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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A-Z of summer: Day 6 - F

Today is letter F. Our topic for today is Festivals.

At various times each year Nottingham hold a series of festivals. These are free to the public and always lots of fun. We have been here 2 years now and after hearing how amazing this was, i had to take the kids.

The Riverside Festival 

Each year Nottingham hold a festival at Victoria Embankment along the side of the River Trent. Its a gorgeous site with plenty of boats and open space.

Events this year included a dragon boat race, the Nottingham duck race, a small fairground, and a kids zone. There was also a display of steam engines and various stalls.

I fully expected the usual business stalls to be there, promoting their shops etc but there was so many things to do that it made the day so much fun.

Here is some highlights of our day.

The fun fair 

No festival can be without a fun fair. There was lots of rides, many of which the kids could go on and lots of stalls. We gave the kids an allowance of just 2 rides and one stall each. We had a budget of £20 and was pleased that we kept well within it. We would have avoided this usually but they very cleverly placed it right at the beginning near the entrance so we had to walk through it to get to the free entertainment.

They all wanted a go on the teddy machines. While i think they are one big con, a fun fair just isnt a fun fair unless you have pumped a quid into one of these! As expected we won nothing :D

We were pleased to see Kentucky Derby at the festival. All old time favourite costing just £1 a go. Simply pay your money and roll a ball into the holes under the see through cover. Each hole potted gives you points, the more points you get the further your horse goes to the finish line. Him indoors won a prize for the little un in this one :)

There was a wide range of rides at the festival. For such a small space i'm amazed they crammed it all in. This one was of the more kiddy friendly ones. It was £2.50 a person but the kids loved it.

Being born and bred in London i am used to seeing various food stalls at fairs, jellied eels, shellfish you name it. This one has always stumped me since i moved here. Peas, just a cup of hot mushy peas, sometimes with mint in it. I do not understand the fascination, i like mushy peas but they are not my choice of fairground food. We saw plenty of these stalls while we were there.

The Dragon Boat Race

This was fun to watch. We sat on the banks of the river Trent sipping our slushies and taking in the sites. Usually there would be lots of barges and small boats going past but they were obviously stopped for this event. It was a lovely day and up until Sunday i had no idea that this existed! We missed the final unfortunately but it was great regardless.

The Nottingham Duck Race

Another of the fab things we done while at the festival was enter the Nottingham Duck Race. There was various prizes on offer ranging from £1000 to meals for 2. Each duck cost £2 and we were given a ticket with a number on. The ducks were released at the footbridge on the river Trent and floated along the river to the designated end point. The first duck to enter through the funnel to the other side of the line was the 1st prize winner. 10 ducks were the randomly selected to win other prizes.Ours of course ended up coming nowhere but it was amazing to see.

The sign up tent was packed. There was a massive que of people. I suspect prizes had a part in this but they obviously raised loads of money for charity.

I almost missed this! A few ducks had fallen into the water before it started and they sent a couple of boats out to scoop them up. This was pretty exciting

This was just after they were dropped into the water.

Pretty sure ours was one of the scragglers that got stuck along the sides of the barges. The geese were funny and followed the plastic ducks along the river.

Winner! One lonely little duck made it through the pile up through the funnel :D

Other things to see or do

As well as various rides and sights there was plenty of entertainment past the fun fair.

There was a couple of live stages set up. This one is a jazz band. It gave the whole festival a very relaxed feel. We sat down and watched for a little bit on the grass in front.

Along the grass was lots of these old symphoniques and some steam engines. I personally love this sort of things. They were all in working order, the steam engines were steaming too! A smell which has always reminded me of a trip with my grandparents when i was younger.

One of the many steam engines on show. The others were working but couldnt get a good picture as there was alot of smoke. They were simply gorgeous!

A huge outdoor checkers board! We didn't play on it as there was a family who plonked themselves right in the middle of it just after i took this photo! I really want one for our garden though :)

The love bug is one of those cars, you dress up and climb in to have your photo taken. I would have loved to have offered the kids this but it was £3.50 each :O We settled with a photo of the van :) 

No festival is a festival without the flea circus.  My grandparents used to take us on holiday all over the country when i was little. I have fond memories of the flea circus from my childhood. The kids were less than impressed though :( how times change. At 28 i still thoroughly enjoyed it :)

If you asked my kids what the best part of the day was, they would tell you it was this. 3 big giant blow up haribo fun houses! It was free to walk into and everyone was given some free sweets when exiting. The kids thought it was brilliant and spent a good 15 mins running around inside. 


No festival is complete without the men in costumes walking around. We all know they are there to promote businesses but the kids love having their photos taken with them all. Here is some that we did have our photos taken with. 

Being Nottingham, in any fun day you will find Robin Hood and Maid Marian. The girls were fascinated by the both. Robin was a firm favourite with Kaycee. Being as hot as it was though, i could not help but feel sorry for the people behind the costume :/

Meeting the Haribo bear just before entering the Haribo fun house.

Mr and Mrs Duck wandering around the duck race sign up tent.

There was many that we did not get a photo taken with. These included:
  • Oompa Loompas, 
  • Super heros
  • 2 giant arm chairs! Random i know
There was other things that we did not take any pictures off. There was an indoor brass band which was fantastic and lots of craft stalls for kids to make free items. 

All in all we had a fantastic time. As it is an annual thing, it is already on my list for next years summer activities :) We ended up spending £30 but that included the duck race and some drinks. You could easily manage this day out of very little money as there is so many free things to do. 


  1. It looks like an amazing festival. I would also love a giant checkers board in my garden.




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