When Bethany was 12 we went to Glastonbury, it was a last minute thing and the tickets became available about a 6 weeks before we went. It was my first festival experience as well as Beth's. I had always said that I would take Tilly to a festival and that opportunity came up at the weekend when we went to Geronimo Family Festival at Arley Hall in Northwich.
As I don't drive, I looked at the train times and the nearest station was Northwich, but it took a long time to get there from Crewe and was a little bit more expensive on the train so I would suggest getting the train to Warrington and getting a cab from there. The cab was about £5 cheaper than getting it from Northwich station too. We arrived on a Friday evening and walked as close to the festival as we could. We only had 2 person tent so we knew we could squeeze in anywhere, but our tent looked so small in the mass of huge family tents.
We collected our wristbands and we were good to go the following morning. Camping is always a shock to my system because I always like my home comforts, but I survived to tell the tale. There were plenty of toilets in the camping area although they were stinky when we first arrived and they needed to be cleaned before we could use them really. There was a shower block with hot showers and there were about 8 showers for the whole site, so you had to queue for a while to get one - but it was worth the wait. There was a farm shop called The Farmers Wife and she was lovely, she sold anything you could ever need for your camping stay and if she didn't have it, she got it for you that day or for the next day. Nothing was too much trouble for her. There was no electric in the campsite and there was no where to charge your phones up, so please bear this in mind if you camp next year because it really is back to basics camping.
The festival itself was amazing! There is just no other word for it. The atmosphere was great, there was something for everyone to do and once you have paid to get in then you don't need to pay any more if you don't want to. There was a funfair, and the rides were £1 a go, so it was still cheap for your family day out. There were over 100 activities for the family to do and the festival opened at 10 am closing at 6 pm, when the evening entertainment would start. Tilly got to experience so many things that she doesn't experience in our hometown. Tilly was able to try rock climbing, jumping from platforms onto an air cushion and parkour. There was also a zip wire, but she was a bit scared to do that.
There was an activity called Monkey Do, this was a bit like Go Ape for younger children and Tilly does like to climb, so this was a fab experience for her. They get a quick safety lesson before they go up there and the session lasts for half an hour. It is in a forest area of the festival and it was a very popular activity, so you need to be there early to book onto the attraction. Once we had finished there, we spent some time in the forest area and made things from natural products like wood, moss and feathers. Tilly made a ladybug house and painted a wooden spoon.
There was a pasture area, it was full of different animals from donkeys to parrots. The kids get to ride the donkeys and the queue was never too long so you didn't need to wait long. There were giant turtles and ferret racing as well as parrots. There were a dinosaur area and reptiles to explore too. There was a huge area to play with cardboard boxes and the children were encouraged to make something out of them, then they were put on display for everyone to see and admire.
There are so many shows on throughout the weekend and you get to see a wide variety of performances from Cbeebies characters to superheroes and Stagecoach drama school. Tilly was lucky enough to join Katy Ashworth on stage and she got to meet a few of the characters backstage. Alex Winters was the compere for the weekend and it was a little bit of a sad occasion as the event happened a week after the terrorist attack in Manchester, So Alex had a made a few speeches so we could remember the victims and although a few people did stay away from the event after what had happened, he welcomed everyone who was defying the terrorists and told us all to have an amazing time.
The weekend was very much a hands-on and activity weekend, The Weekend lets you explore so much and gives the children chance to experience things that they otherwise might not have a chance to experience otherwise. Tilly was a free range child and just enjoyed the outdoors, she ran around without shoes on and was playing outside with new friends that she met until 10 pm at night. She was covered in dirt by the end of the weekend and was so tired with all of the things that she did, but we had created precious memories together with the help of Geronimo and the camping group. There was so much more to do at Geronimo, that I couldn't possibly name it all so I will let the video do it all. We have speeded it up to get as much in as possible.
Geronimo will be back next year and it will be bigger and better, do the camping but be prepared for basicness. It cost £60 for camping and then the tickets were on top of that. You can buy tickets for 1, 2 or 3 days but it took us three days to do the festival. The Monday was less busy due to the weather and some stalls had packed up early and there is still bits that we missed out on. You could never do it in a day.
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