Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Children's Party Venues in Fleet, Hampshire

Hello Readers!

As many of you know, I am a firm believer that you can have a fantastic Birthday Party at home or in the garden and I have some top tips on what to think about when organising a party at home in my next blog!

But as so many of my lovely clients in Fleet, Hampshire are interested in hall hire, I have compiled a list of my top venue choices and everything you need to know about them so I hope this helps!  With Fleet in Hampshire being such a child-friendly area there is lots of choice so if your favourite venue  is not on this list please do let me know!

Some things to think about before hiring a hall:

1.   What services are included in the price? Most halls have several offers and some can cater food and drinks while others will not allow full use to the facilities so double check exactly what the price includes

2.     Do I have to pay a deposit fee? To reserve a date, most halls ask for a deposit fee, which is usually 25% of the total amount.

3.   What is the hall’s capacity? Don’t forget that your guests must feel comfortable at all times so try not to hire a hall that is far too big or far too small.

4.  How many cars can the parking lot fit? It’s also a good idea to ask about parking arrangements.

5.    Can I have a look before I book?  Most hall managers will be more than happy to show you around the venue before you make a decision and this will allow you to ask any more questions you may have.

6.    How long should I book the hall?  Again, it is a good idea to speak to the Hall Manager as all venues have different policies when it comes to setting up the venue area but if you are hosting a 2 hour party, it may be worthwhile to book the hall for an extra hour to set up and organise the day.

Some Great Venues

The Key Centre, Elvetham Heath, Fleet, Hampshire
The Key Centre has ample parking facilities and is in a very easy to find location (next to Morrison’s).  There are two different types of party, one in the Hall, and the other is a Play Party in the Heath and Village Rooms. They last for two and a half hours, and use of the bouncy castle in the hall if required is included. If you don’t need the bouncy castle, you can still use the hall, or you can hire the Heath and Village Rooms with their own children's toilets and outside play area. Party bookings in all rooms include the use of the kitchen.

The children’s party rates are:
Heath & Village Rooms: £59.95 
Hall: £89.95

To make a booking check out their website or call 01252 623700

Ancells Farm Community Centre, Fleet, Hampshire
Ancells Farm Community Centre is another great choice with lots of parking and a convenient location.  The hall is available for party bookings and is a very decent size. The price at the weekends is £17.50 an hour plus VAT. This is for the Main Hall, other smaller rooms are available at more reasonable prices, but most people book the Main Hall. The Hall can be booked for however many hours or parts of an hour you require. Only the furniture is included in this price.

For any enquiries please contact the Centre Supervisor Karen Godfrey on 07702 834701 or email

Zebon Copse Centre, Fleet, Hampshire
Zebon Copse Centre has two main halls which can be combined into one large L-shaped hall by retracting the acoustic screen between them.  Zebon Hall has a stage with comprehensive AV facilities and stage lighting.  Crookham Hall has direct access to the kitchen and also has dedicated toilet facilities to enable users to be completely self-contained when Zebon Hall is in use by another group.

Zebon Copse Centre provides flexible layout, excellent parking, WiFi and an upgraded kitchen.  The price at weekends is £16.80 for a single hall, or £27.00 for both halls.  All prices include VAT and are the hourly rate.  To make a booking enquiry, please follow this link:, or call 01252 615003

The Cross Barn, Odiham, Hampshire
The Cross Barn in Odiham is a great place to host a Birthday party and the Great Hall, the largest room in the Cross Barn, accommodates up 80 people and is a beautiful room with lots of old beams for a Princess feel!  The venue has a fully equipped kitchen which is accessible through the great hall and is included when hiring this hall.   Prices for the hall are £19.60 per hour (May – Sep), and £20.60 per hour (Oct – Apr).

For more information, contact 01256 701 803 or follow this link:

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Frozen Themed Parties

The latest Disney animation Frozen has been snowballed into our lives becoming a  huge hit with children of all ages that is impossible to ignore!  Frozen awakens children’s imaginations with the icy Queen Elsa, quirky Princess Anna, the perfect Kristoff, a talking and rather camp snowman called Olaf and a blizzardous Kingdom called Arundel – not to mention the seriously catchy songs that are being played everywhere!

