Way back earlier this year, I saw on Facebook that Friends Fest was returning to the UK. Being that I binge watched the whole 10 series in chronological order earlier this year, I had a compulsion to go.
We had two tickets each; one was for general admission and one was for our allocated set tour. We entered the venue and as we arrived for the opening time of 11:45am, there was no-one else already there so we could easily walk around the site.
Fast forward to September and Dan and myself found ourselves in Preston Park in Brighton queuing up to enter the festival of Friends!
In the centre is a large tent, which contain the sets you can visit. Around the outside of this was smaller tents containing sets like the iconic sofa from Central Perk, a mock up of the stairs and where the quote ‘Pivot!’ found it’s fame. Also there was a mock up of Central Perk, and a stage where you could sit and watch episodes from the hit show.
Additionally there was prop stages where you can get your photo taken in either a large version of the yellow peephole frame or dress up like a drunken Ross and Rachel in wedding attire. As we got in as the event opened there was a only a couple of people queuing to have their photo taken, so there was no long waiting times to do this.
There was also food stalls, selling food that was much loved by the characters, like Pizza and Mokolate. (Though be warned this isn’t the cheapest way to feed yourself- a slice of pizza was around £5).
After Dan and myself visited all the different sections of the festival, we qued up in the tent to have our set tour. They do this in batches of people, when you book your ticket you can select which half hour slot you would like.
We were then shown some props from the show in glass display stands whilst we waited for our time to ‘go on set’.
There are three room sets to see, Joey and Chandlers apartment with the hall way outside their apartment, Monica and Rachel’s apartment and lastly Ross’s apartment. You have 10 minutes in each set, to take photos, sit on chairs and touch different elements of the sets. Then just before you move onto the next set, everyone comes off it and you can take an empty room set photo (so no people in it, to get clear photos of each room).
It was kinda surreal to be in the set of rooms that I have become so frequented with over the last 20 years or so. Chandler and Joeys’ apartment size wise felt like what I imagined it to be like, and had a lot of the familiar props like the canoe, Lazy Boy chairs and even Huggsy.
Monica and Rachel’s apartment felt a bit smaller though on TV to me it looks bigger than Chandler and Joey’s. Looking at the kitchen it was definitely at least half the size, with much less shelving and the refrigerator looked far smaller. But that said it still seemed much like the set from TV.
And this is where I will disclaim (and possibly disappoint you) that these are not the real sets from the actual TV show. I’d imagine those sets would be locked down due to the fact they are so iconic and prob worth a lot of money. These are replications of those sets that are used to tour around the UK. Though despite this, I still made me feel excited to be seeing these sets up close and imagining what it would of been like to act like I was in Friends. I bet the actors couldn’t comprehend that being on sets that are very similar to these ones would become TV history in the best way. So much so people like me will pay to visit mock ups of them!
After this we went over the ‘Central Perk’ and I got a cup of hot chocolate as I wanted the paper cup with Central Perk on it! After this we took a final look round and headed for the exit.
Before exiting you go through the gift shop (this is the only way out) I did stop to make a purchase. As you’d imagine the souvenirs are not the cheapest, but I wanted to have something to take away as a memento.
They had plastic travel mugs, cups, magnets and key rings (£5 each though!), t shirts, posters and hoodies. I got a copy of the iconic french poster by Monica’s TV in her apartment, a grey hoodie with Central Perk on the front and a Mokolate bar (it’s just normal chocolate). As I spent just over £30 I also got a free red Central Perk tote bag.
I had a great day, the weather was especially clear and sunny, so this made for a great event. I would recommend if you are a Friends fan to take a visit and experience Friends like you haven’t before! The tickets weren’t the cheapest, and neither is the food or merchandise as I said before, but as a one off experience to put on your bucket list, I would say it was money well spent.
Want to know more about Friends Fest then visit the site here.
I hope if you’re a Friends fan you’ve enjoyed this post! I’d love to know what your favourite thing about Friends is? For me it’s watching the journey of a group of characters who you really love to watch.
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