Some parents shudder at the thought of them, others love them (do they know something I don’t? Perhaps ones serving gin and tonic I wonder..?) Either way, they’re an unavoidable right of passage for most carers of young children, and a great way to tire little ones out, especially on a wet weather day. We’re very lucky to have so many kids’ cafes and soft plays in Bristol to choose from, so I’ve put together a list for the next time you’re in need of an indoor play space to let the kids loose in. Do let me know if I’ve missed any out!
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Disclaimer: *Please note Covid-19 restrictions may apply to some of the locations mentioned in this article. I advise calling, or checking the website before your visit to avoid disappointment.
Soft plays in North Bristol and beyond
KudaCan, Gloucester Road – **NOW CLOSED
Location: 7 Dongola Ave, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 9HG
This little soft play cafe just off Gloucester Road is a lifesaver on rainy days. Inside there’s an adventure play zone for kids under 7 and a separate section for under twos. There are seats for the grown-ups right alongside the soft play so caffeine-needy parents can watch their kiddos go mad in the soft play while sipping copious amounts of coffee. On drier days, the outside area has a wooden play shed and lots of Little Tikes cars for kids to mess about on. They also run classes and workshops like baby massage and martial arts pre-school.
Playful Cafe, Bishopston – **NOW CLOSED
Location: 1-3 Fenton Rd, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 8ND
Tucked away just off Bishop Road, Playful Cafe is brilliant for babies and toddlers. There’s a homely atmosphere with comfy sofas, loads of toys and books to play with, a dressing-up area, train, Duplo tables and a castle/pirate ship-style indoor play area with slides and climbing frames. Tables and chairs are dotted around the place for adults to sit on while little ones play and homemade snacks and meals to wolf down when hunger strikes.
Location: 219 Henleaze Rd, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NQ
Four words. Pub with soft play in Bristol. Need I entice you more? Yes that’s right, an establishment that serves alcohol, has a soft play area AND outdoor playground. The soft play cafe is open daily from 11.30am, straight after the morning children’s Happy Hands classes (drop-in and also very good) and it’s FREE of charge. To top it all off there are ducks and bunnies in the beer garden which little ones can admire! Parking onsite is a bonus and the pub grub is tasty too.
Cairns Road Cafe, Bishopston
Location: Cairns Road Baptist Church, Westbury Park, Bristol, BS6 7TH
Open on Wednesdays, Thursdays ( from 9.30-2.pm), and Fridays (10.30am-2pm), Cairns Road Cafe is a cheap and cheerful morning out with little ones. At one end of the church there is a no-frills, free soft play area for under 5s, plus a separate play area for babies. At the other end, tables and chairs are laid out where you can chat with other grown-ups and tuck into yummy homemade cakes and simple lunches. It’s very popular thanks to the fact it’s such good value for money.
Boing Softplay Family Centre, Lockleaze
Location: c/o The Hub, Fedden Buildings, Gainsborough Square, BS7 9FB
This little soft play centre in Bristol has been designed exclusively for families with children aged 0-5 years. As well as the soft play room, you’ll find a creative area containing books, and a cafe where you can sit with a cuppa while your kiddos play within view. Entry is really cheap and grown-ups get unlimited tea and coffee for a quid. Check out their timetable for a wide range of activities, sessions, toddler groups, breastfeeding support and baby clinics. Once the little ones have had their fill of the soft play, there’s a playground over the road and a tiny library next door.
Location: 4 Harcourt Road, Bristol, BS6 7RG
This boutique family-friendly cafe in Redland opened in 2019 and provides a play space that is refreshingly as much about the kids as the grown-ups. Zoned areas have been designed in light, bright colours, with soft play equipment for under 7s, a story corner, role play area, plus a sensory room with bubble tube and mood lighting for babies and crawlers. On the menu you’ll find great coffee, superfood salads and tantalising treats.
Elmgrove Centre, Redland
Location: The Elmgrove Centre, Elmgrove Rd, Redland, Bristol BS6 6AH
The soft play room at The Elmgrove Community Centre has a ball pond and a slide and can accommodate up to 15 children at one time. Open on Thursdays from 9 until 11am, it’s cheap as chips at 50p per child. Tea, coffee, squash and sandwiches are all on offer in the adjoining tea room.
