National Trust owned Croft Castle near Leominster is a wondrous manor house steeped in 1,000 years of history and set in striking countryside with tremendous panoramic views. The National Trust desired a unique, themed adventure playground for young visitors to enjoy, and an imaginative play castle was to be its main focal point. This project was planned over three years.
The Brief: Emulating a Victorian Castle Folly
The bespoke play castle would be designed to emulate the towers of the Victorian castle folly and the playground would befit the incredible surroundings of the property. The playground had to be a safe and exciting area for children to play and one stipulation was that it must feature a group swing.
Please take a look at the photo mosaic of Croft Castle play area below. Clicking an image will take you into slideshow mode where you can view larger versions of each image. For more information about this particular project, please scroll down to the information below the image mosaic.
With just over 14 x 9 metres of space available, the real challenge was to design and construct imaginative play equipment that would fit suitably into such a small area and offer a wide range of play apparatus.
Materials & Imagination: Durable Yet Sympathetic
At the heart of the playground, the themed, bespoke four-turret playhouse castle was painted grey at the direction of the National Trust, rather than the usual stone effect. The detail and finish of the castle are exquisite. Children relish peering through the peep holes, scaling the turrets and running amok through the arched doorways. Built mostly from oak and FSC birch faced plywood, the play equipment is designed to be durable whilst maintaining a sympathetic approach. After six years of facing the elements, this beautiful and realistic outdoor play castle was re-painted for the first time. The wooden structure was as solid and intact as when we first installed it and we predict no deterioration in the five years that follow.
Whether they’re scrambling up the angled climb ladder, hide-and-seeking in the ground floor keeps or hurtling down the slide, kids of all ages can’t fail to be entertained or inspired by this stunning centrepiece castle playhouse or the many exciting accessories that accompany it. There are over 32 separate play accessories in the castle alone.
In all, the castle incorporates the following accessories:
- A climb wall
- Four towers
- Two ground floor keeps
- A slide
- Climb nets
- Peep holes
- Step ladders
- Angled climb ladder
- Flag pole
- Central Courtyard
This intricately detailed centrepiece is complemented by more bespoke handcrafted play equipment that is themed to the castle style. Children can explore and enjoy these other areas of intrigue in addition to the castle:
- See saw
- Heavy two bay swing
- Cantilever swing basket
- Three hand painted springies (including Gracie, so called by the castle guardian’s daughter who loved to visit)
The cantilever swing basket has been a particular favourite feature that sees children’s eyes light up as they are collectively swing through the air while it’s heavy medieval character complements the castle.
The attention to detail throughout this project is further captured in the decoration of the three springies, all lovingly hand painted to feature one horse (Gracie – as named by the daughter of the castle guardian) and two dragons as detailed on the Croft family crest.
As with all of our creations, this play area was custom made and can be customised to include any piece of play apparatus. When you are planning your own creation, you are limited only by your imagination. And if that is lacking, ask us to help you out – we have years of experience designing and making engaging play areas.
The National Trust was extremely satisfied with the end result and the elaborate detail. The beauty of this castle project is that it is flexible to allow for future modification or can be customised to include alternative or additional turrets and other play accessories. The addition of this play are to Croft Castle has led to a huge surge in visitor numbers of families with young children.
Is the lack of a play area like this an omission that any attraction can truly withstand in this modern day competitive environment? When you are competing for visitors and striving to encourage them to make repeat visits, a unique and memorable play area is an invaluable asset. If your attraction is special and unique, why would you consider installing an ordinary, run of the mill play area?
The following comments are public TripAdvisor reviews:
- ‘the most wonderful small castle on the kiddies playground, the stuff that kids dreams are made of. We have never seen a castle in any other childrens playground and it was so enjoyed by the children who were playing in it’ Valerie H
- ‘The kids LOVED the castle playground’ njldk13
- ‘Fab play area if you have kids’ FrankiePrice
- ‘brilliant play area’ ClaireyDavies
- ‘he little castle play area is a firm favourite’ hedoniser
- ‘When you start with a castle based play area what can go wrong? Trying to get my five year old away to enjoy the rest of the facilities was the biggest challenge!’ Rory S
- ‘lovely castle themed play area which my son loved’ marie12336
Use this themed, adventure play area as inspiration for your own project, but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries in whatever way you want. Add extra features, incorporate interesting themes, and do whatever else you can think of to challenge us to make you the best adventure play area possible. Please get in touch with us to discuss your idea and we will walk you through the design process.
Please also take a look at our other outdoor play areas, tree houses, multi-play towers, and replica landmarks for further inspiration – all of these concepts were amalgamated in this project to make the expansive play area that you see here.
For pricing information, please refer to our pricing page or get in contact with us to make an enquiry and discuss a potential project.