Hello again. I know it has been absolutely ages since I last did a blog post but I’ve been moving home from uni for good and the whole transition has left me feeling a bit motivation-less. However, I had such as good day at FriendsFest UK today and I couldn’t BE any more excited to write a blog post about it – so here goes!
Where FriendsFest was first announced a few years ago I was DESPERATE to go and see what it was all about but never had the time/funds to attend. Anyone who knows me will be able to tell you how much I adore Friends the TV show – I’ve watched every episode approximately 64532 times, quote lines on the daily and am forever making reference to the show so a whole festival dedicated to this beloved show couldn’t sound more perfect!
Friends is my go to show whenever I am feeling a bit rubbish, down or upset and through the last year of uni I rewatched all ten seasons of the show a grand total of three times (don’t judge me it was a hard year). As a result, Alex started watching out of the corner of his eye and I can now happily say that he loves the show too and I finally had someone to come with me when tickets for this year’s event were announced. Whilst this blog is gonna be a long one sharing our experience as memory, I thought I would also briefly talk about elements such as tickets, transport etc just in case anyone who follows this blog was thinking of attending in the future etc.
We opted for the Bristol stint of the fest and I managed to get pre sale tickets by signing up to the mailing list – it was a good job too as the whole event sold out very quickly. They cost £26 each including a booking fee. I got them directly from the FriendsFest UK website and received an email with an E Ticket that I had to print out and bring on the day. When you book your tickets you also book a set tour time which I will talk about later on in this post.
As Bristol isn’t too far from where we are based in Abergavenny, we did debate driving to the event but in the end decided against it due to how easy it is to get to Bristol on the train. To save us a change and some money, my mum kindly dropped us to Newport train station where we got a direct train to Bristol Temple Meads which only took half an hour.
From there, we had to get the number 1 bus from a bus stop near the station which took around 40 minutes due to the number of stops along the way. Initially, the Bristol bus schedule was really confusing as you have to catch the bus from a certain side of the road depending on which direction you are travelling in. We eventually figured it out and got to the event in perfect timing. We got off at the Avonmouth Way stop which was just a ten minute walk from Blaise Castle Estate where the event was being held.
When we arrived at the event we were greeted by really friendly staff who explained what was on site and pointed out where everything was. The site was split into the set tour which you had to arrange in advance, a big screen that had entertainment (such as a Phoebe Buffay tribute act) and episodes of the show playing, a food court, central perk, gift shop and then loads of different photo ops.
We had arrived just before 12:15 so were bang on for our set tour at 12:30 so I’ll start with that.
The set tour was basically a guided tour of three set locations from the show. We were first moved with our group, which comprised of about 25 people, to a little waiting area where there were lots of props from the show on display and in cabinets. They had the real Hugsy used in the show along with tonnes of other really cool props from filming such as Ross’ divorce papers, all the engagement rings, a cover for a bar of mockolate and a jar of Waxine.
The tour consisted of all the gangs apartments from the show (minus Pheobe’s) and you were allowed to take as many pictures with whatever you liked as long as it was put back afterwards. They also cleared the space at the end so you could get full set picture for each location. There was also the hallway between apartments too!
Joey and Chandler’s Apartment
First up was Joey and Chandler’s apartment which came complete with the dog and the boat but sadly not the duck and chick! This was such a cool first location and I was so lucky to have Alex eagerly following me around snapping all the pics I could have asked for. I also managed to convince him to have just a few when some kind strangers offered to take our picture.
Now before you ask, I also think I subconsciously colour co-ordinated my outfit with this apartment and I’m not even sorry. This was my favourite location as it looked exactly the same as the show and most of my favourite moments happened here. The pic of me and Alex by the door and on the sofa gives me all the feels because he really is the Chandler to my Monica and I can’t wait to move back in with him (hopefully) very soon.
