We discovered a better way to get to Riverside, Norwich

Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Days Out

At least once during every school holiday and occasionally at weekends, I visit Riverside Entertainment, Norwich, with my three children aged 10, 8 and 4.

Riverside has everything they love – the Gravity trampoline park, the Odeon cinema (they are all complete film buffs and always desperate to see the latest animated blockbuster!), bowling alley, amusements and some brilliant kid-friendly restaurants – Bella Italia is our favourite.

But there’s always been a downside to these great days out – and that was getting there. During the school holidays and on some weekends (you can never predict it) it is almost impossible to park, with the queue for the multi-storey snaking a long way back – you’re looking at an hour’s queue so you can forget making it for the start of the film and if you miss your safety talk at Gravity you won’t be going on the trampolines either – and these are usually non-refundable activities. And if Norwich is playing at home then you can forget it!

I’ve lost count of the amount of times either me, or my friends have turned up looking completely frazzled after having to find somewhere else to park (miles away) or they’ve opted for the 2 hour parking next door and have had to leave half way through a day out to go and move the car.

So it was a real light-bulb moment when we decided one day, faced with the horrible traffic-clogged journey and a very real prospect of sitting in an interminable queue for the multi-storey, we thought we’d give the train a go.

What a revelation! We live near Diss so the journey into Norwich station is a speedy 21 minutes compared to at least 45 minutes by car on a good day and that’s without queuing for the car park!

My three loved the excitement of going on a huge Intercity train with its comfy seats and tables which meant we could all sit together, have a snack and drink, and they had the freedom to move around a bit – perfect for my four year old who is at the stage of getting pretty frustrated if he has to sit in his car seat for any length of time.

We arrived at Norwich station in a flash, took the short walk across the road to Riverside and arrived at Gravity early – a first – while the two families we were meeting almost missed the session because they couldn’t park. Luckily I was able to check everyone in at the counter so when they finally arrived their children were in the nick of time for the pre-booked session!

Our tickets cost £8.80 (off peak return) for me and just £2 each way for my 8 and 10 year old (the 4 year old was free). The car park at Diss costs from £3 off peak (on a Saturday). It might be a little more expensive than the multi-storey car park but for convenience and a stress free day out – made even more fun in the kids’ opinion by including a train journey! – it’s well worth paying a little extra, especially in comparison to how much you’d lose if you don’t make it to your non-refundable pre-booked activities.

We wouldn’t travel to Riverside any other way now and I’m constantly recommending others to do the same. You can check the trains are running ok before you leave for the station at the Greater Anglia website or on Twitter @greateranglia – the Twitter team is always happy to answer any questions too.

Try it – it’s so easy and adds an extra element of memorable fun for the kids!

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