Jump, Cribbs Causeway
Location: 22 Concorde Road, BS34 5TB
At 22,000 sq feet, Jump is one of the biggest soft plays in the country and a children’s party venue favourite. Housed inside a gigantic industrial unit, there’s tons of space for kids to run wild in, although it’s a little lacking in natural light as can be customary with the bigger soft plays. It does serve its purpose though in entertaining and wearing out little ones by means of climbing, sliding, whooshing, inflatables, exploring, balancing, bouncing, clambering and crawling in the massive squishy labyrinthe. There’s also an indoor football pitch and dedicated toddler/baby play area when the youngest of the pack can totter freely. A big cafe area serves up all the usual suspects – beans, chips, burgers and a passable brew.
Location: just off Junction 17 of the M5 motorway – Unit 5 Britannia Road, Patchway, BS34 5TA
AirHop Bristol is a gigantic trampoline park with a dodgeball area, basketball court, obstacle course, foam pit, Gladiators-style battle beams and wall-to-wall trampolines. In short, this is where leaping dreams come true.
Standard Jump sessions for over 5s allows children access to all areas of the park and cost £11.50 (Early Bird Hopper) or £13.00 (Standard Rate). For the under 5s, AirHop run MiniHoppers sessions, where pre-schoolers can take over the place (including bubble time, a soft play area and sensory toys) from 10am-12pm Monday-Friday and 9-10am Saturday and Sunday (£7 per adult and child). Or, if you want to get the whole family involved in the boinging fun, check out their Family Takeover for ages 2-12 on Mondays, 4-5pm. £8 per adult and child.
Kidz Play Bristol, Cribbs Causeway – **NOW CLOSED
Location: The Mall, Cribbs Causeway Regional Shopping Centre, Upper Mall, off Food Court, Patchway, Bristol BS34 5UR
A nifty place to drop the kids into if you’re doing a spot of shopping at The Mall as there is a fully-supervised Crèche with qualified nursery assistants for kids aged between 18 months to 9 years. Alternatively adults can stay and play with their children, let them loose in the ball pool, soft mountain area, twin slides and interactive wall games.
Location: Fiddlers Wood Lane, Bradley Stoke, BS32 9BS
Kids can burn off steam at Adventure Play at Bradley Stoke offers three floors of kid-friendly soft play fun, including a dedicated fun adventure play area for babies and toddlers.
For little daredevils over five years old, there’s also an XHeight Adventure Climb featuring 16 challenging, themed walls, plus a five metre high Giant’s Staircase. And to really wear them out, check out the swimming timetable – the baby pool here is renowned for its warmth!
Location: Unit R6, Link Rd, Yate BS37 4FT
Light, bright and colourful, Little Giggles soft play has some fun contraptions that I’ve not seen in other childrens’ soft plays in Bristol. All play equipment is on one level, so you can easily keep an eye on your offspring from the seating area. Keep an eye on their calendar for one-off events, glow parties and deals.
Image source – Little Giggles Soft Play
Location: 1 Green Lane, Wotton-under-Edge GL12 8QW
Tucked away down a little lane near Thornbury Garden Centre, in the village of Milbury Heath is fun jungle play experience. Some of the equipment has been designed to give the illusion of swinging through the ‘trees’ with lots of it suspended in the air. Under twos have a separate play area and there’s a cafe (with healthy menu) for adults in full view of the play space.
Location: Milbury Heath, Wotton Under Edge, GL12 8QH
I spent many a weekend at the garden centre with my parents when I was a youth, but I don’t remember them having something as fun as a soft play onsite! I still find going to the garden centre an extremely grown-up thing to do (more so than having kids LOL), so reward your adulting with a coffee and cake from the cafe while the kids explore the soft play for just £2.
Location: Berkeley Heath Farm House, Berkeley GL13 9EW
As well as cute farm animals to coo over, Cattle Country has an indoor toddler soft play area for under 6s with slides, jigsaw puzzle and squishy assault course, as well as two play barns – one with a soft play area especially for under 4s, the other with wavy slides, ball pit and vertical drop slides. There’s lots of scrambling action to be had outdoors on the climbing net, beach barn, ride-on mini tractors, willow maze, Berkeley Castle-esque adventure frame and a boating lake.
Location: Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Bowditch, Gloucestershire, GL2 7BT
Slimbridge is a wetland conservation area that is home to over 2000 birds, lots of local wildlife and the largest collection of amphibians in the UK. The latter, known as Toad Hall, includes frogs, toads, newts and salamanders from all over the world and has an indoor soft play attached themed around the wonderful world of these cold-blooded creatures.
Kids can take a tumble alongside the toads, dress up as a frog, clamber up the boat house, boing on a mini trampoline and play fun puzzles with their grown-ups in the comfy booths.
