Taking Children To Glastonbury Festival – Looking Back At 2023

With tickets to the 2024 edition of Glastonbury Festival now sold out across the two primary sales, those with little ones may be scratching around for child care to cover the festival dates. If you haven’t already considered taking them along, I’d urge you to think again!

Glastonbury Festival 2023

Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)
Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)

My wife and I have been taking our little boy along to the festival since he was 8 months old, and 2024 will be his 5th festival at the ripe old age of just 7! Remember, children aged 12 and under get free entry to the otherwise near-impossible to get tickets to event. And while the music acts gracing the site’s main stages get the majority of TV and press coverage, there are whole fields dedicated to children. And even some of the areas not specifically geared towards little ones have so much to offer them. It’s baby sensory on steroids, it’s the best adventure playground you can imagine. And once you’re in, there’s little to pay for!

Glastonbury Festival 2023

Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)
Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)

Camping
If you’re intending to camp with everyone else, you will need to make a bee-line for one of the family camping fields upon entry. It’s unwise to camp elsewhere with kids, but the expectation in family camping is that your group includes at least one child. There are two family camping fields: Cockmill Meadow, which is situated near the Kidzfield and Acoustic Stage on the north east of the site near Public Gate B, and Wicket Ground which sits behind the newly-named Woodsies stage and area, nearer Public Gate A. No special tickets or passes are required to camp at either site but you need to be fast as they fill up quickly.

If you want to “cheat”, I couldn’t recommend Love Fields enough. This is an independently owned and operated campsite just a stone’s throw from Public Gate C, leading you directly into the buzz of the Acoustic Stage, Kidzfield and fabulous Theatre & Circus areas. Here, you pay for pre-erected tents, yurts, campervans and the like or simply a pre-allocated pitch to which you can drive up, unload your tent and park nearby. The site has a “glamping” tier to boot, if you’re feeling rich! The area comes with showers and flushable loos as well as a basic coffee and breakfast tent offer. There’s shared power, hairdryers as well as a bar and food offerings for later in the day.

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Kid-friendly areas
The Kidzfield is the primary child-focussed area at Glastonbury Festival. It boasts The Big Top tent where all the listed performances happen. We’ve been lucky to catch the BBC’s Andy And The Odd Socks and the Kidzfield’s resident superstar Basil Brush on a number of occasions. But the Big Top will host a number of fantastic performances to captivate all ages across the festival weekend.

Every day from 9am, the Make And Do Tent is open for arts and crafts of all kinds. There is the face-painting area as well with a host of incredibly imaginative artists who will be happy to take your child’s request for a makeover.

The Experimaker tent was a firm favourite of our boy’s for 2023, great for expanding both scientific and creative minds!

Outside of the covered areas, there are numerous activities to wear the little ones out, from the famous pink Wondrous Kidzfield Castle, Chipperfield’s Helter Skelter (kids-only, no grown-ups!), Gyroscope and Swingboats! And if your little ones are anything like my boy, it’ll be rinse and repeat. And remember, unlike other festivals or theme parks, everything is included in your ticket admission price.

For the teeny ones, there is the Little Kidz Area towards the top of the field. Here, all manner of entertainment and support for the littlest ones is at hand. And when the Kidzfield closes, the Little Kidz R & R Tent opens. You’ll find this on the path leading up to the Cockmill Meadow camping area where kind and friendly staff will welcome you and your little ones in through the night, until the Kidzfield re-opens in the morning. Here you’ll find comfy seats, baby sterilisers and changing stations as well as books and tea & biscuits for the grown-ups.

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If you pop outside the Kidzfield, you land almost directly at the Pilton Palais cinema, which often boasts early screenings of the summer’s big kid films with free merch to boot! And you can always wander into the nearby Acoustic Stage to catch some of the best chilled music around. Our favourite Anna Mae’s Mac ‘N’ Cheese stand sits comfortably nearby, as does the Cockmill Bar.

