Full disclosure: I reviewed this place with a stonking hangover. You know how, as a parent, you get to go out once every 18 months and then you put on a nice outfit and lipstick and burn money on getting taxis and fancy cocktails? You know how you think 1am is the right time to prove you’re still young and you can still throw shapes on the dancefloor? That was what had followed seven hours previous to a visit to Gravity.
The children -my six year old and his friend- were rabid with excitement. The husband was off to nurse his hangover at the football. I thought he could go to the pub (hair/dog) and I could keep the kids busy at Gravity whilst I lay down and weep quietly in a corner somewhere. Ha de bloody HA!
Have you ever been there? If so, why didn’t you warn me?! You should’ve put a gentle hand on my shoulder whilst I was mid-tequila shot and said ‘Babs, get home, go to bed, and then take the kids to the cinema tomorrow instead- that way you can nap’.
Anyway, a lovely friend picks us up and we all traipse off to Riverside. I’m enjoying the fresh air. Our kids are running together and being no bother. I’ve high hopes. We get to Gravity (right near Odeon- in Norwich- should’ve made a sharp turn there but I was still none-the-wiser) and there are a gabillion stairs to climb and I can’t face the lift but hup hup hurrgh we go. Make it to the top and I’m in through the doors.
‘WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?!’
That’s literally what I said. Out loud. Extremely loudly. But no one heard because it was like smacking in to a (bright orange) wall of pumping music and screaming kids and booming safety messages. Then there’s some complicated system of checking in and paying and something to do with socks: it’s like a bad day at a Ryanair.
Next our two boys had to go and stand and listen to some safety message. They were hopping from foot to foot, clutching each other in excitement, desperate to get going. The tone of the safety briefing was in stark contrast as it displayed sombre warnings and graphic diagrams of necks breaking. Yeesh.
I crawled on to a stall and tried to block out the noise and rage I felt at the price of the drinks and state of the toilets. Needless to say, I was not great company.
‘You’ll get used to it. Soon you’ll not even notice the noise’ my chirpy friend commented. And she was right. Unbelievably, my addled brain filtered out the noise after a while. I felt capable enough to go and watch my child on the trampolines. He was beaming. He was jumping up and down- a huge grin on his face just jumping around. He was slick with sweat and happiness. It was lovely to see.
I even managed to muster enough energy to have a poke about the place. It is impressive in its size. There was a climbing wall, a bar (bleurgh), and Pizza Hut delivers there. I went back to watch my kid and his friend boing about. They looked so delightfully joyful and like they might sleep well that night (he did) so that’s another two things in its favour.
I know it’s not a fair trial to review somewhere when you’re hungover and tired and annoyed with your children for waking you up three hours after you’d gone to bed but the amount of sheer joy that my son got out of his trip there, the fact that he looked so beamingly happy pogoing around with unselfconscious enthusiasm was, in the end, quite a tonic.
I’m not going to lie: even sober, I don’t think this would’ve been my favourite place. But, as a parent, you have to do literally thousands of things that your kids love and you don’t (watching Paw Patrol, making spag bol eight times a week, going to soft play centres, rating farts out of ten, buying Yollies etc) so it’s not for me to say ‘don’t go to Gravity’ but it is for me to say ‘send the grandparents with the kids to Gravity’ whilst you stay at home and drink flat Coke and lounge about in pyjamas like you did once upon a twenties.