Well, I nearly didn’t want to write this but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Hidden up on the hills of the Highlands on the Belladrum Estate is a majestic wee shindig for art lovers, food lovers, music lovers and (usually) mud lovers.
This fabulous wee festival is known as Belladrum Tartan Heart and takes place every Summer. Belladrum Festival 2023 takes place 27th – 29th July. Compared to the likes of Glastonbury, Leeds or Benicassim music festival, it’s a much more family-friendly affair, that has grown in popularity so much it sells out every year and Belladrum tickets are like gold dust!
Excluding Christmas, it is the only other time of year my entire family get together. Bella’s charm (and turkey) are the only thing that get us all in the same country at the same time.
So, get the glue gun out, it’s time to make those fairy wings, practice the dad dancing and find the face glitter as Belladrum is an intimate affair that will make you fall head over heels.
SO, WHAT'S THE CRAIC?
Set over 10+ stages Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival showcases comedy, arts, music, dance and debates with family friendly as the focus. There are not many other places on the planet you can learn to juggle, attend a ceilidh, mingle with steam punks, do karaoke with a ukulele band, watch Tom Jones and practice yoga all on the same night. Heck, all before tea time. For over ten years we’ve been rocking up and Bella still never fails to blow our socks off.
BELLADRUM TICKETS 2023
Belladrum tickets are not only affordable but also offer a payment plan to spread the cost because they understand we all unfortunately have to adult and pay bills and stuff.
- Weekend Camping Ticket: £182.60 (includes fees)
This ticket is for all festival goers over age 13. It includes entry to the festival plus camping. There is entertainment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday then it’s home time Sunday morning.
- Weekend Child Ticket: £11 (includes fees)
Up until last year, child’s tickets were free. Unfortunately this meant people reserved far more than they needed and even tried selling kids tickets which meant many families struggled to find kids tickets. This small admin fee has been added to hopefully discourage greedy folks from trying to order and sell them on. All attendees age 12 and under need a ticket in order to attend Belladrum festival.
- Day tickets
Can’t make the whole weekend? Whether one day in your wellies is enough or you only one to see a certain act, there is usually an option for day tickets for Belladrum festival. These are usually around £80 for the day. This year however, they sold out super quick but who knows more might pop up nearer the event!
- Campervan Tickets
If you plan on rocking and rolling into Bella in your campervan then you will need to also buy a campervan ticket in addition to your Belladrum festival ticket. Again, these usually sell out super quick but keep an eye for any last minute returns or releases. More info here.
All Belladrum festival Ticket info here.
HOW MUCH DO BELLADRUM TICKETS COST?
We have broken down the pricing for Belladrum tickets 2019, all of which are sold through the official tartan heart website.
HOW TO GET TO THE BELLADRUM ESTATE
Belladrum is based approx. 10 miles out of Inverness, near Beauly. The campsite opens 08:00am on Thursday. If you can, we recommend taking Thursday off work as the busiest times are 4pm-8pm on Thursday evening. Also means you can have your pick of the best camping spots and won’t miss a minute of entertainment.
- Bus: Hop on a train/bus/boat/plane to Inverness and from there buses leave regularly to the festival. There is also shuttle busses to and from Belladrum from Dingwall, Drumnadrochit, Beauly and Tore. Tickets and timetable here.
- Train: If you are leaving from major cities around Scotland (such as Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling) we recommend you travel by train. Not only is it more environmentally friendly but it means there’s no need to tackle the mud in your wee Fiat 500 and you can enjoy that extra cider or two on the Saturday as you won’t be the one behind the wheel the next morning!
Beauly train station is just 3 miles from the festival (around a 10 minute drive.) You can book a local taxi or use D&E shuttle bus. The shuttle bus is £7 return from Beauly to Belladrum festival. Book here.
- Lift Share: Every year we pack up our car like Noah’s ark and head to Bella. However, sometimes it runs the same weekend as the Black Isle Show and there are several thousand other Corsa shaped Noah’s arks, traffic can get a little crazy for those choosing to drive. To avoid this, take a peek at Lift Share. As it works via Facebook you can check if you’ve friends in common with lift sharers (that’s hoping Jane from accounts isn’t friends with someone who insists on a no radio rule whilst driving) so it’s a safer, greener, cheaper way to travel!
- Drive: At times, sharing a 2 hour drive with complete strangers sounds far more appealing than sharing it with my family’s singing and their 9 tonnes of camping equipment. From Inverness to Belladrum Estate is around a 30 minute drive.
There are unmissable event signs the whole route so you can’t miss it! If choosing to drive, leave extra early, opt out of the extra cider on Saturday, don’t forget your road trip essentials and be prepared with the Bella playlist for the journey! Also, don’t be a numpty and get caught over the limit on Sunday morning.
