Port Eliot is a magical place to visit when you’re a child; adventure lurks around every corner. But if you’re the one bringing them, that feeling might be dampened slightly with the logistical side of four days with your nearest and dearest little people.
But it’s easy when you know how, and know-how is exactly what our festival-goers have: we crowdsourced these family festival tips especially for those who haven’t done it before. Here’s your guide to coming to Port Eliot as a family, written by other families who do every year.
Camping and facilities
Camping on the hill at Jago’s View Campsite is a great spot for families. It is a wee bit hilly but it’s far enough away from the music at night and there’s plenty of space for big groups – there’s a fantastic view of the Estate from here too! There is plenty of flat space in the campsite, but it does get busy with tents. The water taps run up the middle of the campsite – it’s often helpful to locate yourselves near a tap.
This year we’ll also have a baby-changing tent next to Bowling Green Stage, handy when you’re out and about.
Look out for buggies powered by the World Land Trust who will be helping campers with their kit get to the campsite.
The Port Eliot loos are generally pretty lovely but if you want an extra-fantastic experience, look no further than Loowatt. Buy a pass and you can use their fancy bathrooms all weekend.
What to eat
Most of our streetfood sellers will be able to do small child-sized portions for a reduced price – just ask them. There’s plenty that will appeal to little ones tastes: fresh pasta from The Cooking Cooks, porridge from 26 Grains, or crepes from Lemon Jelli to name just a few. Woody’s Pizza, and Chip off the Block are also favourites. And there are some sweet treats too – from Faeryfloss and The Dartmouth Icecream Company. Head here to see the full array of food on offer.
What to bring
Aside from usual camping essentials, here are some top tips from Port Eliot Festival-goers especially for family camping:
- Wet wipes – an absolute essential when camping with children!
- Bring plenty of warm blankets and clothes to stay toasty at night – a good sheepskin goes a long way! For very small children, warm clothes and blankets are less complicated than a sleeping bag.
- A washing up bowl or big tub can be a great asset too – for storing your dirty washing up, mini paddling pool for a hot day, Somewhere to store muddy wellies!
- Tent big enough to stand up in and do wet weather games/activities in
- Refillable water containers and coffee cups
- Really good camping mats to make sure you get your 40 winks!
- A pre-pitched tent if you’re so inclined – fewer things to carry.
- A trolley or cart to push the kids around in. Good for carrying things, and gives them somewhere cosy to have a nap during the day.
- A small paddling pool to put on the shower floor to turn the shower into a sit down / bath option for little ones
- Toys, books and games to keep kids entertained in all weather conditions
- Binbags, for little (or big) accidents
- Ear defenders for the kids, for when you’re near the big stage soundsystems
- Be prepared to share a bed with your little ones. Accept it and enjoy it, one day they won’t want to!
- Rummaging for, and storage of, clothes can be a pain. Use tall, narrow bags that are clear and heavy duty. You can easily see what’s in them right to the bottom and the clothes are kept dry.
- Lots of snacks and nibbles… and wine
- Plus, don’t forget your welly boots, sun cream, waterproofs and headtorch
What to see and do
Our pdf programme will be sent out in advance, so you can start planning your weekend before you arrive, and you’ll be able to get hold of a beautiful paper copy on site. Here are a few of our highlights for kids.
Vincent’s Starry Night is an interactive illustration workshop for the whole family. Join the Plymouth University illustration team and art historian Michael Bird as they bring famous artist’s stories to life and help you dash off your own Van Gogh or Picasso inspired masterpiece. All materials will be provided.
Alex Bellos and Ben Littleton, authors of the bestselling Football School series (who were recently on Blue Peter!), will be doing two football-themed events for children: a hilarious and entertaining Football School talk for children up to aged 13, answering questions like: “when do footballers poo?” and “can you play football on Mars?” – and a football school penalty masterclass, to demonstrate the perfect penalty.
Michelle Cartlidge is a Cornish-based children’s writer and illustrator. She has had over 100 books published, the most recent of which is The Mousehole Mice and the Theatre by the Sea. She will be bringing her stories to life in the Tiddy Tent, telling mousey tales, and encouraging any budding young illustrators out there!
The Alice In Wonderland Treasure Hunt is back by popular demand, sprinkling magic as it wends its way around the glorious Port Eliot grounds. Solve riddles and unravel rhyming couplets to reveal Lewis Carroll’s characters hidden along the way. Finish, after a good run around, with a Mad Hatters Tea Party, a lucky dip and a sing-song for all those who’ve fathomed the adventure. Buy a ticket in advance for £5.
Bring us a Story is an interactive storytelling event in the Tiddy Tent, hosted by children’s authors Craig Green and Emily Barr. They invite you to suggest ideas that they’ll weave into a crazy tale of adventure and excitement. Expect a story involving pukka pasties and pesky piskies; smiley smugglers and stinky seagulls.
Rogue Theatre’s award-winning Wild Woodland Summer Ball: Get lost in a world of Angels, 80’s power ballads, Harley Davidsons, strange fish, and the devil with a selfie stick! And at the end, it’s your chance to dance: DJ Max (11 years old) returns with his awesome DJ set.
Are you curious? Do you like robots, volcanos and explosions? Blast Into Science have lined up some experts to give you an initiation into the world of science, against the backdrop of the magnificent Round Room.
From the moment Murray Lachlan Young bounds onto the stage, hair wrapped in a towel, dressing gown flapping, you know you’re in for a good time. Best of all, he knows exactly what your average 5–10-year-old is interested in – toilets, poo and death being three key subjects discussed during the show. And with Young, audience participation for both children and ex-children (as he calls us) is neither awkward nor embarrassing, just fun.
The Amazing Art Cart will be roaming, offering you the chance to make your own badge, medal or rosette. They’ll also be handing out free bespoke Port Eliot colouring books and pencils to keep you little ones entertained for hours. Keep your eyes pealed for bubbles, balloons and a swarm of creativity on Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 2pm near the Park Stage.
These are just a few of our highlights, but there are lots more activities for families here.
A break from being mum and dad
Leave entertaining the little ‘uns to us at Woodland Creche or Mud + Guts and have a few hours off parenting to go gallivanting, enjoy a relaxing meal and see the festival. Be sure to book in advance at the links below.
🌿 Woodland Creche 🌿
(ages 5-11 – under 7’s accompanied by an adult)