Please skip the first few lines to see this review as it was intended. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. Plymouth is a bit of an anomaly in the Devon holiday industry. Most of the more picturesque seaside resorts are located to the East of Plymouth and other holiday destinations in Devon would focus on the north coast or Dartmoor. However, it is increasingly being used as a busy base to explore the rest of the county so, if you find yourself in Plymouth with friends or family, or maybe even live there, here is my guide to the Plymouth Pavillions complex. WHAT IS IT? Plymouth Pavillions is a leisure complex set in the city centre of Plymouth. It offers a leisure pool, ice skating and a modern concert and conference centre. Built in the early 1990s, it was beginning to look a little under maintained but a recent face lift has ensured it will remain a jewel in Plymouth's crown for many years to come. The harsh concrete exterior looks drab from the carpark to the rear but from the front of the building the smoked glass panels and flumes that wind there way round into the main swimming complex look bright and welcoming. The front of the building usually displays a banner or LCD screen indicating what events are coming soon and what is currently showing. THE POOL The swimming complex looks go
od now it has been refurbished. The leisure pool is designed with a tropical island feel to it. Hanging over the main pool is a shipwreck which once housed a cafe but is now decoration fitting in and developing the overall theme of the pool. Teir are two flumes. A shorter less manic flume ideal for swimmers who are not so confident or a more high speed tight turning flume that leads you briefly into the cool outside before reentering the building at high speed to plunge into the splash pool designed for this purpose. A siren sounds to alert non-swimmers to retreat to the shallow end of the pool when the wave machine is switched on. On first arriving, check with the session details to see how ferocious this machine will be for your session. The pool slopes gently to an eventual depth of about eight feet. There is a large paddling area with domes of spray for younger children and behind that a small pool with a slide for the very young. It is vital to stay with your child as the pool becomes busy and at times can seem quite overwhelming for very young children. The lifeguards are vigilent and polite and ensure everyone has a safe and happy time. Swimming costs are posted on the website and change periodically but reflect the price in other council maintained pools in the city. The website address is: www.plymouthpavillions.co.uk THE ICE RINK The ice rink is fairly small and has the upbiquitous vending machines and arcade machines around the sides. Skaters move predominantly in an anti clockwise way and there are always a number of trained staff on the ice to pick up, dust down and generally help out if your skating goes pear shaped. The price of skating, like swimming is available on the website. www.plymouthpavillions.co.uk If you are planning to skate do check the session times to ensure you get best value for money. THE CAFE Slightly overpriced but offering a good range of hot and cold food and drinks. The portions are acce
ptable and the staff are polite. I tend to not eat here but offer the children a cup of hot chocolate after a swim to help warm up. The cafe is situated in the entrance foyer and has a domed roof that lets light flood in. It is a pleasant environement for eating and drinking but you will be disturbed by people on their way to and from swimming and ice skating as it is open plan. THE CONCERTS The South West lacks decent concert venues. Westpoint at Exeter offers similar facilities but increasingly, major tours of has beens and up and coming bands make their way to Plymouth Pavillions. It is an excellently priced venue for enjoying live music but the room design often feels slightly lacking in character and atmosphere. Usually, seats are offered upstairs with standing room below. I recommend that unless you have a specific reason for doing so you stand - the atmosphere upstairs is not as good and you end up looking down on folks dancing feeling slightly out of the experience. The sound quality is good and the nearness to the stars is also good with the venue being almost square. OVERALL Since its refurbishment early in 2003 this venue offers something for most members of the family and if you are holidaying in the West Country you could do worse than pop in here if the British weather lets you down. Do check the website for details of cost and session times. www.plymouthpavillions.co.uk
