Tag Archives: camping

Glamping at Camp Katur, North Yorkshire

AD/Press Trip. Last year we well and truly discovered the joy of glamping. We trotted off to the Lake District for a weekend in a Yurt and we fell hard for the homely charms which glamping offered. Keen to have another lovely few days under canvas, over half term we stayed at Camp Katur in North Yorkshire for a couple of days.

Camp Katur is located on the Camp Hill Estate in Bedale, North Yorkshire. It’s home to Camp Hill House, an 18th century mansion house with a large estate. Nestled in a field tucked away in woodland is Camp Katur Glamping Village. Within the village there are a number of different glamping options; you can stay in bell tents, hobbit pods, a geodome, teepees, safari tents, amongst other options. We stayed in one of the larger safari tents which had its own private bathroom, which was nice.

Glamping at Camp Katur, North Yorkshire

Arriving at Camp Katur early afternoon, we checked in and walked through the woods and across a lovely meadowy field to our home for the next two nights. We were staying in Afia, a tent which came with a comfy sofa, a woodburner, gas stove, running water and beds for up to 8 people. There was also a private bathroom in a shed, a roomy veranda, a brick BBQ and peace. So much peace.

I really loved having our own en suite shed. It had a cute tin bucket sink, a proper toilet and a shower. It was clean and it was ours. I don’t mind shared facilities, but having your own really feels like a bit of luxury in the woods.

Glamping at Camp Katur, North Yorkshire

There is no electricity; so the heating is from your woodburner and your lights are from torches, candles and little strings of battery powered fairy lights which are dotted around the place. There were plenty of candles supplied and once you’d lit all the lanterns it was really cosy.

The safari tent really was a little spot of luxury in the woods. There were three bedrooms, a kitchen area, dining table and chairs and a huge leather sofa. Lots of outdoor seating, and of course the en suite shed. It was everything you could want. Perfect for a big family or a group of friends. We loved it.

Glamping at Camp Katur, North Yorkshire

Although there are a number of tents and pods dotted around the place, there is plenty of room between them and honestly we didn’t hear a peep from anyone else the whole time we were there. There were other families there and most of the kids congregated in the long grass in the middle of the field, playing games and chasing each other, which was great for our boy who quickly made friends and disappeared for hours, only returning for juice and snacks.

The glamping village itself is well thought out. There’s a small shed shop with limited opening hours; though soon after we arrived one of the lovely wardens came over to check everything was ok and to ask if we needed anything from the shop –  we did, we got a couple of disposable barbecues.

Camp Katur also has a BBQ Grill Cabin you can hire and an Eco Spa which I walked past lustfully several times. Next time we visit, I am totally booking that out for a few hours. In the Eco Spa there’s a sauna, a hot tub, a little zen garden and some chairs to recline on. Elsewhere there’s a huge adventure playground for kids, a swing park and you can book yourself on quad biking sessions, a high ropes course, segway rides and footgolf. There’s so much going on, but it’s so peaceful you’d never know unless your sought it out.

Glamping at Camp Katur, North Yorkshire

Our nights in the safari tent was really cosy. As the sun set we would move inside, light the woodburner, snuggle under blankets and read to each other by candlelight. The beds inside the tent were real beds, with proper memory-foam mattresses. We filled hot water bottles and snuggled down to sleep, and sleep we did. We occasionally heard the screech of an owl in the woods; but they were two of the best nights sleep I’d had in a long while.

Whilst there’s lots to do on site, we had plans to explore the area a bit. There are lots of local attractions and thing to do, but we fancied a walk and some scenery, so we visited Aysgarth Falls, about an hours drive away. It was well worth the drive, we took a picnic and had a good walk. We stopped in Bedale on the way home to buy some provisions for the night. Bedale is a really lovely market town which a great butchers, bakers, a couple of small supermarkets and a really good chip shop.

There’s plenty of civilisation nearby; but camped out on the edge of the woods, looking out over a meadowy field, you could well be in the middle of nowhere. Camp Katur is a magical site. There’s plenty to do, buckets of peace and quiet and the time and the space to rest and wind down for a few days. Wind down we did. We read books; walked, talked, breathed in the fresh air; we played cards, reconnected and fell back in love with our family again. Simplicity does that.

Find out more about Camp Katur by clicking here. For more information about glamping in the UK, visit the Campsites.co.uk website.

 

Glamping at Camp Katur, North Yorkshire

Disclosure: We were invited guests of Camp Katur, all images an opinions are our own. Camp Katur hosted our stay and Campsites.co.uk only helped to arrange the visit.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

AD/ Last year the first ever Timber Festival was held in the beautiful and unique surroundings of the National Forest at Feanedock. It was three days of music, arts, creativity and philosophy in the woods. Timber Festival 2019 is returning this year on 5th, 6th and 7th July, and we are excited to be going along for the ride!

