After moving up to Manchester, but before we had kids we would often head to the Chill Factore – the huge indoor ski centre – near the Trafford Centre on the edges of Salford. Each time we’d go we’d see hoards of children piling into the Play Factore (pronounced ‘factory’) and masses of sweaty, messy kids coming out of this soft play area located under the giant slope of the Chill Factore.
Until recently, we’d managed to avoid the Play Factore. We have plenty of soft play centres near us and had heard mixed reviews from parents who had taken their kids there – invariably for birthday parties – generally along the lines of ‘incredible fun for the kids yet terrifying for the parents.
So it was one day that we decided we’d check out the Play Factore and see what it was like. Here’s what we found!
What Is Play Factore?
Play Factore markets itself as a one-of-a-kind family entertainment arena in the UK, welcoming children from 6 months to 16 years old. Unique in its approach, it allows parents to actively engage with their children on age-appropriate equipment. This means that the whole family can join in the fun together! The facility is home to the largest play frame in the UK and features a range of attractions including laser tag, VR, indoor football.
We have interpreted the above paragraph from the Play Factore’s website. How would we describe it? Well, it’s a soft play centre for young kids, but also much much more than that!.
Situated in Manchester, located between Trafford and Salford and adjacent to The Trafford Centre in the BEYOND building, Play Factore is an ideal complement to a family’s shopping day – if you’re able to escape the Trafford Centre – offering a memorable and exciting experience for children.
Key Information for Play Factore
- 📍Trafford Quays Leisure Village, 7 Trafford Way, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M41 7JA
- 📱 0161 748 6851
- 💻 website
- Opening hours: 10am to 6pm
How Much Is Play Factore?
Booking Options: For convenience, we’d recommend booking your visit online before heading to the Play Factore. Not only does this guarantee your space in the soft play centre, but it speeds up entry – especially at weekends there are a lot of visitors as well as parties going on, which can make the reception area congested.
General Admission Prices:
Peak Prices (Applicable on Weekends, Bank Holidays, and School Holidays):
- Infants under 6 months enjoy free entry.
- Babies aged 6 – 11 months: £2.95.
- Toddlers aged 1 – 4 years: £9.95.
- Children and teens aged 5 – 16 years: Ranges from £15.95 to £19.95.
- Adult entry is priced at £4.95.
Play Add-Ons (Exclusive to Peak Times):
- Zip Wire: £4.75 per ride, suitable for children aged 5-16 years.
- Virtual Reality: £5.50 per session, with a minimum height requirement of 1.25m.
Off-Peak Prices (Valid on Weekdays during Term Time):
- Infants under 6 months: Free admission.
- Babies aged 6 – 11 months: £2.95.
- Toddlers aged 1– 4 years: £9.95.
- Older children aged 5 – 16 years: £12.95.
- Adults: £4.95.
Additional Information: The admission times are dependent on the selected play session. We didn’t use any of the added extras, so we’re not familiar with the process, but specific age groups are restricted from using certain facilities like the laser tag arena, big red slide, zip wire, or ValoJump trampolines.
The pricing structure at Play Factore varies between peak and off-peak times. Peak times offer more attractions but at additional costs for certain activities, while off-peak times provide a more cost-effective option for families with older children.
As we’ll come to, however – based upon our experiences – if you’re going to Play Factore with younger children, we would recommend heading there on off peak times.
So What Did We Explore?
We didn’t venture onto any of the more adventurous ‘kit’. As a grown dad (boys and their toys and all that), I’ll be honest in saying that I thought some of it looked amazing, and I can’t wait to go back in another year or two.
However, we pretty much stayed to the under 5s section as well as the larger play area. Neither me nor Marnie went off into the play area – we struggled to keep up with the kids as they went off exploring – and so preferred to keep a ‘static base’ for the kids to be able to find us.
They kept reappearing every so often with great big gleaming smiles, however for as long as they weren’t with us I was nervous. It wasn’t unusual to see younger children crying, and due to the big open nature of the centre, there was a part of me that was worried where and who the kids could be with. Not just adults, but given that Play Factore markets itself as a play centre for up to 16 year olds, there’s a lot of older children there. This isn’t something you experience at more typical soft play centres.
What Was The Food Like?
Pizzas are definitely their thing. As you can see from the professional set up in the photo below, they have a proper pizza oven and a pizzaiola. We went for a salami pizza and margarita (not all of the pizzas in the photo are ours), and we definitely weren’t disappointed by it.
In addition to the pizzas being decent quality, the prices weren’t crazy. Given that the only food you can get is from the centre, sometimes you can get ‘held hostage’ and get overcharged. However we paid a reasonable average price of £10 per pizza, which was decent for the size.
On top of that, drinks prices were reasonable. I had an americano and Marnie a flat white and we paid £2.75 and £3.50 for each drink – still pretty decent! The kids both went for soft drinks and again, nothing crazy!
Our only criticism was the queue! It started where I was standing taking the photo of the pizzas and snaked all the way around the counter (the man in green is queueing for the till!). However, whilst this was frustrating for us, the kids didn’t care as they were off playing!
So What Did We Make Of It?
Terrifying! Amazing! Great fun! Crazy!
These were just some of the words used to describe it. For me and Marnie the experience was terrifying. Seeing kids running around in tears and having a constant nagging worry that you didn’t know where they were, really was scary, and the whole time there, I couldn’t quite relax!
For the kids, they loved it.
So there you have it, if you want to go somewhere the kids will have an incredible amount of fun. Get yourself down to the Play Factore. However, do so bearing in mind the sheer size of it and the lack of supervision that you can maintain over your kids!
For that reason, we would therefore recommend going at less busy off peak times, especially if you are going with younger kids!