The pavilions was built in the early 90?s in the heart of the city, this leisure complex is divided into three main attractions, the Swiss ice rink, the Atlantis swimming pool and the arena. It also houses other facilities, which include meeting rooms, café area, a shop and a gym. The first of the three main attractions to this complex is the ice rink. The ring itself isn?t a full size ring (i.e. ice hockey size) but smaller and in a shape of kidney. It has sessions set out for the public if you want to go and have some fun with friends or there are also private sessions for ice skating lessons and ice hockey that have been quite successful. They have facilities for playing music during disco sessions as well as lighting and a foam snow machines to add to the fun. The second of the main facilities is the swimming pool; it has a flume, Jacuzzi and wave machine, and numberous foam floats that are used during public sessions. I have not used this facility for many year so do not know exactly what its like today. A newish feature that was added is a spectator area, this was originally another small pool hidden away in a pirate ship but has subsequently changed. The final main feature to the pavilions is the arena. This circular arena was originally was built to hold 1,500 people but over the years has been modified to hold different capacities depending on the way the arena is set up. 1,500 capacity for all seating concerts to 4,000 for a full standing concert. The arena has to be the best part of the complex as it has held many music concerts by artists from many genres of music including the Prodigy, Manic street preachers, Daniel O?Donnell, Status Quo, Jools Holland and many more. Other entertainment has also been held such as the Royal Shakespeare Company in conjunction with the Theatre Royal, which is close by. Snooker, Professional wresting and many comedians have appeared like Victoria Wood, French and Saunders and Billy Connoll
y. For me personally the pavilion is one of the best places to watch British basketball, as it is the home of the Plymouth Raiders. The arena always put on a great show and has a great atmosphere when fully packed. The arena is also used for examinations and award ceremonies by the university and can also be hired out for functions and conferences. The pavilions recently has been renovating the complex by improving facilities for their customers, the café area was redesigned and is much better than before, the box office has also been improved with better booking facilities by phone. Also it is currently renovating the swimming pool area. Car parking is a problem as the complex is situated in the centre of Plymouth so space is limited. The pavilions itself has a car par but is quite small compared to the number of people that use it. But there is other car parks near by that can be used as well as car parking slots along roadside very close by. Parking is free after 6pm and free Sundays, which is quite good. The pavilions has good access for people who come on foot, a walkway from Frankfort gate takes them through toys r us and straight into the complex. There are many buses that stop near by and are very frequent. A recent development for the pavilions was their own website, the current website that is up now is very professional designed and is updated very often. This is a great site and shows all the latest news and developments. A good feature of this is that the user of the website can view details of the arena and pricing for hiring out the arena or the meeting rooms. Jobs are also advertised here. Prices vary for concerts in the arena, prices for the ice-skating and swimming pool are reasonable and there are discounts for OAP's and students. There are also gift vouchers available. PALS is a type of membership to the pavilions which lets its members have discounts and concessions and priority bookings <
br>The pavilions also offer gift vouchers for purchase that are valid for up to 2 years and a PALS membership which lets its members get priority booking and concessions or reduction in costs of using the facilities of the pavilions. I feel that this is a great way for customers to save money in the long run if they are regular users of the complex. My overall opinion of the pavilions is that it is a good quality facility and definitely worth a visit if you have never been before. It has something for everyone no matter what age.
A leisure complex situated in the middle of Plymouth city centre. Recently built it combines leisure activities and theatre; it promises to be an exciting day out for all of the family. The Pavillions is a beautiful modern building; constructed in 1993 it is full of modern architecture and modern conveniences. The building itself is rounded in appearance, and fits well into the chosen location. How do I get there? On foot, or by car, from the city centre it takes less than a minute. Millbay Road is a well-known area of town, and you should have no problem spotting the new circular building. Parking? Be warned, this area is pay and display, 70p for an hour, £1.40 for two, you can park fro up to 4 hours at a cost. The carpark is well lit, but in the open air, umbrellas are a must. The traffic wardens prowl this area with great relish, as the attraction draws tourists from all over the country A lesser-known parking area, is actually on the other side of the road, joining the Pavillions by way of a pedestrian undercover overhead walkway. Still pay and display, but undercover from car to leisure centre. Can I look around for free? Of course. What is inside this complex then? The Swiss lake ice skating rink. Plymouths one and only ice skating rink. Designed on the impression of a swiss scene can accommodate up to 250 skaters at any one time.(Sessions, last approximately 90 minutes) Not quite large enough for competition skating, apparently the resident icehockey team has no problems with the size. It is possible to enrol for skating lessons with a qualified coach here too. Skate hire is included, although skaters can bring their own if they like. Costs vary according to term/holiday time. Family tickets are available at a reduced price. Beware the rink is closed to the public on Sunday between 10am-11.30am for private lessons. Prices Adults 16 and ov