Timber is located at Feanedock, a 70 acre woodland site in the Midlands. The woodland has been transformed from a former coalfield to be part of the first forest to be created in England for over 1,000 years. It’s a truly unique site and it’s growing by the day.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

The 2018 Timber Festival was really special; there was a huge moon in the woods, amazing music, storytelling around the campfire; the boy went on adventures, climbed trees, built a den, explored and grew in so many ways. It was an experience we are very keen to repeat, so we’re going again this year.

The festival is divided into eight distinct areas; The Eyrie Stage, Field Notes, As the Crow Flies, Elemental, Halcyon Days, Shivelight, The Canopy and The Common. Each area has its own thing going on, so for example, the Eyrie Stage is dedicated to the best in spoken word and live music and in Halcyon Days you’ll find all kinds of circus skills and woodland games.

If you’re planning on going to Timber as a family with children, then your plan for the weekend will probably be very different to an adult group.  Last year there were a number of really memorable things which we all loved; I’m pleased to see a lot of them back again this year.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

Unmissable things to do at Timber Festival 2019!

Bushcraft Survival – Discover your inner Bear Grylls in these handy workshops!

Visit the Perfectly Edible Binner Table for ‘Binner’. They will be cooking up a vibrant 2-Course Dinner made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been sent to landfill.

Foraging for Modern Humans will show you how to do it safely and ethically and explores why she believes that foraging is still important for 21st century living.

Visit Shivelight and relax with some Laughter Yoga; Tai Chi; Reiki or Forest Bathing; or just chill out with a book in the Woodland Library.

Shimmer in the Elemental area is an immersive diffusion system includes a 12-channel sound experience that uses copper-alloy cymbals as speakers to control the intensity of light to manipulate pattern and shapes.

Families would enjoy the Willow Maze and the Woodland Cinema, both in the Elemental area.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

Inside the As the Crow Flies area, you’ll find storytelling legend, Ian Douglas perched around the campfire telling his tall tales. For a bit of mad science, Dieter Wadeson is hilarious and dangerous in equal measure. If you are around the campfire as the night draws in, get your toes tapping to the Campfire Bands.

Visit the Moth Hotel have a go one the Giant Marble Run. There are also Slacklines to balance on, trees to climb and the ever popular Hammer & Chisel area, where kids can get building.

The Eyrie Stage was a bit of a hidden gem last year. Tucked away in the woodland, this stage was really popular with an eclectic mix of music and artists. This year you can enjoy BBC Radio 3’s Elizabeth Alker curating the Saturday programme; The Coal Tits; The Screeching Bluejays; Woodland DJs; MUHA and The Roots Community Choir.

In Field Notes, you’ll find the best of nature writing, storytelling and cutting edge ideas; from Stuart Maconie talking about writing his book, The Long Road from Jarrow; Gwenno who is Single-handedly raising the profile of the Cornish language and music from Another Sky, Otto & The Mutapa Calling and Cut A Shine.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

There are a million more things to see and do at Timber Festival; and new acts are being added all the time. To see the full line up and for more information about Timber Festival, visit the website.

Timber Festival 2019 will take place on 5/6/7 July 2019; at Feanedock, near Ashby de la Zouch, in the National Forest.

Disclosure: We been offered tickets to the Timber Festival 2019 in exchange for a preview and an honest review.

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

The last few months have felt pretty hectic for our family. We’ve been here, there and everywhere; almost always in a rush and not spending enough time just enjoying being together. Over the weekend we packed up the car and headed off to Inside Out Camping in the small village of Seatoller in the Borrowdale valley. Seatoller is near Keswick in the Lake District and we were glamping for two nights, staying in a Yurt. There was no electricity, no WiFi, no phone signal; just us and the great outdoors and it was nothing short of wonderful.

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

I’ve wanted to go glamping for a while. The idea of not having to put up or take down a tent and not having to carry every single thing we’d need for the weekend was very appealing. I also liked the idea of a little bit of luxury in the middle of nowhere; in this case, a woodburner and a comfy futon to sleep on. There’s something quite luxurious about just being able to turn up without a car full of camping gear which takes a few hours to set up. Glamping is still camping, but with more of the comforts of home.

We arrived at Seatoller near Keswick, and spotting some of the yurts from the main road, made our way down the track to the small campsite. There are six yurts available to book and space for other campers in their own tents too. The site runs alongside the River Derwent, which when we arrived was a gentle, shimmering river which babbled alongside the yurts.

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

We walked down to our yurt at the far end of the site. It stood right next to the river. Outside was a wooden picnic table and two wooden steps to the door of the yurt. Inside was a clean and well-equipped space. There was one double futon and two single futons with clean, crisp bedding. There was a gas stove and a kitchen area, plus a woodburner with a bag of logs to get us started.

