Films, bowling and blackjack - excitement as entertainment venues reopen across Portsmouth and Hampshire

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WHEN it comes to finding ourselves something to do on weekends, we’ve been limited to walking or sitting indoors for about 12 months.

But as coronavirus restrictions are eased by the government, we can start doing some of the things that have been missing from our lives for so long.

From heading to the arcades and going bowling to finally watching Portsmouth FC from the stands, we could soon find ourselves spoiled for choice.

One such attraction is Hollywood Bowl in Gunwharf Quays.

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Grosvenor Casino at Gunwharf Quays will be opening from Monday, May 17Grosvenor Casino at Gunwharf Quays will be opening from Monday, May 17
Grosvenor Casino at Gunwharf Quays will be opening from Monday, May 17
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The sound of crashing strikes and family cheering has been missing from the ten-pin bowling alley, which has been closed for more than four months.

Centre manager Neil Crouch said: ‘We’ve been counting down the days until we can reopen to bring back bowling to families in Portsmouth.

‘Our unique leisure offering has been sorely missed as a way to unwind and have fun, so we’re thrilled to be reopening for guests to enjoy and make memories together once again.’

Hollywood Bowl gearing up to reopen on May 17 Hollywood Bowl gearing up to reopen on May 17
Hollywood Bowl gearing up to reopen on May 17

Lane seating dividers, social distancing measures and thorough cleaning of all bowling balls, touch screens and seating have all been implemented.

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Downstairs in Gunwharf Quays, Grosvenor Casino will also be opening its doors to fans of blackjack, poker and roulette.

Indoor dining and televised sports have also been reintroduced at the venue.

Grosvenor’s general manager Tracey Collins said: ‘We’ve been counting down the days to reopening and every passing day has brought increased excitement.

Pompey vs Blackburn Rovers at Fratton Park.

Picture:Steve ReidPompey vs Blackburn Rovers at Fratton Park.

Picture:Steve Reid
Pompey vs Blackburn Rovers at Fratton Park. Picture:Steve Reid

‘It has been a challenging time for all our team members, but we can finally look forward to reuniting again and getting back to doing what we love – creating a unique atmosphere for guests to have fun, play their favourite casino games and enjoy quality time together.

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‘We have been working hard to put in place robust health and safety measures, and when we reopen in line with government guidance, we will deliver a fun yet safe experience all of our guests and team members to enjoy.

Although Pompey’s season has wrapped up, their next home game will see the Fratton faithful roaring in the terraces once again.

Vue Cinemas/Marcus Hessenberg Photography/PA WireVue Cinemas/Marcus Hessenberg Photography/PA Wire
Vue Cinemas/Marcus Hessenberg Photography/PA Wire

From today, outdoor sports venues like Fratton Park are allowed up to 10,000 fans or 25 per cent capacity, whichever figure is lower.

Cinemas will also be reopening, like Vue at Gunwharf Quays, Reel Cinema in Fareham and Cineworld in Whiteley.

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Mia Gordon, centre director at Whiteley, said: ‘This is another big milestone moment for us at Whiteley.

‘We’re so excited to finally be able to open up our full offer, giving visitors the chance to really enjoy a full day out with us for shopping, dining and leisure.’

In Southsea, the arcades at Clarence Pier will also be reopening for the first time in months.

Spokeswoman Jill Norman said: ‘We are delighted to be able to reopen our indoor arcades tomorrow.

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‘Due to operational reasons Pirate Pete’s will remain closed, and we hope to reopen this shortly for private party hire only.

‘We cannot thank the people of Portsmouth for their continued support, particularly since the funfair reopened on April 12.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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