Elderflower Fields tips
Thinking of heading to Sussex’s big family festival Elderflower Fields at Pippingford Park next May? Well got on it quick because the tickets are already more than half sold! Muddy Sussex commercial manager Naomi took her girls for the first time this year. Here are her tips on getting the best from the fest.
What did you do at the festival?
We did everything that we could fit in, loads to do … art camp, circus skills, flag painting, mud pie making, bird box making, weaving, singing, cooking, swing, telling jokes, laughing, eating and drinking, bashing things, more eating and dancing!
How did your girls enjoy it? What were their favourite bits?
The girls absolutely loved doing the circus skills and couldn’t wait to be strung up and spun around on the trapeze again and again. The climbing was a winner and the science tent was also brilliant, all really hands on, staffed by mad scientists. Our favourite experiment was how to make a flying seagull and splatting dad with seagull ‘poo!!’ (soggy tissue)
What were your favourite bits as an adult?
The cocktail bar was great, dancing with the kids, great music, and a mean Dark ‘N’ Stormy (thankfully only in a glass as the weather was perfect and sunny).
We discovered a new favourite artist Nick Cope for all the family, acoustic kids songs that are great for everyone to join in, among our favourites are Pirates’ Breakfast and Round of Applause for the Dinosaurs. It was a real treat to also catch Ben Ottewell from Gomez singing a great acoustic set whilst the kids played nearby digging holes and swinging in hammocks.
What were you most impressed with?
It was well organised, relaxed, with really friendly staff, completely geared for families, with kids in carts all over the place, fun and laughter. The £1 deposit system for drinking cups definitely worked and kept the mess to a minimum, encouraging the kids with entrepreneurial spirit into cup collecting!
How many days did you stay? Was that about right?
We had only planned to stay one night but stuck around until the end as there was so much to get involved with.
How big is it, can you see everything over the weekend?
It was very easy to get around however it is a big site for little legs so I would recommend exploring area by area, which is very possible as most activities run all day. We discovered the woodland on Sunday afternoon and sadly did not manage to do all of the activities over there but the good news is that we are going back for Into The Trees in September, so have plenty to look forward to.
What should those only there for a day prioritise?
Make sure you book the kids into a drop off club like the arts camp so you can steal an hour in the sunshine with a cold drink or check out the awesome cocktail bar.
Book ahead for activities like canoeing and kayaking which are very popular. There can still be queues for activities like the rock climbing and biking but there are many things that you can just rock up to and get involved… like you could grab a hammer and get started adding to the giant ship that the Woodland Tribe were creating. Kids with hammers, nails and even saws were doing just that! They had even made a zip wire that every time I turned around I had lost my eldest to.
How was the camping? What facilities are there? Any tips?
We were in the campervan field meaning at the top of the hill by the entrance, a bit of a trek back up, but right by a wagon stop so there was a lift available if the little legs couldn’t manage it at the end of a busy fun-filled day. The facilities were tip-top and cleaned regularly, with no big queues.
How much do you end up spending on top of the ticket price?
Most activities are included which is great, and the family picnic on the Sunday is a brilliant idea getting to sample local produce and an opportunity to sit with total strangers and make new friends. We spent most of our money on cold drinks, ice-cream, pom-pom headbands, and waffles on sticks, nothing being much more than a fiver.
What was the food like?
There is a fantastic choice of food and drink, our favourites being the Peckish Peacock (veggie & vegan) for a box of pakoras, and the Thai Angel for a mean Massaman curry. The kids got involved with the campfire cook-off, presenting us with a halloumi kebab wrap and a cartoon style menu, perfect for our kids – cooking, eating and creating in one! There was such a fantastic choice for food, something for everyone.
Any other practical tips?
Trolleys seemed to be the way forward here, perfect for carrying around all your stuff for the day or allowing your kids to catch a few zzzzs
I’m not sure how easy it would be if it hadn’t been so dry to get about with wheels. We took our hammocks which were hugely popular, plenty of places to sling them up in the shade.
Lots of the vendors had card payment which was ace and no need for pockets full of cash. And if you did forget anything like a tooth brush (like my kids used one over the weekend) there is always Jacksons General Store for chocolate, nappies, Calpol etc…
Elderflower Fields will be at Pippingford Park near Uckfield 24-27 May next year. Tickets can be bought online at elderflowerfields.co.uk Glamping, motorhome and other camping options will go on sale in the autumn to existing ticket holders first.
By the same organisers, Into the Trees is this 14 – 16 Sept.