Advice for Family Lit Fest Goers

The Cheltenham Literature Festival has begun! There’s the smell of fallen leaves, fresh book print and the promise of bumping into a famous person! For the next two weeks, Montpellier Gardens and the whole town will be buzzing with events.

When I was younger, single and had more time, I used to pop along at the last minute. I would luxuriate in attending thought-provoking talks and linger in the bookshop. Nowadays, with a 3-year-old things are different!

I went along with Ed this morning and decided to do a list of helpful things for parents…It may all be pretty obvious to some but I could have done with it earlier!

Get There Early! – rather stupidly, I didn’t realise that parking would be difficult (obvs!) It’s busy: traffic, hardly any parking spaces and you may need to go to the box office to pick up tickets. Also, kids walk slowly….didn’t even factor that in either!

Book Age Appropriate Talks – we went along to a 2+ event and we were surrounded by 2-year-olds. There’s quite a difference in what a 2-year-old and a nearly 4-year-old is into. We’re going to a 3+ one on Sunday so I’m hoping Ed will be more interested. Same goes for the older ages. I would suggest that if it says an age, then stick to it.

Enjoy the Free Stuff – we went along to a ticketed talk but there is loads to do if you don’t. There is a great Beano trail which all ages can get involved in and you can win a Beano comic. There is lots to see in the week and even more on the two festival weekends with costume characters, dragon stories and fun activities with star children’s party entertainers Sharky And George.

There are quiet places (sort of!) – it’s busy but you can find little areas to sit. There is an indoor café and outdoor food area. There is also the nearby Montpellier Gardens play park and Café. If there are two parents, one of you could hang out here while the other goes to an adult talk or wanders round the festival?!

Visit ‘The Bookstand’ – the bandstand has been converted into a lovely little book shop/library style area to sit in and chill. We enjoyed sitting in it by ourselves this morning.

As always, I would love to hear about your experiences. Let us know if you’re going along!


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