If your child loves role playing then this is absolutely the place for them.
A friend had recommended a similar type of place in London but it looked massively over-branded, too busy and for a family of 4 to visit is around £100!! This place is just £17.90 for all of you. After I had looked at the website for the other place, by the power of cookies, an advert came up for here. It looked awesome so I invited a couple of friends to make the trip at the end of the summer holidays. It was so good that we went back yesterday (2nd January).
The village is based around a central square (which is where the baby area is) and has; a bakery, hair-dressers, post office, theatre, grocers, school, vets, A&E and fire station. There is also a construction area and an ice cream truck and picnic area (over Christmas this is replaced with a massive sleigh). Each play area has all the props the children will need to full immerse themselves in the roles; there are lots of lovely treats in the bakery, (fake) make-up, hair dryers etc in the salon, lots of food, tills and baskets in the grocers and a menagerie of animals to care for at the vets. I took smallest child the first time but I decided not to take her this time; I wanted to give the older two a bit of a baby-free treat with their friends before they went back to school. I know that she would have really enjoyed herself though and she’s not even 18 months yet.
The Post Office seems to be a particular hit. There are lots of letters and packages that are addressed to the various play areas so the kids can deliver these, then inevitable another child brings it back to the post office and it starts all over again. I swear biggest child did this for about an hour yesterday!!! In terms of the oldest age that would enjoy it, it’s completely down to the child really. As long as they still enjoy role-playing games then they will continue to enjoy this place.
One of the things I really liked about this place is how much it encourages not only children’s imaginations, but also their social skills. All the kids join in their games together and make instant friends for life (well the next 2 hours at least). The kids have no idea how educationally important this is of course, they just think they’re having an awesome time!
Each day there are three 2.5 hour play sessions; morning, early afternoon and later in the afternoon. At first I wasn’t sure about the length of the sessions, I wondered if they would be too long. You are of course free to leave at any time, but actually they’re the perfect length. Plenty of time to really get involved in their imaginary worlds but not so long that they get bored. The kids were pretty knackered afterwards though. Pre-booking is usually advised as they only allow a limited number of children per session (another good thing about this place). I’m not exactly sure how many children are allowed but I’d say probably somewhere around 30. Whilst it is busy enough to have a good atmosphere it isn’t overcrowded at all. There’s more than enough stuff for everyone to get involved and I don’t think I saw any squabbling either time we have visited. You can only go into the village during your allocated session because they completely close for the 30 minutes between sessions. This lets them have a clean up and put everything back where it belongs so the next set of kids get the same experience as the first. It also means that it’s very clean everywhere (which is a regular complaint of places like soft-play).
At the start of the session all the children meet on the village green and the “play makers” have a little chat with them all. Then they’re free to explore by themselves. Adults are more than welcome to join in the fun, and you must supervise them at all times, but there is a bistro where you can sit if you don’t want to be taking part yourself. Play maker Polly was a clear favourite with middle child, and she was really good with him, even when he didn’t want to go home. Throughout the session the play makers do little games and activities that children can take part in if they want to, but equally they don’t have to if they don’t want to. The games they played were different both times which was a nice touch.
At the end of the session they sing an annoyingly catchy song and everyone is encouraged (with varying degrees of success) to put all of the props back in the shop they should be and then it’s home time. The whole thing is really well organised without being restrictive.
The bistro serves drinks, meals and snacks at a reasonable price. We all ate something this time and, although the chocolate cake was a bit dry, it was nice enough. Certainly a lot better than the purely deep-fried crap I’ve had at a lot of kid’s play places. We didn’t buy any food for the kids as I wanted them to make the most out of their session rather than just eating.
The toilets were really good (it’s always a bonus to find a non-gross toilet) and I think the break between sessions helps with this. There are 3 massive loos with baby changes in and the toilet seats that have both adult and child seats built-in. There’s also an additional loo without a baby change. There are lockers but I forgot to ask if they are just for staff as they didn’t have any keys.
£8.95 for walkers, £4 for 6 months+ non-walkers, FREE for adults and babies under 6 months. Slight rant – why do SOOOO many places charge extra for adults for stuff like this!!!!????
PArking – How to get there
Parking – Plenty on-site
Address – Hampton Road, Budbrooke, Warwick CV35 8HA.
One very important point. DO NOT USE SAT NAV. It takes you onto the bypass and you’ll drive straight past the building but not be able to get in. From the M40 it’s actually really easy and only takes a few minutes. Leave the M40 at Junction 15 and exit the roundabout at the junction for Stratford A46. You quickly approach a smaller roundabout please take the exit signposted B4463 to Norton Lindsey/Henley in Arden. Follow this road all the way along to the T-junction and turn right towards Warwick. We are located approximately 1 mile along this road on a small private lane off Hampton Road on the left. The sign is quite small and I did miss it the first time however they are on the same little road as Central Ajax FC. All in, from central Aylesbury, it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get there if there are no traffic issues on the M40.
On-site and really good facilities
You’re not allowed to bring your own food but they do have a bistro you can buy things from at a reasonable price.
5 / 5 despite the travel – It really is worth it.
*****I’ve heard a rumour that there may be a Children’s play village coming to the Aylesbury area soon. There are plans for expansion into Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire but the exact locations haven’t been confirmed yet. If they do come to Aylesbury it will be a really plus for the area*****
I’m Vicky and I am a mum of three living in Aylesbury. I set up Free Time with the Kids to review free and cheap family days out in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire, mainly because I kept forgetting all the fabulous places that were recommended to me!! I love getting out and about with the kids (and hubby of course) and we have adventures all over the place. My reviews tell you all the things you need to know about the family days out and activites we’ve done such as how much it costs, if there’s parking, toilets and if there’s a cafe or if picnics are allowed. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch email@example.com or get in touch via Facebook