Last weekend we went to ‘The Great Estate Festival‘ in Cornwall. Labelled the worlds most ‘rambunctious’ garden fete, it definitely lived up to its name! In fact, it was so amazing and unique, that we’re 100% going to go back again next year and after reading this post, I guarantee that you too will want tickets for next years event.
If you’ve never heard of ‘The Great Estate‘ before, it’s a unique, weird and wonderful festival that is hosted in Cornwall. This year was it’s second year and it opened its doors to over 19,000 people. The festival caters for absolutely everyone, so regardless of your interests and passions, there will be something at the festival that will completely capture you.
The Great Estate
I’ve honestly never ever experienced such a unique festival before and I have been to so many festivals! I did my degree in Music and Event Management so not only have I attended festivals and put on my own events, but I’ve also studied thousands of them. I have never come across an event that is so unique as The Great Estate.
The Different ‘Zones’ of The Great Estate
As soon as we arrived we went on a mission to explore the entire festival. We wanted to get our bearings and we also wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t miss out on anything! There are several different zones at The Great Estate.
The first zone we came to was called ‘The Sanctuary’. True to its name, we swiftly discovered that this was the ‘relaxation zone’ where everyone could go to chill out, relax and enjoy a little light pampering. How amazing does that sound?
There was a real ‘bohemian vibe’ to this area and we swiftly fell in love with everything that was on offer. In fact, the first place we literally stepped inside was a cafe tent called the ‘Once In A Blue Moon Cafe’. We could not resist picking up some of their gluten and dairy free chocolate, salted caramel brownies to eat on the go while we explored.
All I can say is wow! When we popped back later for more (yup, they were that good) we were so sad to hear that they had compleltey sold out, but it was so understandable why. The cafe set the vibe for this area. Cushions on the floor, chilled music, fruit teas, it was amazing.
Next door to the cafe there was a lady doing massages and body posture corrections and beside her tent was a huge ‘community tent’ where they hosted yoga sessions all weekend, as well as other workshops all based on relaxation. The yoga sessions were all really unique as well. You could have a standard yoga class, or you could do something completely different and try out things like ‘hip hop yoga’. Classes were open to everyone and were free! Next year we’re planning on getting a babysitter for one of the days we’re there, so I have a good excuse to attend more of these sessions.
Beside that tent were even more stalls where people were offering raiki and other alternative therapies. Then there was the ‘spa’, yes a real spa! Here you could soak in hot tubs and lounge about with your friends in absolute blissful peace.
The Whispering Wood
Next up we visited the ‘Whispering Wood’. This was right next door to The Sanctuary and was a new addition for 2018. It was such a magical little area, nestled in between some trees. Here kids could make stick men, do bug hunting and make wild music.
I honestly had to tear Evie away from this area. She loved it so much! Throughout the day, The Whispering Wood hosted a whole variety of poetry and storytelling performances as well as workshops that anyone could take part in. We were gutted that we didn’t plan our time better, because we missed out on the drama workshop for kids, the foraging and the den building workshops. We really wanted to do these with Evie. Next year we definitely will.
Regardless of missing out on these things though, she still had so much fun hunting and identifying bugs, making music and creating her very own stick man.
Next we headed straight for the main arena and in particular the kids zone.
I Honestly Could Not Get Over How Much There Was For Kids!
Oh my goodness. I’m not sure if I can even pack it all into this post. Part of the reason we attended the festival this year, was to review it and share what there is to do for families. I assumed this section would be very small (silly me), but Evie was literally in festival heaven and so was every other kid!
Evie is four years old and this festival wasn’t even her first rodeo. But, it was certainly her favourite experience of a festival ever and from a parent perspective, it was definitely mine too.
They went above and beyond for kids and I have a feeling this is going to bring back so many families and also some new one, next year. I’ll certainly be telling all of my friends about it!
In only a few short hours Evie had a rainbow painted on her face, she’d played in soft play, jumped on three different bouncy castles, played on a playdoh table, painted binoculars, made a stick man, went bug hunting, made a dreamcatcher, played in a ball pit, went on a bungee bouncer, watched knights jousting, ate delicious food and so much more. Phew!
The Kids Playground
Inside the playground zone it had not one, not two but three huge bouncy castles and all three of them were different. The best part about it, was that buying a ticket gave you access to all three and your access lasted for the ENTIRE day!
