping so when he agreed to come to a festival I was so excited!

The past

Then we camped, saw Rag and Bone Man for the first time, dressed as pirates, met Kelis and more, including our dog winning happiest Festival Dog!

We have very fond memories of 2016 and so are super super excited to be attending this year.

The Future

The theme is ‘the Future’ and this weekend we plan to make our outfits, all will be revealed soon, just not sure which world to go for yet!

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The family programme looks better than ever and I am sad that we are only able to go for one day this year. There is the Panic Circus Big Top, Family Yoga, Welcome Family Disco, Campfire with Marshmallows, Trimbus Play Bus, the Hidden Wardrobe, Baby and Toddler Space, Tweens and Teens Workshops, Craft Zone Garden with interactive fun, kid friendly performances including Horrible Histories Live and Andy from Cbeebies and his smelly socks, library, Woodland Tribe and not forgetting the swimming pool and costume parade!

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As you can see it looks like a jam packed family weekend and that’s without mentioning the brilliant acts that are taking place this year! Including Paloma Faith, the Cuban Brothers, and local talent man George Ezra, who is the highlight for Freddie this year. George is his current idol, and he seems to think he will be able to give him a hug! –  love the innocence of children and famous people!

To top it all the weather looks set to be sun sun sun – we think that the boys and of course we, are going to have a blast!

Look forward to sharing our fun with you at the after blog party!

Day tickets have now sold out but there are a small amount of adult weekend tickets left – visit the website for information Standon Calling tickets

 

 

 

Family glamping in Devon, five luxury lodges, ideal for families of six or even a group getaway for 30.

We have had a lot of last minute enquiries from families looking for a glamping experience in Devon, especially here at these beautiful lodges situated in a secluded valley on the Western border of Exmoor National Park.

This stunning family-friendly glamping site books up early but they do have some availability for September and October, which is a lovely time of the year to holiday with family and friends.

If you are new to glamping and are a little worried about how comfortable you will feel look at these, you won’t be disappointed. I am trying to get a group together to hire the whole place as it looks ideal for all members of the family, all ages and for all occasions!

 

These fabulous child-friendly holiday lodges are bordered by streams and woods and there is even a private lake. There are two skiffs: Oxford and Cambridge, perfect for one adult and one child in each, so why not race around the lake island!? Life jackets are provided too. For fishermen in the family the lake is stocked with over one hundred rainbow trout and if you can catch one you are welcome to cook on the BBQ back at your lodge.

 

The woods offer fabulous family-friendly walks any time of year. There are streams and water falls and nature trails to follow. They are very well sheltered and so can even offer a fab day out for the family even when it is raining!

 

 

 

 

For the sporty members of the family there are a number of outdoor games available to play on the lakeside meadow: petanque, cricket and badminton. There is also a football goal on the football field and a cricket net, basketball and netball hoop plus giant chess.

 

Babies and toddlers are well looked after here, little ones will love the cupboard bed. The cabin bed can convert into a cot or the owners can provide a travel cot if you prefer. The twin room has black out blinds. The cabin bed is also home to a secret den, a small hideaway with an inventive mind can turn into anything! In each lodge there is a high chair, toddler plates etc, if you need more the owners can supply, just let them know.

 

The owner can also provide babysitting if the adults fancy a night out.

 

The newest addition to this family glamping site in Devon is the hot tub! Offering amazing views over the lake and valley and down to the sea, what could be more relaxing than chilling with a glass of bubbly! The hot tub can be used for up to six people, children are welcome over the age of six and the owners can arrange babysitting for babies and toddlers younger than this.

 

For a touch of luxury on Wednesday afternoons visit the Spa Barn and choose from a list of relaxing massages.

 

You can even take time out from cooking as the owners can offer fresh baked bread, croissants, chocolate twists etc, supply a perfect picnic or even prepare a scrumptious supper. The onsite farm larder shop is stocked with lots of goodies, local produce, beautiful homewares, traditional children’s toys and more.

 

The lodges here are beautiful; there are five in total all of which are fully equipped with home-from-home luxuries, including Egyptian cotton bedlinen! They have private shower cabins within the lodge and a wood burning stove if the nights get a little chilly.

 

The lodges are ideal for a family of up to six sleeping in three bedrooms and also perfect for a group get together, special occasions etc. The five lodges can be rented out to accommodate 30 people and there is also a party barn where the whole party can be seated for a special event or just to gather together. The barn is available for hire at a cost of just £15 per head, but is free if you book all five lodges. There is also a catering service with an extensive menu to choose from.

