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Sand Sculpture Festival 2011

If sand art to you is turning over a bucket of beach sand and calling it a castle, then you must see the Sand Sculpture Festival in Weston-super-Mare. In the meantime read our tips on making your own Buckingham Beach palace.

Tips for building sandcastles worthy of royalty:

  • Every good sand architect builds their structure in the mind first - before starting. You don't need to have a complete blueprint but a rough idea of 'what' will go 'where' helps.
  • Recruit a few peasants (i.e family and friends) to help you build your royal residence.
  • Make sure that you have the tools for the job. A shovel and a bucket are critical.
  • Wet silty sand is cement to the sand engineer. Experts tell us that the perfect mixture is eight parts sand to one part water, but experiment with local conditions for the best mix. Some builders recommend adding flour - for more rigid structures.
  • Much like a sculpture, it's better to subtract than to add. Start with a large mass and slowly carve out the finer features.
  • To make awesome-looking spires, use a technique called 'dribbling.' Take a fistfull of wet sand and dribble it from above into shapes.
  • Watch it all disintegrate away afterwards and reflect on the fleeting nature of beauty... or bring a camera, otherwise no-one will believe your tales of multi-winged palaces with pools and moats.

The festival - running until the 4th of September - turns this fun activity into some serious art. Past exhibitions include a giant King Kong (which took 20 tonnes of sand to make), miniature versions of European landmarks and clones of famous statues. This year's theme is 'Jungle' - expect plenty of wildlife and intricate flowery.

Entrance is only £3.50 for adults. For more information on the see

To learn more about making magnificent sandcastles see

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Gugulethu Hlekwayo

Gugulethu Hlekwayo

A timid traveller, but a traveller none the less; Gugulethu is in his element lost and without a map - preferably with a companion willing to listen to his tall tales. He's our resident expert on the best muffins in town.