We unpacked, got settled in and did what all English people do; we made a cup of tea. The boy ran about exploring the site, he crossed the bridge several times and scrambled down the banks of the river. On a warmer (or braver) day we might have all gone for a paddle, but we didn’t. The site is like a fairy glen and although it’s small, there’s a lot to explore.

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

You do need a torch when you’re walking through the campsite at night back to the yurt. The site is unlit and without electricity, though the yurts have solar-powered lights and fairy lights too.

At night the yurt is really cosy. The beds have feather duvets and pillows and I’d forgotten just how snuggly they were. Tucked up in bed with the woodburner flickering away in the corner; a mug of cocoa and the fairy lights on, it’s a little piece of heaven. After a busy day walking and exploring the Lake District, we’d all fall into bed, talking and laughing together until we drifted off to sleep. With the stars shimmering through the skylight, it was truly magical.

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

Inside Out Camping is located on Seatoller Farm which is a sheep farm near Kewsick. The campsite is surrounded by fields of Herdwick sheep (my favourite breed of sheep, yes I have a favourite breed). You can walk up to the farm and buy Herdwick sausages and burgers to take home or cook in your yurt. We had a busy weekend planned and we didn’t end up making anything more adventurous than breakfast and endless cups of coffee.

Although the site feels like it’s really out in the sticks, it’s very well served by regular public transport from Keswick. Just over a mile up the road, the Langstrath Country Inn serves good food. There are more pubs dotted along the road to Keswick, and once in Keswick there are more places to eat and drink than you can shake a stick at!

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

I confess I did have a slight wobble on the first night about there being no internet. I had a word with myself and just embraced it. There’s no better place for me than being beside my 7 year old when he’s on an adventure; climbing trees, scrabbling over rocks, defending the bridge from imaginary marauding pirates. You don’t need the internet or electricity for that.

It’s a small site with a basic but clean toilet block. Showers are available at the farmhouse a ten minute walk up the road.

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

The Inside Out Camping yurts are an absolutely ideal base for visiting the Lake District. Whether you’re on a walking holiday, or exploring with the family. The area was wild and rugged enough to feel like you’ve really stepped away from the hustle and bustle of life at home; but close enough to Keswick to not be too far from the home comforts a city girl appreciates (Booths. I mean Booths).

Seatoller is a magical place. The Borrowdale valley is very beautiful and with autumn beginning to make itself known, it was a valley of mists and mellow fruitfulness. We were sad to pack up and leave after our two days of yurt life. It hadn’t taken long to settle into a rhythm there. I liked the home comforts and the peace. The boys liked exploring and we all really liked just chilling out together. It’s unusual for us all to agree on something, but we all really enjoyed our taste of yurt life and beautiful Borrowdale has a way of getting under your skin.

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

We all want to go glamping again, we all want to stay in a yurt too; and I think a return visit to Inside Out Camping will be on our list for next year.

Yurts at Inside Out Camping at Seatoller Farm start from £285 for a three night weekend stay. For more information about glamping in the UK, visit the Campsites.co.uk website.

Glamping at Inside Out Camping, Keswick

We were invited guests of Inside Out Camping. All our images and opinions are our own.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

At the start of the summer, my Facebook timeline was full of memes about how we only get 18 summers with our children and how we need to make the most of them. This is summer number 8 for us, and the annual highlight of our “making the most of our time together” is always the Just So Festival. It’s three days away together, entirely unplugged; learning, exploring, enjoying and just loving everything the festival has to offer.

The Just So Festival 2018 has had a tiny shake up. All the old favourites were there, but just enough things had changed to keep it fresh for the families like us who come year after year.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

Back in July we went to the Timber Festival, run by the people behind Just So, but aimed at a slightly older crowd with more of an ecological bent. There were some really fabulous things at Timber which thankfully made their way to Just So too. Things like The Lost Words, The Moth Hotel, Hammer and Chisel and the Coppice Maze.

A couple of the areas had been jigged about, the (fabulous) Flamingo Lounge was up near the Village Green and seemed more popular than ever. Hurrah for the Pirate King was a surprising but wonderful opera-ballet-pirate mash up with added unicorn. Modern Warrior was a great opportunity for everyone to get involved in a spot of martial arts style dance and The Silent Disco was a particular highlight (do not miss this if it’s on next year).

