It was pouring rain last Friday morning, a perfect day for the beach I thought! No, I haven’t lost the plot…I’m talking about the indoor beach at Glendoick Garden Centre which has just reopened for the (so far very Scottish) summer!
We invited a few of Freya’s friends and their grown-ups to experience Glendoick’s brand new, state of the art, playground which was officially opened a couple of weeks ago, and took full advantage of the bouncy castle (open every day over the school holidays!), and chilled out reading den.
Glendoick's new child friendly facilities make it easy to enjoy some family time. The playpark itself has been designed with children of all ages and abilities in mind, and on Thursdays priority is given to those with additional support needs and their carers.
The first thing that struck me about the playpark is how shiny and new everything is, no tired looking cargo nets or grubby slides here! Pop a bug under the cool magnifer, have a peek under the interactive puzzles or make like a monkey on the climbing maze which has interlinking nets and ropes for older children. They’ve installed that lovely squashy surface for a soft landing when jumping around, and there’s something for all ages.
Some of Freya’s friends were brilliant little climbers, scrambling up onto the upper deck of the tower and traversing the net bridge like a pro. Freya loved the super cool slide, going through the tunnel beneath the main tower, and chilling out on the basket swing. Everything is accessible by wheelchair/buggy and there’s plenty of rustic benches for parents to sit on.
We eventually managed to drag the kids away from the playpark with the lure of a bouncy castle. Open every day during the summer holidays, this one comes complete with an inflatable slide, and they all loved it. There’s also a few tables from the café right next to the bouncy castle so parents can station themselves nearby.
There’s a cosy den set up in a see through dome, complete with books, toys and bean bags, just nearby. Freya was very pleased to see some musical toys in there and enjoyed a good jamming session with her pal Glen.
The beach is well signposted, which saves any of those awkward “oh, hi, yes, lovely plants…do you know where the beach is?” conversations having to take place. There’s a massive sandpit filled with that lovely soft ‘magic sand’ and everything little ones need to enjoy themselves; buckets & spades, beach balls, tractors, palm trees...they had it all going on!
Shoes off and our toddlers got stuck in- sandcastles were built, chases were had, beach selfies were taken and it was smiles all round.
After almost an hour on the sand everyone had worked up an appetite- two very helpful staff let us know that anytime we wanted it we could enjoy food & drinks from the café at the tables set up right next to the beach. I noticed this also doubled up as a kind of viewing area where grandparents were having their pot of tea while getting to watch all the action on the sand.
Freya and I brushed ourselves off and headed to the café where we were delighted to find a whole range of little person friendly food, including healthy options. Top tip - you get a FREE kids soup with any adult meal!Freya got to pick and mix 4 different items including mini sandwiches, freshly prepared fruit, individual cheese portions and snacks. Freya's far more sophisticated friend Elsie enjoyed her favourite tipple; a babyccino (warm frothy milk with choclate sprinkles!).
The mums all stuck to delicious homemade soup and scones –and one of my friends whose 2 year old twins continued to play happily in the sand commented it was fantastic to be able to enjoy a warm cup of tea (luxury!) in relative peace. Top tip - you get a FREE kids soup with any adult meal!
After another wee post-lunch play on the sand we headed back to the cars, less than half an hour later all the kids were conked out, and I wasn’t far from it myself! Having only gone 3 miles from Perth we had found the perfect thing to do on a rainy day (and no need to wrestle with the kids to wear their sun hats/ sun cream!).
Every one of the mums who joined us plan to return. Glendoick’s already loved in Perthshire for their famous garden centre, café and gift hall (which also has brilliant toys & books!), but it’s now a great destination for a family day out.
Nine toddlers, six mummies (and one bump!), three hours play, and not a single tear…
Quite simply, Glendoick have nailed it with their new kids facilities!
Big thanks to Eli, Jude, Eden, Elsie, Glen, Freddie, Lily & Ollie (and their parents) for being such superstars!
Glendoick Playpark is supported by Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER Programme 2014-2020: The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.
Stepping into a café which does more than just tolerate mini customers, but actively embraces them, is a breath of fresh air. Here's a shortlist of the best places we’ve found in Perthshire who always go that extra mile for babies & toddlers…
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Live Active Leisure offer some fantastic advice and great services for pregnant women and new mums in who want to stay fit and exercise during pregnancy and after giving birth.
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Classes that help babies use gestures to communicate, especially helpful in reducing that oh-so-familiar build-up of frustration from not being understood by mum and dad!
August 16th Wednesday 2017