This year, we have been lucky enough to have a series of Family Friendly Festivals in the diary and we were really excited to recently go to Timber Festival for the first time in order to kick off our Summer of Family Festivals.
Timber Festival takes place in Fearnedock near Ashby in the National Forest and runs over three days, from the Friday till the Sunday. The festival encourages families to spend a weekend in the heart of the forest while at the same time, rethinking their relationships with trees and nature.
On arrival, we were greeted by friendly parking staff, parked the car, loaded up the rucksacks and made our way into the festival. The site is relatively well spaced out and there is a fair bit of walking involved for little legs so either a carrier or a good buggy/wagon would be a good asset.
As we had a look at the map and the programme, the children wondered into the Bee Keeping tent and spent a good 20 minutes fascinated by ‘Bee TV’ – an old TV set which had been converted into a hive, and spent time listening to and asking questions to the friendly Bee Keeping team. My daughter even got chance to make her own beeswax candle!
After this, we made our way into the woodland and came across the most beautiful carved wooden marble run. This was an incredibly popular (but rather small) attraction and the children absolutely loved running their marbles down the run and watching to see if they made it to the end. Children were sharing marbles and working together beautifully and I honestly think that my two would have stayed here hours if we hadn’t got the whole of the rest of the site to explore!
Next, we went into a fantastic woodwork den where the children were encouraged to saw, hammer and make (with adult supervision of course!) their own wooden creations. My 4 year old demonstrated an unusual amount of patience here and spent a good 40 minutes hammering and sawing with Daddy while the big one and I sneaked in a campfire story with one of our storytelling favourites, Ian Douglas.
Next, we made our way down a rather steep hill to explore the rest of the site. At this stage, the kids were after lunch so we settled under a tree, handed out the lunch boxes for the kids and took it in turns to explore the amazing selection of food on offer (we tend to take food for the kids and then supplement their food with letting them try some of our food – there is always so much on offer that as adults, we would rather treat ourselves to festival food then take a packed lunch!).
After this, we headed towards Laughter Yoga (it really is as amusing watching it as it is joining in!) and I had a wonderful hand massage with Weleda. We also took some time to explore the Shivelight area where there were hammocks in trees, hot tubs and lots of lovely massage treatments on offer (a top tip would be to get here early and book in – we completely missed out on booking a treatment as they were all booked up by the time we arrived).
After our Laughter Yoga and Hammock chilling session, we headed off to join in with the Maypole dancing and bubble chasing that was taking place and explore the massive games on offer (the children had to wait their turn as these were really popular!). Here, you could take part in huge versions of Tiddly Winks and Guess Who? which both our children loved!
A quick snack (gluten free donuts for me, goat milk ice cream for the kids) and we watched the Cardboardia Parade – this was fantastic and we completely missed out on the chance to head to the Cardboardia tent to make something to contribute to the parade, something for next year…we then started to make our way out of the site…a word of warning, start walking a good hour or so before you actually want to leave – we just kept getting distracted and couldn’t get out in a hurry, there was so much to see!
The Festival runs right up until Sunday night and as our kids had yet to break up for Summer, we had to leave, as my daughter stated ‘far too early!’. Unfortunately, we were only able to make if for a day but it really is worth getting a weekend pass and making it into a weekend adventure, there is just so much to see and do. We have been to Just So for the last four years and run by the same organisers, it does have a Just So ‘vibe’ to it. However, we commented that it was a festival with a much slower pace and was much more spaced out. It was also interesting to see so many people there who obviously weren’t there with children, it really was a festival with something for everyone…
So, if you would like a Family Festival with a chilled vibe, good food and enough to entertain the whole family for a weekend, I would certainly make sure Timber Festival is in your diary for 2020 – it’s certainly going to be in ours!