Playpalz in Clacton-On-Sea is finally open and we were lucky enough to be able to visit on their first ever day and give it the full ‘Robbie reviews’ treatment.
For those that are unaware, Playpalz is the new name of Rascal Play after a change in ownership during lockdown. It has been a long wait for the new owners to finally unleash their play centre but finally the time has come!
As per usual, I was a little disorganised and although I had planned to visit as a top priority once restrictions were lifted I completely forgot to book. Fortunately for us, we were able to contact Playpalz through Facebook and the team were extremely helpful, allowing us to come straight away and get playing!
As before with Rascals, there is plenty of free parking and no delays in getting seen at reception. Entrance was just £4.50 total for all three of us and included a meal for my two year old Son, Robbie, which is exceptional value.
Though there was a noticeable change with a much needed paint job having been undertaken in the reception area, very little else had changed. The more striking differences became visible when entering the main building.
The whole seating and dining area has been given a full makeover and is now far brighter and fresh. Gone are the plain well used seats and in are colourful, new and modern chairs and tables.
On to the part that matters most, the soft play area and giant frame. I was delighted to see that this has remained exactly as it was before but with a thorough deep clean of the equipment and surrounding carpets.
This play frame is large enough that kids have plenty of room to run and play without having to queue or push for equipment. There is a giant red double slide that Robbie would play on all day if we allowed and another much faster black tunnel slide that requires you to climb right to the top of the frame and is popular with the older kids.
In between slides, there are zones with giant balls, swinging obstacles and all sorts of soft play fun. There is also a giant ball pit which thankfully has been topped up with brand new shiny balls for the reopening.
Our favourite area, the football goal and sports area at the very top of the frame was still there too. This spot contains a painted football goal and numerous balls are always available for a kick about. I can report that Robbie is a far better player than a year ago when we last visited!
There is also a separate area for babies and kids under two years old. This is still full of soft play equipment as well as smaller slides and a ball pit all to themselves. This area is perfect for babies as it means that parents can play with their kids without the worry of larger children flying around and knocking them down. This whole area is open too, which ensures young children can be seen at all times from the dining areas. We used to love this zone when Robbie was smaller (and cuter) and though he may be a too big now I was happy to see the area for nursery school kids remained.
Of course all this running, climbing and playing is exhausting work. For the purposes of the blog (because I’m too lazy to cook) we decided to fill our stomachs whilst at Playpalz. The menu was perfect for quick food on the go. Meals such as full English breakfasts, burgers and sandwiches were available at very reasonable prices. Since Robbie’s meal was already included in the entrance price we were able to feed all of us for around £10 which again is extremely good value.
The food counter also contained a range of hot and cold drinks as well as ice cream and treats for both adults and kids but with Robbie already happy and running around the soft play we chose to give the extra sugar a miss this time.
The food itself was of a good quality with portion sizes that will certainly fill you up. I had intended to do that horrible blogger thing of taking a picture of my meal but Robbie had other ideas. It’s fair to say that he loved the soft play area. So much so that he refused to sit and eat and was kicking up a real fuss if we tried to get him to stay at the table so our meal time was not exactly ideal.
Eventually we gave in and the extremely helpful team at Playpalz found us a takeaway container so that we could save his meal for later and carry on playing. It’s fair to say that from the initial greeting at reception to the friendly crew in the food area, every member of staff we spoke to were so friendly and helpful it’s only right to give them a mention. Thanks!
For the time being, booking slots are required for Playpalz and our time was nearly up. We had a quick look at the small arcade area near the reception but decided it best just to leave before the rush as Robbie had already proven how hard it can be to move him once he finds something he loves.
There are just so many toddler games and activities at Playpalz that we just couldn’t fit it all in. Guess we’ll just have to come back again soon!
Thanks for taking the time to read this review. If you have already visited Playpalz, I’d love to hear your views in the comment section at the bottom of the page. Take care, Steve.
Contact Playpalz play centre
Playpalz opening times and prices
|6-11 months||1-3 years||4-12 years|
(Holidays, weekends, Bank holidays)
|Off peak (Mon-Fri term time)||Free||£1.50||£4.50 with free tots meal||£5.50 with free kids meal|
Due to current COVID-19 regulations, time slot bookings are required. All times and prices are correct at time of writing. Group booking for parties are also welcome, please visit http://www.playpalz.co.uk for the latest information.
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