Since this film has come out, I have been inundated with Frozen party requests and have thoroughly enjoyed being Queen Elsa and Princess Anna at lots of lovely children’s Birthday Parties in London, Hampshire and Surrey.  From being to so many Frozen themed parties I would say that I have become a bit of an expert on the good, the bad and the ugly of the theme to help out all my lovely readers if your little ones are hoping for a Frozen Party this year.

Lets start with the Ugly…  Recently I turned up at a client’s house early to discover that the children were going to be doing a real life Snowman Making Competition and they had filled some sand boxes with imported snow! Excellent idea if you live in a very cold climate but this was at a garden party in May… Needless to say, by the time the children had arrived there were several paddling pools and even Queen Elsa could not turn water into snow on this occasion!

The Bad:
Most of the time my clients do an excellent job of decorating the venue but on one occasion I turned up to a party at a very stately home with taxidermy reindeer.  The children believed they were very realistic stuffed toys until the Birthday girl proudly explained in detail what they really were! Needless to say there were several freaked out children. My suggestion? Leave taxidermy out of children’s party decorations!

The Good:
Every party I go to has a lot of great decoration ideas and are all different so I could give a very long list of suggestions! However I have cherry-picked a few ideas that I thought were fab and also very simple.  One party I went to had made a lot of effort making beautiful cardboard snowflakes (the simple ones everyone can make!) covered in glitters.  There were literally hundreds over the wall and hanging from the ceiling to make the venue look like a Winter Wonderland.  At the end of the party I mentioned to the Mum how much I liked the decorations and she explained how she had cut them out with the help of her family and children and let the little ones decorate them with glitter and sequins.  They had a great time together making the snowflakes and the little Birthday girl was super excited to show off her creativity on the big day!

Another simple suggestion is to change the colour of your light bulbs to a blue and add sparkly lights across the venue, or wrapping the lights around bushes and trees in the garden.  This gives a really magical feel to the party and is so simple. Most people  have lights stored away from Christmas time so you should be able to get your hands on some for free!

I will be writing about exciting games and giving step by step guides to hosting an amazing Frozen Party in my next blog!

Emma at Once Upon A Time Parties
07969 841770

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Halls and Venues to hire in Streatham, Clapham, Battersea London!

Organising a children's party is tricky enough without doing tons of research on hall hire in London!  That is why I have put this post together as I have had lots of clients asking for my advice about halls to hire for a children's Birthday party in Streatham, Battersea, Clapham and surrounding areas.
As lots of my clients book their children’s Birthday Party in halls and venues around Streatham, Clapham, Wimbledon and Battersea in London I have put together a list of some good venues that are local, have ample space and can be hired on weekends. 

 As well as this, these halls to hire in SW London are very reasonably priced and some come with great added extras such as staff to help set up and pack away, music equipment, kitchenettes and tables and chairs!

Some things to think about when hiring a hall:

  •  Do your research – some halls may advertise a great rate but when it comes to booking on a popular weekend day the price could shoot up!
  • Book well in advance.  The most popular venues often get booked up well in advance and you may end up having to hold your child’s Birthday party a few weeks after their big day.
  • Always ask the venue what is included in the price.  Sometimes venues and halls will charge you for the use of their equipment such as tables and chairs.
  • Size of the hall.  If it is to big for the amount of children coming, they could end up running all over the room and the entertainment will be that much harder!
  • Acoustics.  Some halls can echo and with parents and children filling the hall you may have to shout to be heard. 
  • Decorating the venue.  Some venues will have decorations you can use but if not, buying enough decorations to make a large hall attractive can be hard work AND costly.
  • Parking – very important, especially in London! Always find out how many parking spaces the venue has, and if there are any good local car parks in the area.
  • Most importantly – always try and see the hall or venue before you pay a deposit on it! You do not want to be disappointed or stressed on the day of the party!
Venues / Halls to Hire

