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Gloworm Festival Review

Have you ever done a kids festival? We have just come back from our first ever one at Gloworm at Thoresby Park, near Ollerton. I had come across it the year before but the thought of taking an 8 month old put me off so this is the first year we have attended. Established in 2016, Gloworm is a two day festival that occurs every August aimed at families with children aged 0 to 13. 

There are various ticket options available including day, weekend, camping or glamping. We only had one day tickets for the Saturday. Camping options start from the Friday until the Monday. Camping also comes with some entertainment on the Friday evening and some access to the festival.

After parking up the first thing you will encounter sadly is the queue to get in. For us it was about 50 minutes but it just depends on when you arrive. I’ve no idea if this is normal but I think next year we will definitely arrive earlier so we can be nearer the front. 

Once we were in we decided to go straight to the fairground before it got even busier. The fairground is free before 5pm. We did the carousel and the swings with minor waiting but then the queues started to get longer. This year there was a carousel, chair swings, teacups, a helter skelter, a big wheel, dodgems and some swing boats. Some rides do have height restrictions just to be aware of. Apparently the fairground is not as big as the previous years and ultimately I think they could have done with a few more rides to help combat the waiting times of the queues. As the day went on they were extremely long. 

As the fairground queues were getting longer we then took this opportunity to start exploring the festival. Thankfully there is a handy map printed in the guide and also as you arrive but I had taken a screenshot just in case. There is absolutely loads to see! Make sure you are wearing comfortable footwear! 

So for 2019 there was

Playmobil Village 
Sylvanian Family
Paw Patrol
Great Outdoors
Tiny Tots Area
The Hive
Shipwreck Cove
Creative Play Zone
Meet & Greet 
Main Stage

So as you can see there was a lot to check out and unfortunately we didn’t have time to do everything. We did not make it to the hive and only had time for a quick look around shipwreck cove. Sadly after 5pm a lot of the interactive things close (with exception of the fairground) and it is just the music on the main stage. Had these been open longer we may have had a chance to explore more.

As we have Paw Patrol fans in our house we checked out that tent first. As with a lot of things at Gloworm things are done to timings. So the paw patrol characters were only available at certain times as were the activities. I took a picture of the times and then we came back to meet Chase.

We then checked out the Playmobil Village which was great as they had lots of different Playmobil set out for lots of different ages. 

We then visited the great outdoors area which included lots of animals from White Post Farm. My children love a farm park so we were there for a long time seeing all the different animals and there were various opportunities to handle and stroke different animals. There was also a stage where different shows were on during the day. We watched Fearne & Rory from CBeebies talking about pet care. Again these were timed events so if there is something you really want to see you can try and plan your day so you don’t miss it. 

Moving up we then checked out the tiny tots area. This was a fantastic space for the younger Glowormers. We had a fantastic time on the Tumble Tots equipment which gives you an insight into some of the things that happens during a Tumble Tots session.

We had a nice relaxing time in the Organix tent reading books and colouring in while taste testing some of their new Melty Veggie Sticks. There was also a tent which included Little Learners and their fantastic tuff spot trays filled with different things to explore. NCT had a very useful baby changing tent as let’s face it changing a baby/toddler in a portaloo is impossible and not very appealing at all. 

There were also timed events on for tiny tots which included Baby Yoga, Jo Jingles, Zumbini and Phonics Bear. If you want to do any of the timed workshops definitely arrive in plenty of time so you don’t miss out. 

Thankfully the weather was dry and there was lots of space to have a picnic. Had it been raining I’m not too sure where we would have had our picnic! After lunch we then checked out fabland. This is a play experience sponsored by fab ice lolly’s. After what felt like an eternity queuing we finally made it in to the play dome. In the dome there is a big ball pit with 3 slides to experience. This was loads of fun but sadly the kids only got 5 minutes in it. After they come out they then get to do the assault course. Once completed everyone gets a balloon and a coupon. It was good but it just needed to be bigger to warrant the amount of queuing time. 

During the festival there are loads of different workshops to experience. Thankfully a lot of them are repeated as otherwise you just wouldn’t have time to see them all. As it turns out we only ended up having time to see a slime workshop which as it was the last one ended up as a bit of a free for all. 

I would definitely recommend checking out what’s on and the times of the workshops in advance and then you can schedule it in to your day where possible. Try and arrive early to ensure you don’t miss out.

Every year there is a different Gloworm theme and this years was pirate themed. The shipwreck cove area included a beach, mermaid lagoon, pirate workshops, mermaid cove, circus skills and the shipwrecked stage. We just ran out of time to experience it properly. 

The Hive area included mini golf, graffiti workshops, raleigh bikes, paint a car, carpool karaoke and lots more but again we just didn't have enough time to explore. 

So while we were exploring all the different parts there was actually things going on over on the main stage. Again the schedule is released before the day so you can try and plan to see the things that you really want to see. We only made it to the main stage around 5pm. The main stage was slightly smaller than I was expecting but there was a screen next to it so you can see in more detail. 

We decided to do some more of the fairground rides before the 5pm free deadline expired but as it turns out so did everyone else! My husband waited 45 minutes with my 5 year old to ride on the big wheel. I then queued with my 7 year old for the teacups and it was about 20 minutes. There were definitely a lot of restless kids by this point. It’s a shame you have to pay after 5pm and given that there were less rides than last year it just seemed like a lot of the time was spent queuing. Of course you could avoid all the queues and pay for your rides later but it then makes it an even more expensive day out.

After some last fairground rides we headed to get some food. Most of the food stalls are located near to the main stage. There is a lot of choice and I was pleasantly surprised. There was a traditional burger stand, chicken, pizza, a meat free stand and lots of others. We went for a bit of a mixed option choosing hot dogs and pizza. Thankfully the queue for food was okay even after 5pm when the free fairground rides stopped. I know it's a festival and it's a captive audience but some of the food prices were quite expensive, £8 for a burger.

We had our food at the main stage which had a fantastic atmosphere. The space at the front of the stage had been filled but I found that there was lots of room to the side and we had space to lay down our blankets. The children’s events on the main stage all happened before 6pm but that didn’t stop my 3 from having a great time when the music acts started. We only stayed at the main stage until around 7pm as my almost 2 year old was struggling as she hadn’t napped all day! There were two more acts on after and our friends who were camping said it was still going at 10pm. 

One very helpful thing was that there were lots of toilets available located all over the festival so you never had to queue long or at all for the toilet which we all know with children is a lifesaver!

My recommendations would be to get there early, once you are in go straight to the fairground and do as many rides as possible with no to low queues. Check out the festivals social media pages beforehand to find out what is on and where so you don't miss out on your favourite acts/workshops. Take LOTS of food and drinks, ultimately you will have to queue for some things and having some food always distracts my children. We took Ella's pushchair and it was a godsend for a tired toddler and also helped lug our bags about. If you don't have a pushchair age child then it may be worth investing in a wagon - we saw a lot of these onsite and I think is definitely the way to go especially with tired little legs. Bring chairs or a picnic blanket so you have somewhere to rest because there is a lot of standing/walking. A cheap activity book is also something I would bring just to help with queuing/waiting.

Overall we had an absolutely fantastic day and we will definitely be back. I think I would do a weekend or camping ticket next time purely so we can have more time and would be able to take it at a more leisurely pace. Thank you for a great first festival experience Gloworm!

For more information on Gloworm please visit the Gloworm Festival Website

All opinions are my own. I did not receive free entry to this event, we bought our own tickets. I hope you find this review helpful. 

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