Family Day Out Review: The Stay And Play, Chesham
The Stay And Play Cafe, Chesham
Value For Money9.0/10
Variety Of Activities8.0/10
Things We Like
- Good quality food and drink with plenty of different options
- Various activities to keep the kids occupied, including the playframe, outdoor area, toys, books and games
- Discount on drinks when using your own travel cup
- Very family-friendly facilities, including high chairs, baby change area, stool, potty etc
- Friendly staff always willing to chat
Things We Dislike
- Not many tables in a smallish venue, so expect to wait at busy periods
- The playframe is small and better suited to babies and toddlers
- Not all tables have a decent view of the playframe
What’s It All About?
The Stay and Play (or to give it its proper name, Thé, Stay and Play) is a family-friendly, soft play cafe in Chesham. With tasty food, cakes and hot drinks, as well as a small indoor playframe and outside astro-turfed garden, it’s a great option to meet up with friends for a coffee or to grab a bite to eat at lunch when you’re with the kids.
What Do We Think?
We’ve been to The Stay and Play a number of times now and never leave disappointed. Finding a family-friendly place which merges good food and drink for the adults with somewhere fun for the kids is always challenging, but this soft play cafe on Chesham high-street balances the two really well.
The brightly coloured playframe is situated at the back of the cafe. Set over two levels, it features foam steps, a slide, a ball pit and obstacles including rollers, punch bags and a cargo net. There’s also a couple of foam shapes in there as well as a ladybird to sit on. It’s a small playframe, but a decent size for younger kids to have an explore and play in a safe environment.
Their website advertises the playframe as being suitable for children up to 8 years old, but we think that’s a little optimistic – 0 to 5 years old is probably more accurate. In our experience, our toddler son loves it, but our five-year old daughter (who is used to large soft plays) soon gets bored. If you can, take your preschooler during school hours to avoid any of the older kids.
The Stay and Play has more entertainment than just the soft play too. There’s a play kitchen for imaginative play, a chalk wall to draw on and a big basket of DUPLO. There’s also a shelf with various books, games, toys and jigsaws, as well as a fish tank which always draws the attention of the little ones. These are all good distractions for the children when you’re trying to eat lunch!
An unexpected bonus is the small, outside garden. This would be perfect for sitting and playing during the summer months, however we’ve only been in winter when this area has understandably been closed. From looking through the window, this astroturfed area has a few tables and chairs as well as some garden toys for the kids to play with. It also looked pretty safe and secure.
Being a soft play cafe, there is an expectation that the food and drink is of better quality than your typical soft play – we’re happy to report that we found this to be true! They offer a large selection of drinks, including loose leaf teas and plenty of barista-style coffees that would rival the high street chains. Not only are the hot drinks of good quality, but something we really like is that you get a discount on them when you take your own reusable cup (was 50%, now 30%).
In terms of food, they offer a breakfast menu (before 11am) consisting of things like a cooked breakfast, bacon sandwiches and avocado on sourdough. There’s then the lunch menu with paninis, sandwiches, salads and soups. They also have a children’s tapas menu where you can choose five items (e.g. pita, ham, carrot sticks, hummus and grapes) which provides a healthy option and always goes down well with our kids. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s always a tasty looking selection of cakes lined up on the counter. The food has always been nice when we’ve eaten there.
The cafe does a great job of combining good food and drink with being child-friendly. This means that it’s pretty in demand as not many places like this exist. As such, the place can often feel quite crowded and cramped, particularly if people have brought pushchairs with them. There’s only a handful of tables (less than 10) in the cafe, so finding somewhere to sit can be difficult and you might need to linger at peak times – however, you can contact them in advance to reserve a table.
In terms of facilities, there’s a unisex toilet which includes a few kid-friendly essentials like a stool and potty. There’s also a separate baby changing area which is handy and means it’s not crammed into the toilet. There’s also high chairs, an area to park pushchairs, Wi-Fi and jugs of free tap water. They also do children’s birthday parties, as well as some more ‘adult’ things like open mic music nights.
Entry to the cafe is free, but you will need to pay for the playframe (and food / drink!). It’s £3 per child (£2 for a sibling), £1.50 for crawlers / early walkers and free for babies. They also offer membership (£99) which gets free play, discounts on food and drink, and offers like a biscuit with any hot drink. They also regularly offer special deals, like free play with a £10 spend, so keep an eye out for those.
All in all, we’ve really enjoyed The Stay and Play when we’ve visited. It’s nice to go somewhere that actively welcomes children when you fancy grabbing a good coffee or when you want to catch up with friends. More seating would be good and a larger playframe, but they’ve done a great job with the space they have and it’s well worth popping in.
What Does It Look Like?
What Do I Need To Know?
Address: 24 High Street, Chesham, HP5 1EP.
Opening Times: Mon-Thur 9am-3pm, Fri-Sat 9am-5pm (2.30pm close on Sat if booked for private party), Sun Closed.
Price: Entry to cafe is free, but there’s a charge for the soft play. 0 to crawling Free, lower play frame (crawling to walking) £1.50, full play frame £3.00 (£2.00 sibling).
Toilets: Yes. One unisex toilet. There’s also a separate baby change area.
Cafe / Restaurant: Yes. The cafe serves hot and cold drinks, snacks and food.
Parking: No. Public, paid-for car parks available nearby at Catlings, Star Yard and Sainsbury’s.
Public Transport: Chesham Train Station 0.2 miles away.
Duration: 1 to 2 hours.
Age Range: Babies and Toddlers (0-3), Young Children (4-8).
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