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

Down by the lake, there was a re-named area called Roll up! Roll up! which had more of a circus theme. There were circus skills workshops running throughout, trapeze artists, a custard catwalk, the amazing Band at the End of the World and the incredible Bullzini Family running high-wire workshops and putting on a spectacular performance.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

I really enjoyed the Idlewood area this year, the Woodland Library had moved in and there were lots of colourful hammocks lashed to the trees where you could recline and relax with a good book. There were also theatre performances, Tai Chi and a chance to meet the Fairy Queen.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

The highlight for me, was as always the Spellbound Forest. Tucked away in the woods, perched on a log around the campfire, listening to ancient stories told by Ian Douglas, watching Mr Foppletwig and Professor Pumpernickel variously perform amazing magic tricks and scientific experiments and campfire songs with Ian Mackintosh. It’s so comfortable around that campfire, it often feels like hard work to tear yourself away and explore what else is going on.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

And there is so much going on. There are three packed Just So days and it’s almost impossible to get round to everything you want to see and do. I always end up having Just So regrets about things I have missed. Things people tell you about after they’ve happened. You make a mental note of it for next year and hope for the best.

Just So is such a remarkably safe space for families. It’s safe in a way that you can send a pair of 8 year olds off into the woods to do a Barefoot Walk for 10 minutes and know that they will come back filthy, with damp socks and full of the spirit of independence. It’s safe in the way that you know that everything they see and do will enrich them in some way. It is safe, because it just is.

Making Marvellous Memories at Just So Festival 2018

We sang, we danced, we ate, we laughed, I might have had a little cry of loveliness too. We had late nights, early mornings. We were filthy, we were covered in sand, custard and feathers, but we were happy and we were free. Just So is three wonderful, magical days a year which we remember incredibly fondly and look forward to above and beyond anything else.

See you round the campfire next year?

To grab your tickets for next year’s Just So Festival, visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.

Preview: Timber Festival – a brand new family festival!

This July sees the first ever Timber Festival which is located in the stunning surroundings of the National Forest. Timber is a family festival which is taking place on the 6th – 8th July in Feanedock, in the heart of the National Forest. Brought to you by Just So Festival organisers, Wild Rumpus, the Timber Festival is set to be a thought-provoking three days in the forest.

Preview: Timber Festival - a brand new family festival!

Timber will be three days of music, arts, creativity and philosophy in the woods. With lots of different areas in the woods where festival-goers will be able to learn, relax, experience or just be. There will be live music, workshops, discussions, a chance to really chill out, great food, light and fire installations as well as storytelling and a lantern procession. Timber has seven themes to explore, with lots of different things happening in each one. The themes are; Gather, Provocation, Sound, Light, Breath, Feast and Time.

The Breath theme includes family yoga, Tai Chi, Indian head massage and forest bathing. I am in dire need of some serious chill out time, so I think I know where I’ll be spending the weekend!

Preview: Timber Festival - a brand new family festival!

You can camp in the forest, learn more about the woods, reconnect with nature and have a really special weekend with the family. We are Just So Festival veterans and our favourite part of Just So is spending time in the Spellbound Forest; so I have high hopes that Timber Festival will have all of the wonder of the Spellbound Forest and more!

With den building, crafts, woodland workshops, campfire songs, tree climbing; as well as famous faces such as Stuart Maconie, Geoff Bird and Robert Macfarlane; Timber looks set to be a fabulously thought-provoking and fun weekend for the whole family.

Come along to the Timber Festival this July where the peaceful tonic of the wildness rules supreme!

Preview: Timber Festival - a brand new family festival!

Timber Festival is on the 6th – 8th of July 2018. Tickets for Timber Festival are now available at £130 /£45 for a weekend ticket; £40 /£15 for day visitors, under 3’s free. People who live within the National Forest get an additional 10% off their ticket price.
For more information about Timber Festival, visit their website.

What’s new at the Just So Festival this year?

Have you got your tickets for the Just So Festival yet? If you haven’t, you’ll be missing out on three days of weird, wonderful and incredibly magical family fun. We went last year and had the best time, it was the absolute highlight of our year. Three days and nights off grid, spending time together with family and friends; walking barefoot in the woods, having insane pillow fights and dressing up as bees (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it). Here’s what’s new and wonderful this year.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

Taking place on 17th – 19th August at the Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire this year’s Just So Festival is packed with familiar old favourites and an array of exciting new things to see, do and experience. Step out of your everyday life and enter a wonderland of world-class literature, arts, theatre, dance, music, comedy and creative pursuits together as a family. Immerse yourselves in a weekend full of magical midnight feasts, curious creatures, raucous pillow fights, hidden retreats, top-notch food, drink and boutique camping options and breathtaking beauty.

What's new at the Just So Festival this year?

Join the Tribal Tournament – the most bonkers competition in the land! Dress up as a fox, owl, stag, frog, fish, bee or a lion and compete to win gold pebbles,. Take part in the glorious Tribal Tournament and the tribe with the highest score wins. Who will lift the Tribal Trophy this year?

New for 2018 there is the intriguing and enthralling Playground of Illusions. This is a new area full of mystery and trickery from Travelling Light Circus – see the world in a new light in this hypnotic fusion of science and art.

