So the Big Day Out Festival arrived and we were eagerly excited to set off bright and early from Hitchin to Kent by train.
The day before we set off, I received an email from the event outlining what we should pack and how to prepare for the festival. As it was a one day festival so no camping equipment is required. Basically, we should pack light – which we did with our packed lunches.
I also thought it would be best for us to stay there over night, as the kids will be totally exhausted by the end of the day. We booked our one night stayed at Premiere Inn. I will be writing a separate post for that.
It took us a good two and half hours journey with two interchanges getting there, but the kids loves the train – so it was no biggy.
Our friends were waiting for us at Maidstone West Station and ready to pick us up and drive to Mote Park when we arrived. Mote Park was an easy find and the car parking assistance were very friendly, well organised, and efficient. It wasn’t such a long walk from where we parked and the entrance. The entrances were very well organised too. There were several entrances to avoid bottle neck and several check points for your bags in the light of recent events in Manchester and London bombings.
At which point, I overheard a lady behind me was talking to a security officer that this year it was much more organised with the entrances than last year as the queue last year was enormous with a long wait. Well, this is a good sigh I thought.
We arrived about 12 noon-ish, there were already lots of people there. The first thing we did was taking the kids to meet Paw Patrol’s Chase and Marshall. It was a brief encounter but the kids, (especially Evelyn) seem to be really impressed when they got to High-5 and gave quick cuddles to the characters.
E&E then wanted a face paint and some animal balloons, but already – the queue was quite long. So we took the kids to meet the Princess instead. The queue there was impressively quick. Evelyn was so chuffed to be picked up by Elsa and be up closed with her Princesses.
Ethan wasn’t interested and was playing with the haystack. It was fair to say that it is a safe environment to let your kids loose but within your sight of course as later on the day it can get very crowded.
Our next destination was to check out “Bounce Land” and come back when the queue for face painting and the animal balloons stores get a little shorter.
On the way to Bounce Land – we also passed the Circus School. My word – it was busy! There were hula-hoops and many other circus equipments everywhere for the kids to try out. E&E had a quick go too. Evelyn found the hula-hoop a bit tricky, but Ethan was definitely in his elements. He was really enjoying the experience that were on offer. But I didn’t dare tell him: “Don’t run away with the circus yet!” lol!
Bounce Land was great! There were so many bouncing activities from babies to big kids. The first activity we came across – we went straight in. There was no queue at all. The kids played for a sometimes before we decided it was picnic time.
We managed to find a patch in the middle surrounded by all bouncing activities so that we can decide which bouncy thing we want to do next whilst we had a bite to eat.
It didn’t take long for the queue formed a snake-like. We quickly queue up for the Dragon Slide, which took us about 20 minutes to queue, and the slide experience lasted 2 minutes. The kids wanted to go again, but already the queue was longer than before! I told them let’s queue up something else that we haven’t been on before and they agreed.
The Pink Castle was our next activity. It took us one whole hour waiting on the queue – the experience lasted ten minutes, and we missed Mr. Bloom on stage.
We wanted to do other bouncing activity be we looked around and realised that there were queues everywhere! We gave up and decided to join the festival music ground.
As a treat, we bought the kids ice-cream each. Ethan was very pleased with himself that his tung has turned blue after he finished his ice cream. We also treated a pint (£4) for us each too. I think we deserves it. We then eagerly waited for Reggie & Bollie to come on. We were quite far from the stage but it was best this way, as this mean it was less crowded where we could have a picnic patch for ourselves, and keep our eyes on the kids. The sun was shining and the atmosphere was Amazing!
However, our pints didn’t last long, when Reggie & Bollie came on all the excitement were heighten and the kids dance to the “Jump-Around“ tune and knocked over our pints everywhere! Oh well – never mind.
The kids got bored very quickly and now they REALLY want their animals balloons and their face painted. Once again – we packed our picnic (wet) mat and move to join the 50 feet long queue. Seriously – it was no joke. It was about 50 feet long. I know you think we must be crazy! But we were not the only ones in the queue you know! lol!
More than an hour later… the face-paint tent was still very obscure from where we were. Ethan was actually content playing at the Circus School while we waiting. Evelyn was too at first but then she grow a little tired rather quickly as she couldn’t do a thing she tried out. Never-the-less, however, there was a sister and a brother who came by and helped Evelyn with her step cups. At that moment, I felt so happy that kids does look out for each other at this kind of event. It is such a kids friendly event. I love it!
At a far distance – I can see and hear the cheering noises going on at the the Hip-Hop School tent. It was was hyping up – big time, but we didn’t want to leave the queue. So that was a total missed.
It was now 4:30pm and all we seem to be doing was queueing. I wanted to stayed on to watch Diversity but Evelyn was getting edgy and bored with the queueing, plus she has woken up very early that morning and hasn’t has her nap yet. She tried to sleep on her buggy but with all the excitement going on around her – she has found it hard to do so.
At that point, we decided to depart and head off for a pizza and check-in at our hotel for the night.
To Sum Up…
- It is one of the most kids friendly event ever!
- Bounce Land was Ace!
- The Music Festival area was Amazing!
- The pints were reasonable London prices.
- The car parking assistance was well organised and efficient.
- The ticketing entrance system was also well organised and efficient.
- All the activities were Free!
- You received a wrist band which you can come in and out anytime.
- The security there is on top form. You would need to write your mobile phone number and name down before placing it on your child’s wrist. In case, your child is missing – they can contact you.
- Mote Park has a great children playground just outside the entrance.
- There were plenty of food and drinks stalls at the venue.
- The queue to Everything is Enormous! Be prepared to queue up for Everything!
- If there were no Bounce Land – then were wasn’t much of other things to do for younger kids.
- Perhaps, there should be 2 or even 3 of the same thing – eg: 3 face-paint stalls and 3 animal balloon stalls, etc.
- Perhaps, there should be local stalls exhibit on site too – such as local handcrafts stores for sale, etc so people can have a browse when they feel they want to have a brake.
- The Circus School Tent could be more structured. Eg: put on a show for the little ones to see.
The question is would I go again?
Yes, E&E had a fantastic time there.
Ethan said the best thing he like about the day was at Bounce Lane.
For me – I love how super kids friendly this place is. Also watching Reggie & Bollie came on and dancing with my pint of-course!
We would definitely go again because I didn’t get a chance to see other acts on the stage. With a little bit of improvement as suggested above, the festival would have been more smooth and be a little bit more diverse for the little ones to do too.
Tips: Get your kids well rested the night before as it will be a very long day!
Here’s a little vlog to sum up our day!
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For next year!
BIG DAY OUT has announced on their Facebook:
We’ve decided to launch next year’s event early and we’d also like you to know that we’ve taken all of your feedback on board to make 2018 even more of an improvement!
• BOUNCE LAND WILL NOW RUN UNTIL 20:00
• MORE ACTS WILL PERFORM ON THE MAIN STAGE
• WE WILL BE ADDING TO BOUNCE LAND TO MAKE IT THE BIGGEST INFLATABLE PARK IN THE UK!
• A BIGGER SITE FOR YOUR COMFORT!
We also have a number of other additions to make to Big Day Out 2018, including a new fancy dress theme and we can’t wait for you to see and hear them!
EARLY BIRD TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE!!
Do check out their Facebook here for EARLY BIRD TICKETS!
*Disclaimer: I’m working in a paid partnership with the Big Day Out Festival campaign. All photos and opinions are of my own.
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