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It feels like a mini tour I’ve been on of the new crop of play areas in Chelmsford – firstly Kids and Koffee, then Rocky’s I took a visit to Mace Playce with G and J at the weekend to see what it was like. I’d been told that it was ‘REALLY good’ and ‘The biggest soft play in Chelmsford’ which was very positive, but also ‘a pain to park at’ and ‘VERY expensive’ – not so good.

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For those of you who know Chelmsford, it’s opposite B+Q, on the small industrial estate adjoining Wickes. First off, parking is a NIGHTMARE. The car park is relatively small (space for around 20-30 cars), and Wickes and some of the other local businesses are obviously growing tired of people using their spaces and there are lots of ‘Non Customers will be Clamped’ signs everywhere! It doesn’t look very appealing or ‘fun’ from the outside, just an industrial unit with a nice entrance. When I went on Sunday it cost £9.50 for G (10) and J (1) – this is broken down into £4.00 for J and £5.50 for G. It felt a little extreme, especially the 4 quid for J!

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20140406_160210Once inside, it’s MASSIVE, not ‘Monkey Puzzle’ massive, but definitely the biggest Chelmsford has had. It’s split into different areas, there is a large area for over 3’s – the main seating area, and over the far side an area for babies and toddlers. There is also a mezzanine floor that has a bit more seating and some arcade games too (this is meant to be for over 8’s only). There is also a separate party room tucked away.

The have a nice cafe attached to the counter that serves a fairly standard range of ‘Soft Play’ food, also nice to see they’ve got a ‘PROPER’ coffee machine too for adult caffeine addicts like myself! The food and drinks looked fairly priced, I think I paid £2.50 ish for my Latte, which isn’t too bad. It was also great to be at a soft play on a busy Sunday afternoon and actually get a table, there are lots of them dotted round and it’s all been very well planned.

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The staff their all seemed very happy and friendly, and keen to keep the place looking tidy tables were being cleared quickly, and toys that had wandered out of the toddler area were being put back and tidied up. They are obviously very proud of what they have, and rightly so, it’s a lovely clean, bright, welcoming environment that certainly kept my two pleased for the hour and a half we spent there.

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J didn’t want to leave

I suppose the entrance price could be seen as justified, because of the quality of the environment, and it’s definitely more exciting for bigger kids than either Rocky’s or Kids and Koffee . Despite this, I think Rocky’s and Kids and Koffee will still be our ‘go to’ place when it’s just J with me. Both are small enough for him to run riot and for him to still be seen, and for him to see me. This is probably the ‘Daddy’ of Chelmsford Soft Play for now, its large size and long opening hours (Mon – Thu: 10:00 – 19:00 / Fri: 10:00 – 19:30 / Sat: 11:00 – 19:30 / Sun: 11:00 – 18:00) make it ideal to pop into any time. If you’ve only got tiny ones, then I’d definitely consider the competition, they are probably more suited.

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