I went to the original opening of Wheatlea Park and we all absolutely loved it, you can read my original review here.
I was very kindly invited back to Wheatlea Park to do another review and as we loved it the first time I happily accepted. I also wondered how different it would be from my first visit as they knew I was a blogger as it was a press event so everything ran without a hitch. As I live close by to Wheatlea Park I know a lot of people that I have been and I’ve heard both good and bad things about it so I didn’t know what expect.
We went on what is probably one of their busiest times of the week a Saturday afternoon, we already had a table booked so we were seated straight away which was good. I was hoping to be seated inside of the play area like last time but there was a party on and it was very busy so we were seated just left of the entrance to it. I didn’t mind this as the table was actually bigger with more comfortable chairs, the table was right next to a large window which looked directly into the play area and above our table to the right was a TV screen which played live footage from inside the play area. It would flick through about 4 or 5 different cameras so if you couldn’t see your child through the window then chances are you would be able to keep an eye on them through the TV screen.
Sophia wanted to go into the play area right away so I went in to sign her in and found out that I did’t have to pay for her because she was under 90cm. It’s £3 for children taller than 90cm and you get 90 minutes of play. I was a little anxious about not being able to see her the whole time as she is only 2 and there was a lot of older boisterous kids about and I was a bit worried about her getting hurt, but there was 2 staff on the desk keeping an eye on things too.
The menu had lots of choice and we were all very happy with the food. I would recommend going Mon-Fri between 12-6 as they have a lot of meals 2 for £10.99 then which is very reasonable and the quality was very good. We did have a problem with the drinks however as they normally have diet Pepsi (my drink of choice) & other fizzy drinks refillable for £2.75 but they had run out of gas so it wasn’t working. My only other choice was to buy a small glass bottle of diet coke for £2.35 which wasn’t refillable. I felt like they should have made a exception at the managers discretion to do a offer on the bottles of coke or do whatever was necessary to keep there customers happy. I have been to KFC before when their drink machine was down and they were giving people bottles of Pepsi instead. The manager should have sorted out some gas from another nearby restaurant or bought some bottles by the case from the nearest supermarket (they are right next door to a Asda and Sainsburys) and honour the refillable drinks offer. I used to work at Asda on the lottery machine and one day we ran out of ticket paper so we asked Sainsburys next door who helped us out and loaned us a roll of paper, I’m sure that some other restaurant would do the same for them. So needless to say the way they handled this was disappointing and our drinks tab ended up quite expensive.
Another negative point that I found was that the door to the play area aren’t very secure. They are constantly open due to the footfall in and out of there and both staff ended up busy at times so they couldn’t always watch the door (remember there is a party on). At one point I was looking on the monitor and I couldn’t see Sophia I looked to the right and she was standing outside of the double doors in the restaurant. Luckily I was sat close by and was paying attention as she could have easily run off and could have possibly even run outside of the restaurant? The play area has 2 double doors which aren’t that heavy as Sophia (who is only 2) could push them open herself. This place definitely isn’t as secure as a regular soft play centre which has a locked gate that you buzz in and out of. I feel that once you open the double doors you should have the space around the desk but then it should have a barrier in place with a buzz-able gate to get in and out of the actual play area as a lot of kids where just running in and out the whole time and letting smaller ones out with them.
On to the positives, I found that the table staff had excellent customer service especially a lovely lady called Sharon. She was very friendly and down to earth, she noticed the adults from the party being quite loud next to us and that it was bothering us somewhat and asked us if we wanted to move tables. We didn’t move but it was very nice of he to ask. I also noticed that Sharon had quite a large tattoo on her forearm which I actually thought was a positive as businesses need to lighten up there policies of hiring people with tattoos as virtually everyone has tattoos these days. I have a couple of small tattoos on my forearms and behind my ear and because of that I can’t get in the police (even though I’ve seen officers with full sleeve tattoos) as my tattoos are in a visible area it doesn’t matter that I have a degree in Forensic Science, anyway rant over. I liked the fact that Brewers Fayre didn’t discriminate against this woman for having tattoos and hired her because she was great at the job in hand.
We did find the ordering food process a little confusing. Sharon told us to order drinks, starters and main meals at the bar and then desserts with her when she takes the plates away. It seemed a little odd and that it should be one or the other not a mixture of table and bar service. It also took a while to get served just for drinks if people in the queue where ordering food. The bar was huge and they could have done with a separate till just for food orders.
Overall I really like Wheatlea Park as it offers a service that no where else near me does, it’s a place to sit comfortably an eat decent quality food whilst your kid plays. As at a regular soft play centre the atmosphere is dire and it’s very loud and the food is usual very poor quality. I still don’t see it as just a restaurant, to me it’s in between a restaurant and a soft play centre. However we did find the end price rather expensive which I’m guessing was mostly down the drinks. As 4 adults and 1 child, we had 2 large starters to share, a main meal each, 2 drinks each, 1 kids meal, 1 kids drink and 1 adult dessert and the total was £83 which we found a little pricey. I did get this heavily discounted though for my review as we didn’t pay no where near that but if I didn’t have discount I wouldn’t have been happy to pay that much.
So overall I’m sure that we will go to Wheatlea Park again in the future as we did enjoy it, the food was great and most of all Sophia absolutely loved it, she didn’t want to leave. My tips are to phone up and see if any parties are booked in and possibly avoid going at that time. If possible go in the week before 6pm to get the cheaper menu and to book a table in advance if you can, also stay away from the over priced small bottles of coke and I’m sure that you will love it. – Jodie x
Disclaimer: I was given a voucher for Wheatlea Park to go and eat there in return for a honest review. As always my thoughts and opinions here are my own.