With tweens it’s not always easy to think of activities or places to visit. Museums and stately homes aren’t likely to be a draw, but if you’re visiting somewhere new for a mini break or holiday, you don’t want to do activities that you can do in any town you visit. We were recently in Nottingham for a few days, and The Cornerhouse Nottingham was a draw for us.
I knew the weather wasn’t looking great one day, so decided we’d spend a couple of hours at Axed Nottingham and Fun Station. These are both at the Cornerhouse, a leisure and restaurant complex right in the city centre, about 5 minutes walk from our hotel. If you’ve got children, there’s plenty in the Cornerhouse to keep them amused with a multiscreen cinema and Lost City Adventure Golf, along with more adult options too for nightlife.
As big crazy golf fans I really wanted to play golf there. But because we were doing the City of Caves tour and checking out the Robin Hood Experience in the morning, we didn’t know what time to book the golf for. By the time we were eating lunch, having already booked a slot at Axed, it meant the timings for the golf didn’t work out. The queue for walk ups (and bookings) was at least 30 minutes long, so there was no point waiting to find out there were no slots free, then missing our Axed slot. There wasn’t anything at the cinema we fancied either, so we headed to Fun Station first.
We do love an arcade although usually only go to them when we’re at the seaside. We do love a skill game, and Fun Station had several of our favourites to play.
Fun Station does have the benefit of using pre-paid cards to top up credit to use on the games. This is great for most games, but meant no 2p push machines. Boo. They did have these but they would have worked out quite pricy and we couldn’t see the point of doing them. We didn’t see anyone playing those games.
They have different top up options, and we ended up getting 2 cards with their deal which had 20 extra credits each, giving 60 credits for £15. You can share a card as they can be swiped on different games at the same time, but it depends if you want to play games at opposite ends or want to play the same ones. We had 2 separate, but then only topped up one with a small extra amount at the end. You can top up with cash or card, and presumably they don’t run out if you return another time.
Each of the games adds the tickets you win onto your card. So like normal seaside arcades, you can use the tickets to buy (the pretty rubbish) prizes afterwards. You can combine card credits which we did.
We tried to work out which games would provide the most ticket return, with us quickly giving up on the basketball. It was a lot harder than the other times we’ve played so we stuck with some other favourites. Knock the clown, the piano game (I got 2nd on the leaderboard), and we discovered a drop the balls in the ‘cups’, and a roll 10 balls up into holes which we got quite obsessed with.
I always make it clear that we have a set amount of money for playing the arcades, because it does get expensive and you don’t get anything decent back from the money apart from a bit of competition and a lot of fun. Oh, and who knew that chucking balls to knock down clowns gets you a sweat on!
Everything at Fun Station looked pretty clean (it probably helps that you’re not all handling grimy money when playing), although like most arcades it was hot and stuffy in there. With the poor weather it did get a bit busier as we were leaving too.
I’ve wanted to try axe throwing for a while, but it was good to find somewhere that N was old enough to try it. At Axed children need to be 10 to throw. There’s various different booking options but we just did the basic hour. You book an hour for up to 4, but obviously the more of you there are, the less throwing for each person.
We booked in advance online that same morning, although if I’d booked further in advance, I’d have tried getting some Groupon deals as I noticed them after booking ours.
On arrival we had to read and sign the waiver, then waited untl they were ready for us. We’ve never thrown before, so the guy took us over to our throwing area, and explained the safety rules. Throwing from behind the line, with everyone else in the group outside the fence, and pull out or pick up your thrown axes from the top to bottom order.
We had some tips on throwing then had 3 practice shots.
It was harder than I expected. N got the hang of it straight away, but my first went on the ceiling ledge (comedy as he had to go and get a ladder to get it down). Then the others didn’t even hit the target let alone stick in!
You keep score on tablets outside your ‘cage’ area, and there were several games you could choose from. I preferred the standard get as high a score as possible, but we also played a battleships type of game where you have to hit your opponents ‘targets’. The games change the lighting or target areas on the board you’re throwing at, so it’s quite clever how it works. We couldn’t work out how to get the other reducing target area game to work, so reverted back to just high scoring.
Thankfully I got the hang of it, and my scores started improving, but N’s got worse. I think probably as he got a bit tired. An hour ended up too long for N, as his shoulder did start aching so we finished after about 40 minutes. For 2 of us it was plenty, and was still worth the money.
We were playing next to a group of teens and young men with their dad, and had a spare space in the other area next to us. I thought I’d feel a bit awkward given most people there are men, but there were a couple of other women there throwing, and it was just good fun.
The next day N’s shoulder was quite painful, and mine ached the following evening. Just like any sport where you’re not used to using similar muscles. I’d have thought being a tennis player wouldn’t have been too much different given serving action, but obviously it was.
I’d definitely have another go another time. It was great fun, and the staff at Axed Nottingham were friendly. They also came and checked in on us after a while, given some other tips, and checking out our throws which was helpful.
The Cornerhouse is a great city centre venue if you’re going out for a meal or want some leisure entertainment. It’s really close to the theatre, so perfect for a pre-theatre meal or lunch when out shopping.
We ate in Prezzo just across the walkway from the Cornerhouse, but there were plenty of other options for chain restaurants and bars to try.
Have you ever tried axe-throwing? Are you an arcade fan?
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