·     PAPAS Park, Brixton.  Mon – Sat.  £30 hourly rate    (Discount if you are a member)

·     St Pauls Church Hall, SW4.  Book 7 days a week.  £30 hourly rate   

·     Church of the Holy Spirit Church Hall.  Available weekends.  £29 hourly rate   

·    Chatham Hall.  Available 7 days a week – a favourite!  £42 hourly rate 

·     Romany Scout Hut.  Weekend bookings.  £30 hourly rate  

·     Bees Knees Room at Battersea Arts Centre.  Weekend bookings – Another favourite!! Min spend is £180 for four hours   

I hope this information is helpful for you!  If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear from you! Alternatively, if you would like some information on venue hire in another area I will write my next blog on this.

Thanks for reading!!

Emma at Once Upon A Time Parties


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Party at home? Things to think about 2 weeks before the Birthday Party

Following on from my last blog on things to think about a couple of months before the BIG day, here are some things to think about around 3 weeks before the party.

Selecting a theme for the Party

Most children love typical fairy, princess, pirate, superhero, animal themes at their party.  Encourage originality!!

Book an Entertainer

Most entertainers get booked up quite far in advance if they are good so you will want to make sure that you book a good one! Friends, family and social media are good places to get referrals!

Plan Party Games and activities!

If you are deciding not to have an entertainer, it is a very good idea to make a list of the activities and games you are going to do - and in what order.  The order is surprisingly important and often overlooked! For instance, you do not want to encourage the children to do a running / dancing game straight after their party food or you might have some horrible 'extras' to clear away...

Crafts are an excellent party activity and can often be incorporated into a take home gift... Please check my previous blog posts for some cool ideas or check in the future as I will be sharing a lot more craft ideas with my readers :)

Purchase your party supplies

My advice is to do this sooner rather than later in case you find you need to get more supplies closer to the time.  The main areas to think about are tableware, decorations and party bags and supplies.  I have lots of tips on these main areas in previous posts!

REMEMBER - This should be fun and your child(ren) will love helping you and feeling a part of the process... So enjoy!

For information on what our entertainment packages include please contact Emma at Once Upon A Time Parties on or 07969 841770

We provide fully insured and CRB checked entertainers including games, music, theme, interactive storytelling, dancing, singing, themes, a glitter make over, crafts, prizes, sweets and a gift for the Birthday Child!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Party at Home - Things to think about 2 months before the big day!

Planning the Party
  • Think about which room / rooms to use in the house and if you have the space! Parents and brothers and sisters often stay on at the party so you may have more guests than you planned!
  • How many children are going to be invited? Plan the room accordingly and add a plus one for the mums!
  • Does your child have a favourite character or hobby on which to base a theme on?
  • If you are planning an outdoor summer party in the garden, do you have cover if the weather changes?
  • Pets. They may be the soppiest animal on the planet but some children will be scared of cats and dogs! Plus loud noises are not ideal for your animal so you may want to think about putting them in a separate room or leaving them with a trusted friend.
  • Are you planning on hiring an entertainer or a bouncy castle? If so now is the time to book!

  • Confirm names and numbers of guests
  • Include an RSVP on the invite with a contact name, telephone and date you need to reply by.  Always include directions to your house and any key features to look out for!
  • Include clear start and finishing times
  • Parking instructions are a must.
  • Include the theme of the party on the invitation and if children should wear fancy dress or old clothes if there are going to be messy crafts and games!

  • Are you going to be serving a meal at the party, or nibbles and snacks? 
  • Where will the guests be eating their meal?  If space is an issue, a buffet table and floor space will suffice for children, or plan for a table and chairs.
  • Don't forget to think about how many chairs and tables you will need for lots of guests!
  • Decide if you are going to use an outside caterer.  If so, two months before the party is a good time to book to ensure you get a good caterer!
  • Remember to get some adult friendly snacks for the mums and dads!