Roll Up, Roll Up will be a glorious large-scale area by the lake, dedicated to all things circus and seaside. Expect tumblers, somersaults and aerial mastery from the best performers in the land including a spectacular high wire show Equilibrius and tightrope workshops from The Bullzini Family.

There’s also The Flamingo Lounge, an area filled to the brim with all things dance. Strut your stuff at Silent Discos and summon all strength for Power Ballad Yoga. Whirl, swirl, disco, cancan, jig, jive, rhumba, spin, strut, shimmy, swing, two-step and throw all kinds of shapes in this gloriously kitsch wonderland. When night falls you can boogie the night away here too.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

Step into the extraordinary Spellbound Forest for tales from storyteller extraordinaire Ian Douglas. Enjoy a Barefoot Walk, or nature and bush crafts; den building, tree climbing, campfire tales and bonfire bands and sing songs as dusk falls and the forest really comes to life.

Visit a living Weleda garden to discover more about the amazing healing properties and powers of our native plants. Join the Weleda team for a tea party and sample Weleda’s pure and 100% certified natural products. Enjoy some grown-up relaxation time with complimentary Weleda Skin Food hand massages.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

The Just So Festival is set in woodland clearings; with rolling parkland, arboreal amphitheatres and lakeside spots in the Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire; one of the most stunning landscapes in the UK. Families choosing to camp at the festival can experience the stunning boutique camping area in Landpods, yurts, bell tents, tipis and vintage tents; or bring your own tent or camper van.

If you’re planning to come to Just So 2018 you are advised to buy tickets earlier than usual this year. Tickets selling at a record rate for this limited capacity event.

For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

We’ve been going to the Just So Festival for four years now and each year we throw ourselves into the magic of it all. It is absolutely the highlight of our year. This year was no different, we arrived anticipating good things and we left sad that it was all over for another year. Just So Festival 2017 was an utterly enchanting experience.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

There’s so much going on at the Just So Festival, it’s impossible to fit everything you want to do into a weekend. We’d been quite organised before we arrived and I’d jotted down a timetable of things we’d like to see and do, knowing that we would miss some of what we’d selected, but we’d probably accidentally happen upon some Just So magic along the way.

It’s almost impossible to choose just five outstanding things from the Just So Festival 2017, but after much deliberation we’ve narrowed it down to these weird, wonderful and decidedly enchanting Just So moments –

The Just So Pillow Fight!

Ben took a bit of persuading to get stuck into the pillow fight, but once he could see his friends in there having fun there was no stopping him. The pillow fight is a completely bonkers but wonderful sight. Several hundred people bashing each other with pillows, most of which burst and feathers flew everywhere. The initial fight went on for about half an hour, with proceedings being halted a couple of times to retrieve children lost in the feathery mire. 

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

The fighting went on for several hours, with small skirmishes periodically breaking out. It was the most fun to take part in and almost as much fun to watch. The pillow fight is a definite highlight!

Campfire in the Spellbound Forest

The Spellbound Forest is my absolute favourite area at Just So. We always gather each night around the campfire to listen to storyteller Ian Douglas; marvel at Dieter’s mad science and sing our hearts out with resident Scout Master, Ian Mackintosh. This year something a little different happened in the forest, Ian Douglas got married at Just So and we were all invited to the Wedding Feast around the campfire. It was an evening of storytelling, song, celebration and magic. 

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

The Spellbound Forest is also the place to be for a whole raft of creative and nature based activities. We went on a wonderfully refreshing barefoot walk though the woods. Once again we made clay faces; we toasted marshmallows at campfire cookery; enjoyed the intimate little Theatre for One sessions and met the Wildlife Champions from Chester Zoo. There was no formal den building session this year, but our adventurer and his friends built their own and it was brilliant.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

Peekaboo and the Weleda Tent

With the boy being a strapping six years old, really we have no business being in the Peekaboo area (which is for babies and toddlers really). But this year there was a mud play area which was planted up with bee loving plants. Our little bee couldn’t stay away. He loved digging and discovering more about the plants.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

I also owe a debt of thanks to the Weleda team. I’d booked a free Skin Food Hand Massage which took place in a shed. On my way to the massage I fell over, skinned my knees and made my bottom lip wobble. They were very lovely to me when I arrived at the shed and let me sit down to gather my thoughts and gave me some cream for my knees. The hand massage was also excellent, I felt so relaxed and my hands were treated to some much needed TLC. 

Insect Eating, Wild Food & Foraging at The Social Barn

We all fancied learning more about foraging so off we went to the Social Barn. While we waited for the session to start the boys got stuck into some insect eating (dried mealworms and crickets), they also did some jellybean architecture and tried some wild food before we went off to explore the Rode Hall estate in search of foraged goodies.

