It will probably come to no surprise when I say I don’t like camping. The lack of privacy, creature comforts and having to use communal showers and toilets are enough to send me in to a panic. In fact, I have a slight phobia of public toilets – I avoid them nearly as much as I do hospitals! These two things combined mean I would never even consider camping at a festival – point blank – no way – I would make myself ill! Luckily I have picked a husband who, even though he loves cars and music, would never consider asking me to camp. Chris Evans also seems to appreciate this segment of his audience and offers day tickets to CarFest!
For those of you who are not aware, CarFest is fronted by BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans to raise money for Children in Need. CarFest North takes place in Oulton Park. CarFest South is on Jody Scheckter’s Laverstoke Park Farm. Tickets for CarFest sell out in a matter of minutes, so you have to be quick. I was one of the fortunate few to secure four Friday tickets. This year an adult day ticket was £60, 6-16 years old £11, under 5’s free. With most of organisations/individuals donating services for free, a large proportion of the ticket price goes to Children in Need.
The queue to get into CarFest was very slow this year. We were near to the front, yet it still took around 40 minutes for us to get in. I understand this was partly due to the track still being built. We did see the Dirty Dozen arrive at CarFest, which was a treat. The dirty dozen are Chris Evans own cars – all worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. In November, he auctions the chance to drive these twelve cars over two (or could be three) days. Staying in plush hotels, driving some of the world’s most amazing cars, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I think the lowest winning bidder this year spent almost £100,000. A bit out of my price range right now!
As soon as we got into CarFest, I spotted an under 17’s driving experience with Mercedes on the other side of the track. We decided to head straight for it. Unfortunately, we had to split up. I waited at the pushchair crossing with Little J, whilst Keith and Z headed over the bridge to sign up for a donation. Our swift sign up meant Z could drive straight away. Most of the cars available to drive were automatic. The SmartFour however was manual, which was the one the instructor squeezed 6ft 4″ Z in.
He thoroughly enjoyed his 15 minutes driving around the grass track. To my surprise, there was not bunny hopping or stalling the engine – although a lot of hand-crossing!
Time to explore.
I was pleasantly surprised at the exhibitor’s inclusion of children on their stands. I don’t think I’ve ever been in to a car show room or event, where children are not frown upon for sitting in the cars or jumping on the motorbikes. Of course, this was a winner with my boys!
And where on earth has Little J developed a love for motorbikes from….
They loved it!
Every stand we saw had something for children. Whether it be colouring, a toy box or pretending to be a World Rally Champion!
There are plenty of food stalls where you can buy anything from a Crepe to Paella. We opted for the Laverstoke Park Farm buffalo burger. Not cheap at £7.00, but at least the children’s option was slightly cheaper at £4.50. I have to say, the burger was amazing. Tasty, juicy, with a side of salad and coleslaw – Yummy!
As with every festival, wellies are a must. I did have a little smug moment when despite my pleas for Keith and Z to wear wellies, they chose not to and felt a little regretful when they saw the mud!
Little J loved it though!
Much more than he enjoyed the roar of the cars going up the hill climb track.
There aren’t many areas the public cannot access, which is brilliant for petrol heads. The cars are amazing!
We even saw Ed and Mike picking their next car to transform on Wheeler Dealers 🙂
There is so much to do with children. Little J’s favourite was Tractor Ted.
And for £1, Little J spent 3 minutes throwing himself down the tractor slide.
Keith and Z had parties to go to in the evening, so we didn’t stay around for the concert and being live on The One Show. We did have a wonderful day together and we hope to be able to go again next year.