er peak time £3.00 Off peak £1.75 Lessons Adult 30 min £3.50 Child peak time £2.50 Off peak £1.75 Group discounts are available Family tickets comprising 2 adults+2 children OR 1 adult and 3 children £8.50 Other sessions range from £1.75 for kids club chilly penguins to Ice disco £3.45 The Atlantis leisure pool. Not to be confused with standard laned swimming pools, this one is for fun. It has two water flumes, both are single rider chutes, and children under 6 are not permitted to ride. The wave machine operates approximately every 15 minutes for 2 minute duration, at which time, non swimmers are designated safe areas. The pool itself is in fairly good condition, however there are signs of wear and tear now evident. It actually has a beautiful shape but there are several blind spots around the facility, and the false rocks poke out at the wrong height. There are recessed areas around the pool, which fill when the wave machine is in use, almost like small shallow rock pools. There are water cannons and a fountain, as well as a small babies pool to entertain the younger swimmer. There are always at least 3 lifeguards on duty, Please note, We took all of the children swimming last Saturday, and whilst taking photos of the girls I was approached and required to sign the book stating why I was photographing at the pool side. Granted, I could have signed anyone’s name, but I do feel that the staff have realised that there can be problems, and I was more than happy to comply with their requests. Alongside the pool is a Jacuzzi, perfect for restful relaxation, but unsuitable for anyone with a heart condition, or indeed any pregnant ladies. The changing rooms are clean and well facilitated and include baby changing tables and playpens, showers, individual cubicles, and of course the usual toilet facilities sanitary protection machines, hairdryers and the
like. The locker system used a 20p coin returnable on return. The pool can accommodate up to 250 swimmers and is generally run as sessions, which last for approximately 90 minutes. The spectator area is small and fairly unwelcoming, to my dismay, there was no lift, hence I bumped the buggy, baby and bags down the awkward spiral staircase, and then back up again when we ready to leave. Costs vary according to session time, and term times. There are swimming lessons for adults and children, kids inflatable fun sessions, Parent and toddler, young at heart, and Sub aqua classes. It is possible to rent the entire pool for parties etc, but I really don’t know the cost of it. Family tickets are also available at reduced prices. Adults Over 16 peak time £2.75 Off peak £1.75 Children Peak time £2.25 Off peak £1.75 Family tickets also 2 adults2children OR 1 adult 3 children £8.00. Concessions for disabled, over 60s, unwaged and students £2.00 Very important note, for each under 8 year old there must be an accompanying adult. There are quite strict dress codes, no cut up shorts etc. The Arena. Seating over 3,500 customers this is a popular venue for many classic shows and sports fixtures. Ranging from the obscure to the more mundane, I find it is a little expensive for me, never the less a wonderful treat. I plan to take the children to see Joseph when it comes (Mid April), but I need to save somewhat more, at a whopping £8.00 per seat. Popular forthcoming attractions include Roy Chubby Brown, All Saints, and Victoria Wood to name a few. The arena itself has a good view of the stage from all seats and has been carefully designed as such. Meeting rooms and conference centres. I have only visited these once and was pleasantly surprised with the standard, which was very good. A small bar is located within them, and these are popular room booke
d out by the general public regularly. The Gym. From all accounts it is vast and caters for all. I haven’t been so I wouldn’t like to go into much more detail. That is a busy place. What about food? Along all of the corridors are snack and drink vending machines. There is a pool/sweet shop, where to be honest everything is way overpriced, huge sweets in a pick and mix selection, one of my chief hates really. There is a café in the centre of the complex serving quality, if not expensive snacks, meals and drinks. The service is quite slow, but worth the wait. Now the bit I have been waiting for. Some of the staff are quite rude and unwilling to sort problems out in a hurry, implying that “We are not here to rip you off”, well that is exactly what they tried to do on Saturday. After being charged for a family ticket, hubby was then charged for two more kids, whose kids they were was beyond me, so needless to say I was not happy. I was already downstairs, so when hubby stomped up to me with the receipt stating “It can’t cost £12.50 for us all” I bumped the baby, bags and buggy back up the damn staircase, and to customer services. Their attitude sucked, and after trying to fob me off with a 75p refund I stated again that it was still not right, the “lady” concerned then proceeded to ignore me, I stood my ground, and again explained that I might look like the old woman in a shoe, but I knew how many children I had, and that I had been overcharged. Upon further investigation. Ie actually reading the receipt, she finally agreed. Success, a £4.50 refund, but no apology. In conclusion, whilst this is a lovely facility and has had a lot of money spent on it, it is a shame that they hadn’t spent that little extra on training their staff to deal with customers in a courteous manner.