Parking at the festival is free, there is also drop off points if you are hitching a lift with friends/family/taxis. The walk from car park to campsite (depending on your choice below, is approx. 15/20 minutes.)
CAMPING AT BELLADRUM FESTIVAL 2023
Camping is included in the price of Belladrum tickets. However, here is a few insider’s tips to help you decide on which site sounds your cup of tea.
There are a few options.
- General Zone: Nicknamed by the over 30s as Armageddon. I camped in this zone back in the day when I too, was too cool to sleep and too cool to camp with the parents. Nowadays, I don’t think my hand sanitizer and M & S knitwear will be invited back. Basically, it is for the young ones. If you plan on attending dressed like a Love Island contestant, or if you even know what Love Island is, camp here.
- Family Zone: If you want beautiful portaloos and bacon rolls in the morning then camp with the mums. Suitable for all ages (we’re not joking – my granny’s been!) and the best part is the deafening silence during the night. Just as much banter but it’s very much lights out at bedtime.
- Quiet Zone: Although it’s a longer walk from the arena, the light sleepers or those bringing babbas might prefer the quiet zone as it does exactly what it says on the tin. Silence.
- CleanFields: For those that loved David Attenborough’s speech at Glastonbury this area is for you. Fingers crossed that’s everyone. As the name describes this is the super clean site. Not a single crisp packet or cider tinnie was left left year, so if you choose to camp here stay committed to it’s beautiful ethos. You do need to book this campsite in advance (I believe it is sold out for Belladrum festival 2023 but worth knowing for next year)
- Accessibility Campsite: There is a dedicated accessible campsite/campervan area and blue badge parking that is only a short walk from the main arena.
- Club Clan Bella: Not a campsite, however if the idea of 3 days without a shower or straighteners is putting you off attending Bella then this is for you. Club Clan Bella is essentially a VIP zone. For an additional fee to your ticket (£53 per adult) you have access to a VIP area with heaters, chargers, straighteners, free massage treatments, after parties, posh loos and so much more.
CAMPERVANS & CARAVANS AT BELLADRUM
If you’re feeling fancy you best be quick as Belladrum tickets for the campervan & caravan sites do sell out quick. These have an additional fee to your usual festival ticket and will depend on the size of your campervan.
If you require electricity for your campervan or caravan, you can buy a hook-up ticket for an additional fee. Alternatively, pack a torch and some cereal bars like the rest of us peasants.
If you’re feeling fancy (and cereal bars ain’t your culinary choice) you can always try our quick, cheap and easy campervan recipes.
GLAMPING AT BELLADRUM
If you’re still not convinced that Bella’s campsite is the cleanest, friendliest campsites we’ve ever stayed at and you cannot pry yourself from the hair dryer for even a day or two then these glamping options are for you.
- Pitch Village: Not gonna lie, we have witnessed – and partaken in – some amazing family arguments putting up tents (think Monopoly times ten) so putting the calm back in camping is Bella’s pitch village. Imagine a campsite where all tents, equipment and bedding are there organised, ready for you. All you need to pack is your party pants and your belladrum ticket.
- Limelife/Pitch village bell tents: We’ve joked if we ever get married (which you can do at Bella) then our honeymoon would be in a Belladrum bell tent. They’re just that darn fabulous. Electricity, fluffy rugs, duvets, I can picture the boho-esque Facebook snaps already.
- There’s no place like home: If you prefer your own fluffy duvet, bubble baths and your bacon roll not from a burger van then you can sleep in the comfort of your own home. Opt for a day ticket and nip home when you fancy.
BELLADRUM LINE UP
My sisters first attended Bella at a baby 9 years old and in 2019 their dream came true when they were lucky enough to be offered a slot on one of the stages. They’ll also be playing the Burke & Hair line up on both Saturday and Sunday. You can check them out here. This is one of the many beautiful things about Bella, they nurture not only home grown talent but help all newbies become somebodies.
Ed Sheeran? He’s done Bella. Catfish & the Bottlemen? Bella got there first. Unlike the hugely commercialised festivals, Belladrum focus on talent instead of YouTube views so whether you’re a ukulele band, a bongo drummer or play both at the same time Bella offer the ears and the audience where others miss the beat.
That’s not to say they can’t pull out the big ones too – some of our highlights over the years include Jess Glynn, Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, Feeder, Tom Odell, Chvrches and not forgetting our fave sunglasses model, Lewis Capaldi.
