If you’re searching for a music festival that the whole family can enjoy, then look no further than Camp Bestival. Known as the “little sister” of the iconic four-day Bestival, this annual event is targeted at families with small children and is jam-packed with music, entertainment, culture and family fun. With all that’s on offer, it’s no surprise this festival, organised by former BBC Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank, has won the award for Best Family Festival at the UK Festival Awards six times since it started in 2008.
The festival is held every July at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. Head there for a fun day out or pack your camping equipment for a full weekend away – and check out our top 10 festival tips before you set off! Read on to find out more about Camp Bestival, including how to get there, things to do, and places to stay in and around the festival grounds.
Where is Camp Bestival?
Camp Bestival is held in the grounds of Lulworth Castle on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. It’s not far from Lulworth Cove, as well as other spectacular sights including Durdle Door, Corfe Castle and Old Harry Rocks. The festival takes place over four days on the last weekend in July.
How do I get to Camp Bestival?
Getting to Camp Bestival is easy, and the best way to get there is by public transport. Roads can get busy at this time of year, but the area is well serviced by trains and is easy to get to from around the country.
Travelling by train
The nearest stations to Lulworth and Camp Bestival are Wool and Wareham, which are both on the main South Western Railway line from London Waterloo, which runs via Winchester, Southampton Central and Bournemouth. Once you arrive at Wool or Wareham, hop in a taxi for the 15-minute ride to the festival grounds.
From live music and entertaining shows to amazing activities and thrilling rides, there’s so much fun to be had by festival-goers of all ages at Camp Bestival.
The line up at Camp Bestival is curated by renowned DJ Rob da Bank, so expect an eclectic range of music that’ll cater to just about every taste: from folk and jazz to dub and dance. There’s no better way to ignite your kids’ passion for music! Previous legendary acts include Basement Jaxx, Madness and Blondie, plus once up-and-coming acts including Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding and Mumford & Sons. Whatever your preferences, get ready to sing your heart out and throw some shapes as you soak in the atmosphere around you.
Theatre and shows
As well as music, prepare yourself for some incredibly entertaining performances of just about every variety. You’ll find circus acts, drag shows, live experiments, comedians and so much more – there's truly something for all the family to enjoy.
Make the most of the festival by getting involved in the wide range of activities on offer. Little and not-so-little ones can try their hand at everything from bushcraft and African drumming to wild tree climbing and Bollywood dancing. And kids of all ages will love getting their face painted and heading to the Dressing Up Tent to prepare for the Fancy Dress Parade on Saturday. One thing’s for sure: they’ll sleep well!
Comics, authors and talks
Take some time out of your action-packed day to sit back, relax and enjoy a spot of comedy or a talk from one of your favourite children’s authors or TV personalities. You're bound to spot some famous faces.
Food and drinks
No festival experience is complete without diving into the delectable world of delicious street food. Head to The Feast Collective to find some of the UK’s best independent chefs, street vendors and creative food makers, or check out DJ BBQ who return year after year to serve up sizzling BBQ food to hungry guests.
For the grownups, there are also plenty of bars pouring ice cold beers, ciders, wines and spirits to cool you down on those warm summer afternoons (depending on what the British weather has in store, that is), plus soft drinks for the little ones to keep them hydrated as they dance, play and explore.
Places to stay in and around Camp Bestival
Make the most out of all that’s on offer at Camp Bestival by staying onsite or nearby. Whether you’re travelling with your family or as part of a bigger group, there are plenty of options for groups of all sizes:
Give your family the true festival experience by sleeping under canvas for the weekend. There are several different types of camping field on the festival grounds, plus fields for campervans and caravans/trailers, each with their own showers, loos and food stalls. Bring your own tent or, if you can’t quite give up all the finer things in life, give glamping a go in a choice of tipis, yurts, bell tents and more.
If camping isn’t for you, then fear not, there are a number of hotels nearby that you can head back to after a long day dancing and taking part in activities. Try Lulworth Cove Inn for a seaside stay, or head to Anglebury House or The Bear Wareham for a convenient spot near to the station.
Feel right at home on your weekend away by booking a stay in a nearby holiday cottage. Lulworth Cottages and Wyke Dorset Cottages are homely options, and are especially ideal if you plan to stay on after the festival has ended to explore what else the Jurassic Coast has to offer.
Camp Bestival tickets
Choose from day tickets or weekend tickets, with the option to upgrade your experience with glamping or VIP access. There are discounted tickets to Camp Bestival available for children, teens and students, so you can get a great deal for you and your family.
Camp Bestival accessibility
Camp Bestival is constantly striving to improve its accessibility, with an accessible campsite, car park and other facilities. The majority of the grounds are flat and are serviced by a network of paths, but if it rains it may get muddy, and access around the grassy areas can get difficult. Electric wheelchairs can tackle most areas without too much trouble, but the ground can be uneven in places. Find out more about accessibility at Camp Bestival.