Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Mum, Dad, 7 year old son and 3 year old daughter.
We are not seasoned festival-goers, and had never visited Wychwood Festival before. As it is only 10 minutes down the road from home, we decided not to camp at the festival, and just attended as day visitors. We have often been tempted to attend in the past, but we've always had reservations, mainly because our son (suspected ASD) regularly experiences sensory overload, and we weren't sure if the whole experience would be too overwhelming and distressing for him. My review focusses slightly more on our son's experience, so that it could hopefully be useful for those who have a child with ASD, SPD or similar.
Our overall experience of the festival was excellent. We had a really enjoyable three days, joining in with a wide variety of activities. We experienced every type of weather from very hot sun, to pouring rain. The whole family attended on the Friday and Saturday, but just Mum and 3 year old returned on the Sunday.
Some of the features of the festival, which we felt particularly suited both our children, but also made the experience far more positive for our son were:
The craft tent. This was open each day with a wide variety of craft activities which anyone was free to sit down and join in with. Most of the activities were at no extra cost, and both of our children thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The tent did get very busy at times, which could become quite overwhelming, but we were able to find times to visit, particularly on the Friday, when it wasn't too busy.
Sensory tent. This was a bell tent set up with a calm environment inside it, with a variety of sensory toys, as a chill-out space for those who needed it. This was a brilliant space for our son to calm down, and then be ready to come and join in with the more boisterous activities again.
Aardman model making. This had to be booked early on the Saturday morning, and demand was high, but both of our children absolutely loved building their own plasticine Feathers Mcgraw under the expert guidance of one of Aardman's model makers. Our family are huge Aardman fans, and whilst both children needed some help (particularly our 3 year old), the instruction was given very clearly and at a good steady pace.There were plenty of lovely scheduled sessions, where you could pop into a tent for an hour, away from the hustle and bustle of the festival, and join in.
We found it great that the published times were adhered to, and there was such a lovely variety of activities on offer. Many were suitable for all ages, although we mainly attended those aimed at younger children.
A few of our favourites included: 'Puffins Love Pianos', a simple story suitable for all ages, with plenty of fun songs and instruments, plus a craft session where children made their own puffin puppet.
The book tent, where authors were reading their own children's books, and often included a fun activity afterwards.Watching Aardman films on a large screen.