My eight-year-old daughter Mersina was won over by the hospitality experience at Ashton Gate Stadium as soon as we were directed through a door marked VIP in huge letters.
It was a winning experience all round as Bristol Bears beat Sale Sharks 16-10; and from start to finish – from before kick-off to after the final whistle – the experience was truly memorable.
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The team at Ashton Gate invited us for the evening and once we had entered through the VIP entrance in the Lansdown Stand, we made our way to the restaurant which must be the biggest in Bristol – seating up to 850 people.
Hospitality packages in here range from a hot and cold buffet to a four-course meal with waited service and drinks included.
Our visit coincided with Halloween so there was spiced pumpkin soup for a starter followed by chicken supreme and a salted caramel custard tart.
If you miss the traditional match day pie, that is available at your table at half-time – while win or lose, there is a slice of cake after the final whistle.
Among all this food and drink, there is a chance that the match itself could be relegated to an after-thought; and having now seen the inside of a hospitality area for the first time I can now understand why large swathes of seats remain empty in the minutes after the second half kicks off.
The seats at Ashton Gate for its most premium paying fans are on the half way line and are even padded. A hospitality experience is something one could easily get used to, even if it’s just being a VIP for the day.
Hospitality experiences at Ashton gate for a Bears game cost from £50 to £110. For more information, visit www.ashtongatestadium.co.uk/hospitality
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