Honestly, you would have never thought I would get so excited over a hallway but this was such an amazing addition to the tour. Some many amazing moments in the show happened in the hall and it really added to the whole atmosphere. You had to be a ninja to get a decent pic here though as it was really busy – Alex did a pretty good job though.
To quote Alex “no one really gives a shit about Ross’ apartment.” Now this isn’t entirely true as the iconic Phoebe finding out about Monica and Chandler occurred here, not to mention Ross and Rachel’s rendition of ‘I like big butts’ for Emma. However, whilst it was still really cool this was definitely my least favourite of the three – I think I used up all my excitement by this point. That didn’t stop us snapping some pics and having a good ol’ look around though.
After our set tour, we headed to get some food. Alex had been joking all day about not being happy unless they had a food place called ‘Joey’s Pizza’ and low and behold they did (it even served the Joey special)! I loved how they made everything into a reference to the show from Pheobe’s Vegan Buffay to an ice cream van called The One With the Cheese Cake and a character inspired cocktail menu. The attention to detail was spot on and it was great to be able to enjoy some lunch whilst watching some of the best bits from the show on the big screen.
However, it’s important to note that, like any event, the food and drinks were pricey. We paid £5 each for a New York burger and cans of pop were £2.50 each. So, it’s deffo important to factor that in if you are planning a trip.
This was so amazingly cool! Not only did this place actually serve coffee and drinks that you could sit down and enjoy, but it also had so many awesome photo opportunities from the show. Something to note about a lot of the photo ops is that there were crew members on hand to take some of the photos for you which was a really nice touch. We didn’t actually get anything to drink so I can’t comment on that but walking around the set was truly amazing.
The One With the 25th Anniversary
This was the first one that we came across and a fun little surprise. The original is actually a video that I’ve screen shotted that is kinda like a GIF. You got to choose props and then got a handful of confetti to through in the air when they said GO. I’m gutted that by throwing the confetti by hair and hands got in the way of the shot but Alex looks fab.
We were worried we would have to pay extra for the photos etc but we were delighted when the crew informed us that all the photo ops were free and you just typed your email address or phone number in to get them sent directly to you there and then!
How could we go to FriendsFest and not get this shot! The queue for each experience only took us about 10 minutes and the photos are so worth the wait.
The Title Sequence
This one was really interesting. You had about three seconds to go from each pose (hence the hideous last one) and then they put them into a video over the theme song for you. It was really fun trying to run and think of positions quickly on the spot but here’s how ours turned out.
There as another version of this with the umbrellas but we were running short on time due to having booked the train back so decided to move on to some of the others.
The Vegas Wedding Chapel
This was absolutely hilarious! You got to go in and put on one of the wedding dresses and veils or Joey’s vegas gladiator costume for some pictures. I was pleasantly surprised how up for this Alex was and I have to say that he looks so good! There is always a rumour going around that Alex and I are getting married so I can’t wait to show my friends these and see how they react!
25th Anniversary Photo Booth
This was a cute little addition with a really short queue. There were tonnes of costumes, wigs and props form the show you could use such as Rachel and Monica’s prom dresses, Ross’s lab coat and prom tuxeddo to name a few.
Alex was less enthusiastic to dress up for this one so he opted for the classic ‘We Were on a Break’ sign whilst I went for Rachel’s cheerleading outfit (that I completely covered with my sign).
There was also the ‘poking heads through he locked door’ photo op but it had a consistently long queue and we needed to get home. There was also a gift shop with so much amazing memorablila such as Friends Monopoly, lanyards, pins, t shirt, bags etc but I was good and resisted the temptation to spend money I don’t have on merch.
If you have made it this far congratulations to you! I know it’s been a long one but I had such an amazing day that I want to have this here to look back on. I know I mentioned it earlier but Alex coming with me today was just the best. He really is the Chandler to my Monica and I’m so glad we can add today to the list of wonderful experiences we have hd together.
What is your favourite moment from Friends?