Days out Family friendly

Gloworm Festival 2022 – The Heatwave Edition

Introducing the first article by our Lovely Local Indie guest writer, Charlotte Taylor, a review of Gloworm festival at Thoresby Park, Nottinghamshire.

Having been to a few festivals pre-child, (Glastonbury and Green Man) we had looked on admiringly at parents who were free-spirited enough to bring their children along so they could see Beyoncé’s iconic set, or like me Orbital on the Other Stage. The idea of a festival is something I really wanted to experience with my daughter and I had known about the Gloworm festival for a while.

Gloworm festival 2022 review

Tickets aren’t cheap but they are on par with an expensive day out (£35 for adults and £25 for children). The convenience of the festival was the main draw for us- for starters it’s nearby, only 35 minutes from Chesterfield (and an hour from Derby) as well as offering a real mix of a line-up. This year crafts (like Crayola, kinetic sand and the Cbeebies creativity tent) went alongside household names my daughter knew: Andy and the Band, Maddie Moate and Jaimie of Cosmic Kids Yoga who was our lock-down daily habit.

Like my maiden Glastonbury in 2010, the sun baked the already scorched earth and there was no mud in sight. I had been patiently checking BBC weather from the obligatory 10 days before and all had seemed good- until the week before and there now was a heatwave. Gloworm organisers reassured us that they had added one more extra water station for the Sunday (where temperatures were expected to reach 33 degrees) as well as publicise the sheltered stream paddling location. I was quite concerned about how we would do with a full day out in that heat beforehand and whilst we returned with dusty feet and covered in sticky suncream we found there was plenty of shade (not necessarily cool air) inside all the tents.

stream at Gloworm festival for paddling
shade tent at Gloworm festival 2022
Gloworm festival entrance

We arrived at Thoresby at 9.50, followed the clear signs and rolled into the car park along the drive. The grass was dry and parking on it was no problem. There was a slight queue and I would recommend arriving between 9.40-9.50 just to make sure you’re not standing waiting too long with your eager little ones. The car park was a short 5 minute walk to the entrance and we waited for about 20 minutes to go through the gates to get in with our day tickets. Luckily there was a row of large oak trees for us to stand under as even at 10am the sun was unforgiving. After having our bags checked, grabbing our goody bag and lost child wristband, we headed straight for the shade by the farm animals to set up our sun shelter.

As far as activities go there were plenty to keep our gang of two 5 year-old girls and a 4 year-old boy entertained. The fairground rides are free until 5pm but the height restriction for most is 1.2m. This meant a couple of tricky disappointed moments. Because of the intense heat, we were simply wandering around seeking places with shade. We ventured into the Big Top tent but found only a TV style programme running. Returning later to see Mama G sing songs and read a story about a crocodile who was scared to tell his father he liked to wear dresses was brilliant and we loved seeing her engage with the children on such an important topic.

At teatime they had a Pride march around the site with Elmer alongside. Amongst the other attractions was the Mermaid lady who was a hit with the two girls. They were captivated with her tail and swimming (whilst I watched on in awe as she kept her eyes open and her breath held as she moved about her pool). The wrestling tent was a surprise hit entertainment too- a lively crowd was in full voice and the wrestlers were brilliant. We ventured over to the CBeebies meet-and-greet to see Bluey (a real hit in both households) then eat our picnic back at the tent, fending off the wasps.

inside the circus tent at Gloworm festival 2022

Seeking more shade we made our way to the circus. All of the children were living their best Greatest Showman lives as we watched contortionists, aerial acrobatics and wine-glass balancing. It was impressive stuff, I have to admit and the performers were excellent. Our final event of the day was to watch Andy and the Band -fantastic musicians as well as brilliant performers. Knowing the songs made the moment really special and we saw so many parents singing with their children, reliving their old festival days through a bit of good-moral-rock-and-roll.

We would have loved to see Jaimie from Cosmic Kids and Maddie Moate but the sun was just too hot and we had to find different things to do. Plenty of families did see them: they camped their UV tent in front of the main stage. Later in the evening, we would have definitely stopped for the Little Mix tribute and probably the Bowie act too, but we were so desperate for a shower and to sit in an air conditioned car that we left at 6pm. No queues to get out though and plenty of cars had already gone.

stage at Gloworm festival

We managed to keep costs down by bringing a picnic and the car park not being too far meant we could fetch it when we wanted rather than lug it around. Food was quite expensive- you wouldn’t get any change from £20 for two Greek chicken wraps and my Twister ice lolly was £3. Luckily everything else (except hook-a-duck and face painting/hair plaiting) is part of your entry ticket so bring your own food to keep costs low. It should be noted that not many places accepted card so if you did plan to eat here bring cash.

The website says that there’s plenty for teens but we found that 4-9 year olds were best catered for.

Gloworm festival review

Tips for Gloworm Festival

We took a picnic for lunch.

Our friends took a pull-along trailer to chuck their chairs, picnic and general paraphernalia in. We enviously looked on as we carried all ours in backpacks.

There were only two water stops and you did have to queue. We took our steel bottles to keep the water cool in the heat.

Fair-ground rides are free between 10-5.00 so make sure you let them get it out their system before having to pay.

It goes without saying that you’ll walk a lot so comfy shoes / sandals are a must.

Our overall verdict of Gloworm Festival

An expensive day with plenty to do: a great festival primer and the kids loved it. Us adults felt we’d like something more for our money but that might have been because we didn’t get to see it all.

Visit the official Gloworm festival website here.

Gloworm festival review

Words and photos by Charlotte Taylor

I’m Charlotte- Derbyshire born and raised. I’ve lived in both Bath and the outskirts of London and as a result I am always on the lookout for city-standard coffee shops, independent places and local gems.

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