  • If you are getting a custom made birthday cake start thinking of what kind of design your child would like and do some research!  Ask bakers for some previous examples and book well ahead of time.

Read my blog tomorrow for some tips on a venue at home to think about 2 - 3 weeks before the big day!!

Thanks for reading :)

Once Upon A Time Parties xx

Monday, 24 February 2014

Best Party Venue?

Recently I have been getting asked by a lot of Parent's of the best venues to host a children's party.  The venue is an important part of the party and can play a big part in the theme of the party... Here are some of the most popular ideas and things to think about when considering the options!

Your House

Probably the most obvious and popular choice of venue as well as a very cost effective option!
A themed party is great to organise at your home and you can choose to hire an entertainer to keep the kids occupied for an hour or two! For older children why not try a film and popcorn party, sleepover or BBQ?!

Top tips: Lock away any valuable items!

Best for: Any age group depending on the activities you have planned.  For younger children try hiring an entertainer, and for older children try a treasure hunt party or sleepover!

Price: Free!

Organisation required: Lots... But get the children involved and check out my previous blog post about organising a birthday party at home and you can't go wrong!


A hall is a very popular choice for all kids parties as they can hold lots of children, they normally have a large and well equipped kitchen attached, are easy to find and take away the stress of having children and their parents filling every nook and cranny of your lovely home!

Top tips: Do your research! Some halls are incredibly reasonably priced and others do special deals on certain days of the week / month.  If you are hiring an entertainer or DJ they will bring their powerful music players but if you are going it alone bare in mind that the size of the room makes music much harder to hear!

Best for: Large groups of children!

Price: Can be expensive, especially when you take into account the decorations of the hall, food and entertainment.

Organisation required: You will need to do your research on local halls.  Some halls have fully equipped kitchens and include decorations but do double check when booking!

Local Park / Outdoor space

This can be a great option in Summer months for all sorts of parties but best for active events.  You could plan a Football, cycling or rambling party, treasure hunt or picnic / tea party! Be sure to check if there are any events going on in your local park before sending out the invitations.

Top tips: Have a back up! You can never predict the weather in England so have a plan in case the skies open on the big day!

Best for: Older children.  Being in an open space you will need to be responsible for all the children and older children are easier to manage and better suited to outdoor activities like a  football or cycling party.

Price: Free!

Organisation required: Food and activities to keep the children entertained but definitely the most laid back party venue!

I hope these tips will help you in deciding your party venue... Be sure to check on my blog in the next week where I will be posting lists of top venues in your local area!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Hello again readers...

Hello my lovely readers of all things sparkly, lovely and celebratory!

It has been a while since I last posted on here as I have been a very busy fairy indeed bringing entertainment to kid's parties in London, Hertfordshire, Surrey and Hampshire but I promise that I will be making regular blogs about how to make the most of your child's birthday party.

As a gift to my readers, I am also offering a 15% discount on all parties!

If you are planning a magical party for your little ones big day with interactive games, themed entertainers, singing, dancing, and lots of fun is what you are looking for then look no further than Once Upon A Time Parties! 

Very experienced entertainers will take over the party and entertain the children for up to two hours and will include the following:

- An entertainer in full costume
- Theme (princess, fairy, pirate and more!)
- Dancing
- Themed games
- Music and music player
- Prizes for every child
- GIft for the birthday child
- Sweets
- Glitter Makeover

Other Information

Once Upon A Time Parties is available on weekends and some weekdays through the entire year. Please contact us for particular dates you are interested in. As we get very busy, it is advisable that you book an entertainer at least two weeks in advance although we do sometimes have an entertainer available at short notice.

We cater for children from 3 - 10 years old. It is advised that the maximum number of children per party is 25, but please do contact us for more information.

To make the day as stress free as possible for you, we come to the location of your choice either before the party or we are also able to make a surprise entrance! If you need any advice on local venues to you please ask although a party at home is ideal or even in the garden!

For more information please check out or contact Emma on 07969 841770.