Peterborough – Parkway

Parkway Sports and Social Club

Maskew Ave., Peterborough, Cambs PE1 2AS

The first thing to say about this venue is that if you don’t know the area, it can be hard to find.   It is on a business and industrial estate which at night (especially in winter) can seem not just deserted but also spooky and unwelcoming.

A variety of car businesses, Kwik Fit, Halfords,,taxi firms and a PC company undoubtedly bring the place to life by day, but by night its grim.

Worse, I’ve used two different sat nav systems to find the location of the club.  One told me I had arrived when I reached a roundabout on the main road in and out of Peterborough, the other took me to the right road, but I was totally unable to find the club from there.   What Ceroc, who operate the venue, need to do is provide a very detailed map showing exactly where the centre is.  Maybe their site contains that information but I certainly can’t find it.

Just to add to the confusion I think Maskew Ave runs both left and right off the main roundabout, so that can be confusing too.  If heading into Peterborough from the ring road turn right.  Coming out of town, turn left at the roundabout.

I did however make it, bearing in mind Ceroc’s claim the club has a “great atmosphere…” and provides an “unforgettable experience… in the lovely city of Peterborough.”

I’m sorry but I have to disagree… sometimes.  I’ve been quite a few times now and never once did I find a “great” atmosphere although on occasion it has been good.

Part of the problem is that there is a regular clientèle who dance with each other.  It’s not a huge number, but then it’s not a very big venue, and so getting to know anyone can be hard as they are already in their own social groups.

But persevere and it is possible to get good dances and even make a few friends… you just have to work at it.   What this venue doesn’t do, and indeed what most venues don’t ever do, is say to the regulars, “To keep this venue alive and growing we need to welcome new dancers – not just beginners but also people who are experienced and who are trying us out for the first time.   So please, if you see a face you’ve not seen before, do ask him or her to dance.  Just one dance a night with a new face… it will make all the difference.

As for the lovely city of Peterborough, this might technically be a reality in Peterborough (I’m really not sure if it is) but in truth this is an out of town industrial and business estate.  The “lovely city” comment suggests that it is in the pedestrianized area in the heart of the city with its cafes and bars, the theatre and the cathedral.  In terms of atmosphere it is 100 light years away.

In my original review I wrote that there’s more atmosphere on the moon.  That’s not right, but coming in on your own from the outside, you have to expect to work at getting dances.

I’d congratulate the club for putting on the only Christmas Eve dance anywhere in the area in 2013 – but the turnout was modest in the extreme, and once again it was a case of little groups of friends huddled together and it just didn’t work.   But 10 out of 10 for trying, and maybe other venue will take up the cause.

If you can push yourself forward, fine.  If you like to be invited, maybe better try somewhere else.   I still go sometimes – but then I do go around and ask for dances.

  • Air conditioning: 4 out of 5
  • Atmosphere: 2 out of 5
  • Do ladies ask men: 1 out of 5.
  • Facilities: 4 out of 5.  It’s got a bar, chairs, tables, a stage, and the loos are clean..
  • Free water: Yes – although they did charge for a short time.  They don’t now.
  • Friendliness: 1 out of 5
  • Location: 0 out of 5
  • Music: 4 out of 5
  • Parking: 5 out of 5 – although it can take a moment or two to find it, but when you do (just keep going til you can’t go further, and turn left in the car park).
  • Space: 2 out of 5 – it is small and could easily get crowded
  • Venue overall: 3 out of 5 – if you recognise you have to make the effort.