Last Saturday the four of us excitedly headed to Taunton for a trip to its AMF Hollywood Bowl. Burton was the most excited and as soon as he woke up was telling us over and over again that we were going bowling!
We arrived at a little past 11am and it was already busy with lots of families roaming around the venue. As you enter you have the dining area to your left, a gaming area to your right with the bowling lanes straight ahead.
The staff who greeted us were friendly and welcoming and we were soon shown to our lane with our bowling shoes. Jenson, who is almost 19 months, has size 5 feet and the shoes actually start from size 6 which was ok for him because he is quite big for his age. I like the fact that the children's shoes are done up with a velcro strap, and they are wide and comfy.
It was lovely to see how many families were there having fun and bowling and I remarked to my OH that it never occurs to me to go bowling at the weekend.
Even if you have small children and/or toddlers, they can easily join in with the game by using a ramp with which to launch the bowls. Also bumpers can be selected along the lane in which you are playing to bounce the ball off instead of it entering the gutters (something I think I could have done with!).
The bowling lanes look very clean and at the end of each one are fun monster bowl images which are bold and colourful and appealing to children. I was impressed at how fresh the place looked, not tired or shabby at all. It has a total of 21 lanes.
We all enjoyed our game - I ended up getting the least number of pins and came last (oh the shame being beaten by my own children!)
(From to to bottom: Burton, Jenson, OH and Me!)
I was also very impressed by the food on offer. Instead of just the burgers and hotdogs with chips and fizzy drinks which I would associate with Hollywood Bowl, you can eat an array of tasty snacks such as pizzas, paninis and nachos. I was particularly impressed by the fact that Hollywood Bowl offers a childrens menu including pizza, spaghetti & meatballs and hotdogs. Plus if you don't want your child to have chips you can replace them with vegetables and a fresh salad!
We were offered the family platter which for £10 includes hot dogs and or burgers with fries, ketchup (4 pots of!) and soft drinks for 4 people which is good value as you get a lot - we didn't eat it all! To be honest I didn't think my two would even attempt to try any of the platter as they don't really eat food like this. OR so I thought!! Amazingly Burton ate a hot dog and Jenson some fries - mostly the ketchup but some fries at least!
We chose to have our food while we played our game, but if you preferred you can have eat in the cafe area at a table, placing your order during your meal so it is ready for when you finish your game.
I have to be honest I was pleasantly surprised and pleased at how family friendly the AMF Hollywood Bowl is. Children are made to feel very much at home, with baby changing facilities, sugar free soft drinks and not just cola or other fizzy drinks (another misconception I had prior to my visit), healthier food options should you want it and you can have parties there too.
If we had paid to play bowling ourselves it would have cost us £16.50 for a family game deal which is for 2 adults and two juniors under 16 years. Add the meal deal on top and the total cost would have been £26.45. I feel this is good value and had we chosen to eat after our game and not during, that would have made our stay longer, as it was we were there for an hour.
We could easily eat out for that price and that wouldn't have included a game of bowling!
We will be returning again for sure as we all really enjoyed ourselves.
For more information about Hollywood Bowl and to find your nearest one, please visit
My family and I were given free admission for one family game and one platter for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and are honest.