This weekend we went to Towersey Festival in Buckinghamshire for the first time. We went as a family of 5 with three kids (3, 10 and 12) and decided to make a weekend of it and camp on site. Here is our honest review.
What is Towersey Festival?
Towersey festival has just completed it’s 59th festival, meaning it’s one of the longest running festivals in the UK, it’s even been running longer that Glastonbury. Towersey is a family friendly folk festival with a big focus on Ceilidh dancing with lots of opportunity to get involved and learn the routines if you don’t already know them. They pride themselves on being “any stream but main stream” so you can expect a real eclectic mix of music genres and various acts and as it’s based at Claydon Estate in Buckinghamshire with the gorgeous Claydon House as it’s back drop you can really enjoy the scenery and being surrounded by nature too.
The camping options at Towersey Festival
You can choose to visit just for the day on any of the four days or you stay for the weekend like we did. For those wanting to stay over you have the choice to either bring your campervan, pitch a tent or glamp in the pre pitched bell tents. We opted for camping and arrived on the Friday afternoon ready to pitch our tent. Our first impressions weren’t great of the camping situation as it seemed very random and messy with tents pitched in such a way that a lot of space was being wasted making it hard to find somewhere to pitch and on a few occasions when we thought we’d found the perfect spot we were told those paces were reserved for friends or family of the nearby tents and so we had to start again which was very frustrating.
Luckily one of the volunteers came to our rescue and helped us find somewhere suitable but my advice would be to get there as early as you can to bag yourself a good spot, especially if you need/want to be near the loos, showers or main entrance.
The fields for camping themselves are okay and there are plenty of toilets but only one shower block which was located down the other end and was always very busy, I do hope they consider adding more showers next year.
What’s on at Towersey Festival?
Once we were all set up we headed into the festival to see what was going on and the first thing we noticed was how much free stuff there is for kids to do, just out in the open as your exploring. Things like giant instruments and an extra large marble (ball) run, table tennis tables, been bag throwing games and lots of circus skills equipment just laid out on the floor for you to use. Everything was so inviting and spiked the kids interest immediately.
In addition to all of these open play sections we also discoveed so many more areas dedicated to the kids.
The Nest was in a big circus style tent and was open from 10am-8pm and manned by volunteers. They had a rotation of craft activities on throughout the day and were on hand to help you and your little ones create heir own master pieces.
If you didn’t fancy the planned creative activity then that’s fine as you could use your imagination at the box building station or sit and colour instead. The creative tent also had numerous board games and a pool table to keep you busy too which we found was great for the older ones and even better when it started to rain.
Right next to The Nest was a smaller bell tent which was full of pre schooler toys, this wasn’t manned by staff but you could use it as and when you wanted for free play with your under 5’s. We found it was perfect for some down time as it was always quiet and relaxed in there.
There was also a third tent area that was dedicated to kids and this had lots of hands on stuff for kids to enjoy and explore including a ball pit, pirate games and some colouring in areas too. We didn’t use this as much but only because the kids gravitated to the giant ball run which was right outside this area every time we went past.
All of the above were available all weekend and were always free, which we thought was just incredible and much more than we have ever found at any other festival before. However, that isn’t everything, when it comes to kids activities there was also a few independent companies there that were also offering free activities at set times for children too.
This was by far the favourite activity of the whole weekend for he boys and they managed to have a go on both the Saturday and Sunday. These taster sessions consisted of 15 minutes of throwing the throwing angels at wooden targets and learning about axe throwing. I even managed to bag a go on the over 18’s session myself and must admit that the boys were right, it was lots of fun.
We also enjoyed sitting in the story time tent and listening to Mark Fraser tell us the story of how the big bad wolf became known as the big bad wolf, which was lovely, lively and very entertaining.
And the Green Peace guys were there sharing their message with a fabulous VR experience and the BuDS charity were also on had with some outdoor games and space hoppers too. There really was something new to try around every corner.
All of these activities alone kept us busy for hours, so much so I think we spent more time doing this than we did actually listening to any music or watching performances. However, if that’s what you are going for then rest assured you will find loads of great artists.
There were 4 main entertaining tents that we liked all showing a real mix of talent. We loved sitting outside in the sun (when it was there) and listening to the live bands from The Bar Stage and then dancing the evening away in The Festival Dance House where they were teaching Ceilidh dances. This was my personal highlight from the whole weekend. I absolutely loved the vibe in The Festival Dance House, loved how friendly everyone was and couldn’t stop smiling as I tried my best to join in with the dances. If you have never seen or joined in with Ceilidh before then I highly recommend that you do.
Overall we had a wonderful time at Towersey festival, it was a really chilled out family friendly, safe, festival with so many free activities to keep the whole family entertained for the weekend. If you haven’t been then I urge you to go and if you’ve never been to a family festival before then I think this would make a great first festival to try.
Tickets are now on same for 2024!
If you are going to Towersey and want to camp then be sure o read our festival camping checklist before you go to make sure you’ve packed everything you could possibly need. And if you’re just going for the day and don’t know what to wear then we have some great ideas for festival day outfits that should help get you started.