 

Located just minutes from the beaches, towns and villages surely you can’t wish for a better way to spend time with family and friends…

Click here to find out more and enquire: Nr Combe, Devon

Cornwall’s Family-Friendly Beaches 2017 Part 1

Blue Flag beaches are awarded not only for water quality, the award criteria also is concerned with the beaches facilities such as disabled access, life guards on duty and toilets etc. It doesn’t mean that there are no other beaches worth visiting in Cornwall with the family,(far from it, there are lots of tiny coves and sandy escapes)  this is just the tip of the iceberg and we will be featuring some hidden gems in our next Family-Friendly Beaches in Cornwall series.

Here is a snapshot of a small collection of beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag status in Cornwall, and overview on what they can offer for families looking for little bit of seaside fun…

Polzeath Beach

Image: Jamsta @ Wikipedia under Creative commons licence

Polzeath is in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The beach here is sandy and safe, gently shelving into the sea. At high tide Polzeath beach is very small but at low tide it turns into a fantastic sandy haven for all the family, extending about half a mile in all directions. Not only does Polzeath beach boast fine golden sand but it is also fringed with rock pools and if you are lucky you could well spot the odd dolphin or puffin.

Polzeath itself is a small village located on the headland opposite Padstow. There are lots of shops lining the beach front here for family holiday-makers. Within the village itself you will find a number of restaurants, cafés and pubs.

Polzeath beach is very popular and can get busy during the summer months. It is great for rock pooling, sand castle building and is also a fun beach for learning to surf or body board. It is located in a nature reserve and so home to many interesting wildlife species.

Trevone Bay

Image: Evans1551 @ Wikipedia under Creative commons licence

Trevone Bay is a rural secluded un-spoilt beach located in north Cornwall close to Padstow. This beach has golden sand and little coves and is home to good marine wildlife. Dogs are welcome here except between Easter Sunday and 30th September when the seasonal ban comes into force. The sea is quite strong here making it popular with surfers. Trevone Bay is a popular little beach with families, it has rocky ledges either side of it, home to lots of rock pools. Apparently if it’s rock pools you are after though, you should visit the Rocky Beach (Newtrain Bay) next door as it has both fab rock pools and a big tidal pool too for splashing around in.

Porthtowan

Porthtowan is a large west-facing beach fringed with granite cliffs. The beach is sandy, perfect for sand castle building and children will also love exploreing the rockpools for life.

Being a Blue Flag beach means that the amenities here are good. There are also a range of cafes and shops within close proximity including the Blue Boar a fashionable beachside café bar. Blue Boar Facebook Page

Porthtowan (Cornish Porth Tewyn, meaning cove of sand dunes) lies on Cornwall’s Atlantic costa just over a mile west of St Agnes, it is a family-friendly beach and is popular with surfers too.

There is a thriving local community here visit the Porthtowan website need more inspiration? visit the Porthtowan online video

Carbis Bay

Carbis Bay is located just one mile east of St Ives. It is privately owned by the Carbis Bay hotel but open to the public. The hotel provides beach facilities including washrooms, and food and drink outlets.

This wonderful golden sandy beach in Cornwall is about a mile long and the water is generally quite calm, not great for surfers but perfect for families with toddlers! There is a host of wildlife here, with occasional sightings of dolphins and other sea animals like seals and spider crabs.

Dogs are welcome here (except between the first Sunday before Easter and 30th September when the seasonal ban is in place, however dog walks are allowed between 5 and 8 am).

Image by Lantographer under the creative commons license

Gyllynvase Beach (Falmouth)

One of the most popular beaches in Cornwall is Gyllyngvase Beach (AKA Gylly) with its  wide golden arc and beautiful blue sea it is easy to see why.

Gyllynvase Beach is a south-acing family resort beach with something for everyone, from water based activities to sand castle building. The award-winning, Gylly Beach Café is built over the beach with lovely views, and prides itself with using local produce wherever possible and offers a fresh contemporary menu (shellfish, fish, tapas, salads etc). There are lots of amenities here, along with a beach café selling ice cream and beach goodies next to Gylly Beach Café throughout the summer months. Gylly beach is located to the south of Falmouth town centre which is a 15 minute walk away. There are also Green Flag Award winning gardens making the area well recognised for its environmental quality.

Image: Tony Atkin under the creative commons license

Coming next: Hidden Family -Friendly Coves in Cornwall

Why not visit Inverness and Loch Ness for your next family holiday?

