A logistical guide to Bestivalback >
The Isle of Wight may be known to most as one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations, but to music fans across the country and beyond, it’s the home of two world-class festivals: the Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival.
The latter, which takes place September 8-11 this year, might be the smaller of the two, but it’s still due to bring 55,000 people to the island. If you’re one of them, the following information will come in handy – especially if you’re making the trip from the mainland.
Where’s the party happening, exactly?
We’ve already covered the important dates but it’s also crucial that you know where you’re going. Bestival will take place on the grounds of the beautiful Robin Hill Country Park, which is located in Downend, pretty centrally on the island. The site is just 2.5 miles from Newport, which has plenty of shops for all of the bits you forget to pack!
Bestival advises drivers not to use GPS; it works closely with authorities to reduce congestion with the help of various diversions and temporary traffic systems. You’ll see signs as soon as you get onto the island.
How do I get there?
Being on an island makes Bestival pretty special, but it can also make getting there a little daunting if you’re not local. You needn’t worry, though – there are a few options:
Ferry from Portsmouth – Wightlink operates a car and passenger ferry service from Portsmouth Ferry Terminal to Fishbourne, with one boat leaving every 30 minutes at peak times. (Journey time: 45 minutes).
Catamaran from Portsmouth – If you fancy a shorter journey across the Solent, opt instead for the Wightlink catamaran that leaves regularly from Portsmouth Harbour, just behind the train station. This one arrives in Ryde. (Journey time: 22 minutes).
Hovercraft from Portsmouth – Hovertravel runs the UK’s only passenger hovercraft service, and it takes people from Southsea seafront directly to Ryde on the island. (Journey time: ten minutes).
Ferry from Southampton – If you’re coming from Southampton, you’ll want the Red Funnel service, which’ll take you to East Cowes. There’s a Hi-Speed service and a car ferry to choose from. (Journey time: 25 minutes/55 minutes).
Ferry from Yarmouth – At the bottom of the New Forest in Lymington, you’ll find another Wightlink service, this time taking people to Yarmouth on the island. It’s the quickest route for mainland drivers. (Journey time 40 minutes).
…and from boat to festival?
Bestival operates shuttle bus services from all of the main Isle of Wight terminals to Robin Hill Country Park, apart from Fishbourne. Passengers arriving here and those wishing to make their own way from other ports will have to rely on the island’s normal bus network or call a taxi. Just be aware, it’ll be busy!
Where do I stay?
Most of the Bestival crowd stay in tents and campervans at Robin Hill Country Park – the facilities are great if you’re happy to camp in the thick of it! Otherwise, you again have some options.
A local B&B or hotel – Book quickly if you fancy the comfort of a nearby bed & breakfast, as most will have already filled up. The same goes for larger hotels.
External campsite – the Isle of Wight has some fantastic campsites, so if you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter, or a site that will accept full-on caravans, you’re sure to find somewhere. Just be sure to do some research.
Holiday park – A holiday park is an affordable yet comfortable alternative that combines the benefits of both camping and hotel accommodation, and again, there are plenty of options. Island View Holidays operates three parks on the island: in Rookley (2.5 miles away), Freshwater (13 miles) and St Helens (six miles).
Anything else I need to know about Bestival?
Well, at time of writing, there are still tickets available should you not have one already – adults will pay £190, students £180 and teenagers (13-17) £120. Children (12 and under) go free with a responsible adult. Get in quick, though, tickets are likely to sell out soon.
The main draws at this year’s event, if you didn’t already know, include The Cure, Major Lazer, Fatboy Slim, Wolf Alice and Craig David. Revellers will also get to enjoy top-class sets from DJ Yoda, Goldie and festival organiser Rob Da Bank, as well as a tonne of other entertainment. The whole thing sounds pretty epic to us!