Outdoors, as well as acres of birdlife to explore, there’s an outdoor Welly Boot Land splash play area, and canoe safari. Book tickets online to save 10%
- Price: Adult – £14.50, Child (4-16yrs) – £8.50, Family (2 adults + 2 children, 4-16yrs)
Soft plays in South Bristol
Location: 148 East St, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 4EW
Fire your child’s imagination in the ‘Fun Zone’ – a soft play in Bristol featuring multiple platforms, gadgets and sensory experiences. If you’re able to escape, an upstairs cafe lets you watch your children over an artisan coffees, bubble tea or milk shake.
Location: 26 North St, Southville, Bristol BS3 1HW
A small, baby-friendly lounge, cafe and shop, The Milk Shed offers a wide-range of classes, workshops and support groups for new parents and parents-to-be. Little touches like spare nappies or a bouncer to put the babe in on toilet trips, and lovely toys, great food and coffee give this place chilled out, home-from-home vibes.
Location: accessible only from, Teyfant Rd, Bristol BS13 0RF
The location may feel quite random while you’re driving out there, but bear with it. Once inside the sport’s centre there’s a whole world of springy fun for little ones including a bouncy castle, rocking things, slidey things, tunnels, soft play equipment and lots of baby-friendly toys. Sessions are run on a drop-in basis for 10-months-4 years Mon, Tues, Weds, Fri 10am-12pm and Sat 9.30am-11.30am (£4 a session).
Location: 14, Liberty Industrial Park, S Liberty Ln, Bristol BS3 2SU
Based in an industrial warehouse – which never sounds appealing, but you tend to get used to it when in search of soft play entertainment – Axis runs baby to pre-school bouncing, gymnastics and soft play sessions.
The club has loads of trampolines, some that your little one can just bounce up and down on, some with foam pits to ping into, plus a really long one they can run the entire length of, as well as lots of toys for younger kids and babies to play with.
Every weekday there is a non-structured pay-as-you-go, family fun session for pre-schoolers (aged 0-4/5). Adventurers sessions (for 2-4 year olds) are also drop in (always useful if your plans change regularly and you don’t feel you can commit to a 6-week term) – see their timetable here.
Freedog Bristol, Bedminster
Location: 2A-C, Templegate Park, Mead St, Bristol BS3 4RP
Freedog is known for its huge trampoline court, foam pits, dodgeball and slam dunk lane, but there’s also a three-storey high soft play centre onsite open to kids aged 0-10 years with a ‘Puppy Pen’ for babies. A cafe next to the entrance lets you sit and watch your tinies race around while you marvel at their energy over coffee and cake.
Location: Broadwalk Shopping Centre, Broad Walk, Knowle, Bristol BS4 2QU
iPlay has a two-storey play area where little ones can run along rope bridges, crawl through tunnels and swoosh down slides. There are also big bouncy balls, tunnels, bouncy pads, revolving platforms as well as a dedicated area for under 3s.
Location: Farrington’s Farm Home Farm, Main St, Farrington Gurney, Bristol BS39 6UB
Young adventurers (up to 12 years old) have three fun-packed levels of soft play to explore here, including slides, ball pits, tunnels, climb towers and rope skywalks – all designed to test strength, balance and coordination.
A baby area caters for 0-2s while toddlers have another play area split over two levels, with plenty for them to tackle. Refuel with light bites and lunch made with locally-sourced and homegrown produce in the play barn cafe.
Soft plays in East Bristol and beyond
An indoor play space for children to explore and be curious with authentic and natural resources that encourage curiosity with creative and imaginative play. Little Pumpkins Playtime offers structured, bookable stay and play sessions for children under 4 years, which run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.30-10.30am.
Location: Argyle Morley Church, Whitefield Rd, Speedwell, Bristol BS5 7TL
Inside a traditional church hall near Lodge Causeway, this jungle-themed soft play has a bouncy castle, ball pit, soft jungle animals and slide, as well as a baby corner. A big plus point is that there’s no time limit on how long you stay and they’re also open during school holidays.
Location: Church Rd, Soundwell, Staple Hill, Bristol BS16 4RH
Softplay is available at Kingswood and Yate leisure centres, with two levels full of fun activities for children aged 0-9 years, and a dedicated toddler area. Recommended age: 0 – 9 years.
Location: Inside Kemps Garden Centre, Westerleigh Road, Coalpit Heath, Bristol BS37 8QZ
This lovely, family-run children’s venue is tucked away inside Kemps Garden Centre. Tables and chairs are set on soft green, grasslike turf, in perfect view of the small soft play area. The garden centre is also home to pygmy goats, micro pigs, chipmunks, an outdoor sandpit and pirate ship, plus a cafe.
