Camp Bestival Lulworth Castle

It wasn’t that long ago that we found out we too were official bloggers for Camp Bestival, we were very excited as dad and my last festival was back in 2006, we had knocked them on the head when the twins arrived and didn’t think any more of it. As we were to discover this is an excellent family festival where there is a lot of fun to be had and lifelong memories to be made.

The Weekes family Camp Bestival 2014

 

Camp Bestival is held in the rolling hills of Dorset in the beautiful surrounds of Lulworth Castle and the very best thing about this long weekender is children are actively encouraged to be part of the party. Children of all ages, from newborns to teens there is something for everyone.

I will be honest that as excited as we were we had no idea what to expect and that can be a little daunting when you’re away with the children because everyone knows

camp bestival

Just when we thought we had our summer set and ready to go along came an invitation to visit and review Camp Bestival 2014.

Paul and I last went to a festival in 2007, it was V Festival and it was brilliant but it was most certainly not the place to take young children along. How could Camp Bestival be any different?

Camp Bestival line up

Well we’ve been looking at the line up, lots of names that I don’t recognise but some I do like Basement Jaxx, Sinead O’ Connor and Sophie Ellis Bextor. It’s made me realise that since the arrival of the twins music has made a quiet departure from my life and it’s time to do something about that, Camp Bestival 2014 will be my step back onto the music circuits.

Here’s a screen shot of some of the live acts

camp bestival line up 2014

How to keep the kids amused at Camp Bestival

Now this may be too good to be true and we may find ourselves in this part of the Bestival all the time as there is so much going on and it’s all good. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 50th birthday takeover, Horrible Histories, Mr Tumble, Ben and Holly, jousting (I really want to see this) Albert’s Travelling Circus and Hugless Douglas, one of our favourite books.

And that’s only scratching the surface, check out the full list here

Another great initiative this year comes from the National Trust as they are bringing along their 50 Things To do Before You’re 11 3/4 project a fabulous way to get the kids involved in nature and discovering the natural world.

There are ballet workshops, Beard and Moustache competition, dressing up, face painting, a science tent, a LEGO building factory and so much more.

CAMP BESTIVAL BLOGGER

Feast Collective

This is possibly my favourite part and the part I’ve been particularly asked to review much to the delight of Hungry Husband. The Feast Collective is Camp Bestival’s brand new Food Lover’s haven and trust me we will be there.

I shall be popping in frequently to say hello to Helen McGinn in her Knackered Mother’s Wine Parlour, she’d be angry with me if I didn’t say hello.

I am intrigued with the Crayfish Bob stall as Hungry Husband has always wanted to take me to New Orleans and this is all Louisiana based.

Then there’s SMOKESTAK direct from Texas that is a must, I know for sure that HH will want to try this delight.

So much more: the WI Tea Tent, The Cake Shop Bakery, Rola Wala (looks scrumptious) Martin Morales with his Don Ceviche, Korrito from Korea, a vintage Roma van where Josie da Bank serves her Jam Jar cocktails anyone for a lemon and thyme vodka? Or would you prefer a Rhubarb Martini? Yum Yum.

Can you see why I am getting excited? Music, excellent food and kids entertainment. We’ll be taking our caravan down but if you’re not the camping sort then check out the gypsy caravans or the wigwams to hire, simply FABULOUS.

Lulworth Castle get ready because Dorset here we come. If you’re intrigued, here are the highlights from 2013 below.

 

Twitchen House woolacoombe

Twitchen House must have been a family home one time, a huge beautiful family home. It’s a breathtaking Edwardian building and still looking grand today. It is part of the Woolacombe Bay  holiday parks and this is our second visit to Twitchen House as last year we stayed at Golden Coast.

Since our last stay Twitchen House has undergone a massive £2.5 million renovation in keeping with the manor house and surroundings they have done a fantastic job.

This time we took our caravan for a five night stay and we can’t wait to return, see why …

twitchen house outside pool

Journey

Half term week is the busiest week to travel but we decided to leave at 6am and journey down on the Tuesday. This proved to be very successful as we arrived at Twitchen House around midday. To get to Woolacombe you use the Barnstaple ring road which is very straightforward, we drove along the A361 which is a great road only travelling through Broughton at peak times can be slow.

