With the largest play frame in the UK, I had to check out the Riverside Hub in Northampton. I’ve been to a LOT of soft plays in my time but this was the first time I had driven for almost an hour to go to one. A friend had raved about it to me and said he’d prefer to drive the extra distance to go to it over more local ones so off we set with Nick Cope songs playing on full blast and plenty of snacks in the car.
Luckily we had set off early to be there for opening and I’m glad we did. Despite the size of the Riverside Hub soft play, the car park is not large. They had car parking attendants on duty to help and we managed to squeeze into the last spot. There were lots of people still arriving and I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to be there any later.
We’d booked in advance so paying and getting through the door was quick and efficient. My boys went into excitement overdrive as we entered. The soft play is massive. Dominating the centre, is a huge 10m high climbing tree so we headed straight for it. My 6 and 8 year olds got clipped into the ropes and were soon scaling the heights. It’s all included in the price so no annoying hidden extras when you get there.
The huge soft play frame is arranged over multiple levels with a number of different themes to explore. We charged around at top speed. One of our favourites was an Egyptian tomb, sliding back the hidden soft play door and into a secret world. That’s not all, you’ll also find soft play favourites like slides, shapes to clamber over as well as a space themed area with giant balls to roll over, a football pitch and my 6 year old’s favourite was the ball cannon. Roll over ball pit and hello ‘who can fire at mummy’.
After tiring me out, the boys were still full of energy so we head over to the carousel for a few goes around and then had lots of fun on the go karts. I was able to go on the go karts with my youngest so he was able to join in too.
There’s plenty at the Riverside Hub for babies and toddlers too. My youngest loves a good climb around on soft play frames chasing his brothers but it’s good to have something a little more chilled out for him too. There are two sensory areas, a lovely dark room with lights and textures as well as an under 2’s area that’s gated which prevents the big kids from charging through. We also spent ages in the toddler village with make believe houses and a small ball pit area.
There’s also a two story laser tag arena for children aged from 4 upwards which we didn’t even make it too but will definitely try out on our next visit. Like everything else, this is all included in the price.
We had a spot of lunch while we were there and there was a good choice. The only downside was finding a table. I ended up ordering food and then going back on a hunt for a table. Once I had found a table I struggled getting anyone’s attention to let them know where we were sitting and then when I did they didn’t pass on the message so we had a pretty long wait with hungry kids. Next time I’ll order food earlier before the big rush.
So, was it worth the journey? Absolutely – there’s so much to do for a spread of ages and we’ll definitely be back.
The Riverside Hub also runs monthly SEN sessions so you can experience it in a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere.