I am a huge Friends fan and could easily watch it all day. In fact whilst writing this post I am sat in front of the TV watching an episode. I am also pretty certain Amelia has the theme tune engraved into her brain after watching it a lot during my maternity leave.
That’s why when I heard about FriendsFest last year I was determined to try and get tickets for this years event. I knew that I was going take some extra annual leave after our holiday so picking a date when I was already off work worked out perfectly. Amelia was back at the childminder so this was going to be a child free day and a mummy and daddy day just.
So after dropping her off and having a chilled out breakfast at home we headed off to Bleinham Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
Bleinham Palace is only about an hours drive from us so it wasn’t far for us to travel. It’s a really lovely part of the country and it was lovely to drive through some cute little villages on the way.
The event was held in the grounds of the palace, just outside the main entrance . The setting for FriendsFest was just that, a mini festival. It was mostly set outside with different areas inside in different sizes tents including an area where you could recreate the opening titles of the show and visit ‘Central Perk’.
Outside there was a seating area in front of a large screen playing clips from different episodes and a bar where you could buy a cheeky drink. (I had a lovely Bellini). Throughout the day crew from the event would come onto the stage and get the crowd to take part in quizzes about the show. There was also a number of places to get ‘Friends themed’ food including ‘Mockolate’ crepes and Ross’s famous sandwich, ‘The Moist Maker’. You could also opt for ‘American diner’ style food from the Monica’s previous place of work the ‘MoonDance’ diner.
One of the areas was ‘Central Perk’ where you could queue up and have photos taken inside the set. The best thing about this was that whilst you did have to queue it was really well organised. There were lots of crew members on hand to take photos of you in front of the main sign outside, behind the coffee shop counter, on the famous sofa and on stage with Phoebe’s guitar.
The main part of the day was a 30 minute tour of Chandler and Joey’s and Monica and Rachel’s apartment. We also got to see some real props and costumes from the show before going onto the sets which was brilliant. We saw ‘Pat the Dog’ and the famous letter Rachel wrote to Ross after their break-up/almost get back together One of the things that I noticed about the outfits was how dated they now looked. It’s not until you think about it that you realise the show started over 20 years ago and finished over 10 years ago. It was on for so long and even now doesn’t ever feel like it has stopped. It is on Comedy Central every day and I never get bored of watching it.
The tour of the sets was fantastic and it felt quite surreal seeing the apartments set out as we had seen them in so many episodes. The tour was really well organised and everybody got a good chance to wander around the sets and take lots of photos. As well as the apartments the famous hallway in between the two apartments was also there. One of Mr P’s favourite episodes is the one with the stolen cheesecake so he was excited to try and reenact this on the steps in the hallway (minus the fork and the cheesecake!).
There was a real mix of age groups at the event which goes to show how timeless it is and how much it still appeals to people of all ages all these years later. The fact that an event like this could even happen is a indication of the success of the show even now. I loved the fact that it was so well organised. We didn’t have to queue for very long for anything and we could have stayed all day if we wanted to. Our tickets were for all day and it was only the set tour that had a specified time. We could have easily sat on deck chairs all day watching old clips of Friends but I don’t think our childminder would have appreciated that.
It was lovely to have a day out the two of us. Of course I love doing things as a family but it’s also really lovely to have some time doing something a bit fun just the two of us.
It was a great day and defiantly worth the ticket price. I would recommend it to any Friends fan to go along if you get a chance. The event toured the country this year and I am sure it will be back next year.