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

Under the expert guidance of James Wood, professional wild food forager, we learned about how to find and cook elderberries, nettles, chestnuts, acorns and hawthorn berries. All the boys got stuck in, foraging for goodies and we even got to sample some of the wild food. I can say that I’ve eaten an uncooked nettle and it didn’t sting!

Just So Festival 2017: Joining the Bee Tribe

Just So is famous for its Tribal Tournament. Each year families dress up as owls, foxes, frogs, stags, lions, fish or bees. The new tribe this year were the Bees, being from Manchester we just had to be Manchester Worker Bees. There were lots and lots of bees this year, all in sunny yellow, sporting wings and striped socks. We’d been fairly low-key with out costumes, wearing yellow and black tops with bee wings and antennae. 

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

We fully embraced the Tribal Tournament this year, with the boys all buzzing about collecting the golden nuggets to give to the Queen Bee. Alas we didn’t win this year, but we had a good time trying. The foxes won and were a little smug about it. Maybe the bees need to bring them down a peg or two next year!

Just So Festival 2017: The best of the rest…

You could easily spend a week at Just So, but you have to squish it all in to just three days (or one day if you’ve got a day ticket). I couldn’t possibly list all the amazing stuff we did and saw and ate, but honourable mentions to go – The Baghdaddies; Stargazing at The Observatory; The Cautionary Tales of Animalia; How I Hacked My Way Into Space; The Actual reality Arcade; Dancing the Conga; The Forgotten Courtyard; Away with the Fairies and the wonderful wand making workshop; Bollywood dancing at Jitterbug; and the food, ALL the food!

Our 5 favourite things from the Just So Festival 2017

It was a wonderful weekend. It filled our hearts up with joy and creativity and adventure. We were happier, better people for our time at the Just So Festival 2017. Roll on next year!

Early bird tickets for Just So Festival 2018 (17 – 19 August, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire) are on sale from Friday 25 August at www.justsofestival.org.uk at special early bird prices. Under 3s free.

Family Festival: What’s on at Just So Festival 2017?

The Just So Festival is now in its 8th year and 2017 promises to be a vintage one for this award-winning family festival. Produced by Wild Rumpus and taking place on 18th-20th August at Rode Hall in Cheshire, the Just So Festival is a wonderful melting pot of music, literature, arts, theatre, dance, comedy, storytelling, magic and adventure, with new and exciting sights, sounds and things to do. This annual, intimate, weekend-long family festival is an imaginative outdoor adventure like no other.

Family Festival: What's on at Just So Festival 2017?

Just So veterans will recognise the familiar festival goings on, such as tales from storyteller extraordinaire, Ian Douglas as well as campfire music and songs in the Spellbound Forest. There’s a full programme of extraordinary events happening throughout the weekend. Experience the wonder of the Woodland Theatre. Encounter lands, creatures and characters beyond your wildest dreams in Tales of Animalia. Visit Away With The Fairies, an enchanting secret fairyland where sprites make mischief up in the trees and you could with luck meet the Fairy Queen.

Sing and dance your socks off at the Footlights stage with over 20 brilliant artists and bands performing over the weekend, including Just So legends The Baghdaddies. Dance the night away in the Jitterbug tent where you can learn to dance the CanCan, Charleston, Circus Swing, Flatfooting, Bollywood, Ballet, Tap and Jive, not forgetting the retro disco.

Explore the universe at The Observatory.  Learn about the constellations with Star Gazing sessions led by an astronomer, make an array of star and moon shaped lanterns to parade against the twilight sky. Explore the High Seas and enjoy some family yoga, tai chi, meditation and take a wooden rowing boat out on to the tranquil lake.

Family Festival: What's on at Just So Festival 2017?

The littlest Just So adventurers should head directly to The Peekaboo Garden – an entire area of art, music, paint, clay, dens and bubbles and top notch facilities for the under 4’s.

This year Just So are introducing some exciting new areas to explore. By the lake you’ll find the Silver Screen – an area dedicated to your favourite family films, recreate iconic dance scenes, join in a chorus line or become an extra in a Just So production. In the Social Barn next to The Social you’ll find insect eating, foraging and the first ever Just So jelly fight. Not to mention peculiar picnics, barmy dinner parties, a food funny face challenge, plus the legendary Just So Midnight Feast and The Great Just So Bake Off.

Discover the new Forgotten Courtyard. Tucked away in the ruins of the Old Tenants’ Hall is Rode’s beautiful Italian Garden complete with a fountain, Italian cypress and olive trees. Find this secret spot in the grounds of Rode Hall and take part in workshops, provocations, debates and talks. Meet some of the UK’s favourite children’s authors and find out more about the world around us.

Family Festival: What's on at Just So Festival 2017?

