If you’re a parent of a small human, it is inevitable that you’ve taken them to a Soft Play centre. The very term ‘Soft Play’ can strike fear into any of us who look after little ones. Quite often when you think of soft play, you conjure up an idea of smelly, coloured worn out equipment. There’s often not anywhere comfy to sit. It’s noisier than a zoo full of monkeys. Worst of all, the coffee and food are so sub-standard that you wonder whether it was a good idea eating and drinking there in the first place.
The little ones always seem to have a good time though and it is a great way of wearing them out, hence why you always want to go back time and time again.
Entering a new world of Soft Play
We first started hearing whispers of a new soft play in the local area in early 2018. The new soft play in question is called ‘The Jelly Lounge’ and is based in the heart of Windsor, Berkshire. When we were offered the chance to have a play there, we jumped at the offer. The Jelly Lounge has been created as a place in which both children and adults can have a nice time together in a pleasant, welcoming, fun environment.
The Jelly Lounge is a family club – the brainchild of local residents and parents Jenny and Tamar. They wanted to create a space where both kids and parents were of equal focus and could spend time together. They have four key principles:
- A welcoming and easily accessible club for the whole family.
- A safe haven with the latest play installations for children of all ages.
- A chef-led eatery with freshly cooked, wholesome food and locally sourced produce.
- Damn good coffee.
It is based on William Street, which is really easy to find and close to the Victoria Street Car Park. The staff member on reception greeted us with a smile, and as it was our first visit, she told all about the venue and how it works. Once you go through reception, there is a huge seating area with tables and then a colourful fish tank and gated play area for babies. You can also supervise babies more closely as there is a seating area within the baby area.
The play frame
Through another door is the main event. The biggie. The play frame. The play frame is bright and airy. It contains lots of equipment to entertain toddlers right through up to older school aged children. There are two slides – a wavy one and a curly one. The main feature of the soft play is something I’d never ever seen before. A beautifully embroided magical tree. Children can climb up the tree and sit in the branches, and there are many swings and branches to play with on the outside too.
There are comfy tables and chairs overlooking the play frame, and you can easily see your child at all times. Once you order food or drink from the cafe, a member of staff will deliver this to your table so you can wait in comfort. There’s also plenty of seating as well. Not only can you see what your child is up to (and easily enter the play equipment yourself), there are also Play Buddies within the play area to help your child play. As a parent of an active toddler (who also sometimes struggles climbing up equipment herself), it was great that someone was there to support her and also play with her. Kudos to Shannon, the play buddy who helped and played with Charlotte during our visit. She hasn’t stopped talking about her since!
What else happens at The Jelly Lounge?
This isn’t just soft play, it’s The Jelly Lounge soft play and as such, it is described as a ‘family club’. There is much more going on than first meets the eyes. The Jelly Lounge hosts a number of workshops – such as mini chefs, mini matisse-ers and mini popstars. When we were there, they were hosting a pizza making workshop attended by children and their adults. The Jelly Lounge also hosts parties and events such as regular ‘Prosecco Fridays’ (adults can sup their fizz whilst the children enjoy playtime). They are also hosting an event for the forthcoming big Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
If you’re looking for a kids party venue, then you are also in luck. Children can enjoy parties led by dedicated party hosts, sweets, time in the play frame and lots more. Each party has a theme – some of the ones you get to choose from are ‘enchanted’, ‘transport’, ‘sparkly’ and – our personal favourite – ‘disco’.
The food and drink in this place is second-to-none. They make it fresh on the premises and use locally sourced produce where possible. Whilst we were there, I enjoyed a greens-based ‘Yummy Mummy’ smoothie and fluffy pancakes, whilst Charlotte enjoyed some apple juice, pasta and meatballs. No mass produced coffee or greasy burgers to be found here. Only tasty, nutritious delights.
Prices & Opening Times
- £6 for 90 mins – Weekdays during term-time
- £10 for 90 mins – Weekend & Holidays
- Baby Lounge (for non-walkers) – £5
- Workshop prices from £7
There are also membership options available.
The Jelly Lounge is open: Mon-Thurs, Saturday 9am-6pm, Friday 9am-8pm and Sunday 930am-5pm.
*Prices correct as of April 2018*
If Carlsberg did soft play, this would probably be the best soft play in the world! The entire place is welcoming to both little and big people and family time can be enjoyed by all. I had such an enjoyable time with Little C, she was entertained and had fun getting active and playing in the lounge. I had time to enjoy a drink (even the holy parenting grail of a hot cup of tea). A lovely time was spent with her playing, whilst also getting some down time where I could safely watch her explore. Even the toilets are magical in this place – forget your squeaky plastic changing tables, the toilets here are wooden based, tastefully decorated and provide a nice environment for changing nappies. Bonus points for even having no hand driers (currently a constant fear).
We both had a great time and she hasn’t stopped talking about it. I left feeling relaxed and happy (rather than frazzled) and we both had a great morning spending time together. We definitely would recommend you check it out. You won’t be disappointed!
Where can I find out more?
Postal address: The Jelly Lounge, 29-33 William Street, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1BB
Telephone: 01753 290175
Have you visited? Let us know using the comments box below!
Disclaimer: We were offered a free play pass for this visit. All views and opinions however are my own.