I thought the price was such amazing value for money. We recently went to a food festival that charged £4 for fifteen minutes. This was just for one bouncy castle session! The Great Estate charged £8 for a whole day and three bouncy castles! It was great for any family wanting to sit down for a little bit while their kids played and you could come back again and again all day long!
Also in the playground there were different sections that kids could play in. There was a sandpit, musical instruments, a toy area, soft play and a ball pit. All of this was free!
There was also face painting, a tent where kids could do tie die and a huge craft tent where all day long you could pop in and out and do a whole variety of crafts. Again…all for free.
Kids were making things like dream catchers, tutus, fairy wings, animals and so much more. The craft tent had such a lovely atmosphere and it was jam packed all day long.
We tried our hand at making a dreamcatcher that is now lovingly hanging in Evie’s bedroom. We also watched some kids making tutus and all though we got their too late to join in with that one, it has inspired us to make our own at home.
More Activities For Kids
Oh yes, there were even more activities for kids other than the above! Just beside the kids playzone, there was a tent that had a sign saying ‘Make A Pinhole Camera’. Here older kids could sit down and make their own camera for the festival out of pringles tubes! Evie was a bit young for this, but there was also an activity for younger kids where they could make a pair of very fetching binoculars out of toilet tubes!
While Evie was busy painting, they also had lots of really cool props you could try on, including a set of ‘eyes’ made out of bins! You simply put these on your head and inside you could see the world ‘upside down’. It was so cool!
Oh and then there was the fairground. It had a helter skelter, an archery game, a coconut shy, a bungee bouncer and a huge carousel!
Just having things like this for kids, makes festivals so much more fun for parents. It was so lovely to see so many families having such a great time, as well as getting the opportunity to relax while their kids enjoyed zones of their own.
I have to say, I’ve never been so impressed by a festivals ‘kids zone’ before. We’ll definitely be going back to The Great Estate next year with all of our friends and their kids.
The Main Arena
The kids playzone was also in the main arena, which was great for if you wanted to watch music on the main stage. All the main food trucks and entertainment tents were in this zone too.
There was face painting for grown ups which I took full advantage of. Then there were food stalls, bars, a Pimms O Clock Bus and Garden and so much more.
One of the tents, Madam Wongs House Of Wrong even had a barber and a tattoo parlour where you could get a full body makeover! How insanely cool is that? During the day time this tent played host to the BBC Introducing stage where we got to watch some emerging and rising Cornish talent. Some of the artists were so impressive and we spent a lot of time in this tent.
In the evening the audience was wowed by burlesque and other fun events such as ‘hip hop karaoke’. I was so gutted that we had to leave early on Saturday. I really wanted to see the burlesque show! I’ve heard from friends that it was amazing.
As well as the main stage where there were performances from large acts such as ‘The Charlatans’, there was also two other tents. One was called the Hokey Cokey Parlour. In the day there were drama workshops for kids and a skate park (yes…an actual skate park). Then at night time there were DJs spinning the decks well into the night.
Lastly there was the ‘Octopus Lounge’, a private exclusive lounge that you had to pay extra access for. In the tent the champagne was flowing and you got to eat oysters and witness some top secret performances.
Other Weird And Wonderful Happenings
Just outside of the arena there were other events going on too. Honestly, I’m out of just breath writing this post. On Saturday we got to watch some ‘knights’ take part in games and jousting.
It was such a fun experience and the crowd got so involved. Evie loved watching them ride up and down performing. They were talented, hilarious and a must see!
Then on Sunday The Great Estate hosted the worlds largest cream tea party. We really wanted to take part in this, but at the time we were at ‘The Wild Wine Club’ so were a bit preoccupied. We heard that they broke the record though and nearly 800 people all sat around together enjoying a good old Cornish cream tea!
The Secret Gin Garden
Lastly, there was another zone. This was our favourite spot for a little relaxation! Hidden away from the rest of the festival, down a wooded pathway, there was the ‘Secret Gin Garden’. We loved going here to chill with a gin and listen to classical music as well as some blues acts and celtic sounds.
There were spots on the grass, nestled between the trees where you could lounge in the sun with some Cornish gin. How blissful does that sound?
