Review: Soft Play Party At Gambado, Beckenham


When we told the children we were leaving London for a life by the sea, they were pretty devastated to be leaving their friends. We needed something amazing to soften the blow and let them go out with a bang. It had to be a party that would be the talk of the playground for a long time.

There was only really one choice that would fit the bill: Gambado, Beckenham.

We were lucky enough to have a private hire of the entire Gambado site; only 5 minutes into the party I was wondering why on earth we hadn’t done it before. It may seem an expensive option (it’s around £550) but shared between several families, it would be the perfect whole class, plus as many friends and family as you liked, stress free option. Our children felt like VIPs and my eldest took great pleasure in smiling and nodding when her friends asked if her mummy had ‘bought Gambado’!

Soft play centres can have a bit of a bad rep as migraine inducing days out but – and I promise you this – private hire is definitely the way to go. It was brilliant, and genuinely enjoyable for the adults involved too. There was no falling out with other children, guaranteed seats, no queue at the café, total safety, no queues on the rides, plenty of staff looking after and engaging with us all, no toilet queues and plenty of free water and squash for the (incredibly hot and sweaty) children meaning no yo-yoing up and down to buy slushies. My friends and I actually got to sit down and chat for the first time in months!

As for the soft play: it’s AMAZING! We had around 50 children at the party – well, I think they were children, all I could see was a whirl of laughing, running, jumping, sliding, rolling, driving, spinning, giggling bodies. There’s something really brilliant about seeing your children and their friends so full of freedom and joy as they sprint around chasing each other and throwing themselves off things! The dodgems were definitely the activity of choice for the older kids and the lack of queue and the fact that they knew every person in every car made for some very funny races. Adding Gambado, the furry tiger mascot, to the mix ensured that much hilarity ensued.

We had the venue for 2 hours, which felt like the perfect amount: enough time for the kids to be absolutely shattered, but not enough time for tiredness to turn into trauma. 6.30-8.30pm made parking a breeze and meant that exhausted children could be peeled straight from car-seats and into bed.

At the end of the party, I asked the children what they thought of having Gambado all to themselves. I can’t really tell you what they said; they were so excited and exhausted I just got a couple of minutes of shrieking and dabbing.

We all agree that our South-East London legacy was safe in the hands of Gambado: it was definitely a party that our children and their friends would remember for a very long time.


Party: Gambado Beckenham Soft Play Hire

Venue: Natwest Sports Ground, Copers Cope Rd, Beckenham BR3 1NZ

MGF was given a discounted party rate in exchange for this review. All opinions are true and honest.

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Founder of MGF, Helen is a mum of four who spends way too much time on the interweb and not enough time in bed. She loves wearing her dressing gown, car boot sales and watching TV programmes featuring food. Her specialist subjects include 'how to overfill your car boot' and 'how to avoid dusting'. Follow her at Twitter: @Ginfund, Facebook: @MGFund, Instagram: @mummysginfund and online:

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