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Where's the best place to hold a kids party?

Planning a children's party can be as fun as it is daunting, and choosing the perfect venue is a crucial piece of the party puzzle. Many parents often ask me if their venue is good for a party or where I would recommend, so I thought I'd give you a run down of some of the most popular types of venues and pro's and cons of them all.


First up, the classic church halls and community centres – they're spacious, usually budget-friendly, and often come with tables and chairs. These venues are great as they are a blank canvas for any party theme and you can be in control of every element. These are probably my favourite venue as the space and freedom they give means there are loads of opportunities for fun!


The downside? A lot of church halls are run by volunteers or committees and can be quite hard to get hold of to book, or the venue information can be quite hard to find. However if you've got a party in Essex, I've popped a handy list of venues and their contact information for you on my site here. Also when holding a hall party there is a lot more work to do such as decorations, food etc. While it may be more cost effective to do a hall party, it's definitely a good idea to get as many family members as you can in to help set up the venue, cook and decorate so you get chance to enjoy the party too!


Next, restaurants – they offer food, ambiance, and no clean up for you! But remember, a group of sugar-fuelled kiddos might not mix well with the restaurant's regular patrons who came for a quiet meal. Not only that but unless they have a back room the options for entertaining your little ones can be very limited. While it is possible to squeeze an entertainer like a magician into a restaurant they're often very limited when it comes to entertaining your little ones for the whole party.


Bars – now, this might raise eyebrows. A bar for a children's party? If it's a family-friendly establishment with a separate space, or a "working men's/conservative" type club why not? Just make sure the mocktails are strictly non-alcoholic and the dartboards are out of reach! All joking aside one of the main downsides for this kind of venue is also one of it's selling points. Alcohol. With an open bar many parents see it as an opportunity for them to switch off, have a pint and forget about being a parent for a couple of hours. While 99% of parents are well behaved in these kind of situations there can be some that see this as more of a night out for them then an actual kids party and act in such a way (I've got horror stories from some parties like this that I may tell another day...). But for an afternoon party in a venue with a lot of space there's loads of potential for a great party in a local bar/club.


After hall parties, the most common venue I work in are homes. Homes are the go-to for a cosy and controlled environment. The pros are clear: it's free, and you call the shots. The cons? Post-party, your home might look like a toy store exploded. For most people, space is a big issue when it comes to a home party and so many people either limit the numbers or open up another party area like your garden. Gardens are nature's playgrounds, offering fresh air and space to run amok. However, British weather can be a fickle friend, so you might end up playing pass-the-parasol instead of pass-the-parcel. It's a great venue for a summer party but if you book a garden party you should always have options to move it indoors should the weather turn.


Speaking of the outdoors, Public parks are a hit for space and scenery, and they're usually free. But beware, you'll be at the mercy of the public – including that one random dog that really wants to join the party. Parks are a great idea if you want to do some large scale games or give you children the space to tire themselves out, but again it's weather dependant and you'll have no privacy during your event.


Finally one of the most popular alternatives to halls are play-centres. These vibrant meccas of slights, ball pits and colourful walls offer a hassle-free haven where no clean up is required, but there is a price for this (and often a very costly one). Play-centre parties can be one of the more expensive options with costs sometimes reaching £18 per child. And with an average class of 30 kids this really adds up.


Play centres are great as kids energy levels often rival a caffeinated squirrel and they offer a lot of ways for them to burn some of this energy off. It's a fun safe environment for them to go nuts, but at most parties you'll probably spend most of your time running after your little ones trying to get their socks back on their feet until they get the announcement that food is ready in their room. For me this next part is one of the major downsides as the food is usually very chaotic and the "party room entertainment" is usually lacking as it's done by inexperienced staff. The whole play area party is usually a bit chaotic and is probably tiring for every parent too.


In the end, the best venue is one where memories are made, laughter is abundant, and the only tears are from laughing too hard at the entertainer’s jokes. For me, I always say that your venue should reflect the party you want and what you want to get out of it. Just make sure wherever you go, there is enough room for all the kids to burn off that excited party energy. After all, a party’s success isn’t measured by the size of the room, but by the size of the smiles. So choose a place that’s not just a space, but a canvas for joy, a playground for imagination, and a backdrop for the photos that will make you smile for years to come.

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