Address: Audlett Drive, Abingdon, OX14 3NJ
Price Band: ££
As a kid I think it was always the ultimate treat to go to a soft play centre. They are the ultimate place for running riot without a care in the world. And the greatest place for grown ups to chill out and unwind!
Snakes & Ladders is a massive soft play centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire with a large dedicated under 5’s area and outdoor adventure assault course as well as the huge main play frame. There is a large car park which is free of charge and makes access to the site really easy.
Cody and I headed to Snakes & Ladders for the morning on a weekday during term time with my sister-in-law and 10 month old niece. Admission prices are average compared to other soft play centres. They have peak and off-peak prices. Peak refers to weekends and school holidays, off-peak week days during term time. You do have to pay for adults as well which is quite common at these places. Childrens prices depend on their age – check the website for current pricing. If you are likely to visit more than once it is well worth joining up to their loyalty scheme. On your 6th visit the child gets in free.
We headed first to the under 5s area and played in the giant soft play area and ball pit. There are two dolphin shaped swings for tiny tots which are very popular plus a wow toys area, diggers/trucks area, building blocks area, home corner with role play kitchen plus several adventure play frames all suitable for tots to climb around and explore. The slides down into the ball pits were a particular favourite on our visit and the mini trampolines.
On Tuesdays there is a musical mayhem session for tots to join in with in the under 5’s area. This is included in your admission fee. It involves singing nursery rhymes and dancing along to music which was very much enjoyed by everyone who took part. There is a craft session held on Thursdays which is also included in your admission fee so well worth popping along for that.
We soon moved on to the larger play frame which is aimed at children over 5 years and is huge! We spent ages climbing, crawling, going over, going under, through tunnels and down slides. The large wavy slide was Cody’s personal favourite. Up to 3 people can slide down it at a time alongside each other so its great fun for races! There is also a ball games arena to be found deep at the back of the play frame and a ghosty ghoulies area which is darker than the rest of the play frame and decorated a bit like a haunted house. All of the equipment was in good order and clean and felt completely safe.
Aside from the play frames there is also an outdoor wooden adventure course and battery operated quad bikes (extra charge applies). It was a bit chilly on the day of our visit so we opted to stay indoors on the play frames.
With all that running around it isn’t long before the kids need a drink and something to eat. We used a voucher from the Snakes & Ladders Facebook page to claim a free jug of squash (check their Facebook page or website when you visit as they have regular offers for freebies or discounts). There is a large variety of drinks, snacks and cold or cooked lunches available from the cafe. One thing we did find a little disappointing was the lack of healthy options available. The snacks available consisted of crisps, chocolate bars or cakes and the only healthy option on the main menu was a jacket potato or salad. I do think they could do with a few more healthy options and for fruit to be available as well. Prices were fairly average in comparison to other similar places, if a little high on some things. Having said that, you cannot take any food of your own so if you do intend to eat there do plan it into your budget. There is a microwave available for heating up baby food if you need to.
Lockers are available to store your valuables if you wish. I thought this was very handy if you have little people that need adult supervision on the frame. There is loads of seating, including some nice comfy sofas. The toilets and baby changing area (in the ladies loo) were all kept clean and tidy.
One thing I really like about Snakes & Ladders is the fact that there isn’t a time limit so you can literally stay all day and make the most of your money. I would recommend doing this as it can work out quite costly if you have several children going in the holidays so might as well get you moneys worth! As for the age range it is suitable for crawling babies up to around 12 years. Definitely a great place to add to the list for wet weather days and believe me the kids will go home exhausted – I know I was!!
UPDATE JUNE 2018: The quad bike area is now a learning zone. There are lots of fun hands-on activities to have a go at.
Disclaimer: Snakes & Ladders have had no involvement in this review and all photos, words and opinions are that of my own 🙂