Rogue Bowling in Aylesbury is part of the Rogue Leisure group and has loads of things to do on the one site. There’s go-karts, an arcade, a small soft play area for under 7’s and even a karaoke pod! Even though I’ve been bowling at Rogue a million times I’ve never written a review, until now!
Bowling alleys were one of the last places to have restrictions lifted post-covid (not sure why!). I was very kindly invited down to Rogue Bowling to see for myself, and review, all of the covid-safe measures they’ve put in place.
The bowling lanes
Before I get to the covid stuff I thought I’d start with a more general review of the bowling alley at Rogue. I don’t think it was that long ago that they had a refurb of the seating areas on the lanes, and you’ve now got a big table (and more space) between. At one end there’s group lanes with benches so you can all play on two lanes together.
It’s got all of the usual stuff, automatic bumpers and the bowling ramps – handy so that kids aren’t constantly dropping their balls on your toes! These also mean that someone my 3 year old daughter managed to beat me in our first game! That’s absolutely shocking!!
You can buy either a time slot or a set number of games. Personally I prefer games to a timeslot. Say, for example that after 2 hours your have FINALLY scored a strike, only for the time to run out and for your 1,000,000 points not have have been included in the total so it looks like you’re still rubbish. Pretty frustrating.
I always forget how loud it is inside a bowling alley. Even with the currently limited capacity it’s still pretty noisy. Which is very handy for covering your muttered swearing when the ball has gone off to the left AGAIN.
Hate bowling shoes? Don’t worry, as long as you don’t have high heels you can wear your own shoes now. That’s actually been in place for a while, not just because of covid. If you don’t have your own suitable shoes then you can still borrow some (during normal times).
The arcade area has also been recently improved. There’s now lots more machines (including some 10p machines that I always love) and games. There’s also a couple of pool tables and air hockey. Near the front door there is a machine on the wall that dispenses sanitised change.
Covid-safe measures at Rogue Bowling
Obviously they’ve got all the basics; a massive NHS app QR code, screens, masks are mandatory (including whilst you’re playing) and a plentiful supply of hazard tape. Honestly, in January I should have brought shares in all the hand sanitiser and tape manufacturing companies. Oh and Zoom. I’d be rich by now! There’s a one-way system to enter and exit the lanes. It’s cards only and pre-booking is essential.
The control panels have been turned off. You now have to supply the names of everyone before visiting and they’ll be pre-programmed in for you. If anyone wants the automatic bumpers up just let them know when you arrive and they’ll set it up. Don’t worry if someone changes their minds, you can just get it changed if needed.
Every other lane is closed off so there’s plenty of space. You also all get your own balls, and you’re not allowed to move them around. There’s four of the most popular sizes and, let’s face it, most people don’t actually know which one is the right one for them anyway! You can always ask for more if you need them but we didn’t. The balls get sanitised between sessions.
Ordering drinks and food is all done from your table. There’s a QR code, simply scan that and click on “call waiter” and someone will come over. Currently there’s a limited food menu available (just pizzas) but the kids devoured theirs in about 10 seconds so the food must be ok. The food and drink menu is on the same link as the call a waiter button so you can have a look before ordering. You pay by card when ordering.
Birthday parties at Rogue Bowling
Obviously birthday parties currently aren’t happening as normal, but we’ve been to loads at Rogue Bowling so I thought I’d mention it. You get a timed slot of chaotic, over excited child-led bowling fun and then hot or cold food afterwards. I mock slightly, because it it chaos when they majority of participants are kids, but they all have an awesome time.
The food isn’t anything special, but it’s exactly the same kind of food you’d expect from most children’s parties like this. You have a private room to eat once the bowling is over. A bowling birthday party is actually a really good, low maintenance birthday party, that doesn’t result in a room full of hot, sweaty, post soft-play kids!
Covid-safe birthday parties
As I mentioned, this review of Rogue Bowling has been written whilst social distancing measures are in place. This means their “normal” birthday parties aren’t available. Rogue Bowling is one of the few places that is still offering some form of birthday party though. It’s for a maximum of 5 children and one adult supervisor (no spectators). Children must be 5-12 years old. You get an hour of bowling and then 30 minutes in the private party room for pizza and nachos. Unlimited squash for the whole party is included. The cost is £12.99 per child. Changes to government restrictions may affect the availability of this party so please double check their website for the latest update.
Our Rogue Bowling Review
Despite a LOT of afternoons bunking off school with my mates when I was younger I’m rubbish at bowling. I know all the theory, I just can’t make the ball do what I want! None of that matters though, we always have a good time bowling. I do think that two games can sometimes be a bit too much for younger kids, as they can get bored, but it’s fine for older ones. Smallest Child is 3 and she had a brilliant time thanks to the ramp and buffers.
I was very impressed with the covid-safe measures that they had in place and I don’t think they detracted from the experience at all.
We were kindly invited down to Rogue Bowling to do this review and were also gifted food. Rogue Bowling did not have any input into the content of the review though and all views are my own. They did not see a copy prior to publication.
One game is £8.95 per adult / £7.95 per child. An hours’ family bowling (up to 5 people) is £39.95. There are lots of offers on their website including a hours’ family bowling for £20 on Thursdays and £3 per child after school during term time.
Parking / How to get there
Address – Unit 6, The Point, Gatehouse Way, Aylesbury, HP19 8DB
Parking – there is a small car park on site. We haven’t usually had a problem to get a space though.
On-site including baby change
You’re not allowed to bring your own food (except birthday cake at pre-booked birthday parties). Food and drink are available. I seem to remember from one particularly fuzzy pre-covid night out with the mummies that the booze is quite cheap!!
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook