Festivals can be an exciting way to experience life. Something new around every corner. Sizzling sausages and grilled onions filling the air. People to watch. A new activity to try.
But there aren’t many festival aimed just at children, so when local mum Rachel Hughes asked if the Modern Family would like to review her brainchild The Little Welly, a Christmas festival at Wellington Country Park aimed at 4 – 12-year-olds, we agreed. Scottish grandma, who just turned 85, was particularly looking forward to going as this would be her first festival!
Rachel and her team have been organising events for many years, and had clearly thought out The Little Welly to the Nth degree. It’s the little touches that really make a difference.
When we arrived we were greeted by very friendly staff. They seemed like a mix of the teen next door that does your babysitting for £5 and hour … and her parents! Everyone was genuinely helpful and went the extra mile to make sure you had everything you needed. Ryan walked with us and pointed out the different tents (there were five big tops) and chatted with the girls, asking if they were they ready for Christmas (yes of course we are).
We started with the Show Tent to catch CBBC presenter Fran Scott and her “Science Misadventures: Daring Demos and Science Stunts”. She did a variety of experiments and encouraged the idea of challenging science by just asking questions. In “How strong is friction” she demonstrated that by simply interspersing to pages of two phone books together, the friction was so strong it could life a car. She also showed us about gasses, and set a mum’s hands on fire (in the safest possible way :D). To see our girls fascinated with science and encouraged to ask questions made this session worth the whole trip on its own.
Then we headed over to the Ice Rink, where there were free skate rentals and a synthetic ice rink the size of a large swimming pool. This was a HUGE hit with my girls. The plastic surface offers a bit more resistance than real ice, and my youngest really mastered ice skating. She was so proud of herself going round and round. The ice rink was so popular we went back at the end of the day and were the last ones off before they closed for the evening. (surrounded by woodlands and trees).
The smell grilled sausages was just too much (I’m sooooo hungry mummy) we headed over to the catering area where we met more friendly staff. The food was simple, but locally sourced. I was about to order a plump sausage when I saw the steak burgers sizzling on the grill (real ones, not the frozen pre-made ones). We had burgers, jacket potatoes and crisps. When we finished we were about to gather everything to put in the bin, when the teen-next-door came by and took it for us.
He told us to make sure we checked out the Market Stalls in the tent next door. It was full of lots of affordable Christmas shopping for kids. In the Arts and Crafts Tent we were greeted by more mum and dad helpers and encouraged to do one of the crafts. The girls picked a Christmas Tree. It amazes me how still at their age they love crafts. One never tires of glitter glue!
Next, we went to visit Santa’s Village. We stood in a queue and waited while the teen-next-door keep would peer through the gap in the door, and send one family at a time through to visit santa. The village was five yurts, and the careful peering was to make sure you wouldn’t run into another family. Frosty the Snowman joined us, and then we knocked on the door of one of the yurts. A proper larger and age appropriate Santa answered and he immediately started engaging with the girls. How old are you. Have you been good this year? What do you want for Christmas? iPad’s are very expensive please keep that in mind. I bet you NEVER argue with each other. He even asked Scottish Grandma if she had been good (she had). It was brilliant and blows Santa’s grotto out of the water.
In the Activities Tent the girls got engrossed in Christmas inflatables and mini golf and in the Skills Tent we joined a South African drumming workshop.
We never made it to the Chill Out Tent, there was just too much to do!
We had a fabulous time at The Little Welly. Rachel is planning more children’s events, and if you have a chance to go, make sure you do. You won’t be dissapointed.
Note: We were provided complimentary tickets to The Little Welly for the purpose of this review. All opinions are mine and my family’s.