We turned into the B3343 to Woolacombe, again no problems towing the van. After about 2 miles you have to turn right towards Mortehoe and this is a small country lane with hedges either side. The only hiccup we had was when the Woolacombe Bay double decker bus was travelling in the opposite direction, it made for some very slow manoeuvres inching past each other but it can be done and we all arrived safe and sound with the caravan intact.

twitchen house outside pool

Check in

Very simple and very quick, check in is in Twitchen House. You are assigned your plot, given a map and told directions. It was very easy to get to and on booking there are three pitches to choose from, Basic, Electric and Super. We chose a Super Pitch which has the following amenities

A concrete hard standing or all weather base:

  • 16 amp electrical hook-up
  • Awning space
  • TV aerial point
  • Drinking water
  • Waste water drainage
  • Night light
  • Parking on your pitch

We were given a pitch in H field which has a fabulous play area in the centre for the kids however our plot, H49 was placed right by the grass area so we were right behind the kids goal when they were playing football, the ball did hit our van a couple of times so it might be worth taking note of that.

making friends in the park

Park Facilities

The newly revamped centre is gorgeous, a lot of thought has gone into the design and architecture, you won’t be disappointed. There is a a lovely all day cafe/restaurant area, where you can also buy food to take away – the chips were delicious! There is also a soft play area so easy to leave the children playing and have a coffee watching them.

twitchen house all day cafe

There is a club house with a stage, lots of seating and balconies opening up if you want to sit outside too

On the lower level which can be reached from outside you will find the site supermarket which is very fairly priced and holds everything you will need.

Twitchen house facilities

There is also The Art Shed and on a rainy day this was our saviour. A genius idea where you choose a piece of pottery from the many available, plates, bowls, mugs, princesses, robots and dinosaurs to name a few.

art shed twitchen house

On each table there is a centrepiece of paints, brushes and clean water. Each painter has a tile on which they squeeze their chosen colours and off you go.

the art shed twitchen house

It took us over an hour to complete our princesses, the girls loved it and there is also a bar where you can order tea, coffee or soft drinks too. Your finished piece will go in the kiln and will need 24 – 48 hours before it’s ready to pick up so worth doing at the beginning or middle of your stay. It gets busy so the earlier you go along the better chance you have of finding your preferred pottery piece and a table to work at.

twitchen house art shed

There is a cinema showing 2D and 3D films an indoor swimming pool, an outdoor swimming pool with a great fountain area to play in alongside and a marvellous adventure playground.

twitchen house play area

For older kids the area EX34 will keep them amused

woolacoombe bay ex 34

As the four parks are connected it is also possible to visit other parks to use their facilities like bowling at the Golden Coast for example.

bowling woolacoombe bay

Camping facilities

These are superb and we were very impressed. The shower blocks are huge, I think I counted 26 showers, all large enough for an adult and kids to go in, with hooks for hanging towels and dry clothes, a small sink and a mirror. There were shaving plugs too.

There are two hairdryers available with mirrors and they are free of charge.

There is also a sauna and a steam room which are turned on mornings and afternoon/evening, free of charge.

There was a separate area towards the back of the building with lots of toilets in both mens and ladies and plenty of sinks.

Every time I visited there was music playing which I really liked, it was clean, often with the cleaner present and I never had to wait long for a shower to come free.

twitchen house

Surroundings

This is a beautiful part of the world and one we return to whenever we can. Our favourite places include

Coombe Martin

Watermouth Castle

Mortehoe

Berrynarbour

Lynton and Lynmouth

Ilfracoombe with a pretty harbour and Damien Hirst’s Verity, a controversial statue worth taking a look at.

Ilfracoombe Other Criteria Damien Hirst

Woolacombe Beach and town is beautiful. I love eating at The Red Barn and we always stock up on pasties from the local shop. Woolacombe is a surfers paradise, the girls had lots of fun belly boarding in their wet suits in the sea.

woolacoombe beach

A bit of history on Twitchen House

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Twitchen like this:

TWITCHEN, a parish in South Molton district, Devon; 12 miles NE of South Molton Road r. station. Post town, South Molton, North Devon. Acres, 2,918. Real property, £1,889. Pop., 227. Houses, 45. The manor belongs to Lord Poltimore. The living is a p. curacy, annexed to North Molton. The church, excepting the tower, was rebuilt in 1848. There is a Wesleyan chapel.

Cost

We paid £170 for five nights in June half term week 2014. There is no disclosure as this isn’t a requested review just one I wanted to share with you because we loved it so much.

twitchen house

I’ve been very quiet this week and I have a very valid reason too. Last week, half term, we took our caravan down to Devon, we left at the crack of dawn to avoid heavy traffic and it worked, we had the awning up and everything in place to enjoy this beautiful sunset. Devon excelled in every way but the internet connection was dire, hence I’ve had my head down this week catching up on work.

