To just not be able to keep up with the cost of children's parties in London?

(55 Posts)
milkandmarmite Fri 31-Jul-15 20:16:04

It's DS's birthday in September & I live in a v. Small flat in London.

He is pre school age but has asked to have a party and I have agreed. I didnt do one last year as I took him to the aquarium instead.

I looked into booking the local church hall and was horrified at the cost - just shy of £400 for two hours!! shock then there's food and party bags and goodness knows what else to think of.

The other parties we have been to people have hired entertainers & had a bouncy castles etc. All fabulous and much enjoyed but after I looked into it the additional costs mean the day would be near enough £800!!!

I mean it's ludicrous isn't it? AIBU? Is this what people in London who live in shoe boxes do or is there something I don't know about? I can't keep up with it. I'm half thinking of chancing the weather putting them all in the park grin

milkandmarmite Fri 31-Jul-15 20:17:10

Ps sorry for grammar etc. Long day!

WLondonMum Fri 31-Jul-15 20:19:51

I am also amazed by the cost of some of the parties. However, September would be fine to have a park party. I don't know whereabouts you are but there are some amazing parks and free spaces in London like the Diana Playground and Fountain. You could do a combined picnic/party bag on a very tight budget if you shop carefully (eBay, Poundland etc.) Please don't feel you have to spend loads of money especially for pre-school age!

Imperial Fri 31-Jul-15 20:20:54

Whereabouts in London are you? I know in SW the local leisure centres will do a room with a bouncy castle for about £150 or there are church halls for about £100.

Pizza express parties are also good value because they make their own food.

Prices are crazy though so you have my sympathy. With 3 children we spend pretty much the same on parties annually as we do on our summer holiday and I know which I prefer.

thunderbird69 Fri 31-Jul-15 20:21:51

Crazy! Round here it us about £10 per hour for a hall.
What about a soft play place or similar?

SweetCharityBeginsAtHome Fri 31-Jul-15 20:22:36

Where abouts are you? Local Authority recreation centre often does more reasonably priced soft play parties - say 100 quid or so. At this time of year you could do a picnic party in a local park for just the price of food. Pubs may have an upstairs room they'd be happy to hire out early morning. Both MN and (shhh) NetMums have a local party venues listing. There will be cheaper options, honestly.

toobreathless Fri 31-Jul-15 20:22:48

I am not a Londoner. Our church hall is 15 pounds for 2 hrs.

Can you not treat a few friends to soft play for example without the 'party package' or swimming? We did that once for 5 toddlers plus mums then took a cake to Costa and bought adults coffees total cost was under 100 including all entrances/cake and coffees.

SweetCharityBeginsAtHome Fri 31-Jul-15 20:24:49

And there's always McDonalds, though I'm guessing that may not do your nursery-run cred much good at this age, it may well be acceptable in a couple of years time.

Roseotto Fri 31-Jul-15 20:24:57

You must be able to find a cheaper church hall. That must be a fancy returned one in Chelsea/N Hill surely. Our local one in a v smart area of SW is £150 for 3 hrs (allowing for setup/clear up). Many others are closer to 100-120. Yours is off the scale but there will be cheaper! Many people also share parties when the children are so small.

tethersend Fri 31-Jul-15 20:25:16

Oh god, it's ridiculous.

Have you got a city farm or a community centre near you? They sometimes hire rooms out more cheaply than church halls.

whatsagoodusername Fri 31-Jul-15 20:25:27

Where do you live? How many children?

We did a party in the National Maritime Museum for DS1's 3rd birthday - maybe a dozen children. They have classrooms that they let people picnic in when it's rainy. We asked if we could use one and they said yes, although they couldn't hire it to us for exclusive use.

We just let the kids play in the children's gallery (and they have a new one now), then did cake and food in the classroom. We got there when the museum opened to stake out and decorate the picnic area and would have welcomed anyone who was brave enough to venture in - no one did.

If it's sunny you can take them all to Greenwich Park as well. Ours was in November so no chance of that.

Dowser Fri 31-Jul-15 20:26:00

Whereabouts in London are you? I know in SW the local leisure centres will do a room with a bouncy castle for about £150 or there are church halls for about £100.

Pizza express parties are also good value because they make their own food.

Prices are crazy though so you have my sympathy. With 3 children we spend pretty much the same on parties annually as we do on our summer holiday and I know which I prefer.

Quote.

Good lord!

Roseotto Fri 31-Jul-15 20:26:07

Refurbed, not returned.

southeastastra Fri 31-Jul-15 20:34:34

i know where you can get a party from 90 but in south herts, is that too far for you?

Branleuse Fri 31-Jul-15 20:41:42

You dont have to do all the expensive parties. Youll probably find most people dont, and if they do, they do it for a couple of years before wising up

JassyRadlett Fri 31-Jul-15 20:42:29

Goodness, where are you? I'm SW (London/Surrey borders) and the (very nice, newly built) church hall for DS's party is £110 for 4 hours.

That said, I'll be 8 months pregnant at the time of his party so for once I'm outsourcing everything, including entertainment and cake, which I would usually do ourselves. Even then I think we'll get change from £350.

(I still can't believe I'm spending that much on a party, to be honest. Last year's was smaller and at home and maybe cost £50.)

SocksRock Fri 31-Jul-15 20:44:14

Wow! Our village hall is £9/hour - for village residents. If you are a dirty foreigner live more than a mile away it's £10.50/hour...

verbeier Fri 31-Jul-15 20:46:13

I feel your pain. We live in a shoebox, and spend wads on DS's birthday party. £75 for church hall, £220 entertainer, food, party bags etc. My friends in big houses spend lots less on home-based parties (which I think the kids actually enjoy more). I would have done a smaller party but my DS is shy and is a bit lacking on the birthday party list this year so thought would be good way to get to know families and let the kids play together. Leisure centres which have softplay a good bet, lot cheaper.

Welshmaenad Fri 31-Jul-15 20:46:57

I just....what? We just had dd's party in a lovely small hall near us and it was £12 an hour.

I'm aware this doesn't help because I live in wales, but just...what????

Yarp Fri 31-Jul-15 20:49:49

You don't have to do parties.

Your DS is a preschooler - a party could mean 5 kids, a treasure hunt and some cake. Don't get sucked in to what you think you ought to do

I have teenagers. Each of then has had only one church hall type party, with a magician.

Yarp Fri 31-Jul-15 20:51:33

YY to Dian playground

Depending where you are, also I'd suggest Coram's Fields (near Russell Square)

milkandmarmite Fri 31-Jul-15 20:53:31

Wow very jealous of some of you who are quoting some lovely more reasonable figures!!! I am in SW London with no car. Local authority leisure center was indeed more affordable at around £150 for hall hire but was already booked - lady on phone was positively shock when i phoned last week requesting september date!

I will have to have another ring around then or have some other re-think. My DS had a very tough year with one thing and another so really wanted to do a nice party but do think the quote i've got it's just above and beyond really.

Yarp Fri 31-Jul-15 20:55:15

Kew Gardens?

fionathepink Fri 31-Jul-15 20:55:22

my son's 3rd birthday in muswell hill was done in a church hall; hire for £15 for 2 hours, made our own cake, made gifts for the bags and the rest from 99p store. chucked some bubbles, balloons and music games in the mix. sorted. its not a contest, the kids just want to run about and eat cake and it really is about the kids.

Yarp Fri 31-Jul-15 20:55:50

... sorry, forgot Kew is also quite expensive!!

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