Daily Archives: January 3, 2014

Cambridgeshire: St Neots

The Priory Centre, St Neots

This is a Ceroc venue  which runs a Ceroc club night on Tuesdays, and dances about once a month on Fridays.

The hall is spacious, with seats round the edge, and doors that open onto a remarkable terrace walkway above the river.  A beautiful place to stand and cool down watching a beautiful view, except in the depths of winter.

But the proximity of the water can mean that the shortest way to the venue if heading south down the A1, can often be flooded during heavy rainful or the aftermath of snow.  There’s no simple way around the flooding other than travelling further south down the A1 and coming into the town from the southern end.

There’s plenty of parking in a supermarket car park 100 yards away which is an excellent idea.  The supermarket has its paid for carpark in the day, the dancers get it free at night.  The only problem is that the walk between the car park and the venue can take you down a walkway in which, from about 11pm onwards, some local young people sit, doing their thing.  I’ve never been challenged or made to feel uncomfortable by them, but (perhaps a sad reflection on myself) if alone I now take the longer walk around.

What makes the club work so well, in my view is that it is run by the local franchise owners, and they are there almost every night running the club.  One teaches and one is on the door.  They are friendly warm and inviting, and so the club is also.  Can’t remember a single occasion on which either at a dance or the club, it wasn’t a good night.

For the Friday night dance evenings there is often also a second room  playing blues – it usually has about 10 or 20 enthusiasts – a good place to cool down, although the heat in the main room is nowhere near as bad as in some places.  Otherwise dances start at 8pm and the numbers start to pick up after 8.30pm.

Also the Friday night free food is excellent.

  • Air conditioning: 2 out of 5 – big fans, and in summer open the doors onto the river.
  • Atmosphere: 5 out of 5
  • Do ladies ask men: 4 out of 5.  It is a vibrant lively place, so you have to be resolutely sitting in the corner not to be asked.
  • Facilities: 4 out of 5 – all that is missing is a better cooling system.  Have been there when they have decorated the whole of the inside like a pavilion.  Nice touch
  • Free water: No.  50p for the first plastic glass of tap water.  Then if you have managed to keep hold of it, you can go back and get top ups.
  • Friendliness: 5 out of 5
  • Location: 5 out of 5.  Close to the town centre, right on the river.  Watch the swans in the summer and the ice flows in the winter.
  • Music: 5 out of 5
  • Parking: 4 out of 5
  • Space: 4 out of 5
  • Venue overall: 4 out of 5