It’s raining, what a load of old balls!
Here are my top wet weather fun destinations for entertaining a toddler. With honest comments.
- Currys/PC World superstores. On a weekday, these beasts are ideal. Big flashing screens, long corridors of carpeted floor, safe, non plugged in washing machines to open and shut. Go along, pretend to browse, and tire out the toddler! Free
- Get the ferry – time it right so you don’t have to wait in the rain too long, and buy a return ticket. It’s all undercover, the kids love watching the boats, they’ll help you on with your buggy. Get off at the Arnolfini, have an outrageously good coffee and home made doughnut, and come back. Awesome. About £5.00 I think
- iPlay – Knowle Broadwalk Centre – this is my absolute nuclear option. It’s not that the soft play itself is bad, it’s not, the staff are friendly and there’s cool stuff to do. It’s the parents of over threes who don’t watch their kids. I know it’s a classic soft play problem, but it’s particularly big here. Coffee is so-so. £3.50
- The daily soft play at the Bristol Gymnastics Centre in Hartcliffe, however, is really very good. Best bouncy castle I’ve ever seen, and go early and there’s plenty of space to play. No food or drink allowed in though. £3.50
- Car showrooms out by Cabot Circus (I’m fond of Audi and Mercedes, nice and shiny) and the wonderful Fowlers motorcycles on Bath Rd. A lot to look at, get enthusiastic about, and it has a cafe and baby change too – how cool is that? Free
- Playground Coffee on St Nichloas St in town. It’s not a children’s playground, and it doesn’t serve kids food, just good pastries and coffee, but it has a lovely charm about it, sofas, the infamous swings as seats, and, if I’m honest, I worked in there all day this week and it was not inundated with customers. If you’re all sling users in your group, the upstairs room is perfect for an NCT meet with a difference, but there’s not much space for buggies at all. Free plus coffee
- Bristol Central Library – daily rhyme time, a pirate ship-shaped book case, lovely staff, and thousands of books to stack, arrange and read. Free
It goes without saying that ALL the Bristol play cafes are worth a visit. If you’re South Bristol, why not give Portico and Kudacan a go, and if you’re North, come on down to Bubbahub and Caterpillar. Change is as good as a rest!