Roll with it: discover the ultimate half term destination
One of the great challenges of parenting is finding genuine all-family half-term entertainment. Over-prioritising your own desires just means days at National Trust houses where the kids spend the whole time threatening to crayon priceless paintings and whining constantly about being bored, before finally losing it in the gift shop.
Over-prioritise theirs and you’ll find yourself at yet another soft-play centre from which you will invariably emerge broken, holes in the knees of your trousers and a chunk of your self-respect forever lost somewhere in the ball pit.
Mercifully, there is a perfect balance to be struck and that, of course, is bowling. Fun, active and inclusive, it’s one of those rare activities that genuinely is enjoyed by all members of the family. This February half term the place to go is Hollywood Bowl, who have an incredible 64 centres across the UK from Portsmouth to Glasgow, Norwich to Yeovil, all of which throw open their doors at 9am (apart from The 02, which opens at 10am). These modern, high-quality bowling centres are perfect for keeping the children entertained so you can spend valuable time together making memories that will last.
The kids will love the bright lights and the glamourous buzz of the place, and the younger ones will love the gutter guards and rolling ramps that help keep their score competitive. You’ll love the Movie Star Martinis and impressive range of beers. And everyone will love the fact that you can wear your own shoes.
At each Hollywood Bowl centre you’ll find great value entertainment, with special family packages and early bowlers getting up to 25% off on games that are bowled before 10:30am. This kind of value for money is also much in evidence at their brilliant diners, all of which have a charming Americana theme and big family-friendly flavours.
For adults, there are excellent burgers – beef, chicken fillet or vegan, and a proper hot dog that comes with crispy onions and mustard. Kids’ menus include burgers and chicken nuggets, which all come with fries. Their Family feast – two adults’ meals, two kids’ meals, four soft drinks and onion rings – is the perfect fuel for bowling from just £25. And their brilliant value snacks and sharers menu allows you to choose three plates from just £12.50, with options often including Kickin’ Chicken Bites with BBQ sauce, and teetering stacks of nachos that come topped with cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
Each centre is about more than just bowling. As well as all kinds of super-modern amusement arcades where you can test your skills or play to win a whole host of great prizes, there are authentic American-style pool tables in bright colours. Little ones will especially love doing a treasure hunt to find the hidden Beano character and win a prize. Treasure hunters can even get a taste for this before they go: find the hidden Beano character on their website for your chance to win a family game of bowling.
For truly ‘Febulous’ family fun this half-term book one of their VIP lanes, which are the private members clubs of bowling alleys with their velvet ropes, comfortable lounge-style seating and attentive waiters. Let the good times roll!
Click here to find out more about the Febulous family deals and events taking place at Hollywood Bowl this month