Reviewed by Emma Lydon
I went to the new soft play centre, Playzone and Toddlerz, with my two girls, aged 5 and nearly 3. It is in a good location, close to the Cross Gates Shopping Centre, and has ample parking on-site. Access is granted via a secure bell system, which is reassuring as the staff will always know who is coming in and, more importantly, that there are no escapees!
First impressions were good: the staff were friendly and welcoming, it was bright, colourful and clean with plenty of tables and seating available. It was fairly quiet, but as I visited Christmas week this is to be expected. The girls didn’t take any persuading; shoes and coats were soon discarded and off they went.
Compared to the size of the soft play centres I have visited before, this is fairly small. There is a two-tier play frame, with two wavy slides, a spiders web and plenty more. There is a separate padded area for the babies and children under two with ride-on toys and baby-friendly toys. It is always good to see an area specifically for the little ones away from the more boisterous older children! Although advertised as suitable for children up to 7, my eldest is 5 and I would have to say that, due to relatively small size, she was probably a little too big. On the other hand, it was absolutely perfect for my youngest. In some of the bigger soft play centres, she insists on following her sister into the ‘big girl’s section’ and sometimes struggles to climb up (not to mention my concern at her getting barrelled over by the older children). I would recommend this as perfect for children up to school age (approx. 4 years). The carpeted area in front of the play-frame has a good selection of toys, from a pretend kitchen to fire engines.
There is also an outdoor, undercover area with a soft surface with a race track and ride-on toys and cars. Despite the winter weather, the space is well sheltered and so they were fine to play out with their coats on.
There is only 1 girls and 1 boys toilet so if it is busy there might be a bit of a queue, but we had no issues today. They were clean and had baby changing facilities. There was also a potty and little step available for the smaller children.
Food and drinks are available every day, prepared fresh on-site. There is a fabulous selection on offer: breakfasts, sandwiches, paninis, jackets and snacks. Hot and cold drinks and baby jars available. Everything was priced incredibly reasonably, with the highlight being the kids picnic which offered a sandwich and any four items from a list (including fruit which was good to see!) for only £3. Playzone and Toddlerz is also available for birthday parties – this would a great location for a 2/3 year olds party.
The admission prices are fairly standard: 0-6 months are free, 6-12 months £1.50, 1-2 years £3.50 and 3+ £4.50. Magazines are available to browse, they have free wifi and a tv, so plenty to keep the grown-ups amused as well.
Overall impressions of the staff, cleanliness, and menu are excellent, no complaints at all. My only issue would be that it is probably too small for children over about 4. Great for the smaller children and toddlers and I will certainly be taking my youngest again.
Find Playzone and Toddlerz on Facebook here.
For party bookings and enquiries call 0113 260 6444.