“Mummy this is really, really, really, really cool!”
It’s fair to say that the tramplolines at Better Extreme in Walthamstow got a big thumbs up from my 4 year old. He loved it so much he’s been asking to go back ever since and we’re planning to go again very soon. At first he was skeptical when I told him we’d be visiting a new play centre as he’s pretty attached to the ones we already go to, but the promise of lots of trampolines all linked together was enough to persuade him.
The Better Extreme facilities at the Waltham Forest Feel Good Centre have only been open since October 2016 which probably explains why I hadn’t heard of them until we were invited to visit and try out the trampolines and soft play. I have to say, I was really impressed when we arrived as the new centre is huge, very modern, clean and has excellent facilities (more on that later).
They run a Soft Play and Tots Tramp session for children under 5 years old every Monday and Wednesday at 10am – 1pm and this gives you access to a soft play area which is especially for under 5s and the trampolines. You receive a wristband and have access to the soft play and trampolines for 60 minutes. It’s worth noting that under 5s are not normally allowed on the trampolines at other times when it is being used by older children. We headed to the soft play area first, it is in its own room which makes it nice and secure as the little ones can’t run off. Bonus.
There’s also some tables and chairs you can sit at and (hopefully) enjoy a coffee for five minutes while they burn off some energy (the cafe is just outside). There’s also a large toilet with baby changing facilities in the room too which is very handy.
There are three levels to explore and my 1 year old loved the ball pit and colour-changing lights on the ground floor while the 4 year old loved racing up to the top of the play structure. It’s not massive but it has plenty to amuse a 4 year old for an hour or two.
We were there on a Wednesday around midday and although there were a few children in there when we first arrived, we soon had the place to ourselves. This makes a nice change from the noisy, busy soft play centres we usually go to.
I had to drag my son away to get him to come and try out the trampolines which are in the Extreme Park bit of the centre. Before you enter you have to sign some forms and get your special trampolining socks which are £2 but you can keep them and use them again. We were told that we would have to watch a safety video before we were allowed to use the equipment but it was only afterwards that I realised we had never actually watched this, so I’m not sure at what point that was supposed to happen. Once inside, again it was very quiet with only a couple of other children which meant we had most of it to ourselves. There are 23 floor trampolines and 11 wall ones which are all joined together and my son loved being able to bounce from one trampoline to the next. It was great fun and proved quite a workout for all of us.
My one year old loved it as well and found the whole thing hilarious, giggling the entire time. Our time seemed up all too soon and my son would definitely have stayed on longer. Luckily, there’s a great little cafe in the centre just next to the trampolines so we stayed and had lunch as it certainly works up an appetite. Like most parents, I’m worried about the fact that my son would often rather be playing with some sort of screen (yes, already!! Urgh!) so I loved the fact that he was getting lots of exercise and enjoying himself at the same a time.
The Better Extreme section of the centre also has some other amazing facilities which we had a quick look at although they weren’t open at the time. There’s an ‘Extreme’ 4 storey soft play section for children over 5 which looks great and I love the fact that it is entirely separate from the soft play for the little ones. As other mums will know, it’s really frustrating when older children crash around the areas meant for smaller children and knock into them. There’s also a Clip and Climb area with 11 different climbing structures which looks brilliant and I’ll be bringing my son along to give it a go when he’s a bit older (climbing starts from 5 years old). And there’s a Ninja Run, an extreme obstacle course with foam pits which looks fun and is for children over 8 years old.
I was also lucky enough to have a look around the rest of the centre and there’s so much more going on including a huge gym, fitness studios, a running track and two swimming pools – one a 25 metre pool with dive boards and the second one was a small teaching pool perfect for babies and small children. The real surprise for me was the lovely spa – if you’ve been to one in a gym before they can often feel quite utilitarian but this one actually feels luxurious. Other family-friendly features include a buggy park which is very useful if you’re arriving by public transport, birthday party facilities and a creche for under 5s. You can use the creche for up to 2 hours and it’s included in some membership packages.
Overall, I was super impressed with the Feel Good Centre Waltham Forest. I’m surprised more people don’t know about it as it was very quiet in the week. I understand it is busier at weekends and school holidays but if you have pre-schoolers it’s a great place to visit mid-week. The only issues I have are that some of the prices are quite high for a single session. While the Soft Play & Tots Tramp session is £4.65, normal soft play prices are quite a bit more than others in the area and sessions are limited to 60 minutes which is less time than most as well. If you drive you have to pay for parking (remember to bring change) so that, combined with the entry cost if you’re bringing a few kids, can add up. Also, after visiting the centre and seeing all the great things on offer it seems like the website does not make it easy to see the variety of things you could do. So I’d recommend going down and asking to have a look around. But we’ll definitely be back, my son is desparate to go on the trampolines again and we all want to try out the pool. And I’m just waiting for an opportunity to visit that spa without the kids!
Soft Play & Tots Tramp: Ages 6 months – 5 years
Term Time: Monday & Wednesday 10am-1pm
Summer Holidays (24 July – 31 August) Every week day 10am – 11am
PRICE: £4.65. Trampoline socks £2 (obligatory)
Parking £1 an hour for non-members, members receive a discount and can buy permits.
We were invited to attend the Better Extreme centre for free in exchange for a review. However, all views are my own and completely honest.