Monday 23 January 2017

BRAND NEW Soft Play fun at John Bunyan Sports & Fitness, Bedford

Soft Play at John Bunyan Sports and Fitness, Bedford

This weekend my twin sister came to stay - Bert (3.5) always gets so excited when Auntie Jojo visits, and we always try to pack as much "fun stuff" into her visits as we can. On Sunday, we headed to our local sports centre (John Bunyan Sports & Fitness, Mile Road, Bedford) to check out their brand new soft play centre & cafe.

The children's indoor play and party venue at John Bunyan Sports & Fitness in Bedford has undergone a massive refit recently, and a huge multi-level soft play frame that reaches an incredible 3.70m in height has been installed. 

Bert (& Connie) were really excited to try it out!!

Soft Play at John Bunyan Sports and Fitness, Bedford
Brand spanking new soft play in Bedford.

Soft Play at John Bunyan Sports and Fitness, Bedford
Twisty fun! Bert & I making each other dizzy at soft play. 

The extensive 3 tier play-frame includes:

· A large junior ball pool
· An upper level two player assault course
· A 3.70m spiral tube slide
· an inflatable ball canyon
· A V rope bridge sky walk
· A spinning door panel run
· A dizzy disc twister zone
· A daredevil see through floor

Bert's little face lit up when we walked in - he played happily for over an hour, stopped for a quick lunch, and then played for another solid hour - he'd have stayed longer too if we'd let him! He was a sweaty mess by the end, and boy did he sleep well last night, bonus!

Bert at Soft Play at John Bunyan Sports and Fitness, Bedford
My little mop-head - eager to explore the new soft play at John Bunyan.

Bert Bishop at Soft Play at John Bunyan Sports and Fitness, Bedford
Squished nose! Bert having fun at soft play with Auntie Jojo!

The brand new play equipment was, as expected, in tip top condition, the whole place was really clean, smelt fresh and for a weekend, wasn't too crowded, meaning Bert could run off and play confidently, without the worry of him being squished by much bigger kids. Although the age range is 0-12, I think the equipment was pitched perfectly for him, as a tall and confident 3 year old he was able to access all of the equipment with ease. 

In addition to this huge 3 tier play-frame, there is also a dedicated built-in baby and toddler area with height appropriate soft play equipment allowing very small children to explore the play centre at their own pace. It forms a safe, clean space for younger visitors, where they can play in the large ball pit, use the toddler sized twin lane slide and climbing frames.

Connie (7.5 months) slept for the first hour of our visit, but once she woke we let her explore some of the baby area and she loved it! 

Connie B at Soft Play at the John Bunyan Sports and Fitness Centre, Bedford
Connie B in the baby section at soft play

Connie B at Soft Play at the John Bunyan Sports and Fitness Centre, Bedford
She's almost mastered the army crawl! 

She adored holding (licking!) and throwing the ball pit balls, and army crawling around the soft space. Even her big brother came to join her in a calmer fifteen minutes of our visit. 

Connie B at Soft Play at the John Bunyan Sports and Fitness Centre, Bedford
Connie B enjoying the baby section in the soft play at the John Bunyan centre, Bedford

Bert and Connie B at Soft Play at the John Bunyan Sports and Fitness Centre, Bedford
Bert and Connie - after hours of soft play fun - they look shattered!! 

As well as the soft play equipment there is a large, spacious seating area with disabled/wheelchair access throughout. We arrived at 2pm and managed to get a table for four after only a few minutes wait. We set up camp and let Bertster run free, feeling confident he was in a secure space - the entrance to the soft play has an automatic lock door, which has a high release button - meaning that the kids can't escape without a parent letting them in/out. 

What I loved about the layout is that it feels cosy without being small - some of the massive soft play centres are overwhelming for the adults, let alone the children - and this space felt perfect for Bert. I was happy to let him run free and enjoy himself without worrying too much or feeling the need to chaperone him. It is pretty easy to spot the kids wherever they are on the equipment, and it is straight forward for adults to navigate the equipment if need be.

Without a doubt John Bunyan have created a space which is pleasant for the adults as well as the kids. For me, all good soft play needs great coffee for the grown ups and good food/snacks for hungry little mouths. Luckily, John Bunyan have it covered with the Bickels Yard cafe which serves great hot/cold drinks and a wide choice of hot/cold snacks, all at very reasonable prices.

In fact, we all ate lunch there yesterday for under £15 (3 adults, 1 child) this included a hot tuna melt panini, two falafel sandwiches, two bags of BBQ flavoured Popchips, one tea, one coffee, one diet coke, and a kids meal box which included: a cheese roll, a packet of Pombear, a fun-size banana and a drink. I think that's an absolute bargain! And the food was delicious - despite Bert's face, he liked it, honest! 

Bickel's Yard cafe lunch at John Bunyan
Yummy grown up lunch at John Bunyan's Soft Play!  

Bert eating lunch at Bickel's Yard Cafe
A very hungry Bertster attacking his cheese roll! 

There is also family-friendly toilets with baby changing facilities, which helps to make life that little bit easier for parents. There is plenty of free car parking at the centre too, so no need to worry about parking tickets or expensive car parks. Easy peasy! 

Bert is already asking about our next visit - as a member it costs just £4.50 for him to play there - so I'm pretty confident we'll be back within a couple of weeks! 

Opening hours
Monday - Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Saturday & Sunday 9.00am - 5.00pm

Children aged 0-1 years FREE
Family Choice members FREE
Members £4.50
Non-members £5.50

Soft play parties are also available.

For more information please contact the centre:

John Bunyan Sports & Fitness
Mile Road, 

MK42 9TS
Tel: 01234 364481

If you're a Bedford local definitely go and check it out - let me know if you pop along, I'd love to hear what you think too! 

Mrs B

We were given free entry to the soft play centre at John Bunyan in return for this honest review.