After a long few weeks of decorating, fixing and packing we finally moved out of my mums and into our new home at the beginning of this week! Yay! But it’s been a crazy few weeks and we’ve not seen much of the kids, my mum and sister were on babysitting duties from the moment they got in from work most nights so we could make the most of the evenings at our new house with Ryan’s mum and step-dad (and lots of other family members).

The mum guilt was real, so when we were invited along to our local Hollywood Bowl for the afternoon I was incredibly grateful for a few hours where we could forget about the chaos and spend time as a family. We also took Ryan’s Mum and Stepdad along as a little thank you for helping us out and working so hard, we couldn’t have done it without them.

Our afternoon didn’t get off to a great start; as we were on our way to Hollywood Bowl, Ryan’s car broke down. It was about 20 minutes before our reservation and we quickly phoned Ryan’s mum to see if she could come and get us. After about 10 minutes we finally got the car started again but needed to go home and get mine instead. I rang Hollywood Bowl to let them know our situation and they couldn’t have been more helpful and offered to put the reservation back by 30 minutes to give us a little extra time to get there.

Hollywood Bowl, Basingstoke is situated in Basingstoke Leisure Park, it’s easy to find and there is a large free car park. Inside there are 26 bowling lanes, an American style diner and bar, arcade style games, pool tables, big screen tv’s and free Wi-Fi.

We finally arrived with a little time to spare and headed inside, excited for a game of bowling and some food. We were all immediately impressed with the refurb that has taken place since we last went. We got checked in at the reception desk, told there was no need for bowling shoes (yay!) and then pointed in the direction of our lane. Our lane was one of four VIP lanes; the VIP rope entrance, long red velvet curtains and leather seating area made us all feel particularly special and these extra touches would make them great lanes for children’s parties or to add that something extra to a family day out.

The staff offered to set up our lane but we chose to do it ourselves as Sophia really wanted to type all the names in. The machine was much more modern than I remember previously, there were plenty of balls and frames for the kids, so we were set up in minutes and all ready for battle, or should I say, a friendly game of bowling.

The VIP experience continued when we were introduced to Emily, our host for the afternoon. Emily asked to take our drinks order and also advised us to have a look at the menu so she could take our food order when she got back as the orders were taking about twenty minutes to get through that day. We really appreciated not having to leave the lane to go and get refreshments as that meant it didn’t hold up our game at all.

I was really impressed with the menu options available, there was all the food I typically expect at a bowling alley; burgers, hotdogs etc but also dishes I wouldn’t expect like spaghetti bolognese, salads and even a good range of choices for vegetarians. Emily took our order and we continued to play.

After a few more bowls each our food arrived. The salad took a little longer than everything else but it wasn’t too far behind. It looked, smelt and tasted delicious and was much improved from the days of burgers in greasy boxes. Although there is a small table in the VIP area it wasn’t big enough for everyone to eat around and there aren’t any seats near to the table for this purpose either so the kids knelt and ate at the table and the adults ate off their laps.

Ryan chose the Hollywood Burger, I had the same but with chicken.

The kids chose chicken nuggets and hot dog.

Ryan’s mum and step-dad went for the superfood salad with mushroom which they would both recommend.

Once we’d finished eating it was quickly cleared away by the Hollywood Bowl team, we continued to play.

These two were obsessed with the sweet dispensers and cleared Nanny out of all her pennies.

Look at that concentration face.

Throughout the game Emily handed out achievement stickers to us. I wasn’t too far behind but Ryan won in the end so he got the most wanted ‘WINNER’ sticker. I made him pose for a photo with it to get my own back 😉

Bowling over and we headed to the arcades for a few games.

Anyone else’s partner waste all the money thinking they are going to be ‘the one’ that actually wins one of these prizes?!

And with a party to head to later that afternoon, our time at Hollywood Bowl was over.

We were all really impressed with the helpful and friendly staff, cleanliness of the venue and the food variety and taste. If we went back we’d probably wait until the end of the game to eat so that we could sit down in the diner as it was a bit awkward for the kids.

I know the kids would love to go back again and it was such an effortlessly fun day out we’re looking forward to returning soon too!

Do you and your family enjoy bowling? Any tips on how I beat him next time? 😉

Disclosure: We were kindly given a free game of bowling, meal and a drink in exchange for an honest review. All opinions, words and photos are my own. 


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