I recently ran a competition to win tickets for Lollibop 2014 with Thomas & Friends and I was really pleased when we were offered the chance to attend ourselves. We were looking forward to a new experience for Monkey.
We arrived bright an early on the last day of the festival so Daddy P could come with us. Of course the weather gods had decided that Sunday would be interesting. I think we had all seasons in one hour at one point, but we ended the day with sun cream and ice creams!
We had press passes for the car park but the attendants didn’t appear to know where that was. No matter, we were early so got parked close to the entrance anyway. We put our wristbands on and picked up a Lollibop 2014 map as we entered. You could also get identification bands for children with your contact number on; a great idea for any child who may like to stray more than Monkey does.
Our map also had the event timetable on the back so we could start to plan our day. Monkey had already seen the flags for Thomas & Friends – Mummy, Thomas! so off we went. Monkey, being Monkey, he wasn’t going to queue to have his photo taken with Thomas.
Through the day we spent a lot of time in the Thomas & Friends area. As well as the various activities there was a tent. Inside the tent we watched Thomas & Friends episodes on a big screen, met The Fat Controller, Rusty and Dusty and listened to story time. Monkey kept going back for more. We even watched Fireman Sam (another favourite) and got to meet him; again I had to take a photo of Fireman Sam but Monkey wasn’t having his photo with him – children!!
We popped over to the Duplo tent to make some trucks. Monkey loved this area. Once you’d created your masterpiece you could take it into a special interactive tent and watch it come to life. All very clever.
There were plenty of picnic tables around Lollibop 2014, along with various stall selling anything from Paella to Popcorn. We’d bought our own food, and ended up sheltering from a down pour in the Horrible Histories tent.
An early lunch was the order of the day and within 20 minutes the rain had stopped and we were off exploring again.
We watched Alex Winters on the main stage and laughed as he and Andy Day (Monkey’s hero) had fun making cakes – but do you think we could get Monkey into the Lollipaladium tent to see his show or do the meet and greet – not a chance – children!)
We then went off to explore some of the activity tents. Monkey is more of an observer than a child who will join in, but he enjoyed a lot of the tents – Science Museum and The National Geographic were big hits.
The Animal Man was brilliant and all three of us could have listened to him for hours. Another highlight was seeing the ducklings and chicks – we do love our animals.
There really was something for everyone at Lollibop 2014. monkey has no interest in ‘gadgets’ yet but there were techie areas, the Little Tikes area was popular and there were cookery classes. If Monkey hadn’t been to a birthday party the day before, where he’d decorated his own t-shirt we would have queued at the River Island tent to get creative.
There were lots of little craft activity tents across Lollibop 2014, we loved watching the Pirate workshop, but again, Monkey was just happy to observe.
We finished our day at Lollibop 2014 at Lollibop Live watching Justin Fletcher and Mr Bloom both perform. They were both excellent and Monkey loved every minute.
It was standing room only for Justin’s show but we didn’t care – we could still see. The crowds thinned enough afterwards for us to sit down for Mr Bloom, and it was a lovely end to our day.
I am sure we’ll be back again next year. The location in the grounds of Hatfield House were ideal in my opinion. Really flat, and easy to get around. The toilets were plentiful and all well maintained. There were long queues for the Lollipaladium shows and I’m not sure Monkey would have queued for an hour to get into a performance. It’s a shame you couldn’t pre-book an allocated seat number for your preferred show. Would certainly have helped with the queue issue.
There were lots of areas that we didn’t get a really good look at, but we still had an actioned packed full day and Monkey loved it. You can’t ask for more.
disclaimer: thank you to Thomas & Friends for the free tickets for this event. My comments still remain my own honest thoughts.