Camp Bestival hit Shropshire for the second time in 2023. We are lucky enough to have Camp Bestival Shropshire on our doorstep, so we were excited to see how the family friendly festival shaped up this year and what changes had been made from its inaugural year.
Where is Camp Bestival Shropshire?
Camp Bestival Shropshire is located in the heart of the Midlands, Weston-under-Lizard, Nr Shifnal, Shropshire. Please use the routes outlined below, switch off your Sat Nav and follow Camp Bestival event signage as you approach the festival:
Weston Park is situated on the A5 at Weston-under-Lizard, just 30 minutes from Central Birmingham, 3 miles off M54 Junction 3 and 8 miles off M6 Junction 12. You can also reach Weston Park via the M6 Toll Road.
Day Visitors to Camp Bestival Shropshire
We live only 10 mins away and so this time, decided to see how Camp Bestival Shropshire 2023 was as day visitors for the weekend instead of weekend campers.
Friday at Camp Bestival Shropshire
The first change for us was hitting Camp Bestival Shropshire on Friday rather than Thursday. Obviously the later you arrive the further away you park, however, parking was straightforward, and it was a flat-ish 10 min walk into the main site with just a gentle hill as you entered into the site. Great on the way in but harder work pulling a trailer of tired kids on the way out – something to consider but no-where near the legendary hill at the Dorset site!
The site layout had changed from last year and there seemed to be more space this time round. A noticeable change was that the site no longer backed onto the park and railway, this was a great place to disappear to get a bit of calm last year, however, it was well sign posted and easy to locate the woodland play area via the map on the App. The App was also a change for us this year, normally we head straight to get a lanyard with the timings on but this time, we downloaded the App ahead of arriving which meant we had a good idea of the layout and what we wanted to do before we arrived, timings are updated live on the App too which helps with any last minute changes to the line up. It was also great for finding out the food available and where it was. A big bonus for me was that it detailed where had Gluten Free items, which meant I could plan for when I needed to carry my own food and when I was planning to buy on site.
We arrived at the heart of the festival and had a good look around the site to get our bearings before getting stuck in! Now our kids are a little older and not confined to a trailer, we have got into the habit of quickly locating a noticeable landmark, for us it is normally the Ferris Wheel, and making sure the children know that if they can’t find us that they can head to that. We also make a point of telling them to look out for marshals in high vis and sharpie marker our number on the upper arm of our youngest. The oldest carries a mobile phone so making sure that is fully charged and carrying a battery pack is also a good idea!
The Swings were first up, we agree a ‘one ride a day’ rule and try to stick to it. We have also discovered that sometimes getting the ride out the way stops the constant whining to go on the ride! This was followed by a refuel of loaded fries (the teenager spotted these quickly after enjoying them so much last year!). Again, sometimes it’s quicker to get the treat out the way and move on than promise it later and keep being asked when it’s time!
We then split up with the boys watching Horrible Histories in The Big Top while we went and looked round the market stalls and clothes. Horrible Histories didn’t disappoint (we saw them for the first-time last year) and are well worth seeking out if you get a chance to see them. We’ve seen the stage show after being introduced to the show at Camp Bestival last year and it is always brilliantly entertaining (and informative!) for both adults and children!
We continued to wonder around, and the 8-year-old discovered he was old enough for ‘real’ axe throwing and the team at #theaxehouseuk were brilliant with him- he even scored a bullseye! £10 a time but a great treat of an activity and something completely different to try. This is one of the things I love about Camp Bestival, there is always a change to have a go at something new for all ages!
One of my aims this year was to try and catch more of the Main Stage shows. On the Friday, I managed to briefly catch The Cuban Brothers, something I always miss, as well as The Bootleg Beetles. Although the youngest is still not keen on staying still for too long, we did manage to catch the whole of #farmyardcircus just before it started to pour down (top tip, always bring waterproofs, great to either keep dry or sit on!). This was a show I don’t remember seeing before and they were fantastic and held everyone’ attention. A great mix of comedy, music and gymnastics and great to watch as dusk fell and our first day ended. The grownups even managed to share a cider in peace and quiet as we watched!
Saturday at Camp Bestival Shropshire
As the children have got older, our approach to days out has changed a bit. Instead of rallying them to get out the house early, we have realised that if we have a slightly slower start to the day, we can head out a little later but also stay out later too. This approach seemed to suit everyone and meant we weren’t getting frustrated with trying to get a teenager out of bed and out the house before 9am and beginning the day with arguments!
