You’ve done all the soft play, swimming and cinema parties any sober parent can handle. You’ve had your fill of picnics and pizzas, and the very thought of another bowling party is more than you can bear. Even pottery parties and laser quest are feeling so last decade.
Well lucky you – Berkshire has no shortage of exciting party venues, you just need to know where to look.
It’s great when your child’s party is the kind that his friends are still buzzing about at school on Monday. But, every now and then you receive an invitation to a party that you know will be so unique, so different, that the memories will last for years.
Below is a collection of the best party ideas, listed by type: Vertigo and Velocity, Arty, Combat, Brainiac and Ultimate parties that you just won’t find anywhere else. (As always, this information is compiled by a human so is subject to error, changes and point of view.)
Vertigo and Velocity
Go Ape treetop adventures (suitable for those over 140cm tall) are available in Swinley Forest, and parties with Junior Adventures (ages 6+) are available in Black Park Country Park.
Berkshire is not short of karting venues and most accommodate parties for children and teens – and even adults.
TeamSport of Reading have 3 tracks and karts suitable for 8-12 year olds.
The Race Hut in Slough offers parties from £150 for 8-12 year olds and a teenagers’ package from £225.
Absolute Karting have tracks in Basingstoke and Maidenhead and and offer parties to those aged over 8 from £195 to £395 depending on number of ‘cadets’, day and number of races.
Premier Karting have a track in Woodley – check their website for more details.
For younger children UK go Karting of Andover will go to your site and set up an inflatable track with battery-powered karts suitable for ages 4+.
Karting on ice is available at John Nike as are all the other ice and slope parties you’d expect – ice skating, skiing, broomball, sno-tubing. All very popular and I can vouch for the ice skating and sno-tubing as a lot of fun! Many of these activities are popular with adults too for stag and hen parties.
Quad Nation have venues across the country, unfortunately not in Berkshire. But, if you don’t mind travelling a little for the opportunity to go off road on a quad bike, then perhaps you’d pay them a visit in Didcot or Winchester. Children’s sessions are available from £21.50.
If you’d rather go vertical than round a track, then how about Reading Climbing Centre? They offer all sorts of courses and classes, and of course parties.
Silver by Design offer parties from their studio in Holme Grange Craft Village in Wokingham. Options include clock-making, pure silver, pendant making and princess parties. Prices from £15 per child.
At Pizza Express children get to craft their own pizza with a wide choice of toppings – also balloons, party games, gelato and dough balls are included for each child. Prices are £11.95 per person.
Older children (over 12 usually) are going to have a blast paintballing and as the activity’s popularity increasing more and more venues are popping up. Basingstoke’s Absolutely Paintball offers indoor sessions and also karting.
Go Ballistic in Maidenhead has half day sessions from £19.95 for 12-16s and Laser Tag sessions for under 12s.
Also in Maidenhead, Delta Force offers a huge array of packages including Mini-Paintballing for 8-10 year olds. There are several game-zones including the largest galleon in UK Paintballing and the Zombies’ Crypt complete with church, alter, tombstones and church bell. Sounds fantastic!
Bedlam Paintball in Newbury offer a party package for over 12s, with prices from £30 per player.
For “all the fun of paintball without the mess” try Predator Assault Laser Combat parties for over 8s in Reading.
If running around isn’t your idea of fun, maybe you’d prefer a computer games party? Game Wagon is a truck which offers gamers age-appropriate games to play in your own driveway.For technology-related parties TechCamp looks fantastic! They offer parties on the themes of Lights, Lasers and Illusions, Robot Wars, Pneumatic Rockets and even Game Design. Most are suitable for ages 8+ and prices vary as does the length of the party. If anyone has tried TechCamp please share your thoughts with us on Facebook as this looks the techie kid’s dream!Science parties are becoming increasingly popular (exploding even) across the UK and Science Rocks looks like a lot of fun. It’s not completely clear from the website if they cover Berkshire, but I’ll update here as soon as I know. They offer themes such as Apollo Space, Cosmetic Beauty and Chemical Reactions, as well as bespoke parties. Parties are suitable for ages 4 and up.
Mad Science parties will entertain the children with an interactive show and offer lots of exciting extras such as candy floss, bubble making potions and the opportunity to make stretchy putty or slime. Their South East office is in Bracknell and they come highly recommended.
For a party no adreniline junky will ever forget AirKix of Basingstoke (also Milton Keynes and Manchester) offer Indoor Skydiving parties for over 4s, stags and hens. The party package starts at around £37 per person, which includes instruction, gear hire and 2 flights each.
The Science Museum in London offers birthday parties with options like IMax and a meal in the cafe, but for the ultimate night for all scientist, young and old, how about a Science Museum Sleepover? The museum has shows, hands on workshops and capacity for 400 campers at their sleepover events. Six dates are available this years – one is fully booked and one is for brownies only, so if it sounds like your sort of adventure, then you’d better check the dates and get booking!
2 Wild themed parties are for children ages 5 and up. They will have 2.5 hours of adventure with activities such as camp fires, bivi-building, pond-dipping and treasure-hunting. The staff work so hard to bring you a celebration the kids and you will remember for a long time.
National Archives Sleepover image courtesy of Julian Mecado
If this isn’t enough choice then there is always the option of going beyond the organised party and taking a few friends somewhere special for your big day – Theme Park, theatre, the zoo, The Lookout Discovery Centre, Odds Farm Park, Beale Park, the beach, the fair….. The world is so much bigger than ball pits and swimming pools.
If you have experienced any of these parties or you can recommend another party then please share this with us on Facebook.
Zip wire picture courtesy of Andy Reeve