Tuesday 7 August 2018

Dunstable Downs Kite Festival 2018

The Dunstable Downs Kite Festival has become something of an annual fixture for us. We missed last year because my husband was in Pakistan, otherwise the family friendly nature of the day and the beautiful location has us looking forward to coming back.

This year we went with my sisters, my parents and my dad-in-law. Dad-in-law hails from Lahore which has probably the most famous and well-loved kite festival in the world, with people flocking there in spring from all over the world. He described to us how it has become a city-wide party with people ordering special food and dragging their sound systems up to the roof, where they fly their kites from. I explained Dunstable was sedate in comparison, but still lots of fun.

We have had a hotter than usual summer this year, so I wondered if it would be windy enough for kites, but there was a thunderstorm the night before and when we got to Dunstable Downs we found it super windy. As always there were professional kite displays and half the fun for me was seeing how many different and unique kites we could spot. The little ones all got their own kites (£2 from Wilkinson, which was much cheaper than anywhere else) and Darling proved to be a dab hand at keeping hers up for ages.

Something else I like about the festival is the stalls they have selling toys and crafts, there were less than previous years this time, but my mum and I bought local honey from one of the stallholders, freshly extracted from the hive two days ago.

One of the helpful elements about the festival is that it is held next door to the visitor centre, so there is a canteen and toilets. Sometimes my whole life seems to be planned around where the toilets are – whether for the babies who want to go one after the other (but never together), or my mum and mother-in-law neither of whom seem to have a bladder, or because we need to make wudhu.

We brought a lovely lunch between us to share: pizza and chips, chicken sandwiches, kebabs, chicken nuggets and lots of fresh fruit.

After lunch we out away our kites and cool bags and decided to move further away from the kite-flyers and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Downs. The sun and the rain clouds turned the patchwork of fields and hills gold and dark by turn and it was soul soothing just to sit and watch the scenery and see the little ones playing and running around without having to stop them or tell anyone to quieten down.

I would definitely recommend a trip to the Dunstable Downs Kite Festival if you have not been before. I found it a good family-friendly option for a large family in terms of cost (free), parking, toilets and space to just be yourself. It is always somewhere where I have never felt self-conscious or out of place as I sometimes do as a hijab-wearing Muslimah in new places. Good, clean, healthy, outdoor fun alhamdulillah.

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