There’s nothing quite like the noise of a busy soft play centre.
And there’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your small child disappear over the brow of a colourful padded block, or up a rope ladder out of sight, and then watching them being immediately followed by some faster, larger child.
But as the weather turns and autumn sets in, they can be the indoors answer for parents of children with energy to burn.
If you fancy a visit to softplay, these ones come tried and tested by parents and children.
Curve Motion, Bury
The biggest softplay in East Anglia, it’s suitable for 12 and under.
It boasts a sports arena, ball cannon battle zone, climbing wall, snake slides and ladders, hang tough and a disco zone.
The under-five area includes a ball pool, wavy slides and crawl tubes.
A separate baby zone provides a safe stimulating area for those not yet walking.
Compete on the four-lane racing slide or, if you’re brave enough, face the six-metre vertical drop slide.
Socks must be worn at all times.
Visit Curve Motion, Lark Valley Business Park, Lamdin Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP32 6LJ
Tree Tops, Witchford, Ely
This is a state of the art indoor softplay just outside of Ely city centre.
With easy parking available, there’s an area available to hire too and visitors describe the centre as “bright, airy and clean with nice food”.
One mum commented: “Parents can sit at tables in the middle and easily see the whole area so the atmosphere is it’s slightly less frantic than some other places”.
Visit Tree Tops, Unit 12, Lancaster Way, Witchford, Ely CB6 3NW.
Cheeky Monkeys, Fulbourn
Whether they are whizzing down slides, climbing across rope bridges, squeezing through rollers, wriggling through chimney stacks, driving the outdoor play combine and tractors, exploring the house, digging in the sandpit, jumping on the sputnik, playing football or just relaxing in the ball pit (PHEW) Cheeky Monkeys is a wonderland of indoor and outdoor activities.
Relax in the lounge area with a coffee, homemade cake, magazine, overlooking 50 acres of farmland and rest assured that the children are enjoying themselves in a clean and safe environment.
Trees and parasols provide shaded areas for when you want to relax outside in the summer.
Whale of a Time, Barhill
For the crawlers and toddlers (0-4 years) there’s a double level separate playframe comprising of a bridge, slide, ball boggler, ball pond, soft shapes, rockers, games and building blocks.
For the big boys and girls (4-10 years) multi level state of the art challenging and stimulating playframe comprising of a two, four metre high slide, trampoline cage, dizzy disc, sky glide and another ball pond.
There’s a large tower playframe with slides and swings, a variety of sit-on pedal tractors and a generous partly shaded seating area for up to 60 people to eat or simply relax.
Xtreme360 Tramopolene Park, Eaton Socon
Not really a softplay but more of an EXTREME trampolening park where you’d never take your toddler, right?
Xtreme Toddlers is a two hour session from 10am-12pm where little ones can have the run of the park, supervised by a parent or legal guardian, at their own pace, without the fear of older kids or adults getting in their way.
The two hour session is plenty of time to have a good bounce and then you can all relax in the mezzanine café afterwards.
Visit Xtreme360, Little End Road, Eaton Socon, St Neots, Cambridgeshire, PE19 8JH.
Bury Lane Fun Barn, A10 near Royston
Bury Lane Fun Barn is a purpose-built, farm themed Fun Barn that your kids will love.
With a high cow print and fun curly slides, large dedicated toddlers’ area, soft ball shooter game and other farm-themed fun attractions it has the largest and most innovative play equipment for miles.
It’s heated in cold winter months and fully air conditioned in hot weather so always a comfortable environment.
Plus there’s it’s attached to a fantastic Farm Shop selling fresh farm foods and gifts, and a large restaurant with homemade cakes and delicious hot food.
Visit Bury Lane, A10 Bypass, Melbourn, Royston SG8 6DF.
Giggle and Wiggle, Caxton
Cambridgeshire’s newest soft play and party venue is based on the site of the former Kart track in Caxton.
One mum commented: “This is still quite new so really clean, plus they have great coffee and cake!”
Spotted Giraffe, Linton
The Spotted Giraffe is run and owned by local parents Michelle and Cathy.
And their experience of taking their own children to indoor play areas over the years, has meant, when they opened the business in 2011, they knew exactly what parents and children were looking for.
The Spotted Giraffe is clean, bright, light and airy with a selection of great food, healthy snacks and delicious cakes and coffee all at affordable prices.
Exciting play equipment combined with free wi-fi and freshly ground coffee for the grown-ups make this place a winner.
Visit Spotted Giraffe, Unit 12c and d, The Grip Industrial Estate, Linton, Cambridge CB21 4XN.
Wacky Warehouse, Huntingdon
Just reopening on October 6 after a refurbishment, Wacky Warehouse is a fun softplay for kids, with tables for grown ups.
Plus it’s attached to Hartford Mill, which always helps if all that softplay has made you hungry for some lunch (or thirsty for a large glass of wine).
Visit Wacky Warehouse, 1 Hartford Marina, Huntingdon Road, Huntingdon PE28 2AA.