We visited Matrix Hereford, situated in the centre of Hereford (Eign Gate) to see how family-friendly it is, and were really impressed! It has something for all ages, so the entire family can visit and everyone is entertained, whatever their age. You can just call in to play on the arcade or for a drink, ice cream or snack, but you do need to pre-book activities. The great news is you can currently get money off - just quote code raring2go when booking online, for a 10% discount on all activities!
We strolled in to the bright clean cafe area, you can just call in for some really reasonably priced slushy drinks, coffee, and 'the best ice cream ever' (as voted by all in our party who tried it) - and at those prices, you could treat the kids more than once. The cafe is in the arcade area - with air hockey, and a few other games suitable for any age. A group of teenagers were playing on the basketball hoop shoot out, while we played air hockey. Top Tip: get your kids collecting 2p coins, as there are a few slot machines they can use those on . There is a change machine on site - but getting your younger kids earning some pocket money in 2p coins will give them a sense of the value of money, and allow them a greater sense of independence.
The soft play area is really lovely for the little ones. It is fairly small, but booking time slots meant the play area wasn't too busy, with just a couple of others playing in there with them. As it's sectioned off with its own little seating area, parents and grandparents can really relax with a drink and ice cream while the little ones explored and had some fun. The time slots also gave them plenty of time to play and take breaks for drinks and ice creams.
Just up a ramp we passed the axe throwing area - this looks great if you have older kids with you - they could be axe throwing while the little ones play in the soft play. The axe throwing is set up to be safe and fun, you only need strength to hold and throw a regular axe (and as its ramped access you can do this in a wheelchair too), but there does have to be a responsible adult in the party.
Up stairs we played the indoor golf - the artwork and lighting is so much fun, all glow in the dark which the kids really enjoyed! The 18 hole course is fun for all ages, with the tiniest clubs for the littlest players! The younger ones just had fun hitting the ball around and getting it in the hole (and with the raised sides on each hole their ball couldn't accidentally stray from one hole to the next, so they had freedom to play ahead); the adults were more keen to do it in as few shots as possible - and we did even have one player get a hole in one!
We had a sneak peek at the laser tag, which looks great! Again, glow in the dark, with music, sirens, and a fog machine, the atmosphere is exciting and fun. In the foyer of the laser tag area, where team briefings take place, you can watch the action happening inside the arena on screens. The laser guns are state of the art, lightweight (though you need to use both hands to hold and fire), and there is no need to wear vests. This would be a really fun party, group or team building activity. Or simply a fun family activity. Younger children may find this area a bit scary - but my 5 year old grand daughter was quite happy trying it out for a short time. If you are thinking of going as a group of adults, Matrix is licensed to serve alcohol - and it would be the ideal venue for a fun hen or stag party! There are party rooms upstairs, which will be opening once restrictions allow and are open for bookings for later in the year - so do keep checking their website.
There is unfortunately no lift access to the upper floors, but the arcade, cafe, soft play seating area and axe throwing are accessible to wheelchairs. The wheelchair accessible toilet is directly in front of the door to the toilets, so no difficult hallways to navigate, and there is plenty of room for wheelchair user and assistant. The other toilets are single stall with their own hand wash basin, perfect for parent and child to use together.
You can simply call in to Matrix Hereford for the arcade and cafe. All other activities have to be booked. Quote 'raring2go' for 10% discount!
Mum. Nan. And editor of Raring2go! Hereford & Worcester.