My ‘Little Street’ Review

Going down the road to ‘Little Street’.

My review on this fabulous children’s role play centre in Surrey.

Little Street ReviewDear mummy, the weather’s been miserable recently and our long walks in the countryside have been put on hold. All the puddle jumping I’ve been doing recently has been on footpaths and in car parks visiting soft play centres ranging from Gambado, in Eastleigh and Active Tots in Bramley.

However today we’ve decided to go further afield to a little known place called Little Street. It’s says exactly what it does on the sign…it’s a little street for children. We hunt it down at Frimley Train Station just off the M3 near Camberley. Parking is good and mummy drives into the train station car park which charges £1 on weekdays, free at weekends. We’ve known about Little Street since it opened back in June this year, but have needed a good excuse to pop down and this wet and windy day is the perfect reason to go and explore this new type of children’s play center.

Little Street Review Fire EngineLittle Street is a realistic street designed for role play, to help little ones to reenact scenarios in the everyday world helping them to learn through play and is great fun. My mummy knows I love role play and Little Street is a scaled down version of Little Street Review Areasa typical high street with a supermarket, doctors surgery, beauty salon, a cafe and a construction site. My favourite area has to be the large dressing up box and stage with musical instruments called Starlets Theatre. I spend a lot of time dancing on the stage, while mummy and grandma sing and play on musical instruments. Another area I like is the large round-about with a fire engine in the middle…I do like to climb at the moment so I spend a great deal of time on this large wooden vehicle. There are murals and artwork on the walls with a post office, police station and fire station.

Little Street Review Role PlayLittle street operates an online booking system which allows parents to pre-book a particular session of the day. Child (Includes free entry for 1 adult) – £5.50 / £6.00 and Additional Adult – £3.50 / £3.75. We went off-peak on a Monday. They have 4 daily play sessions and are open 7 days a week! We choose the 13:30 to 15:00 session and even though it was busy, it wasn’t heaving. Adults do tend to get in the way, especially if they are nattering to other parents standing in the middle of the hair salon (True to form eh?), the best thing to do is to get down on the floor and engage/play with your little ones (if they haven’t already found a friend to play with) all children must be supervised by a responsible adult/guardian at all times, so keeping a beady little eye on them is recommended. My mummy and grandma sat in a corner to let me get on and do my thang.

Little Street also has a cafe which serves hot and cold drinks, snacks and gorgeous cakes! The staff are friendly and helpful. We spoke to another parent and they had mentioned that Little Street can get very busy on school holidays, so it is always worth booking online to check availability of time slots. You can just walk-in, but you may be disappointed, so always check their website first. Little Street also do parties, which is a great idea and maybe a thought for the future *hint hint mummy*

Would we go back? Yes, but not until I’ve stopped my climbing stage, as I wanted to climb up on everything…the shelves in the supermarket, the scales in the doctor’s surgery, the walls in the construction yard….the list goes on and it was a bit hairy for my mummy to keep an eye on me all the time. I wasn’t taken with Belle & Beau beauty salon area, however I might grow into this. Definitely a play centre to keep an eye on for a rainy day. Early Years Practitioners have helped design Little Street and they have incorporated other learning opportunities for children throughout the play areas, puzzles, languages, shape sorters and challenges. Little Street is most appealing to children from walking age to 7 years… or any adults that like role play… as my mummy found out pretending to be a police officer!

If you suffer from tidiness OCD, it might be worth relaxing your reins for a little while, as my mummy trailed after me putting prop cartons and boxes back onto shelves and turning them facing outwards, a bit like that strange creepy man from ‘Sleeping With The Enemie” However the place is immaculate and clean, you could eat your dinner off the floor it sparkled so much, so well done Little Street staff for keeping the play area beautiful.

It is truly an unique and inspirational play centre for young children and we would recommend taking your little ones down there for a couple of hours of play. You couldn’t spend the whole day down there, but with Frimley High Street (yes the adult version) on it’s doorstep with shops and cafes you could fill your day up visiting Frimley or Camberley.

We had a fab time and hope other families enjoy their time down there as much as we did. Shame the 90 min play session didn’t last longer…

Until next time Little Street!