Take yourself out of your day-to-day lives and experience a weekend of pure magic and wonder. At the heart of Just So is the now famous Tribal Tournament. Join in with the most bonkers competition in the land as festival goers of all ages dress up as a fish, frog, fox, owl, lion or stag and compete throughout the weekend to see which tribe comes out on top.

Whether you’re visiting for a day, or camping for the weekend, the Just So Festival is just the ticket for fantastic family fun. Get creative with clay, make a paper lantern, sing, dance, explore and immerse yourself in the magic and creativity of this wonderful family festival.

Families planning to come to Just So 2017 are being advised to buy tickets earlier than usual this year, with tickets selling at a record rate for the 5000 capacity August event.

For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.uk 

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

The Just So Festival is an annual, intimate, weekend-long family festival is a wonderful, creative, arty, family outdoor adventure like no other. We go each year and it is such a highlight. I look forward to it all year long; we can’t wait to get there and we are always sad to leave.

Now in its 8th year, the 2017 this award-winning family festival just gets better and better. Each August the Just So Festival pitches up in the gorgeous grounds of Rode Hall in Cheshire, filling three days with music, literature, arts, theatre, dance, comedy, storytelling, magic and adventure. We always leave feeling inspired, rejuvenated and completely reconnected as a family.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

Produced by Wild Rumpus, the Just So Festival this year takes place on 18th-20th August. You can go for a day, or you can camp for the weekend. We have done both. We loved camping at the festival so much, being under canvas really adds to the adventure.

Why should you go to the Just So Festival this year?

ONE – Around the campfire
There’s so much to do at Just So, it’s hard to pick favourites. But we loved being around the campfire before bedtime, singing our hearts out with Scout Master, Ian Macintosh and listening to stories told by Just So legend, Ian Douglas. It sends you off to bed feeling happy, content and smelling vaguely of wood-smoke.

TWO – The first ever Just So Jelly Fight!
This year for the first time, in the Social Barn next to The Social you’ll find insect eating, foraging, jelly bean architecture and the first ever Just So jelly fight. Get ready to join in with the messiest, stickiest and most ridiculous of food fights.

THREE – Tribal Tournament
Just So veterans will know all about the famous festival Tribal Tournament. Festival goers of all ages dress up as a fish, frog, fox, owl, lion or stag and compete throughout the weekend to see which tribe comes out on top. Join in the Wild Rumpus Parade at the end of the weekend where the winners are crowned!

FOUR – Food, glorious food!
The range of food available at the Just So Festival is incredible. The Social area is where most of the food stalls are, but there are more on the Village Green and in the High Seas area. If you wanted to you could eat something wildly different for every meal at Just So. Our favourites are the grilled sweetcorn from Cotswold Corn Roast, ice cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium and hot dogs a-plenty from Piggy Smalls. Though other food vendors are available.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

FIVE – Do the Jitterbug!
Strut your stuff at the night time retro discos in the Jitterbug tent – dressing up is encouraged! If daytime dance is more your thing, you can learn to dance the CanCan, Charleston, Circus Swing, Flatfooting, Bollywood, Ballet, Tap and Jive. 

SIX – The wonderful Rode Hall Estate
The Rode Hall Estate is beautiful and absolutely perfectly designed for the wonderful goings on at the festival. Explore the grounds and find hidden magic around every corner. New this year is the Forgotten Courtyard, a beautiful Italian Garden tucked away in the ruins of the Old Tenants’ Hall complete with a fountain, Italian cypress and olive trees. Find this secret spot and take part in workshops, discussions, debates and talks, plus meet some of the UK’s favourite children’s authors there.

Plus this year the Rode Hall Tea Rooms will be open for homemade breakfasts, lunches and cakes made from the organic produce grown on the estate. I heartily recommend their Staffordshire Oatcakes and steaming mugs of tea!

SEVEN – Carry on Camping, or glamping if you prefer
I didn’t think I’d be a happy camper, but I was. In our first family camping weekend, we whispered into the night under the canvas, cooked sausages on our little camping stove and snuggled up like caterpillars in our sleeping bags. 

With toilet blocks and actual real life showers with hot water, the facilities are excellent. If you have tiny tots they have their own special baby bath time available in Peekaboo. 

For campers who fancy a touch of luxury, there are a range of glamping options available to pre-book and campervans and caravans are welcome. Come for the weekend, camp, have fun, go off grid, get twigs in your hair, let go, have fun.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

EIGHT – Award winning Accessibility
I have chronic pain and nerve damage. I can’t really feel my feet and legs, so accessibility is important to me. The Just So Festival organisers have thought of everything; from accessible camping, refrigeration for medication, wheelchair charging points as well as accessible toilets and changing areas.

I used many of the accessible facilities last year I can say hand on heart they accessibility is excellent and is seamlessly woven into the fabric of Just So.  It’s a truly accessible event. And that’s exactly how it should be for everyone, everywhere.