I have only ever visited Inverness and Loch Ness once before and it wasn’t a family holiday but a work trip but still the memories I have from this stunning part of the country are locked firmly in my head. It was spring, the day was fresh and bright and Loch Ness looked stunning. It’s no wonder that the city of Inverness and Loch Ness are two of the most popular destinations in the UK, however families in the south of the UK tend to head for the southern coast line maybe. If you are reading this and living in the south, this little overview will help change your mind and tempt you in taking a family holiday in the Scottish Highlands.

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I doubt there are many people of most ages who have not heard about the myth surrounding Loch Ness. Kids will love the adventure and mystery of searching for Nessie, a boat trip on the Loch is a must!

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There are lots of forts and castles in the area to explore. Urquhart Castle is located on the sore of Loch Ness and offers more than 1000 years of history! The Castle is open throughout the year; visit the Urquhart Castle website for details.

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The beautiful scenery and countryside is there for adventure, fun and exploration but if you are looking for something a little more structured, why not visit one of the many child-friendly attractions around Inverness and the Loch Ness area.

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Landmark Park is a Forest Adventure Park for all ages and is open all year (check the Landmark Park website for opening times). Climb aboard the Runaway Timber Train for a rollercoaster thrill ride or explore The Lost Labyrinth with its bubbling mud pools, dangerous creatures and magic waterfall. The Wee Monkey Trail offers a fab challenge for 2-5 year olds whereby The Tarzan Trail and Ropwrox will appeal to the older children and adults alike.

Getting back to nature for a while take the Funicular Railway, the UK’s highest, and grab a bite to eat at the top, or try your hand at one of the many snow sports on offer.

For sea lovers head to the coast and one of the local sand dune-backed beaches or join The Dolphin Cruises in Inverness to see the majestic dolphins in their natural habitat from land or sea.

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This is merely scratching the surface on what Inverness and Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands have to offer for a fun-filled family holiday. I know we will be planning a visit very soon!

Visiting with babies and toddlers couldn’t be easier either, staying at one of these fabulous cottages featured on the Holiday Tots website.

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This collection of child-friendly holiday cottages offers the perfect base for exploring the area of Loch Ness, Inverness and beyond. The owners are fully committed to the principles of The Children Welcome Scheme and have been approved by Visit Scotland to cater for the needs of children. They provide stairgates, cots, baby bath supports, sterilisers, the list of baby and toddler equipment really is extensive.

Within the grounds there is an enclosed play area with sunken trampoline, swing and sandpit plus an ice cream bar and café for an end of day treat after a day of sightseeing. If you do not want to cook, the owners provide a home-cooked meal service and also have a stock of frozen meals available. More details on the Holiday Tots website.

We think that this area of Scotland, Loch Ness and Inverness, is an overlooked little gem of a location for a family holiday. Full of adventure, magical mysteries, history and stunning scenery, it promises to be an amazing holiday destination for all ages.

Spring to West Sussex for a short family break

West Sussex is perfect for a short spring break with the family as it is located less than two hours’ drive from London and an easy train ride , just. 1 hr 10 from Victoria  to Shoreham-in-Sea.

Boasting beautiful countryside and coastal scenery, West Sussex is also officially the sunniest country in the United Kingdom according to the Met Office records.

There are plenty of child-friendly beaches here, perfect for a brisk walk in wellies wrapped up with scarf and hat on a fresh spring morning. As the weather warms the layers of clothing can disappear and the kids can rummage in the rock pools looking for interesting sea creatures and build sand castles too!

 

West Wittering beach

West Wittering beach has been a family favourite of ours for years. Boasting Blue Flag status, West Wittering offers high quality water, shallow lagoons when the tide is out, and plenty of sand for castle building, all making it perfect for toddlers and young children as well as older members of the family. There is ample parking, especially during the spring, and a dog-friendly section too. During the winter the beach café is generally open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays ( do check before you head off if this important to you).

littlehampton beach

Littlehampton beaches in West Sussex offer an alternative family vibe to West Wittering. Littlehampton itself is a bustling seaside town with award-winning architecture, stage by the sea, award-winning beaches and a seasonal miniature railway. If you are looking for family-friendly events they seem to kick off in April. The Littlehampton beach is a mixture of sand and shingle and there are plenty of amusements for all ages.

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West Sussex is also home to some beautiful and historical market towns, villages and stately homes. Steyning village stands out as possibly one of the prettiest towns in West Sussex with lots of charm and full of independent retailers. The children will love browsing through the interesting shops looking for a gift for a friend or family member back home.

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Arundel Castle is a popular  family-friendly day out, the castle and gardens open on 1st April

Late summer evening shadows on the Downs near Goodwood

The South Downs National Park is perfect for a family adventure. It offers 1,600km2 of amazing views, rolling hills, ancient woodland, market towns and villages, lowland heaths, country pubs, rivers and attractions for everyone.

