Nobody puts on a party like the Cornish.
Cider? Check! Field? Check! Music? Check! Tractor rides? Check!
We were so delighted that we were asked to attend The Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival, at Healey’s Cyder Farm, last weekend. I love going to Cornish events more than anything because you always get such a firm sense of community and culture when you go. But, The Little Orchard Cider and Music festival is even more special than your regular Cornish event.
The family centred local cider festival, now in it’s fourth year, celebrated record ticket sales and for the first time the festival completely sold out.
So what is The Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival and why should you go?
The Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival is a charming Cornish party. Set over three days there are live bands, a groovy silent disco, up and coming music acts, camping, glamping, feast evenings, secret cider walks, tractor rides, hot tubs, cider tasting, delicious food, plus so much more.
The festival is charming for both families and groups of friends. There is something for everyone here. It’s a must add to your September calendar.
Although only a small festival (the size of one field) it is completely packed out with activities for all ages. During our two day visit, we tried out; tractor rides, sipped on some locally made ciders, tried our hand at some arts and crafts, took our toddler to the circus workshops, shopped at the vintage stalls, got our faces painted, jumped on the bouncy castles, laughed at those trying out the bucking bronco, visited the party pub, tried out the daily yoga, had a peek at the onsite spa, rode on the mini fair rides and new for this year; we watched the pig racing. Phew!
If that list isn’t enough, you’re sure to find something else to entertain you. Because yes, there is much more! Does it sound like your kind of festival so far?
All over the field, there was live entertainment a plenty. We loved all the different characters that were walking around and interacting with the festival goers. We saw pirates making balloon swords and fairies on stilts. Then, in each tent there were different types of entertainment, from comedians to lots of live music.
This year saw incredible headline sets from Reef, Land of the Giants and Mad Dog Mcrea. But my favourite stage was the BBC Introducing stage where we were all treated to new music acts that are sprouting up all across the region.
This year acts included King Creature, Auction for the Promise Club, Martin Harley, Louis Elliot & The Embers, The Claze and Honey.
Food and Drink
You can’t come to a cider festival without drinking some cider. We indulged in a couple of Cornish Rattlers that are made right here on Healey’s Farm. If you’ve never had it before, it does come with a warning as it’s very, very strong.
You could also try out a whole variety of foods from different regions; ranging from traditional burgers to Vietnamese food.
We couldn’t last the weekend, without having a tub of Callestick Farm ice-cream. This mouth watering, creamy refreshing ice-cream is literally made down the road, on the next farm over.
Evie certainly enjoyed her blackberry ice-cream and after also helping to wolf down mine, she then quickly spied Grandma’s tub half finished.
Sunday afternoon welcomed the newly added pig-racing event which drew huge crowds along the central race track.
You had the opportunity to bet on your favourite pig and the crowds went wild, the whole duration of the race, with kids on shoulders and adults climbing up on straw bales to get a better view.
The mini fair was a welcome break for little ones, with flying elephants, a bouncy castle and swing rides. Perfect for toddlers and younger children.
But, a part of the festival I really wish I got to try, was the Kernow Springs. They set up a fully-working spa for those wanting to enjoy a glass of fizz and to be pampered.
Featuring wood fire hot tubs, a sauna yurt and a ‘Bedouin’ chill out lounge, the eco spa area was the perfect area to unwind. Next year I’m definitely going to book a babysitter for an hour so I can unwind in a hot tub.
For those wanting a complete chill-out weekend, every morning at 10am a yoga instructor also took over one of the tents. You simply needed to take your yoga matt and enjoy a relaxing class of stretching before your day began.
We loved the little added extras dotted around the festival site, including the photo bus. It’s such a cute idea. You could go in the fancy dress tent, dress up in any gear you liked and then for £1 have your photo taken in the old fashioned bus.
Evie was completely in her element and certainly looked glamorous in her chosen fancy dress.
Other activities included Circus Workshops from the Swamp Circus Trust, where children and teens could learn to spin plates, walk on stilts and learn to juggle.
We visited the circus tent two days in a row and our little two year old became a pro at plate spinning in no time.
For adults; Dobbins and her Apple Bobbins team could be found hosting the infamous Secret Cider Walks. We were so gutted that we couldn’t attend this year as it had completely sold out. You need to book in advance online, but we’ve heard some amazing things.
Groups of cider loves gather around a table made from hay bales and enjoy an evening of cider pairings, with delicious local produce and home baked sausage rolls.
In the evenings there are comedy hours and a late night silent disco. But Little Orchards best kept secret was Granny Hubbard’s Funky Cupboard.
We so wish we had stayed late into the evening for this one. Word quickly spread throughout the weekend of a hidden party that was located behind a Narnia inspired wardrobe door.
Apparently you had to navigate through a giant closet that’s filled with blouses and knitwear. Through the wardrobe you’d find yourselves in a world of teacups, custard cream biscuits and gin and tonic.
The staff members inside were in full character serving drinks from china teapots and sporting stockings and walking sticks, as DJ’s spun vinyl to the lively crowd.
Healeys Cyder Farm
We took time out on one of the days to walk to the next field over and spent some time in the main part of Healey’s Cyder Farm. Here, you can find out how the cider is made, see some of the animals, taste samples in the onsite shop and go on a tractor ride tour around the orchards.
We bought some delicious goodies to take home with us and really loved learning about the process of how this infamous cider is made and seeing what uses the different apples have on the farm.
You can visit Healey’s all year around, not just during the festival, and it is a must see if you’re ever in the South-West of Cornwall.
Evie was in her absolute element at the festival. She is a born festival goer and was running into the crowds to dance to the music and to seek out new friends.
The highlight of her weekend was meeting a group of children in one of the tents and having a straw fight. Who knew that we just needed to buy her some straw to entertain her for a couple of hours.
We’ll Be Back
Thank you so much The Little Orchards Festival, for inviting us to this wonderful weekend. We will be back for next year without a doubt.
Plans are already in place for 2017 when Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival will once again descend upon Healey’s Cyder Farm. For further information visit www.cornwallciderfestival.co.uk
Have you ever been to Little Orchards Festival in Cornwall? Will you be going next year? Let us know in the comments below.