Wouldn’t it be great if there was a festival where you could really escape, let loose, relax and get stretched and pampered mentally, physically and gastronomically?! Well I think this exists, not only that it is family friendly, and if you haven’t heard of it before let me tell you about my trip to Wilderness in Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire. You might just find you want to book in for this summer!
Back in 2014 I was desperate to go to Wilderness Festival but we were in the middle of our IVF journey, then in 2015 I was busy learning the ropes of life with a new born and thoughts of summer festivals were a distant memory from a life I no longer knew. Last year however I was in need of a girly weekend and I took myself off to give it a bit of a once over recce before deciding whether we could take it on as a family too. It was, with no doubt, a highlight of my year and I would love to take my family. I wasn’t planning to blog when I went so the photos aren’t great but hopefully they give you a little insight into life at Wilderness.
Camping, Glamping and Boutique bedrooms!
There are accommodation options for everyone, from family camping and quiet camping to the main campsite and exquisite Boutique campsite. If camping in any form just isn’t for you there are a range of places in the surrounding Oxfordshire countryside. I’ve always loved a bit of camping but I’m probably more of a glamper these days. Being two world travelling gals my bestie and I coped very well in what was essentially a two man snuggle canopy due to suitable Boutique camping options being sold out. We chose the quiet camping since this was also one of my few opportunities to get some sleep! I didn’t get to check out the family campsite but I’m excited to take our little one camping sometime soon and there were plenty of happy families on site. You really do have to see the Boutique Camping options to believe them from gypsy caravans and airstreams to bell tents and yurts.
I loved the walk down from our site into the main site in the mornings, past the snoozing tents, picking up a free coffee and smoothie if you’re early enough then on for a meander past the lakes glistening in the morning sun. Yes, it really is as magical as it sounds.
Yoga, Hot tubs, Fancy dress, Massage, Glitter, Dance, Craft and so much more!
I defy anyone to be bored at Wilderness. I couldn’t cram in half the things I wanted to do! In the preplanning my priority was to get booked into the wood fired hot tub spa sessions provided by the fab Bathing Under The Sky at The Sanctuary and I loved every second of it. There is nothing quite like starting the day with a G&T in a lakeside hot tub, taking a dip in the lake and jumping straight back in that hot tub before finishing the session with a hot shower and access to hairdryers and straighteners – a real treat after camping for a few days!
If your ideal morning includes yoga then you’re spoiled for choice, I joined the Yoga Brunch Club crowd one morning for a fantastic stretch, relaxing shavasana and brunch put on by Deliciously Ella’s Mae Deli. Neal’s Yard provided on site spa treatments in beautiful bell tents, workshops and more, it is at Wildneress that I discovered Deliciously Ella’s collab with Neal’s Yard and became a firm fan of their skincare range but I’d already packed my trusty Neal’s Yard relaxation roll on.
During the day you can hire lake boats, get glittered up for the evening, join in dance classes, or visit the craft area to gain a new skill and that really is just skimming the surface of what is on offer. On the first night we went to a comedy show and on the Sunday afternoon, after the cricket match, we took ourselves out into the woods for abridged Shakespeare. I went to a literature talk while my friend went to one on Artificial Intelligence.
There is a family section which is full of entertainment for all ages but I know my little one would be fascinated by all the sights and sounds on site. The fancy dress themes were inspired; Kaleidoscope, Gold and Goblin ball meant I took all the sequins, a mask and added plenty of glitter. They also had a fancy dress theme for the littles and I loved spotting all the different tails they were wearing! I won’t list all the things we did, you probably wouldn’t believe me, but just check out what they’ve got planned for this year!
Food, all of the food!
If you know me then you know I love food, all of the food (just about!). Wilderness took festival food shook it up, added a dash of Michelin and elevated it to a all new level. Lets just take a moment to look at the big names from last year; Skye Gyngell, Virgilio Martinez, Raymond Blanc, Hix, Petersham Nurseries, Moro, Mae Deli, Duck and Waffle, Pitt Cue Co., Noble Rot, ok, ok I’ll stop there but I could go on.
We booked into Skye Gyngell’s banquet and it was worth every, single penny! The atmosphere in the tent was buzzing, everyone was dressed in their Kaleidoscope finery and the food ranged from cosmic carrots, to spiced quail and was finished with a summer pudding alongside plenty of wine. While on site I enjoyed poached eggs and pancakes for breakfast, an incredible piri piri wrap from Hix, curry aboard the Bhangra Bus, Anna Mae’s mac and cheese and sweet treats from brownies to ice cream and so, so, so much more. I don’t think I have ever eaten consistently so well in such a short space of time. Are you hungry now?! I am!
The music line up was fab but given all that Wilderness had to offer it wasn’t my priority when booking which seems odd when you think of the stereotype of festival but lets face it, Wilderness laughs in the face of stereotype! The range of music on offer is unbelievable, country, jazz, gospel, folk, dance, with guest stars like Robert Plant, Crystal Fighters, Charlotte Church and Goldie. I ventured into The Valley just the once, I’m not the all night reveler I once was but it was fun to dabble. The Wilderness Orchestra were fantastic on the last night with their tribute to David Bowie which included some last minute guest appearances too, Wilderness keeps you on your toes!
There really is more to explore than I can cover in one blog but if you are looking for a magical weekend in the summer, from girly weekend escapes to family breaks, big birthday celebrations to I can’t recommend Wilderness Festival more. It ticked all my boxes as far as checking it out for a family trip was concerned. I felt safe, it was as clean and kept clean throughout the weekend and families have clearly been considered in terms of food, entertainment and accommodation. I would be very tempted to book into the Boutique camping or Family campsite next time. All that is left to say is get booking quick before they start releasing the banqueting and woodland spa slots!
*This is not a sponsored post, I paid for everything and had bloomin great time*