NINE – Lively live music!
Down by The Social, you’ll find the Footlights stage with over 20 brilliant artists and bands performing over the weekend, including Just So legends David Gibb, The Baghdaddies and singer, Laura Oakes. 
 

These are my nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year. These are only nine of about 900 wonderful reasons. There’s so much to see, do and experience there. Immerse yourself in the magic and creativity of this wonderful family festival. Leave feeling inspired, rejuvenated and completely reconnected as a family.

Tickets for this intimate and fabulous family festival are selling fast, so make sure you book your tickets as early as you can. 

For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.ukKeep up with the adventure and follow Just So on Twitter and Facebook.

Nine reasons to go to the Just So Festival this year

My blog post about my accessibility experience at Just So can be found here.

Just So Festival Accessibility – put to the test

In August we went to the Just So Festival for the weekend. I was incredibly excited and a little bit apprehensive about going for various reasons. We were camping together as a family for the first time, and for me that felt like a bit of a challenge, as I have chronic pain and nerve damage which means I can’t really feel my feet and legs. 

Just So Festival 2016

I’m used to it now and ordinarily I am able to manage it to the point that most people can’t tell until I walk on an uneven path or down some stairs or a hill where I have to concentrate hard and maybe hang on to something or someone for stability.

The pain and the medication I take to manage that mean that I get tired more easily and need to rest regularly. I was worried about managing my pain levels, being able to rest, struggling to walk and stay on my feet for longer than I ought to and having somewhere I could relax, take my pills and stretch out for an hour. 

I try not to let my pain and funny legs stop me from doing much, but the thought of camping for a whole weekend was challenging for me. Happily the people behind the Just So Festival are the most amazing, accommodating and helpful people I’ve probably ever encountered. 

They have a very detailed information page on their website with pretty much everything you need to know about Just So Festival accessibility for people with additional needs or who are disabled. They’ve thought of almost everything, from wheelchair charging, fridge space for medication, dedicated quiet spaces and advice on how to make the best of some aspects of the festival, like the famous lantern parade. 

just so festival accessibility

This is one of the glamping tents in the accessible camping area

I decided to apply for an accessible camping space, this area is located next to the main entrance and has a wheelchair-accessible shower, accessible toilet and a water point within 50 feet. In this area you are also able to park next to your tent. Just So reviewed my application and allocated us a spot. I was really pleased as I knew being closer to the entrance would really help me manage myself better over the weekend.

Just So Festival Accessibility

Our tiny tent in the accessible camping area

The next challenge for me was sleeping in a tent. I stiffen up overnight and I wasn’t sure how I’d get on with sleeping on the floor. We thought long and hard about it and decided to buy an airbed. We had a tent which we used a few times before my accident, so we decided to give that an airing and camp in that. The small boy was beyond himself with excitement! 

When we arrived on the first day, the accessible camping area was already filling up. We were welcomed by Callum, the Safeguarding and Accessibility Manager who was really helpful. We managed to pitch our tiny 3 person tent in the rain and head off to enjoy the festival.

Close to our small tent were a toilet and shower cubicle as well as a Mobiloo, a small truck which looked spotlessly clean. The Mobiloo is a place where disabled people can use the loo and have a wash in comfort and warmth. I didn’t use the Mobiloo, but I can vouch for the disabled toilet which was emptied each night and was pretty clean and tidy. I remember hideous festival toilets of the 90s and these were a world apart. 

In terms of Just So Festival Accessibility, the festival is largely set around proper hard paths, with some firm bark chipped paths in the woods. It rained a lot during the weekend and this had churned up lots of mud. The festival organisers managed this by putting straw down which made the paths much easier to walk on. 

There’s not much seating around the site, so I took my own camping chair which was lightweight enough for us to carry around and plonk down for me to rest on when I needed to. This is an essential for me, without my chair I couldn’t have managed more than a couple of hours each day.

There are lots of information points and volunteers around if you need any assistance, as well as a first aid point staffed with qualified first aiders. I felt very comfortable, secure and relaxed. The Just So Festival is so easy going and for me, as a person who at times struggles with mobility I just felt welcomed and not like I was being treated differently to everyone else.

just so festival accessibility

The only thing I’d change would be our tiny tent and constantly deflating airbed. The tent was very bijou and a bit too cosy with us all in it, but we had lots of fun and midnight giggles, so we would definitely camp again, just in something a bit bigger.

I think that the adaptations and considerations the festival organisers made in terms of Just So Festival Accessibility were seamlessly woven into the fabric of Just So. It’s a truly accessible event. And that’s exactly how it should be for everyone, everywhere. 

For more information about Just So Festival Accessibility visit their website.

Read our review of the Just So Festival 2016 here.