The Belladrum Festival 2023 line up includes Sigrid, Travis and Bastille but don’t miss festival faves including Peat & Diesel, Alabama 3, Fatherson, Bombskare, The Dangleberries and Rythmnreel to name a few!
There are numerous stages with The Garden Stage playing the headliners, Burke ‘n Hair stage to see my sisters 😉 , Grass Roots for the up and coming acts, Bella bar for Thursday night shenanigans, Mother’s Ruin for a late night boogie and SO many more! Don’t just stick to the acts you know, take a wander and you will discover some incredible talent.
BELLADRUM PACKING LIST
After over 20 music festivals between us, we have perfected our festival packing list. To ensure you pack your festival essentials and don’t leave anything behind, we’ve even created a handy downloadable checklist. Simply save it to your phone and tick off the items as you go!
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One year at Bella we had to be rescued by a tractor. Yup, THAT wet. Now before you wince in horror at the idea of attending dressed in Regatta there are so many pretty ponchos and vibrant raincoats that you have no excuse for a soggy Saturday.
Portable Battery Pack
A portable power pack can come in handy when you’re worried about your phone battery going dead after 1 day of snapping Belladrum photos. Why not purchase a power pack, which will last the entire 3 days!
On the other hand, we’ve all been sunburned at Bella at some point. Believe it or not sunshine does pop up to Scotland now and again so pack sun cream “just in case”, as sleeping bags and sunburn create the perfect nightmare night’s sleep.
Some of my most favourite memories is chilling at the garden stage with my entire family on the Saturday afternoon. The delight of Belladrum’s garden stage is that you can take camping chairs and picnic blankets and stay put all afternoon enjoying act after act. Our usual routine is to buy a picnic from the arena’s CO-OP and a cider or two from Black Isle Brewery.
Every year Bella is themed. From under the sea to psychedelic 70s we’ve rocked up and dressed up each year for the Fancy Dress Parade. Unlike the sunshine, the costumes always last more than a day and the entire weekend is dedicated to outfits equally as outrageous as the dancing. The theme is cartoons for Belladrum 2023, so whether you’re thinking Homer Simpson or a Disney Princess – you’ll fit right in!
CELEBRATIONS AT BELLADRUM
I found out my exam results en-route to Bella and even received a ticket as my 18th birthday present. One year we must’ve been on the nice list as Santa even delivered my family’s tickets. So when it was our parent’s 25th wedding anniversary we knew the one place to celebrate. From shout outs by bands to backstage access, mentions in the official programme to even my granny rocking up to surprise them it was an anniversary they’ll never forget.
It is our family’s go-to place to celebrate and so many other families’ too. We’ve witnessed proposals, there’s an onsite church for weddings and who wouldn’t want to honeymoon in the Highlands? Let the organisers know and they couldn’t be more kind in going above and beyond to celebrate with you.
As we were heartbroken to miss Belladrum 2018 due to being in Australia we contacted the brand Rhythmnreel (who kick off the weekend at the Thursday night ceilidh) via Facebook. They so kindly gave our family a shout out on stage and passed on a wee message from us in Oz, which let them know we were there in spirit.
BELLADRUM TOP TIPS
- Thursday Night: As well as the first headliner, do not miss the crack it open ceilidh on Thursday night. Every single year it is our highlight. A few solid hours of bagpipes, beers and boogying. A definite baptism of fire of what Bella is all about. I’d buy a belladrum ticket for this alone.
- Family Affair: When Bella say it’s a family festival that is exactly what it is. From babies to grannies Bella welcomes them all with open arms. Don’t treat it like Magaluf’s strip and expect music until 3am.
- Dress to Impress: Do not be scared to dress up. There’s absolutely zero judgement when you’re part of the Bella family.
- Alcohol: It is permitted within the campgrounds if you’re over 18. However the traffic is suffering enough on the Sunday without a hangover also. Take it easy on Saturday, no matter how good the Tomatin cocktails are, no cocktail is worth losing your license over.
- Volunteer: Did you know you can volunteer at Bella? Spend a few hours waving cars in the right direction and you could end up waving your arms at your fave bands for free!
- Fraud tickets: Only buy official tickets from the Bella Website (or their listed retailers) to avoid fraud tickets. No matter if you think you’re getting a bargain, if it’s too good to be true or being sold by a third party it’s best to avoid!
- Grand Finale: So many people miss the Spectacular Saturday night fireworks as they leave just as the last headliner finishes. Wait a couple more minutes as the fireworks and piper closing the weekend are a highlight not to be missed!
I hope I’ve inspired you enough to dig the welly boots out but left enough for you to create your own Bella and make a bijillion memories like we have over the past decade! Any questions just let us know and have the best time partying at Belladrum 2023!