We had a list of what we wanted to do today after a good look round yesterday. It is worth keeping an eye on what you need to book in advance and what you need to book on the day. Some activities open their bookings at 9am each day so if there is something you are particularly keen on, you must be organised and get over to the site to book (or send one parent out early while the other stays with the children!). We headed over to Tic Tac Skate School for a skating lesson, this had caught our eye on our look around the site on Friday. The guy leading the sessions was brilliant and was so good at giving each child personal attention and encouragement. I have no idea how he did it but every time we went past, he was running the session with equally brilliant level of enthusiasm! The sessions were every half hour and free! There are lots of activities that you need to pay for at Camp Bestival, but there are also a good number of activities that are free of charge, you just need to keep your eyes open!
Having walked past ‘The Ken Fox Wall of Death’ and heard the noise and excitement from inside we knew we had to give it a go. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was well worth going and an amazing experience! You stand at the top above ’the wall of death’ and watch the show from above. Little ones are encouraged to stand at the front for a better view and are super close to the action. Motorbikes ride round the circular wall, gradually getting higher and faster as they perform a series of impressive stunts. I watched through my fingers the first time so had to head back again to see it again! It was a ‘best thing ever!’ review from our 8-year-old!
Circus Raj was next on our watch list, and we spent about half an hour watching some great tricks and an amazing stunt on a pole which has to be seen to be believed! The musicians from Circus Raj also walked around the site from time to time and were more than happy to pose for photos of videos as they entertained the festival goers!
More Main Stage highlights again for me, finally managed to see Elvana as well as Sara Cox (who I‘ve missed in previous years) as well as The Dolly Parton Show but a highlight for all was Sam Ryder who was brilliant! It was so nice to have an artist we all wanted to see as a family, and we all enjoyed the performance – especially Spaceman! It was a real festival highlight to be singing along together and taking in the experience of seeing Sam Ryder live!
Sunday at Camp Bestival Shropshire 2023
Sunday began in a more unusual way as a huge crowd were gathered to watch the Lionesses, it was great to see this shown on the main stage and as a result, the rest of the site was unusually quiet so a good time for folks not interested in football to take advantage of the lack of queues for activities.
After the match we ventured over floating bridge to see what was going on in Slow Motion. Here, we found ice baths and hot tubs as well as Yoga and massages. This is something for us to aspire to doing when our kids are older and off doing their own thing! However, we did find some amazing Gluten Free pancakes here and I had to battle off both the wasps and the children to finish them off myself! Brilliant to have something a bit more exciting on offer as someone who is always a bit limited for treats at a festival!
We came back through the Wild Tribe and had a look at all the fantastic workshops on offer. Being organised enough to get these activities booked in is a parenting goal I aspire to! There were some amazing activities, from making swords and shields to making items out of leather. The talented people running these workshops are brilliant!
Having missed them so far, we spent some time watching Cirque Bijou in Caravanserai. Cirque Bijou are always brilliant and provide some fantastic entertainment and acrobatics. Both children were happy to sit and watch for some time while we re-fuelled with coffee!
Sunday afternoon is always a time when the children can choose a treat, having asked for so many things over the festival, we try and get them to think about what they really want and try and end the festival experience with this. On this occasion, it was a henna tattoo for the oldest and a ‘wall of death’ t-shirt for the youngest. Although this worked in our favour this time, it is worth considering that things like giant bubble wands and butterfly wings can sometimes sell out so proceed with caution on this one!
We spent the afternoon choosing the obligatory ride of the day and snacking on chips (no matter how many snacks I pack the chips are always a huge draw, so we tend to give in on those!). We then managed to see East17, I thought they were great, but the teenager wasn’t quite as impressed. They were then followed by Goldie Looking Chain who were brilliant! Luckily the more colourful language went over the little one’s head, but the grownups had a blast! Mel C ended the festival weekend for us, and she was brilliant!
One of the big changes for us compared to this year was that the acts in the evening were less appealing for us, whereas last year we were trying to work childcare and bedtime around Fat Boy Slim, Becky Hill and Rag and Bone Man, this year, our family weren’t so keen on the later evening acts. Something to consider when the line up is announced so you can start to think about how you arrange your festival day.
So Camp Bestival Shropshire 2023 didn’t disappoint, a bit of a change from the first year but still a full family festival with more than enough to do for the weekend! Really excited to see what is on the line up for next year…
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.