Fun and adventure for all awaits at the Riverside Hub in Northampton.
Always on the look-out for new places, I came across the Riverside Hub via Groupon – a company that offers discounts on lots of different venues and activities across the country.
The deal I bought was £3.95 for admittance for one child and one adult (saving me £3 on this visit).
It was only a 30-minute journey for me, so I headed here with my youngest Ruby, who is two.
As I hadn’t been here before, it took me five minutes or so to figure out where they actually were – more signposts directing you would be helpful.
So if you visit, make sure you turn left when you turn off into Riverside and follow the road.
Having arrived just after opening time, I was immediately impressed – the place was huge!
You’ll have to register at reception when you arrive and you’ll be given a Riverside Hub card which you’ll need to show each time you visit (and use to check out when you leave too).
Quite a sophisticated process compared to many other play centres I’ve been too.
Finding places that are different and offer a fun time for my kids is always difficult.
And while many fill the role of entertaining little ones, this is the first place I’ve been to that has literally had surprises at every corner!
Ruby and I first ventured into the toddler village which caters for 0-5 years.
There was a row of squinty houses, each one filled with different things to keep children entertained.
First up we headed into the kitchen – complete with impressive realistic kitchen cupboards and shelves; you won’t find any plastic furniture here!
There were also chefs’ hats, play food and plates and cutlery to complete the kitchen feel.
Ruby was certainly in her element here, making me plenty of ‘dinner’!
Next door is an ‘outdoor’ area complete with picnic table and benches and fake grass.
Carry on along the houses and you’ll come to the doctors/vets.
Lined up against the back wall are overalls and headgear to help turn your little ‘uns into doctors, nurses or vets.
The quality of everything here is fantastic and we spent a lot of our time in the toddler village.
Here there is also a slide, soft toy area, interactive stations, baby walkers and ballpit.
Plenty to keep even the youngest entertained.
After a while we decided to explore the larger climbing/play area – World of Play.
Here kids can explore lots of different zones and countries packed with interactive games, puzzles, mazes, sensory spaces and loads of fun activities as they play.
There are see-through floors, a football pitch, interactive video area – and even a space when you can cool down with the penguins!
This area also houses one of the biggest children’s slides I’ve seen.
But beware! I got a rather nasty friction burn on my leg when going down with Ruby on my lap.
I think this was due to the material of the dress I had on, as others I had been watching went down at a snail’s pace compared to me.
That’s certainly a lesson learned. Ruby enjoyed it though!
After the excitement of the slide we headed to the Creative Studio which had a free craft session on at 11am.
So off we headed. Here, Ruby made her own butterfly using a toilet roll, paper and paints, which she enjoyed.
It was a well run activity and the fact it was free was fab too.
At the Creative Studio you can also paint your own ornaments and stuff your own teddy (additional costs apply).
What else is there to do?
Climb a tree! A huge indoor 10m-high ‘oak tree’ is inside and anyone can have a go.
There are three different routes – easy, medium and hard.
And as you climb up you’ll discover various ‘achievement points’ hidden in the tree trunk.
There’s also a sensory room, a café to get food and refreshments, go carts, mini amusements – as well as lockers to put your valuables in while you play.
Riverside Hub is open seven days a week from 9.30am until 6pm and stay is limited at two and a half hours at weekends and school holidays, to allow everyone a chance to visit.
However, this time limit is not enforced on less busy days.
For more information visit www.riversidehub.com.
Off-peak (Monday to Friday in school term times)
Children one to three years £4.95
Children four to 12 years £6.95
Young people* 13 to 17 years £3.95
Peak (weekends and school holidays)
Under ones free
Children one to three years £5.95
Children four to 12 years £7.95
Young People* 13 to 17 years £4.95
*Young people between the ages of 13 and 17 can only visit when part of a group that contains both younger children (0 to 12) and adults over 18.
Please note that adults must have a child with them to visit, and children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Get reduced entry!
Are you a member of Groupon (available online and as an app)? Then make sure you check their offers.
We got entrance for one adult and one child for £3.95 (normal price from £4.95 per child and from £2 per adult).
But you’ll need to be quick. This particular offer expires on July 24.
Where to find them
You’ll find the Riverside Hub at 7 Carousel Way, Riverside Park, Northampton, NN3 9HG.
It’s hidden away, so take your first left once you hit the retail park and follow the road around – and it’s on your right.