Wet weekend? Rainy half-term? No need to hibernate inside on the sofa. London is brimming with options when it comes to indoor play centres. Full with climbing frames, slides and bouncy castles, this lot offer an ideal environment for using up excess energy and keeping little ones busy. Here’s our pick of the best indoor options to keep everyone, from babies and toddlers to older kids, entertained.
RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in London with kids
Organised chaos reigns at Bramley's, tucked beneath the Westway flyover. The centrepiece is a giant three-level play frame, incorporating slides, ball pools, swings and dens, with separate areas for less rambunctious under-fives and babies.
Filled with brightly coloured tubes, tunnels, ball ponds and slides, this huge indoor play area gives under-tens the chance to climb, slide and throw themselves about for two action-packed hours.
For tinies, Eddie Catz offers a soft play area and movement and music classes (for which an extra charge applies). Toddlers and older children, meanwhile, can enjoy a modestly sized adventure play frame, a dressing-up area, video games and air hockey.
Cheery staff and masses of things to do mean Gambado is eternally popular, despite the hefty entry fee. Kids soon vanish into the depths of the thrilling multi-level climbing frame, which incorporates ball ponds, slides, trampolines, assault courses and mini dodgems.
Unpredictable Turner Prize-nominated artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd's latest work is a very hands-on sort of creation. 'The Idol' is a 21,000 square metre soft play centre – a permanent installation in Abbey Leisure Centre which is due to entertain hundreds of thousands of children in its first decade. The two-storey robotic figure features chambers, ramps and two giant's eyes for children to peer out of.
This enormous indoor play centre is a cut above the competition, thanks to its towering wooden climbing frame, the Orb. Unusually, parents are allowed to explore alongside their children, zooming down the 'black hole' slide, getting lost in the labyrinth or dodging cannon fire in Thunderball City.
This indoor adventure play centre doubles up as a popular children's party venue, with its own café and full on-site catering (special party menus can be prepared). There are ball pools, climbing frames, slides and bouncy castles to entertain the troops.
Indoor adventure play centres are loved by kids and tolerated through gritted teeth by adults in a fix on a cold or rainy day. Little Dinosaurs is a thoroughly pleasant venue for all the family, whatever the weather. Inside is the usual playframe, but Little Dinosaurs has plenty of windows and it's also in the middle of a lovely park.
This centre offers south London parents four storeys of soft play, an outdoor playground and a charity shop packed with clothes, toys and other bargains. During school holidays there are special activity days and there's free paring for those visiting from further afield.