A couple of weeks ago we went for a soft play session at Snakes &Ladders in Syon Park in Middlesex. I had never been there before but since they have just spent £2 million on renovations we knew it was going to be good. And it really was good. My two-year old son and six-year old daughter disappeared in the giant soft play frame and came out rosy-cheeked and out of breath. The main frame is really big and roomy and there’s plenty of climbing and sliding to be done. There’s even a mini sports pitch.
There is an Imagination Station where children can play in a red London bus, a kitchen, a post office, a hospital, a shop and a construction area complete with giant blocks. My daughter, Moozles, ignored this area completely. Dubz loved it, especially the bus.
There is also a section for Under Threes. Dubz raced in, and when his big sister went after him, she was turned away. I thought this was really good as I get so annoyed when there are older children wrecking havoc in the toddler section. Dubz only stayed in this bit for 10 minutes as he preferred the main climbing frame.
We found the actual soft play frames and play area to be terrific. But there are two issues that I have to mention. The main issue and my biggest problem with Snakes & Ladders was the food. First, the cakes and treats were not fresh. We bought two millionaire’s shortbread. Neither child could eat even half. I had a taste and it was sickly sweet. Also, there was no fruit on offer. Later we ordered them each a burger. They cost £4.50 each and we had to wait 20 minutes for them to be cooked, so I had high hopes. But the patty looked to be a cheap quality and tasted like it had been microwaved. Again, the kids did not eat half and we had to feed them a second lunch when we got home.
The second issue was the entry cost. Although we were given four free tickets to review Snakes & Ladders, I was surprised at the cost. During peak times, for the four of us, it would cost £21.80. Most of the soft plays we go to cost us less than £15 during peak times. Although the soft play itself was quite good, I think the food lets it down. Until they sort out the quality of their food, they should allow people to bring in their own food. And that would counterbalance the high entry costs.