It comes up in conversation occasionally with various people/groups about why my husband and I made the choice to back to Leicestershire rather than stay in Cardiff.
Well, the number one answer is simple: renting for a three bedroom property in the East Midlands is a lot cheaper (and less wet) than in South Wales. There’s added benefits too such as my family live in the same town, a lot of my old college friends have re-settled back here and my workplace is practically on my doorstep. However, we still miss Cardiff from time to time because of the wealth of lifestyle experiences available in a capital city.
Want to go round browsing the high-street after 5.30pm? Fancy popping out for a bite to eat at a new restaurant round the corner? Or, just feel like taking the kids out to the waterpark for them to burn off some energy? These are all very do-able in Cardiff, but not so much in a town and especially with an 8-year-old to keep occupied and only public transport at our disposal. We often have to plan days out to events in advance and take great care in making sure we have enough time and money for transport – yet the kid-friendly experiences available in Leicestershire can wear thin very quickly when it’s just a bus or train timetable to stick to. Cinema, bowling or trampolining – that’s all we can seem to get to at ease some days.
Luckily however, Treetop Adventure Golf has just opened a new venue in the heart of Leicester. Tucked away as you leave the Highcross Shopping Centre (or The Shires if you’re old enough and local enough to remember the name like me!) and amongst the restaurant quarter is a colourful entrance to a brand new crazy golf experience which is very kid-friendly. I was asked if I would be willing attend a preview with my family quite late on a Saturday night so I practically yanked my step-daughter out of bed on the Sunday (and coincidentally Father’s Day) to hop on the bus and arrive on time for snacks and face painting before playing a few rounds of golf. Poor Rick didn’t end up getting his gifts and card until mid-afternoon as I’d forgotten to get them all written out in time – blame the baby brain!
Cupcakes before 10am should only be allowed during a weekend, and especially so with the sinful biscuit-themed selection we were greeted with. The children attending were happy to use the activity packs available and snack on fruit and crisps whilst being asked nicely to wait until they’ve eaten before they tucked into the cakes by the adults but my husband and had no control – once staff had placed our complimentary hot drinks on our table we were tucking in. Don’t worry, we let the kid have one too, after she’d finished her fruit.
We each had our faces painted by a fantastic local artist. I asked for a purple unicorn, Rick wanted a snake and the kid was happy as a black cat (no relation that we’d played with my niece’s new black kitten the day before I’m sure… ). The face paints were really top quality compared to the quick dash you get at a lot of events and fetes or kids these days and we were all happily walking around the shopping centre on our way home wearing our glittery masks with pride.
Rick and I are familiar with Treetop Adventure Golf as they had one in Cardiff and we once spent a boozy evening at a terrible attempt to beat each other when we’ve both got awful co-ordination so we popped onto one of the two courses on offer without much of a hiccup. Essentially as you enter the venue you’re greeted with the kiosk to pay and pick up your clubs, balls and score sheet and then you join in with whichever course you like.
We chose the tropical trail and felt right at home. It took some work to get the kid used to using a gold club but the staff provide clubs even for toddlers to get them involved and feel like they’re playing along too. There’s a six ball limit to each person’s go so there’s no chance of holding up the queue on the trail but to be fair, I gave up playing by the seventh hole and just played on the ones that were a bit different as I’m in no denial that I suck at golf.
The accessibility when you’re on the course is a little difficult as I had to make a swift exit near the end because my nerve pain was so bad I desperately needed to sit down and then whizz my way through other people’s games to do so. There’s a lift from the entrance down to the course before you go to play and there’s plenty of spaces to sit for those who were really struggling like me with refreshments available. We always rest as much as possible for Rick’s sake anyway so we didn’t feel like there were any restrictions on us and felt more than welcome enough to take our time playing, even if I had to give into 38-weeks-preggo-body issues.
Before I had to go I was really enjoying the comrade of others who like me also, completely suck at golf. Mum’s and Dad’s know, it’s about the taking part that counts. The design is beautiful and there’s been a lot of care and effort into the look and feel of the venue which is fantastic for kids – it really feels like an adventure golf experience and is completely tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. A gem.
We had a really good time even if there wasn’t a clear winner and no one got a hole in one. Rick managed to hit his ball off of the course and get it wedged down the side of a slope which took little explaining to the staff – typical of him and hilarious to see him tell them when staff are expecting a fair few amateur golfers to loose a fair few balls. It was all no biggie, and a real laugh.
Have you visited the new adventure golf in Leicester? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.