When it’s almost 28° at 10am in in the morning, and the shops are yet to open, there’s not many other places to visit to stay cool. For under £20, you can fill an hour or so with the fun activity of ten-pin bowling. It’s quite the stress-relief throwing a 12-pound ball as hard as you can. It’s even more exciting to hear the crash of pins afterwards.

When I was about 11 years old, I remember my Dad taking me to bowling. We used to play a couple of games then hit the arcade game machines. Perhaps it was this memory that made me decide to take Cara, hoping that perhaps one day, when she’s older, she will remember the fun times together.

Date Visited: Sunday, 5th August 2018

Location:  Hollywood Bowl, Surrey Quays Leisure Park, Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 7LW (various sites available)

Getting There: a 10-minute walk from Canada Water (Underground) or Surrey Quays (Overground) stations. There’s also free parking on-site.

Cost: Depends on when you visit, but for our Sunday morning session, it was roughly £12 for one-game for both of us. If pre-book online it is supposedly cheaper.

Review: I had previously been bowling at All-Star Lanes with work a few years ago, and this was the exact opposite of that night. No booze, rowdy behaviour or fierce competition. Today, it was all about Dad and Daughter time with no booze (which may explain the lower than normal score).  

I pre-booked the one-game prior to leaving to achieve the best price and ensure we got a lane. It also has the bonus of setting up your name, bowling names and bumpers (if needed) as well. However, upon arriving, there were only two other lanes in operation. The good thing is that you no longer need to waste time waiting for shoes as long as you’re wearing flats or trainer-type shoes. Hurrah for no more tinea! 

Once we found our lane, I proceeded to set up the assisted roller for Cara. When I turned back around, to my horror, Cara had decided to lift and carry a 10-pound ball! Luckily she’s been eating her veg and was able to carry it a few steps before I could reach her. She started well in the first few frames, but think she got bored after a few gutter balls. I may opt for the bumpers next time. 

After taking a small break, where I took up the bowling the speed things up, Cara saw another kid bowling two lanes down. So she decided she was good to go again and rolled the last few frames. The strikes on the scorecard below are mine however (I promise!), but she did roll a spare. 

I think at Cara’s current age, one-game was more than enough bowling for her. With all the bright, flashing lights and sounds of the arcade machines, there was no escaping them. Like a fly drawn to the blue light zapper. To be fair though, she did only play a few games and when I ran out of £1 coins, she was satisfied and ready for some lunch. Her favourite game was Mario Kart, coming out a winner on the easy level! 

  1. No longer need to risk your feet in the communal bowling shoes. You can wear your own shoes as long as they’re flat, trainer-type. 
  2. Bring your own water or juice and snacks for the little one and you can get away with eating there
  3. Set aside some budget for the arcade games – they’re hard to avoid and great way to re-live your own childhood!
  4. If you’re hungry after, why not head to Cafe East for some Vietnamese food. If that’s closed or too busy, then head down the road to Mama Pho.

More details: https://www.hollywoodbowl.co.uk/


Burn Time: 3 out of 5 – depending on how many people are bowling, but for us two it took about 30 minutes. The remaining 30 minutes were spent playing the arcade games.
Value: 4 out of 5 – 
if you don’t eat at the centre, then it’s not too pricey. One-game was £12 with an additional £8 on arcade games. 
Overall: 4 out of 5 –
 great Dad and Daughter bonding time, nice way to spend a Sunday morning

Cara at Hollywood Bowl Cara 1st place in Mario Kart

Bowling Scores