‘Beanies’ is a play centre/cafe in central Croydon, on the site of the old Beanos record store. On the ground floor is a cafe area, but if you want to go up to the play area on the first floor there is also waiter service. They give you a wristband which acts as a tab you then settle on leaving. They also hire out their top floor to other ‘organisations’ that offer music, dance, drama and even yoga classes etc.
Pros: The staff are very friendly, it was set up by mums with young children. The cafe does a wide range of sandwiches, paninis, cakes and drinks. There are lots of toys and dressing up costumes for babies and toddlers. They sometimes offer painting and other arts & crafts activities. There is no restriction on length of stay.
Cons: Personally, I found £5 entrance to the play area a bit expensive considering the toys are not dissimilar to what is provided at our local Sure Start Centres (which are free) and toddler groups. There was no soft play area, which I had expected it to have. The food and drink prices are comparable to typical cafes and coffee shops, whereas another play centre I know in Addiscombe only charges @ 50p for kids sandwiches.
If it was cheaper, we might go more frequently as a treat after shopping. However, for us there are cheaper, more local, places with soft play climbing areas that we would prefer to go.