Bella x

Our first trip to Hatchlands – National Trust

Hatchlands Park, National Trust

Dear mummy, last week we visited Just for Tiny People’s Open Day near Dorking and Guildford and decided to pop into Hatchlands Park, one of two National Trust properties on the A246.

Hatchlands Park tearoom Hatchlands is on the edge of the Surrey hills and a lot of families have been raving about the seasonal children’s activities they host. It’s only 45 mins away from London. We’ve already visited Clandon Park, down the road, on Mothers Day.

Hatchlands Park is a red-brick country house with surrounding gardens in East Clandon, Surrey, England, covering 430 acres and has been a Grade I listed property since 1967.

The Georgian Mansion was built in the 1750’s for naval hero Admiral Edward Boscawen. It is a family home and today its residents are in (we don’t know who they are), so the house is closed for visitors.

I’m sure the family don’t want people popping in to look at the great collection of musical instruments and paintings while they are watching telly. The property is famous for housing Europe’s largest collection of keyboard instruments associated with famous composers such as JC Bach, Chopin and Elgar. I’m like a magpie when it comes to musical instruments and gravitate toward anything they makes a big noise, so it is actually for the best I’m not in the house today.

Hatchlands Park CourtyardHatchlands Park also has five mapped walks and a parterre garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. But today the weather is miserable so we head straight to the tearoom for lunch.

We enjoy some fine fare and warm up with hot jacket potatoes, fresh out of the oven…yummy.

A lovely man called Ray from the National Trust pops in to tell everyone that the cellar tours of the house are happening today free of charge, as visitors can’t gain entry to the house and the weather is so bad, it seems everyone is hiding out from the rain in the tearoom.

While we wait for the tour we venture outside and the rain is a light drizzle. I have fun jumping around in the puddles in the cobbled courtyard. Some of them are really deep and mummy tests them out to make sure I don’t get swallowed up by them!

Hatchlands Park PianosBefore long we hear the tinkering of ivories coming from one of the outhouses surrounding the courtyard. I run over making sure I stomp in every puddle on the way and find a piano, children’s books and activities in this stable barn.

Other children are playing on the piano and I wait my turn.

Finally I get to play on the keys, my small fingers gently prodding the cold keys, my mummy leans over and strikes some chords which I try to mimic. It’s great fun and the sound echoes around the empty courtyard and sounds eerie, the clouds have darkened again and everyone has gone inside for the cellar tour which is about to commence.

We queue up with the rest for the families on the tour and get a safety brief from the National Trust man Ray, he issues out safety helmets as it can get a bit dark down in the cellar and he doesn’t want us banging our heads on the low ceilings and old pipe work. I’m not allowed to be picked up or carried for that reason too, incase my mummy bangs my head, so I hold her hand and head into the darkness.

I love hearing my voice ‘echo echo echo’ and babble all the way down the stairs holding onto mummy and the side of the wall. It’s cold and damp down here and the National Trust have set up war-time scenes of when people used to live down here in war-time Britain when the bombings were happening. Cot beds and desks are set up so people could sleep and work here when’s the air strikes were happening. I couldn’t image it mummy, it seems so dismal and scary down here. The cellars have an eerie feeling…it was a humbling experience and we were glad we visited the cellars. Ray and Jenny, the tour host were very informative and friendly.

Hatchlands Wizaard WoodlandBy the time we reach the top of the stairs into the daylight the rain has cleared up and the sun is shining. We head towards the Wizard Wix’s Willow Warren in the woods….wow! that’s a bit of a mouthful!!

It’s a adventure area made using tree stumps and wood crafted into dens and an assault course for small people.

It’s great fun and we spend a whole hour playing.

My mummy sings to me in the den and holds my hand as we walk the wooden beams. Other children are running around in a fantasy land of dragons and wizards and we can hear them talking about motes and dungeons. The sun is shining and I go to take a break in one of the wooden huts, I feel so lucky to be out in the fresh air exploring and getting muddy.

By the end of the day I’m pooped and feel my eyes getting heavy, my mummy is a bit tired too having had to navigate the buggy over the hills. I must fall asleep in the car, as when I wake up I’m home. A really nice day. Thanks National Trust.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatchlands-park/

Love Bella x

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall