Little Miss and I were lucky enough to be invited to try out the new Belton House playground before it opened to the public on 31 March 2015. I’d been watching the progress on the Belton House Facebook page, so was quite keen to get along for a look. And although the second phase is still to open in May, I was very impressed with what they’ve achieved so far.
New play tower
First, and most impressively, is the new play tower. This uses the old tube slide (for anyone who is familiar with the old Belton House playground), but is so much more than a slide. It has a number of entry points – ladders, a swing bridge and climbing board. But the coolest thing (according to Little Miss) is the wire climbing tube that takes you up to the top level. All the kids seemed to love this.
Pebble play area
I think this area is for younger children, but I was puzzled as to why the ground was covered in small pebbles; especially since Little Miss got a shoe full of pebbles as soon as she stood on it. But then I noticed the play equipment – little buckets on the end of chain pulleys, so the kids can fill up the buckets on the ground and then hoist them up to the wooden platform and tip them back down some tubes. A great idea and after I emptied Little Miss’s shoe, she was very happy filling up the buckets and hoisting them up, just to tip them out and start over again!
New wooden play equipment
There is some great new wooden equipment, including a seesaw pump. You sit on the seesaw and as you go up and down you create a pumping mechanism which drives three water features. There is also a wooden carved train and platform and some wobbly plates.
The great thing about this playground is that Belton House has recycled as much of the old play equipment as possible. The swings are still there, the zip wires are still there and the wobbly bridge is still there, albeit in a different place.
Phase 2 opening in May
This is just the first phase of the £1.4 million renovation. Opening in May will be a catering kiosk, toilets, train station, new entrance as well as more play equipment.