Location: Temple St, Keynsham, Bristol BS31 1HE
Keynsham Leisure Centre has a fully-enclosed, multi-level padded structure where your child can play, climb, crawl and slide to their heart’s content. There’s also a smaller under threes area with a range of sensory equipment suitable for babies older than three months. You don’t need to be a leisure centre member to visit.
Location: Pixash Ln, Bath Road, Keynsham, Bristol BS31 1TP
If you’re looking for a full day out with kids, Avon Valley is great whatever the weather. As well as acres of outdoor fun, there are also lots of indoor places to duck into on a wet day. The soft play is located next to the cafe, inside a huge play barn with rainbow wave slides, drop slides, rope swings, a canon arena and a toddler village for under 5s. You’ll also find a bouncy castle undercover in one of the tents outside. Once kids have finished racing around the soft play, there are all kinds of animals to encounter, air pillows, a mini jeep safari, electric quad bikes, obstacle courses, a miniature railway, tractor rides and outdoor playgrounds, plus themed events and activities throughout the year.
Location: The Mill, High St, Wells, Wookey Hole, Wells BA5 1BB
Once you’ve gone underground and witnessed a breathtaking underground world, spectacular caverns and the famous Witch of Wookey, there’s above-ground attractions to explore! Animatronic dinosaurs greet you on your way out of the caves, a 4D cinema whips you through its latest adventure, a live circus show is set to wow and the Wizard’s Play Castle houses two fantastic indoor soft play areas. Check out the pirate zap zone and outdoor Monster Mill for oodles of kid-friendly fun.
Soft plays in Central Bristol
G8, Union Gallery the Galleries Shopping Centre, Broadmead, Bristol BS1 3XD
Located on the ground floor of the Galleries in the city centre, you could use this soft play as a bargaining tool for good behaviour on a shopping trip! Inside there are a number of obstacles to get your little one exploring, climbing and swinging, plus the ‘Tree Tops’ cafe for a much-needed caffeine kick.
West Bristol and beyond
Location: Berkeley Place
Coming to Bristol in Spring 2020, Bristol’s new family play cafe will take over Berkeley Place. Watch this space!
Location: Clevedon Road, Wraxall, Bristol, BS48 1PG
Young animal enthusiasts will love seeing the big zoo animals at Noah’s Ark, including tigers, rhinos, giraffe, bears and elephants. There are also smaller farmyard animals to encounter, some of which can be held and stroked.
Afterwards, you can let the kids loose in a ginormous indoor soft play complete with 3D beehive maze, slides, ball pit, rope bridges, trampolines, tractors to drive and jungle den for under 5s. There’s also a straw barn where they can swing from ropes and land on a mound of straw.
Similar outdoor activities include bounce areas, adventure playgrounds (including a ‘unique’ elephant slide – check the photo and you’ll see what I mean), sand pit and giant maze.
Location: Smallway, Congresbury, Bristol BS49 5AA
Garden Centre, soft play and animals. That’s a winning parent/child combo right there! Start with achieving your grown-up gardening to do list, then treat the youngsters to some time in the indoor soft play (£2 or £1.50 if you’re a Blue Diamond member) and checking out the animals in the Pets Corner.
Location: Cowslip Lane, Hewish BS24 6AH
There’s so much to do at this wildlife and adventure park that you’ll need a full day to get round it all. The indoor soft play barn is spread over three floors and one of the largest in the South West, with slides, fireman’s poles, rope swings, ball pits, death slides, wavy slides, curly slides, tunnels and obstacle courses. Under threes can hang out in the toddler area, with baby slide and air-blasting ball pit. Cafe tables are lined up in full view of the soft play area, so you can keep an eye on the wild rugrats while you relax.
For the rest of the day, there are animals to pet in the discovery barn, tractor rides, a bouncing pillow, trampolines, mini merry-go-round, a miniature train, crazy golf, numerous adventure play areas, bumper boats, a pedal kart track, diggers, a boating lake and water activities, dodgem-style cars, high ropes course and lots more!
If you’ve got space in your garden, rather than hire a soft play venue for your kid’s party, you can recreate it in the garden! Softplay Bristol provide private hire soft play equipment, bouncy castle hire and a very popular Minion mascot.
- Indoor activities Bristol: rainy day fun for kids
- Bristol’s best kids’ playgrounds
- Buggy and pram friendly walks around Bristol