Sitting on the hill overlooking the big pay and display carpark in the centre of Haslemere is a new bulding several stories high. The ground floor is home to The Hen House.
It’s a soft play venue, but one with a bit of a difference. It’s half soft play, and half coffee shop/cafe. Henri the lady who started it said she was fed up of never being able to take the kids to soft play and get a decent snack or drink, so decided to take matters into her own hands.
It’s a pretty small venue with two main rooms. One is either left open for kids to play in (it has a light up floor which is very popular) or used for the food at children’s parties. The other is home to the soft play, several wendy houses, numerous tables and chairs, and the serving counter.
The soft play itself is pretty good, if a little limited. If you are looking at taking older children to the sort of place that you normally find in an industrial unit then you’re going to be disappointed, but that does kind of miss the point of what the Hen House is.
It is designed with pre-schoolers in mind, and it caters to them perfectly. There are all the things you’d expect, steps, narrow spaces to squeeze through, spinning columns and slides. It’s big enough that they don’t get bored, but small enough that you can keep an eye on them without having to climb in too.
The coffee is good, and there are a range of home baked cakes and snacks that are both reasonably priced and very nice indeed. If you just have one child and they’re over 4 you’re going to pay £6.50 for them to get in which feels a little steep, but under fours are cheaper, and siblings get a discount so it actually works better as a place to take more than one child to.
The security is great (a garden gate, a heavy door, and a magnet lock controlled by staff), and if you really need a moment or two without your little angels harassing you (we’ve all been there) then The Hen House is pretty much perfect.
In Summary, the Hen House is a lovely place for young kids to play while their parents relax and enjoy a coffee and a cake. It’s a great place to go if you have to entertain a few children, and their children’s parties are fantastic (my son had his fourth birthday party there). It is a little small, and tends to get fairly busy during the most obvious times, but because of this they allow you to book a table online before you go.
If money is an issue for you you may feel it is a little expensive once you’ve paid for parking in town, paid for entry, and then paid for a couple of slices of cake, but it truly is very good value, and when you’ve been once I’m pretty certain you’ll be back again.
NB. All photos are from The Hen House Website www.thehen-house.com