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Springtime in the South Downs National Park is such a beautiful time to visit with plenty of bluebells to be found!

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Why not get the kids involved in the John Muir awards. Children and adults of all ages are encouraged to explore and create their very own National Park. There are lots of missions your family can take part in. For details visit the John Muir Mission Explorer page of the South Downs National Park website.

Child-friendly holiday cottages in West Sussex

If you are looking for a child-friendly holiday cottage for a short spring family break to West Sussex look no further. These two child-friendly cottages are located within walking distance to this area of the South Downs National park and the River Adur with its woodland trails and miles of beautiful countryside and only 10 minutes’ drive from Shoreham-on-Sea.

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There are two cottages both of which are ideal for families of up to four. They can also be rented together to offer accommodation for up to eight as the interlocking door can be unlocked to create a four bedroom holiday cottage. Within the gardens there are toys, swing, animals to feed and there is also a tea barn and artisan bake house open at various times throughout the year (and swimming pool open May to September)

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/211-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-steyning/

Steyning is located just 5 minutes from here and the owners also have a lovely cottage in the heart of Steyning itself. It has two bedrooms and is ideal for a family of six guests who are welcome to use the facilities at the main house.

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The owners can offer babysitting and beauty treatments in any of their cottages. All the cottages are baby and toddler friendly with stairgates, cots, highchairs, baby bath, monitors, toys etc.

Child-friendly holiday cottage in Steyning, West Sussex

More family days out in West Sussex…

Here are some more ideas for a fab family day out during Spring (or any time of year) in West Sussex, all are close to the holiday cottages above:

 

Lambing at Coombes farm

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Stans Bike shack is fun for a pit stop before a lovely walk or cycle along the downs link.

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The wetlands centre in Arundel is a great day out, with family friendly events throughout the year including Puddle Jumping Championships – spring half term 2017!

Petworth Park has wild deer and the house is national trust and always runs great fun events in school holidays and also nearby Knepp Castle has wildlife safaris which are great fun, they do dawn/dusk/bees and other animals. The owners of the cottages went on a deer rut safari there in Oct and say it was great fun!

West Sussex is beautiful any time of year. Springtime here is just as stunning as other seasons, you can just feel everything waking after its long winter sleep, buds on the trees, bluebells in the woods and spring lambs popping up in the fields and maybe some puddles to splash in too!

What are you waiting for!

 

 

Standon Calling Festival: boutique, family fun in Hertfordshire

IMG_0796Standon Calling Festival is held in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside. It’s small, but not too small that you feel you are milling around in a field.  There is enough to keep all ages entertained from babies through to grandparents, offering family fun by day and a young party vibe by night. The music acts are varied from pop and rock to hard hitting electronic and everything in between. My husband had never been to a festival before and so he joined us under duress, at the end of the three days we had to drag him away!

If you are a virgin festival goer but like camping the main difference you will find is that the camping fields (we stayed in the family field) are quite tight, you get to know your neighbours! If you have a group going like we did just pitch up at the same time and this will give you a little area for a gathering, although you will find that you spend most of your time in the festival ground.

IMG_0945Freddie is 7. When I asked him what he enjoyed the most he simply said ‘everything,’ then when I asked him ‘do you enjoy camping or festival camping the best?’ He replied festival camping of course ooh arghhh!’

Standon is a great introduction to festival life, the themed costumes are amazing, this year being Legends of the Sea- I’m looking forward to seeing what next year’stheme will be.

There are the usual children’s activities and a baby and toddler area but the added bonus is the swimming pool, if the weather is favourable it’s a great area for a family splash around. There is also an annual dog show that seems to be very popular, our dog Millie won first prize in the waggiest tail class!IMG_0908

The main stage has a great space in front of it, room enough to laze through the afternoon listening to lesser known bands and didn’t feel too cramped when the main acts were on either. In fact the children’s area was situated to the left of the stage which lent itself to the left hand side of the stage becoming a family area.

People here were nice, we felt safe and there really was a happy go lucky festival vibe, it was great to mill around stopping at a stage or act that caught our fancy when we felt like it. The kids loved being able to get close to the main acts too and the cashless wrist bands were a god send, they loved having control of their own money and we had no fear of them losing it.

All in all Standon Calling Festival rocked! Here are is our journey in pictures…

We were given tickets for Standon Calling Festival this year and this is our honest review. When we get given tickets to anything for review I always ask myself ‘would we go if we had to pay?’ We will be going back in 2017 even if we are not invited to review, so there is your answer, and we can’t wait!