It's always hard to think of things to do in the Summer holidays. 6 loooonnnggg weeks stretch ahead of you and it can be pretty difficult to keep 2 small and ever so slightly demanding children entertained. We are now at the dreaded halfway point and I was fast running out of ideas so I was delighted to hear about the Galleria's "Summer of Fun" that they are organising this summer holiday.
I have fond memories of going to the Galleria with my friends when I was younger so we thought it would be a great idea of it to go for a family day out with my two monkeys!
We started off with lunch as the children declared themselves to be "like totally starving". There's a great choice of restaurants at the Galleria with something for pretty much every taste but we decided to go to Prezzo as we all love Italian food and we like the wide range of food that they have on offer. We were greeted by a very friendly waitress who was really welcoming and we got to sit in one of the little booths which was very exciting for the children (and the husband).
Most parents know that if a restaurant keeps your children happy then it keeps you happy and I loved the fact that Prezzo offers a very interactive drawing and quiz sheet for the youngsters. This did offer us a rather embarrassing moment though when both me and my husband failed to get a crossword clue and had to ask the waitress for the answer!
Anyway less of our failure - the children had a nice choice of food and my husband and I chose a pizza and a spicy tomato pasta dish. We were really impressed with the portion sizes and the taste too. Although we all felt very full we thought we'd treat ourselves to a desert and Prezzo offer the perfect option of mini deserts with a coffee which is ideal for those of us with a sweet tooth. As we left the restaurant the children were thrilled to get their very own chefs hats for when we do some pizza creating at home.
So after all that lovely food it was time to burn off some energy and we headed over to the main shopping area to Get Wild! the great soft play frame. It's a colourful and creative space for kids to play and from a parents perspective most importantly it's really safe. The whole area is fenced off and you can only get out by ringing a bell and the manager will then check that it's not a child on their own. I loved the fact that the children could race around and I could relax knowing they were secure having fun. There is also a handy Costa Coffee next door (although we didn't get one on this occasion as we were still too full from lunch).
My husband went off to look around the fantastic range of shops and I enjoyed sitting in one of the comfy armchairs and grabbing a rare moments peace. The children really enjoyed the frame as there were loads of different things to do and they were soon immersed in a great imaginary world of fun. I liked the fact that there are also adult helpers around who watch the kids on the frame and a big thank you to the helper who very kindly rescued my son when he got a bit stuck on the climbing wall. I'm not usually a huge fan of soft play as I find it rather claustrophobic and stressful but I loved the fact that with Get Wild! you are out in the open space of the shopping centre and it had a far nicer atmosphere than many frames that we have visited.
What’s more, those who visit Get Wild! during 23rd July – 31st August will receive a free £5 restaurant gift card to use in Nando’s, Prezzo, Real China, Harvester, Pizza Express, Chiquitos, Bella Italia or Frankie & Benny’s! What more could you want?
Now a day out at the Galleria wouldn't really be complete without a visit to the fabulous Odeon cinema and we were champing at the bit to see Inside Out as the reviews had been so good. It's a long time since we have been to a big cinema and it was a great experience. The kids were able to have a small popcorn box each and we settled down in the comfy seats to watch the show. I was really impressed that the cinema was so child friendly that they even had booster seats available for free for children if they can't see. The film itself was great and quite emotional raising a bit of a sniffle from my and my daughter at the end.
We headed home and the end of the day tired but happy. It's fantastic to have a place like the Galleria on our doorstep in Hertfordshire and today made me see it as so much more than just a place to shop. So if you have a morning, afternoon or even a day to fill why not take a visit with the kids this summer and see what they have to offer...