Archive for the ‘Qype reviews’ Category

Qype: Dickens World in Chatham

November 3, 2008

Chatham

Dickens World claims to have attractions to keep the whole family entertained. Well all I can say is that we never found them.

It is located in the middle of a factory outlet shopping area and shares the same car park – which means finding a space can be fun.

After buying your ticket you climb a flight of stairs and enter Victorian England. You walk across a bridge and then descend into a courtyard. Here you find a small snack bar, toilets and a gift shop. Also around the outside of the courtyard are various buildings and doorways leading to some of the attractions. There are also various members of staff dress in custom and who play the part of a Victorian.

There is the Great Expectations boat ride where you can relive “Magwitch’s escape from the prison ship”. Apparently. The queue for this ride takes you past two prison cells, but unfortunately the audio that was being played here could not be heard above the noise of the people in the queue. Not that they were noisy, just that the audio quality was poor and the acoustics were terrible. It was only my daughter, who had the guide book, who actually new what the boat ride was about. During the ride itself there was no commentary until the very end when some of the Dickens’ characters were pointed out.

Next on the list was a visit to a Victorian school room, complete with teacher. This was enjoyable as the teacher was very good at playing the part, and also taught us some information about Charles Dickens. However the scene was ruined by the fact that each of the desks had an interactive screen on it with games for the children to play. Guess where my daughter’s attention was? Certainly not on the teacher.

At various times during the day, a small dramatised version of one of Dickens’ novels in produced in the courtyard. We watched a version of A Tale of Two Cities. To be honest this was the most amateurish show I think I have ever seen. Ignoring the fact that the cast were miming, it appeared as if it was totally unrehearsed.

On the opposite side of the courtyard from the entrance staircase was another which lead to an upper floor. Here there were some more of the attractions. The first one you come across is the Britannia Theatre with an animatronic show about some of the characters that Dickens created. This show was ok, but nothing special.

Next door to the Theatre was a temporary exhibition of customs worn in a TV series.

Then came the main restaurant, which we did not try as we had eaten downstairs in the courtyard.

The last two attractions consisted of a children’s indoor play area, which thankfully my daughter decided she didn’t want to go in, and a “4D Cinema”. Here you had to wear special glasses which allowed you to watch a 3d film of Dickens’ life.

Finally you leave the place through the gift shop.

Overall I felt this was a complete waste of a day. There was very little explanation of anything, and what was there was presented in a haphazard and amateurish way. I feel that it holds so much potential in that it could educate children (and adults) about life in Victorian England in general, and about the Dickens’ novels in particular. I would certainly not go back, and I would not recommend it to anyone.
Check out my review of Dickens World – I am Steaders – on Qype

Qype: ExCeL London in London

October 15, 2008

LondonShoppingShopping Centres

This is a fairly large, modern conference and exhibition centre built on land along side the former Royal Victoria Dock in London’s Dockland. It is easily accessed from Custom House station on the Docklands Light Railway.

There are several large areas where events can be held, and I believe they can be combined to make larger areas.

There are several places to buy food and drink from, ranging from restaurants to kiosks. Outside the main building there are more restaurants and pubs.

There are also free-to-use atms located near downstairs in the main building.

I visited for an exhibition and found the whole experience enjoyable.
Check out my review of ExCeL London – I am Steaders – on Qype

Qype: Tesco Express in Hove

October 9, 2008

HoveFood & DrinkSupermarkets

Located half way between the two shopping areas of Churchill Square and Blatchington Road, this Tesco Exress is handy for those forgotten items, or single purchases.

It does have a small range compared to it’s larger cousins, but most everyday items are here.

I popped in to get some headache tablets and came out with a fresh cream eclair!

Not the place to go for your main shopping, but ideal as a corner shop.
Check out my review of Tesco Express – I am Steaders – on Qype

Qype: Asda Stores Ltd in Brighton

October 1, 2008

BrightonFood & DrinkSupermarkets

This is probably the least customer friendly branch of Asda I’ve ever used.

As it is open 24hrs I have shopped at all hours, and find problems whenever I go there. In fact I only use because it’s on my way to/from work, and it’s open 24hrs.

I frequently find the shelves empty of what I’m after. Sometimes they are on the trolleys waiting to be put out, but more often than not, they don’t have them. And whilst we’re talking of the stock trolleys/roll-pallets, why do they have to leave them in the middle of the aisles? If you shop during the evening or at night, I is often impossible to actually go down some aisles because they are blocked by stock waiting to be put out.

And the staff have a habit of standing and chatting amongst themselves totlay oblivious to the customers. Sometimes it takes saying “excuse me” a couple of times, or a quick jab with the trolley, to actually get them to move.

And I would never by anything froxen from them. I have seen, and been told by an ex-employee, that frozen products are sometimes left out waiting to be put in a freezer for longer than half an hour.

However, they do have some good points such as being 24hrs. Also they do some weird offers. This week I have bought two packets of cereals for £2, when they are £2.15 each; and five Muller Lights for £1.00 when they are 54p each! Bargains!

They also have a petrol station which is normally oe of the cheapest in the area
Check out my review of Asda Stores Ltd – I am Steaders – on Qype

Qype: Bowlplex in Brighton

September 28, 2008

BrightonNightlifeBowling

Having just experienced rather poor service at the restaurant (see Frankie & Benny’s Brighton) our party of 12 headed to the Bowlplex.

When we arrived we found only one person on the desk, dealing with customers wishing to pay and handing out shoes. I felt really sorry for the people in the queue behind us.

There was a DJ playing music mostly from the 60’s & 70’s, but with a few modern ones mixed in.

We were allocated two lanes next to each other and started to sort out teams. Meanwhile I overheard the DJ ask a question, saying that the first person to answer correctly would win a bottle of “bubbly”. I immediately walked up to him, gave the answer and walked away with a bottle! It wasn’t anything special, but hey, the evening was begining to look better.