Then (this is the last thing, I promise) next door to the Secret Gin Garden was a woodland area that hosted a ‘silent disco’. This was the main thing we were so gutted about having to miss out on because we had to leave early on Saturday (because of one very grumpy, tired toddler). We saw the pictures online and it looked insane! Pure darkness, glow in the dark ear phones and a place where you could dance the night away!
It’s not a festival without food and I love festival food. We love trying out different street foods and The Great Estate had so many delicious options. It was so hard to choose but pur favourite stall was there ‘Jumunjy’.
We have seen and eaten from this stall a lot at festivals all around Cornwall. They never, ever disappoint and I love that every time we see them, their team has grown! This time we ended up sharing a duck massaman curry.
Even Evie completely devoured this and she’s not a fan of curries or spice. She loved it and wanted more! We also tried some food from Cornwall’s ‘Forage and Feast’ over the weekend, as well as from ‘Cake and Coffee’ and ‘The Blue Moon Cafe’. There were lots we missed out on though and if Aitan had, had his way, we would have eaten our way around the whole festival.
Don’t even get me started on the Cornish drinks there were available. We definitely spent a lot of time in the ‘Secret Gin Garden’ sipping on Tarquins and we couldn’t resist tucking into lots of ‘Cornish Orchards’ cider as well.
The Wild Wine Club
On the Sunday of the festival we were lucky enough to get to try out the ‘Wild Wine Club’. This was an extra that you have to book in advance, but it was so worth it. I’ve written a separate post about it too. You can find that here; The Wild Wine Club.
The Wild Wine Club is a 3 course wine tasting dinner or lunch.
We went to the ‘Sunday Lunch’. This year it was hosted in the old horse shed and basically the idea is that you go and sit at a banquet table with lots of other people who you don’t know. You then tuck into a 3 course feast that has been freshly cooked for you on the bbq outside and all of this is paired with different wines for every course.
Each meal has a different theme too. We happened to attend the ‘Galician’ lunch, so all the food and wine was traditional from the Galician area in Spain, as was the decor.
Sommelier Debbie and her team actually host these Wild Wine Club feast nights all over Cornwall, in the most unique and beautiful locations. I cannot wait to go and book in for another one. It was such a wonderful experience. Our food was delicious and the wine was exquisite.
The Food At The Wild Wine Club
We started off with the most mouth watering heritage tomatoes. They were topped with cheese and paired with a really fresh crisp Albarino. Albarino is my favourite wine so we were off to a good start!
For mains we had wood fired pork with Cornish potatoes topped with dill and a side of fennel. I’ll let you into a little secret. I hate fennel and dill. They’re two of my least favourite ingredients in the world. Someone a few people down said the same thing, but she tried both the potatoes and the fennel and went ‘wow’. Out of curiosity I gave them a go. It was so delicious I actually ended up getting a second round of both fennel and potatoes (it wasn’t as overpowering as the fennel I’ve had in the past) and although I don’t think I’ll be eating fennel anytime soon again, this was actually amazing! The main was paired with a Galician red wine and then came dessert.
Dessert was an orange sponge, traditional of the Galician area. This was paired with the sweetest, most mourish sherry.
I am such a shy person so the idea of sitting next to and across from strangers really scared me at first! but, once the wine was flowing, everyone was getting to know each other. It was such a lovely way to meet new people and make new friends! It was one of the highlights of our weekend and we’ll definitely be attending some of their other events.
There were absolutely no negatives of the whole festival. It was amazing and I could not get over how much there was to do. From a family perspective as well, it was incredible. I’m going to be recommending it to everyone and anyone who wants to listen. We are 150,000% going back again next year and I can’t wait to see how they make it bigger and better.
The only thing on the whole weekend that I’d wished was slightly different, was the layout of ‘The Sanctuary’. It was so big and open and I think this section really deserved to be in a place that was more cosy and more together. It was quite open and I think a lot of people were walking past not realising what it was. I hope next year they make the layout a lot more inviting just of this area.
Want To Here About More Festivals?
The creators of The Great Estate also host ‘The Little Orchard Cider And Music Festival‘. That’s coming up again in September this year. Read our post all about it here!
Did you go to The Great Estate this year? Do you love the sound of it? Let me know in the comments below!
*We were gifted tickets to lunch in exchange for this review. All opinions are completely honest and our own.