Play Planet Horndean is located in a factory unit on the former site of the Horndean Victorian Workhouse. Play Planet is opposite one of Horndean’s last surviving pubs “The Colonial Bar” (previously known as The Good Intent/Berni Inn). What a juxtaposition of environments and time; the Workhouse with abandoned and orphaned children full of of despair forced to work for basic board and lodgings … and Play Planet full of young children without a care in the world, full of screams of delight and excitement.
Horndean Swimming pool was also located in the former workhouse – it is where I learnt to swim – and many of our readers would have learned to swim there too. I remember the pool being cold, dark, and a thoroughly unpleasant experience. To my knowledge nobody died of hypothermia in the pool – although I am sure I came close! The Victorian Workhouse was demolished in 1982.
Some of you may not know that local children (and adults) still learn to swim in Horndean and that Horndean has one of the best swimming schools in the country?
What is there not to like about Play Planet Horndean?
It is a genius idea on so many levels.
All the local children love Play Planet – it’s in the perfect location. Located on the A3 in Horndean, it’s on the main bus route serviced by routes 37 and 8 (the stop outside is called ‘Napier Road’). Play planet has good parking, and is a very short walk from Merchistoun Minnows Preschool, Horndean Infant School and Horndean Junior School.
Soft Play Areas at Play Planet
Play Planet is separated into three ‘soft play’ areas for children of different ages and abilities, suitable for toddlers to Junior school age. In addition to this, Play Planet also has a netted area with two basket ball hoops and there are always a couple of balls to kick around or ‘shoot some hoops’.
Mums and Dads can go into all areas (as long as they also adhere to the no shoe rule too!)…and as a Dad myself I can recommend going in with smaller children for the first time to help them build up their soft play confidence. Of course if your child has an older brother or sister, they’ll be fine! The main area has an age recommendation of over 5, but our three year old has been a pro since he turned 2. There is a couple of areas for the really young children to keep them separate from the older ones to ensure play without being knocked over.
Food and Drink at Play Planet
There is a coffee selection worthy of the local coffee shops and certainly do the trick. The cakes that are on offer fill a hole, but to be honest are a little dull. This is a missed opportunity as Nico’s Bakery in Horndean does awesome cakes, and Lidl in Cowplain have heavenly (and might I add very reasonably priced (25p iced doughnut anyone?) pastries and cakes baked on site, there’s some room for improvement. As far as we are aware, cakes and pastries are not baked at Play Planet.
Staff at Play Planet are young (think, college student looking for extra cash) and always polite and attentive.
Meals are available and are well priced ‘cafe standard’. Play Planet have a meal deal which includes entry+meal which looks good value.
When we take our children to Play Planet, we grab the bus, get there for opening, stay for a couple of hours. We have a coffee fix, then wander down to eat at The Red Lion restaurant. We then pour ourselves back onto the bus for the journey home … It’s a lovely day out for all of us.
What else can I tell you? The facilities are clean and the whole play area has a really high standard of care. It looks good and it’s kept looking good. The PA system has a selection of popular tracks that play on a loop in the background, oh, and of course Play Planet do children’s parties. If you’re going to book a party, then will need to book well in advance. Our experience of the parties are very good, as a customer and as a parents of our children attending the parties. They are efficiently run and the children have a wicked time (which is what is it all about, surely?) You know that you will get a great value party for your child at play planet.
Website and Watch Out for Party Closures
On the downside, the Play Planet website is poor in just about every way possible and does not contain current news/not mobile enabled – I could go on. Sadly this is a ‘hibu’ site – and it shows. A shame really as there’s a huge opportunity missed to reach out and engage with customers and build the client base. The Play Planet Facebook page does get updated (thought at time of writing the last update was over a calendar month ago) but Play Planet does not always respond to comments and questions.
Due to private parties which book out the entire venue – it is worth checking prior to your visit that Play Planet will be open to the public especially just before closing time.