This week I have decided to blog about Medieval Mayhem which is Sheffield’s newest soft play. It’s not a restaurant/cafe/pub etc but there is food so I think it counts.
I have been to a lot, and I mean A LOT, of soft plays over the last 3 1/2 Years and this one is by far the best I have ever attended. Obviously it helps that it’s brand new – everything is so sparklingly clean and fresh looking. Often soft plays can be a little dusty/snotty/grubby/ripped and leaking foam but I do think at the amount they often charge and usually with a bare minimum of staff on some of them could afford to make a few improvements and have a deep clean.
We arrived at Medieval Mayhem not long after it had opened on a Saturday morning. and sat down with plenty of free tables to choose from. There were lots of very friendly looking staff milling about who all smiled at us. There are two sections to the soft play a smaller area which is recommended for up to 4 year-olds and has a ball pool with an air blower that Alfred absolutely loved and a little light sensory area as well as lots of climbing. The larger area has several storeys to climb and lots of lovely touches including sensory areas, lights and mirrors, thrones to sit on and bridges to cross. There are three slides in the main area, a usual bumpy one, a quite steep drop slide and then a proper terrifying-looking drop slide which I told Alfred he was too young for. He loved the other two and I think he would happily have thrown himself down the third but I’m not sure my heart could have taken it (I believe this slide is only opened at certain times and is manned). The music that was playing was ‘Little Baby Bum’ (which I’m sure every parent that resorts to YouTube will be aware of) and reminded me of 5am starts. It’s perfect for kids though and made for a nice atmosphere with lots of children (and parents) singing along to certain songs. Obviously as it is an establishment aimed at families there are plenty of highchairs and baby-changing facilities. They also have a supply of items such as wipes, nappies and spare clothes which they are happy to supply to people who have forgotten items which I think is a lovely touch.
The thing that impressed me most was the food. There is loads to choose from on the menu and it’s helpfully split into ages. Alfred has a very healthy appetite so we toyed over whether to get the toddler size portion or the one for bigger children. We went for the toddler size in the end which is £3 and when it came it was absolutely huge for the price! Alfred had the homemade pizza with hand-cut chips and beans. It was absolutely delicious (he let me have a bite), the pizza was obviously freshly made with nice sharp cheddar (Alfred can’t stand the tasteless mild cheddar stuff) and ham. The chips were really yummy too. I usually avoid eating at soft plays because, well to be honest the food is usually pretty bland, bought in and deep fried. I will definitely be eating lunch next time I go here though and am really looking forward to it (I liked the look of the burgers). I did order myself a hot chocolate with cream (which was delicious and actually hot, very rare when hot chocolate has cream), my husband had a couple of coffees which he said were good and a homemade scone with jam and butter. These were only priced at £1 so I was expecting them to be a little substandard, however it was absolutely massive, really delicious and obviously freshly made – very impressed. On the side next to the order station was a large bowl of fruit and I overheard a lady order a banana. The team member said the fruit is free which I think is absolutely wonderful and such a great move to encourage kids to eat fruit and give them extra energy for playing.
I saw online that they do a ‘Play and Pasta’ night between 3pm and 6.30pm on a Tuesday which costs only £4.50 for 1-3 year olds or £6.95 for 4+ which I think is a fab after-school idea and will definitely be taking Alfred to it in the future. I’ll let you all know what it’s like when I have been.
The downside for me was that it was absolutely freezing. Although to be fair it was snowing outside and is a huge building so I imagine hard to heat (or perhaps they are trying to add to the authentic medieval theme?) Also if I wasn’t hugely pregnant I would probably be running around with Alfred so would appreciate the lack of heat. I’ll just make sure to bring an extra layer next time. By the time we left around 12pm it was absolutely rammed and our table was snapped up right away. We will definitely be going early again next time to get a table.
I have seen a few people complaining online about having to pay £1 per adult and I wasn’t sure how I felt about this either but after attending I am more than happy to pay it when it’s obviously being spent on food cleaners, lots of staff and trained chefs. We are looking forward to visiting again.
After thought: the maddest soft play experience I have ever had happened when we were visiting a friend in Nottingham. A little girl was stood on the top floor of the soft play and proceeded to do a massive wee all over a boy standing two storeys below her. The boy stood in shock looking absolutely stricken and the little girl burst into tears. The mother of the boy screamed and started shouting ‘she’s pissed all over him, she’s pissed on my boy’ at the top of her lungs while parents desperately grabbed their children before they ran into the wee and the older ones giggled and said ‘that lady is doing a swear’. The mother of the girl was reading a book and didn’t realise what was happening until someone tapped her on the shoulder and said ‘is that your daughter?’. The woman was obviously absolutely mortified, grabbed her daughter and ran to the bathrooms without saying a word to anyone, which only aggravated the wee-covered child’s Mum even further. The soft play had to be closed while the staff cleaned everything up (much to all the children’s disgust) and the wet boy left. The mother of the girl then came back out and let her daughter go back in with clean clothes on and went back to her book. The whole thing was incredibly surreal and I must admit a little funny (although I wouldn’t have been laughing if Alfred was covered in wee I’m sure). It was a long time before I was brave enough to send Alfred into a soft play without a nappy on after that!