William’s Den is an adventure play centre, but not the brightly coloured soft play type, it’s made entirely of natural wood and has large indoor and outdoor areas with water and sand features.
NB: Emma and family were invited to William’s Den to experience Christmas but all views and opinions are her own.
It’s impressive: well made, safe, unique and great for adults to share in the fun with their children, just like the creators intended.
We visited on a typical wet Sunday afternoon, in search of something to entertain our children, age 4, (nearly) 6 and 8 years old, for a few hours. We booked one of the Christmas attractions – the winter skating rink – too (which is an additional cost) as the children had never experienced ice skating before.
The skating rink was great fun. It’s been a long time since I’ve skated myself and I was quite wobbly but the children thought I was hilarious! My youngest particularly enjoyed being pushed around the rink on a whale ride-on. I thought it was a good idea that for young skaters, instead of ice skates, you could opt for a pair of gliders which are double blade skates that strap on to the children’s normal shoes which enabled them to skate more independently.
Inside William’s Den, the adventure playground looks like a giant tree house and is really very exciting! There are steps, ladders, rope ladders, netted walk ways, bridges, a fireman’s pole, sand pit, a shallow stream and more! The area is heated and well lit and there are a number of benches round the edges for adults to sit on. My elder children were happy to go off and explore with each other, once I’d made sure I was happy that they could manage all the equipment. William’s Den is recommended for 2-12 years but younger children should be accompanied around the play area and my youngest one needed a hand here and there.
However adults joining in is actively encouraged and the equipment is plenty big enough and sturdy enough for adults to use. What my children really loved was when Grandad played hide and seek with them. What a rare and wonderful moment of family time. I’m not sure who had more fun in the end, him or them!
There’s plenty to keep the children entertained outdoors too with (amongst other things) things to climb on, tyre swings, tunnels and 2 zip wires. There are picnic benches so you can bring your own food. Or you could opt to eat in the café, which is what we did. The menu is extensive and we really enjoyed the food, drinks and cakes we had.
There is a well-stocked gift shop, great for picking up presents and, importantly, I was most impressed with the family-friendly toilet facilities! Hooray!
We had a great afternoon out, spending over 4 hours of quality family time at William’s Den. I’m sure we’ll be going back soon.
Ian & Emma Phillips live in Bolton with their three children, two boys aged 8 and 6 and their little girl who is now 4. Emma also writes over at Fuelled by Latte.
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