The Yard Edinburgh
My wife and I are always looking for new things to do with our daughter. Amelia goes to nursery 3 days as week (spread throughout 5 days), so on the three afternoons she’s not at nursery and at the weekend we’re always thinking about what to do with her. Sometimes I’ll take her to the gym with me, although my gym has cut back it’s children’s classes for the summer (pain in the ass!), sometimes we’ll go to a softplay, sometimes we’ll walk up a hill (Arthur’s Seat for example) and other times we’ll go to Almond Valley, Edinburgh Zoo, take her out on her bike or go to the seaside. But now we’ve found The Yard Edinburgh.
We have a few softplays in Edinburgh and although they can be really good they seem to be getting more expensive. There’s Gambado in Fountainbridge but that’s ridiculously expensive. Close to our home we have Ocean Play, which used to be Maddie and Marks but it’s small, often way too busy and seems to be getting more expensive. Then there’s Wonder World in Leith. This was until this summer called Jungle Adventure but it was bought and now used to be great. We could go in and for about £8 Amelia could have a play and a meal (bit like a McDonalds happy meal). Now it’s £7 to get in and food on top of that (food portions have shrank and they’ve stopped doing jugs of juice), way too expensive guys!
Almond Valley Heritage Centre over in Livingston is pretty great, lots of animals and the outdoor play facilities are pretty good. Price is also fairly reasonable but it takes half an hour to get there. Again a pain in the bum. Edinburgh Zoo is fun for a day out but get this, the entry price for 2 adults and a child is £50. I’ll repeat, £50!!! As the Scots would say “get tae f*ck!”.
So The Yard. The Yard is an adventure centre for children with disabilities. It’s closed to the public during the week but on Sundays between 11am and 4pm they open their doors to the public. The Yard is awesome. Staff are friendly, it’s easy enough to park nearby and the whole facility is great.
Inside the building there is a main communal area with various play areas, soft couches for adults to sit, foam climbing blocks, a piano and also an art area. We’ve been twice now and the first time my daughter must have spent an hour painting in the art room and this past Sunday she did face painting for the first time.
Outside they have a really large play area complete with everything a child could need. There’s a large swing that can support a couple children, bicycles, scooters, roller skates, rollerblades, an art dome, sand pits, rope bridge, tree house, tyre wall, a slide, see saw, and another swing that can support many children. It’s great. Normally when we go to a softplay my daughter will ask for food within a couple minutes. This place, not at all. You basically pay £5 for 2 hours play and both times we’ve been our daughter has been so busy she hasn’t eaten or drank anything.
Also very importantly you feel like your child is really safe. The Yard, maybe because of the size of it, doesn’t seem anywhere near as busy as the various soft plays. Also you don’t, and I don’t want to sound pompous, have the minority shit head parents and their children (you know the kind that go in and dump their children). Don’t get me wrong, most parents are lovely but some parents drive me nuts. Especially the ones who wear shoes in the baby areas and those same parents who allow their grown children to charge through the baby areas, walk up slides, etc. (Gambado parents you know who you are).
Also children can only escape one way and that’s through the front door which is locked normally. So it’s great, possibly the best 5 hour a week only venue in Edinburgh. They also need to raise funds to continue their support for disabled children. From what I understand they get some money from the council but also need donations from the public. So if you go, like we will do soon, do some fundraising for them.