Glastonbury Festival 2023

Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)
Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)

The Green Kids area is the second field dedicated solely to little ones. You’ll find this gem tucked behind the Greenpeace area and it’s open from 8am to 9pm on festival days. The area includes Performance Marquees, Arts and Craft Marquees and an Outdoor Games Arena, Climbing frames and table tennis, providing activities for children of all ages. And centre stage stands the great ship Cadmus, an enormous ship-shaped climbing frame that remains a firm favourite.

Our boy has absolutely loved the craft tents in the Green Kids area, making clay shapes, wooden sculptures and more. The area also boasts a toddler area where under 5s can sit and play with sand to their heart’s content.

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The Theatre & Circus fields offer as much to little ones as they do to us slightly older kids. The fields themselves are always changing with fun walkabouts roaming, from the curious Tea Ladies and mute umbrella folks to huge animatronic dragons. There’s always something new to spot.

The Theatre and Circus tents themselves have a full programme that’s always fun to check out if you get a chance. The area is also a nice spot to sit and grab a bite to eat, with numerous food stands.

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Carhenge was a new addition for 2023, bringing a new attraction to the Williams Green area now that the area’s stage has been removed. Definitely a sight for all to see with classic cars painted bright colours and arranged in interesting arrangements!

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The Green Futures, Healing Field and Craft Field areas are also fabulous to wander around with children. There are curiosities, crafts for all ages as well as small tents where little ones can learn about the natural world. They often provide a reprieve from the madness of the rest of the festival site when you’re in need of shade and activities that will keep kids entertained and engaged for a while.

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Over at The Park, we have yet another fabulous area for big and little kids! The famous Glastonbury Helter Skelter has been uprooted from the Field Of Avalon and transplanted near the new Glastonbury-On-Sea area, a fabulous retro seaside pier with old-school penny slots, robots, bingo and other attractions to keep you busy while overlooking The Park stage. Be sure to have a game of “Hook-a-Duck”, again, many hours have been lost to this by our boy!

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It’s also always worth a wander around Glastonbury’s famous South East Corner, catching the creepy Unfairground, but be mindful of the masses that descend in the later hours and keep those explorations with kids to daylight hours.

Music
And the music. It wouldn’t really be Glastonbury without catching some of the very finest live music acts from across the globe. And while catching some live music with children is a must-do activity (multiple times over), it simply wouldn’t be practical or safe to pile into the depths of a Pyramid Stage crowd with little ones. But it is still possible to enjoy even the biggest of headliners if you’re sensible about it. Stick to areas with landmarks and easy exits (no, “the tree on the left” isn’t a good landmark!). Loo stops might be necessary so be sure to scope them out. And leave in good time before the big acts leave the stage, so you’re not caught in the throngs of thousands spilling out of the big fields in the dark after many have had a few too many drinks.

We always take a wagon for our boy, as he will wane and it will then become all the more challenging to move about the site. I wrap the thing in as many fairy lights as I can and light it up as we pull him along to make sure he’s visible as we manoeuvre about the site in the dark. But even so, be safe and don’t pull wagons and buggies into dense crowds. As friendly and accommodating as Glastonbury festival-goers tend to be, no one will thank you for it!

Glastonbury Festival 2023

Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)
Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)

We also try and get him into some of the bands beforehand, so he’s as excited as we are about staying up to see them! Last year he simply had to catch Sam Fender play Saturday and this year he wouldn’t let us leave until he’d seen Slash play his famous guitar solo at the end of Guns N’ Roses’ classic November Rain, lasting a good while longer than many that had packed out the Pyramid Field! He was also lucky enough to witness Elton John’s final UK headline show. Ear defenders are a must as you never know how close to a PA stack you may end up.

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The Park Stage is always a good one to check out, you can be up the hill with a view and out of a dense crowd. West Holts is also so much fun, and there are benches towards the back of the arena as well as close proximity to a fantastic ice-lolly stand!

But the most important thing to remember is to have fun, all of you! As with any Glastonbury experience, it will differ massively to anything you might expect or plan for, so just go with it.

Check out our family experiences at Glastonbury Festival over the years: 2017, 2019 & 2022

Glastonbury Festival 2023

Glastonbury Festival 2023
Glastonbury Festival 2023

Words and photography of Glastonbury Festival 2023 by Kalpesh Patel

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