As the evening progressed we were beset with a few technical problems with our lanes, resulting in numerous visits by the the three members of staff, and culminating in them moving us to the two adjacent lanes. However they were both helpful and pleasent at all times. And we saw an unusual way to bowl – the manager held the bowling ball in the palm of his hand and just launched it down the lane resulting in a strike! Followed by another. He gave up after the third when he only got nine pins down. To say we were impressed would be an understatement.

We spent and enjoyable hour and half in here, and the technical problems didn’t really detract from the experience. It certainly made up for the meal.

Only five stars, because I don’t really go in for loud music. I prefer it to be loud enough to hear (and sing-a-long to) but not so loud that you have trouble talking.
Check out my review of Bowlplex – I am Steaders – on Qype

Qype: Frankie & Benny’s in Brighton

September 28, 2008

BrightonRestaurantsItalian & Pizza

We should have known how this would turn out when we tried to book at table for ten people at 7pm on a Saturday and got told “we don’t take bookings” We were told to just turn up and they’d get us a table. Perhaps a drink at the bar whilst waiting? Hmm.

Well fortunately when we turned up, they did have a table for us. Right next to a hen party of 25 women. Who had obviously been drinking for some time, and were rather loud.

We were told that if we ordered quickly then our orders would be put through *before* the hen party’s order. So we did. And guess what. Our starters arrived and then nothing, while they got their food.

An hour after arriving we were served our main course, served on cold plates. And although most of the food was acceptable, all the vegetables were cold. So the waitress was asked if some fresh hot vegetables could be served, and her reaction seemed to be one of “Oh, yeah ok, it happens all time.” No shock, no surprise, not even an apology. But then all the staff seemed to have an air indifference and were very off-hand with us.

It was 8.40pm when we were asked if we watnted desserts. As we were booked to go ten-pin bowling at 9.00pm we opted to skip this and just pay the bill.

The bill arrived and was about £185, which we split between us, and £200 was given to the waiter. As we left it became apparent that he hadnt brought any change back. And then it was pointed out that an *optional* 10% service charge had already been added to the bill. So the actual cost was just under £170, and the change from the £200 had been kept.

One of our party promptly returned and demand our change, and that the service be removed as we were not happy with the service. At first she was given £30 back, but standing her ground, the rest of was reluctantly given.

I, and probably most of the group, will not use this particular establishment again.
Check out my review of Frankie & Benny’s – I am Steaders – on Qype

Qype: Caroline of Brunswick in Brighton

September 26, 2008

Brighton

The moment we walked through the door, my mate and I felt out of place. Don’t get me wrong, we were made to feel welcome, and the bar staff were friendly, but this pub was not our scene. It is quite obviously aimed at Goths.

The was the normal range of lagers and keg beers, and they had Hobgoblin real ale which was a nice pint.

There was a small beer garden (or smokers area) out the back and this was packed.

There was nothing wrong here, but we just felt out of place. If you’re a goth and/or a student, then you’ll like this place.
Check out my review of Caroline of Brunswick – I am Steaders – on Qype

Qype: Circus Circus in Brighton

September 26, 2008

BrightonPubs & BarsPubs

This is a modern pub located on the main road to London. It is actually an old pub that was modernised a few years back.

It has a some nice comfy sofas inside, and several tables outside where you can watch the people walking by. Or fire engines leave the fire station.

Inside there is a thai restaurant, which I didn’t try so I can’t comment on that.

The serve the stand range of drinks: Guiness, Grolsch Strongbow plus several bottled beers, and Harveys ( a local Real Ale). The Harveys was actually quite decent (although not quite as good as that served in the Hare & Hounds on the opposite corner of the junction!)

This is a wecolming pub where the casual passerby doesn’t feel at easy when they pop in.
Check out my review of Circus Circus – I am Steaders – on Qype

Qype: Hare & Hounds in Brighton

September 26, 2008

BrightonPubs & BarsPubs

This is a pub that is probably aimed at students although the clientele we from a wide age range. It has a fairly plain style about it. The night we visited there was a live band playing, and this is a regular occurance on Fridays and Saturdays.

The staff were friendly, and we were made to feel welcome.

They had run out of one of the real ales and the other ran out just after we were served. But it was the best pint of Harveys that I’ve had in a long time.

There is free wifi here, no password or anything – just connect and go., which is very handy.

I think I’ll be popping in here again, if only for the Harveys and the wifi!

It’s only got four stars, because I still prefer a pub with that traditional feel to it.
Check out my review of Hare & Hounds – I am Steaders – on Qype

Qype: National Trust: Sheffield Park Garden in Uckfield

September 26, 2008

UckfieldTravel & HotelsDestinations

I have been here on several occaisions, and at different times of the year.

It is a fairly landscaped park by that great garden designer ‘Capability’ Brown and, unless it is really busy, it is never crowded.

The scenery and views change from season to season, in fact they change almost weekly. In the spring and summer there are flowers all over the place – particulary noticeable are the rhodadendrons.

I have just visited for the first time in the autumn, and virtually the whole place was green. There was very little in the way of autumnal colours.

They do cater for children, and have a childrens trail and at Easter they hold Easter Egg hunts. This was “fun” this year, as my daughter and I raced around the garden hunting clues in the middle of a blizzard! I think 30 minutes to tour the place is probably some kind of record.

There is a small gift shop at the entrance, and a small tea-room is outside by the car park. The tea room does not belong to the National Trust.

On the way up the drive from the main road, there is a small nursery and vineyard, but I have never been to those.

And it is claimed that the first England v Australia cricket match was held here!
Check out my review of National Trust: Sheffield Park Garden – I am Steaders – on Qype