2017 – The year that was!

Tinker’s Bells 2017 End of Year Review

2017 has been a great year for the Tinker’s Team!

As 2016 drew to a close, the new year began in a haze of pre season excitement as we started organising and planning the year ahead. 2017 has been that year when we had so many new adventures on the horizon it was almost inevitable we’d get to the end of the season, pause for breath then ask ourselves – ‘what just happened?’, ‘Did we really do that?’…. Looking back now we’re able to reflect on what really has been a brilliantly hectic time for the business and for us personally.

Out of the blue Tinker’s Bells had a rebrand, a new website and the challenge of delivering the new Bell Tent packages launched in late 2016 with the help of lots of new faces joining the team. One of the few regrets as the season got underway was that we didn’t have chance to make a real song and dance about our fantastic new relaunch which was all courtesy of the amazing talents at Stimulating Minds. But we did make up for it a little at our season opener with Pop Up Wedding Village at Calke Abbey back in April – it was an amazing success! Not only did we have stunning weather, we managed to meet lots of new Brides & Grooms to Be, and for the first time,  guests were able to take a peek at our new packages. The feedback we received during that day left us with fantastic confidence for the season ahead, particularly for our home made white wedding/festival flags which continued to be a real success this summer at all of our events. The new ‘Luxury Package’ –  which had seemed to be gaining demand for some years for other family members of a wedding party, finally made it’s official debut as we committed to have a larger quantity of these in our stock. 2018 is definitely going to be a challenge as we now have a number of Wedding Village bookings made up entirely of ‘Luxury Suites’ – get your drills and screw drivers ready team…lots of beds to be made up!

With so much more to think about, more outdoor weddings like never before, private events and a year ahead with 7 great festival dates part of the calendar – 2017 was a year like no other! We yet again visited some amazing locations and met some funny and inspiring people all over the country. A whirlwind of a weekend was at a very very hot first festival of the year  “The Sausage & Cider Festival” in Essex in May, with thunderstorms, high winds, confused glampers and very happy glampers our festival season got off to a flying start. New members of the Tinker’s Team were certainly thrown in at the deep end in Essex, or at least that’s how it seemed at the time. Solving such tedious problems as building up a ridiculous number of camp beds late into the night – as they all had different sized legs! was no fun at all… you had to be there to understand in hindsight the rather insignificant drama unfold!

Despite some minor problems with beds, the odd occasion keys were locked in vans and even a journey or two with very wet clothes and soggy footwear, we’re sure the crew will look back on this summer reflecting on some great times. We can all agree being sat in a sweaty bright yellow van in bank holiday traffic is no fun but memories good and bad were made! Hopefully the new experiences will stay with the guys for some time.

A number of other notable highlights this season which mainly revolved around our festival calendar spurred us on to great things. On nearly all the festival dates this year our Bell Tents were being shared over 2 if not 3 separate event locations. A festival, a wedding as well as corporate events seemed to all be on the same weekends! Each weekend was certainly a challenge and a half, and as usual keeping a close eye on the weather forecast was very important if not a little tedious. Personal lasting memories include seeing a certain crew member raving hard in a dance tent in a festival field in Leicestershire with not a care in the world! Hearing a stream of great feedback from guests who’d never stopped in a Bell Tent. Meeting countless brides and grooms who had amazing outdoor wedding celebrations, recalling how sleeping in a tent will never be the same again without a real bed!!The list goes on…..

As well as visiting new locations we still had time to journey to familiar territory, with sun blessed days as well as rainy days at Sugnall Walled Garden and Park Hall Farm. Along with wedding destinations in Shropshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and a new destination for 2017 – Lincolnshire – the new bright yellow Tinker’s vans got lot’s of giggles and fingers pointed at them this summer much to our amusement.

As summer time peaked and we headed into chillier nights under the stars, our Bell Tent Weddings came thick and fast and in general we can sum up 2017 as a pretty great summer for erecting tents weather wise. The rain seemed to hold off for the majority of the time and the tales of past village set ups in horrendous conditions which were spoken about to our new recruits at the beginning of the season, almost became myths. But we still had some not so fun times in the rain and we can confirm our biggest enemy this year are those tall trees and those pesky birds who like to hang around our tents using them for target practice…. the goal for 2018 is to keep our canvas away from trees!……er….Did somebody say see you at Timber – the International Forest Festival in 2018?….oh well we cant wait, bring it on!

As the Summer came to a close myself and Ali welcomed our new ‘Little Tinker’ – Baby Sid. We’re hoping he’ll be joining older brother Jude in the Tinker’s Team soon and before you know it they’ll be driving around in the ‘wellow wan’ giving us a much needed hand. So if we’re heading your way in 2018, to you wedding, festival or event, don’t be surprised if you see us all


Thank You’s….

Thanks to everyone who has stopped in one of our Bell Tents in 2017. Whether it was at a wedding, festival, event or if you’ve visited the Hen Camp at The Grange. We hope you all had a fantastic time and made some brilliant memories!

Lots of you follow us on facebook, instagram and twitter….and it’s great to keep seeing so many familiar faces that have not only made great memories yourselves, but you’ve left some memories in our own personal little Tinkers Memory Bank too!…..Thank You.

A big thank you to all the wedding & event suppliers who’ve either given us some encouraging kind words or who have helped us out in someway in 2017. Particular thank you’s also go to some amazing venues and wedding stylists who’ve helped promote the Tinker’s Bells ethos. Just a few special mentions to: all at Peaktipis/The Hidden Hive, Andrew & Emma at Sugnall Walled Garden, Rosie & Sam at Mapperley Farm, Abbi at Save the Date Magazine, Dave and Charlotte at Field & Forest Weddings, all the photographers and outdoor suppliers we’ve met this year. So many to name! Also a quick thank you to Mick & Anna for helping us with our increased logistical/staffing demands during our busy periods!!

A Massive Thank You to….

Mick & Mary at The Grange.

You may have also noticed that the success of our partnership with Mick & Mary at The Grange has lead us to really look at the Hen Camp in a different light, as the demand for Glamping Hen Parties at this truly unique Staffordshire location has soared! Now we’re able to introduce www.hencamp.co.uk as our separate ‘little sister business’, allowing Hen Camps to stand on it’s own 2 feet!! We couldn’t have done this with out the help of Mick, Mary & Biscuit the Dog! The feedback we get from all you Henfest / Brides to Be is amazing and heart warming. The time and energy that is put in by Mick & Mary is without doubt indescribable as they welcome so many ladies from all over the country and beyond in to their home/back garden. We can’t wait to welcome so many new and returning visitors in 2018!



Despite 2017 being a all round success, the year has without doubt sadly offered its highs & lows. The highs certainly wouldn’t have happened without all of the hard work from our team members. A big thanks to Liam, Oli, Harry, Sam B, Mick, Liam, Jake, Sam J, Chris and Sam E. And we’d like to say a special/big thank you in particular to Danny for his help and hard work this year as well as listening to all my what ifs & maybes! Cheers Danny.

Finally we’d like to dedicate the success of 2017 to Stephen, who first joined the team earlier in the year at a very hot Essex festival set up, but sadly passed away in the autumn of this year.

Our thoughts are very much with all his family at this time of year.

Cheers for everything Stephen, it was more than appreciated.


Thanks Everyone.

Have a Great Christmas & New Year.

See you all in 2018 with some new Glamping News!