Inside: Our weekend at Todd in the Hole 2019
On the last day of term, we picked the girls up from school, bundled them into the car and set off for a weekend of fun at a family festival. I’d never been to a regular festival before, let alone a family one, so I had no idea what to expect. It had been the girls who’d seen Todd in the Hole advertised and I am so glad we decided to go, as it was absolutely amazing!
The festival had only run once before and there weren’t many reviews to go by, so I got in touch with the team to see if we could come along and provide a review for future families to look at.
And I am guessing that is what is bringing you here today, right?
In short, book tickets – you won’t regret it!
And if you prefer visual – watch my video of our weekend.
What is Todd in the Hole?
The festival is based in Todds Green, just outside Stevenage, in Hertfordshire. It is, of course, a play on the name Toad in the Hole, which I did have to explain to a few of my followers from across the pond!
It is sold as a family festival and it definitely lives up to that. The atmosphere is relaxed and everyone just has a great attitude about them. Wherever you look, you see people laughing and having fun – all with a continuous soundtrack of children’s laughter.
It runs from Friday to Sunday and you can either go on a day ticket, a weekend ticket or camp for the whole weekend with entry included.
We decided to camp for the whole weekend so we could get in a practice-run putting up our tent before a full camping trip later in the summer. It was a great option as it meant we were there for the full experience and saw every single act, from the moment we woke to the moment we went to bed. It was also great from a parental perspective as you could roll the kids into their beds as soon as they needed rather than having to drive home.
There were a mix of tribute acts this year for some of the biggest names on the planet but also up-and-coming artists and bands. They also showcased everything from rock to acoustic pop – so there was something to suit every taste.
Bowie was incredible – it could have been him! I am sure I heard that he is the number 1 tribute in the UK and it comes as no surprise as it was a real highlight of the event.
We were able to enjoy each day right to the very end as the kids were having so much fun! We took glow sticks and enough snacks to keep Wills going and I think they would have outdanced me given the chance!
As well as the main stage, there were 2 smaller stages meaning you had music surrounding you as you wandered around the site. These tended to be the rockier bands from what I could tell and kept everyone bouncing as they queued for food or mooched around the various stalls.
Fun for kids
This is what I was most interested in when I was looking to get tickets as there is nothing worse than going to an event to find that there is nothing to keep the kids entertained.
Luckily there was plenty on offer!
There was a completely separate area set into some woodland, just for the kids, called ‘Todds Kids Fest’. We went along to see what was going on and the girls came back with their hair braided and hearts firmly set on joining the circus.
They had a circus skills zone, where kids could have a go at tight-rope walking, aerial acrobatics, plate spinning and more. This was all free and there were enough props to keep them busy while they waited for the bigger apparatus.
There was also an extra stage in the kids’ area, where they put on various shows and played games to keep them entertained. There were also a few paid activities to choose from, with a bouncy castle, inflatable soft-play and Sand Art.
The hair braiding was set back in a quiet area, where you could also write a wish and hang it on a tree, which I thought was lovely. All in all, a really nice space for the children to play in to have a break from the main arena.
I’m going to be honest though, my three spent the entire weekend playing in the giant sandpit by the main stage and then playing around in the straw-bales as the festival came to a close.
Simple fun at its best!
Food & drink options
You aren’t allowed to take your own food or drink into the festival, besides food for under 5’s which was handy with William’s allergies.
However, there were lots of food options, including gluten-free and vegan food stalls. The only thing I would like to have seen would have been sandwich options or maybe jacket potatoes for lunch as I do feel like I ate my weight in fried chicken for both lunch and dinner each day.
We stuck to The Great British Sausage Company for hotdogs and Chicken George for the best fried-chicken you’ll ever taste. As part of our camping ticket, we were also able to get breakfast in the VIP tent each morning – everyone loves a fry-up, don’t they?
Alcohol is served within the bar areas and they were operating a token system this year, which meant buying tokens from the booth to then spend as you liked at the bar. If you had a VIP ticket they did accept cash and card at the VIP bar. Otherwise, you could also get soft drinks from the various food stalls or refill your water bottles for free at the bar.
Other handy info
Before we left, my main concern was the toilets and how the girls would cope. Thankfully I can tell you that I never once queued, they were kept as clean as possible and as long as you take a spare toilet roll with you, you’ll be fine (only the one time I saw they’d run out though which is great going!). Oh and if you camp, you have access to showers too!
Most of the stalls accept card so don’t worry about bringing too much cash with you. You’ll want to bring a little though so that you can buy sweets, get some henna done or have a go at axe throwing!
If your little ones are sensitive to noise I can’t recommend these ear defenders enough. The music isn’t too loud in the day (William is particularly sensitive) but when the headline acts came on stage the volume did seem to increase and we couldn’t have been without them.
If you are camping, you may want to bring earplugs as the party carries on long after you may be going to bed as a family.
Which leads me to…. The After Parties. On Friday & Saturday night over-18’s can head into the woods for an after-party. Of course, we couldn’t go because of the kids but we could hear the music and it sounded amazing! I have friends who went along on both nights and had a great time!
If you chose to camp, you can arrive from 1pm on the Friday to pitch your tent and stay until Monday morning. There was a large field situated next to the main arena and you could pitch up anywhere within the barriers (you can come in a campervan if you have one and park up around the outside of the barriers instead).
TOP TIP: Make sure you pitch up next to other families as they are more likely to be heading to bed at the same time compared to child-free campers who may come to bed in the small hours.
As a camper, you get access to nicer toilets and a shower block. There was also a Toastie stall parked up in the field – handy for a late-night snack on your return from the festival.
It isn’t far to walk from the car park to the campsite or from the campsite to the main arena, but still, I would recommend a festival trolley. I can’t tell you the number of people who commented on how handy it was! We take it everywhere! Just means we can cart allllll the stuff – and it makes for a handy cot for Wills when he needs a nap!
NOTE: Campers can bring in 8 x Cans of beer or 2 L’s of Cider or 2.2 L’s (1 x box) of wine per person.
A final word…
Like I said at the beginning, I have never been to a festival before and so I had no idea what to expect. But I can say with absolute certainty that I will be back next year!
This is our weekend…. hopefully you can see how much fun we had!
If you are looking to take your kids to a festival, one that gives a relaxed environment and is fun for all the family, Todd in the Hole is the one to beat!
Let me know if there are any other questions I can answer and hopefully I will see you there next year!
We were gifted weekend camping tickets in return for a review. But all words and thoughts are my own.