on March 12, 2013
The Play Factore is a brand new, giant play centre for children. It only opened towards the middle of last year, so everything is brand new, bright and sparkling. The location is really convenient. Right next to the M60, opposite the Trafford Centre shopping centre and very easy to find. It is actually built under the Chill Factore - the skiing/snow centre which has been around for a few years.We visited just before Christmas, expecting it to be fairly busy, but we must have timed it right and visited just before the main school holidays, as it was fairly empty. It is marketed as being for children aged between 0 and 12 years. Our visit was with 2 nine year olds and a 10 year old and they thoroughly approved. Unlike a lot of play areas which cater mainly for younger children, this does offer activities and play equipment for all ages, from toddlers to 12 year olds.It is open every day between 10am and 6.30 pm. Prices are a bit steep - they have peak and off peak pricing. Peak is all weekends, all bank holidays and all school holidays. Non peak is school term time Monday to Friday. Basically any time you want to go with school age children it will be peak. The cost for 5-15 year olds is £10.95 peak and for adults they also charge £3.95. I think it is pretty expensive, especially if you are bringing more than 1 child!Inside everything is bright, light and airy. One of the benefits of this place is that it has been built from scratch so they have designed it to be the perfect children's play area. Most play areas where we live are housed in industrial units and have to work around this and the limitations it brings. Not so here! Also there is plenty of parking - something else I find unusual at children's play areas. This is supposed to the the UK's largest play centre - there is over 26,000 square feet of space.I was not hugely impressed with the staff. They seemed a bit aloof and unfriendly to say the least. We waited 25 minutes at the reception area while the lady there was on the phone. She didn't apologise afterwards and was quite abrupt. Several other members of staff also watched us waiting to pay and didn't approach to help.The play frame inside is state of the art. It is huge, the tallest I have ever seen. It is 15 metres high, with a super long 40 metre slide. The slide is extremely fast - great for older kids, but we saw a few younger children narrowly missing hurting themselves.There are places to climb, explore and have fun on the play frame. There is a separate area for toddlers and younger children with a very varied array of things to do also. The entrance fee is expensive, but once you are inside, everything is included - there is laser tag, electric go-karts, a disco area and a football area.The cafe area is nice for mums (or dads) to sit and have a chat. They serve nice coffee and cakes. We also had lunch here - nice freshly made pizza and pasta dishes. It was very good for children, but a bit limited for adults.During our visit, although it was listed as a peak time, the whole place was pretty empty. Our children had a great time and throughly enjoyed themselves. We stayed about 3.5 hours and after that they were ready to leave. We had unlimited play time due to the lack of crowds. If it had been busy, they limit you to a 2 hour slot. It is a good place to come and let children run around and blow off steam. However, more of a treat due to the cost than a regular place to come.
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