The Pod soft play centre is an excellent facility for babies and children up to the age of 11 years old. It is situated between Kingston and Ham, and is well worth the trip over the river! The main attraction at The Pod is the two-storey play frame, which is more than big enough to keep the children entertained for a couple of hours, but also small enough to be manageable when you’re on your own (the children are always within sight!).
The play frame is complete with various slides and tunnels, a ball pit which keeps the kids amused for ages with its suction tube system and vertical blower, and plenty of other areas to climb and scramble around. There is also a slightly scaled down area specifically for children aged three and under. For the babies and younger children, there is a separate multi-sensory room (only open from 10.30am-12.30pm), which has a great selection of sensory stimulation including a bubble tube lit in ever-changing colours, a laser star projector, and comfy cushions to relax on.
Alongside The Pod soft play in the Hawker Centre, there is a cafe which is perfect for refreshments and lunch during your visit. It sells tea, coffee, and snacks, as well as a hot menu including favourites like sausage & chips, mini pizza or pasta for the kids, paninis, sandwiches and jacket potatoes.
The Pod also caters for parties on weekend afternoons for groups of up to 60 children. There are a couple of packages available. The 1.5hr package (for 20-35 children) includes one hour of exclusive play in The Pod followed by 30 minutes of hot and cold party food (catered by The Pod) in the party room. The 2hr package (for up to 60 children) includes two hours of exclusive play in The Pod, with the party food served in The Pod during this time. For more information, call Cathryn on 0208 439 7406.
The Pod can be found at the YMCA Hawker, Lower Ham Road (junction with Richmond Road), Kingston KT2 5BH. It is open from 9.30am-5.30pm Monday – Friday, and from 8.00am-12.00pm on Saturdays & Sundays. At busy times, play is limited to two hours, and you may have to wait for entry (it is advisable to book at weekends). Since 2015 they have been running a new booking system during half term and holidays, with sessions available at 9.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm during the week. For more information and to book, call 020 8296 9747.