Woolacombe in caravan

We stayed at Twitchen House, one of Woolacombe Bay’s four parks and it has recently undergone a massive facelift which is pretty impressive, future post on its way because we loved it and I want to tell you all about it.

the art shed twitchen house

One of the new activities we discovered was the perfect solution to a rainy day, The Art Shed. A huge room kitted out for painting pottery pieces, all kinds of pieces – my girls chose princesses! Tables are laid out with separate tiles for your splodges of paint, paints, brushes and you can even order a coffee. We LOVED it and would have definitely returned if the weather hadn’t have picked up.

crabbing coombe martin

Devon is an old stomping ground for husband and one of his favourite things to do in this part of the world is a beach crawl or a trip back in time to see the places dear to him. One of those places is Coombe Martin where many a childhood holiday was spent. On our visit the skies were grey and there was a chill in the air so we dressed accordingly and tried our hand at crabbing. A LOT of fun was had but nothing was caught.

berrynarbour village

One of my favourite visits this year was to Berrynarbour, a tiny inland village which has won plenty of flower prizes for the prettiest village but what is even cuter are the flowerpot men! Can you spot the two flowerpot men in this photo? Separate post to follow on our walk around the village but it was a lot of fun!

Towards the end of the week the sun shone and husband took the girls belly boarding whereas I took a walk along Woolacombe beach almost to the end and it was fabulous. Quiet, beautiful and deserted.

woolacombe beach

To finish off half term we celebrated my brother’s 40th with an amazing Sunday roast at The Laughing Gravy in Blackfriars, London. If you are in the area pop in to this amazing restaurant.

Happy 40th Dom ;)

caravan

Yoohoo! It’s nearly time to take our caravan out of storage and get it ready for what will be the third season with us. There is great excitement amongst the troops starting with Dad himself.

He’s been scouring t’internet for his next caravan convinced this will be our last year with our current one. He’s found bunk beds for the girls, fixed beds for us, awnings and all sorts of delights. He also wants me to check on Every Single Van he finds, which is very tedious as we’re not buying one yet. *sigh*

Anyway, it’s time to give our current wagon a good scrub after this long wet winter. We went down to check on it a couple of weeks ago and discovered the huge ‘coat’ we had covered it with in early November had been ripped to pieces by the strong winds and was lying on the floor. Needless to say we opened the door a bit worried about what we would find but luckily there was no damage in sight. No damp, even though we had placed a few bowls of salt inside before wintering it just in case and no overpowering bad smells, mind you I had left quite a few of those Magic Trees in there.

olpro melamine dining set

We reviewed the beautiful melamine set from OLPRO last year and also their fabulous wind breaker which was a real godsend as it creates such a lovely sitting area outside and stops the wind just like is says on the tin. Isn’t it gorgeous?

OLPRO windbreak

Well they also have an excellent range of cleaning caravan products. The OLPRO cleaning products take into consideration the space challenge in a caravan and also the need for environmentally friendly solutions that are Formaldehyde free.

OLPRO cleaning products

They’ve sent us their 4 products to review with the note 

These products are the only chemicals your Caravan will need Inside & Out, Top to Bottom to keep it Fresh & Clean throughout the year.

OLPRO Bottom and Top, All in One toilet fluid – listed as an essential product by Practical Caravan for 2013 it is now the number one selling product. Now there is only need for ONE product for keeping the toilet clean and bacteria free, add to both the top and bottom and hey presto, job done.

OLPRO Inside and Out, 7 in 1 caravan cleaner – This formula replaces the need for 7 different products. Inside & Out cleans every part of any caravan or motorhome. Use instead of Caravan Cleaner, Black Streak Remover, Glass Cleaner, Wheel Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, Hard Surface Cleaner & Fabric Cleaner. Pretty awesome don’t you think?

OLPRO Fresh and Clear – Now this one is one I’ve been thinking about as the caravan has been standing in storage for 6 months now, this product cleans the water pipes that serve water through the taps and takes the waste away. Therefore I can be sure that they are clean and therefore safe. It removes limescale,unpleasant tastes from waterpipes and cleans pumps. “If your caravan or motorhome as been standing for a while then run FRESH & CLEAR through your pipes to clear of any bacteria.”

OLPRO Winter Long – Heavy duty exterior protective coating over your caravan during storage. It protects against Algae, Dirt, Excessive water, Bird Mess, Tree Sap, Traffic Film. Biodegradable and Environmentally Friendly. This one will come in very handy in the autumn when it’s time to put the caravan in storage again.

OLPRO Sanidry Humidifying Tray – a semi-rigid tray containing a highly hygroscopic product able to absorb humidity present in the air and condense it into the tray – Exclusively sold by OLPRO in the UK

I feel as if I have this spring cleaning task covered now.