When will soft plays reopen? Dates indoor play centres could open across UK - and rules for outdoor playgrounds

Indoor soft play centres have been closed for months due to lockdowns

Families may be eager to get back to indoor soft play centres, after they’ve been closed for months due to the Covid pandemic, but when are they expected to open again across the UK?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

When will soft play centres open across the UK?

Indoor soft play centres have been closed for months due to lockdowns (Photo: Shutterstock)

In England, indoor soft play centres are not set to reopen until 17 May at the earliest.

According to government guidance, indoor locations to open up in Step 3 of the easing of lockdown restrictions plans “include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.”

From the same date, the Government is also expected to allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full to take place.

Outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full are also set to be allowed from 17 May at the earliest.

However, outdoor playgrounds are currently open, which the Government defines as “outdoor structures designed for children to play in or on.”

Playgrounds may include equipment such as slides, monkey bars, climbing frames, activity towers, swings, spring rockers, see saws and sandpits.

In Scotland, soft play centres remain closed and are not expected to reopen before 7 June at the earliest, subject to capacity constraints.

However, outdoor organised activities for all children and young people up to age 18 - where there are no more than two adults at any one time and the overall group size, including facilitators, is no more than 15 - is now allowed.

Parent/baby and toddler group activities can also take place outdoors, where there are no more than 15 adults present at any one time and the group is for children under the age of five.

Facilitators are included in the adult numbers, but there is no restriction on the number of under 5s who can attend these groups.

In Wales, indoor play centres are currently closed but outdoor playgrounds are open. Indoor play centres could reopen from 17 May, but this is not a definite date yet.

According to the Welsh government, “The benefits of outdoor play to children are significant and keeping parks and playgrounds open supports children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Outdoor environments are lower risk in relation to coronavirus transmission.”

Government guidance says that playgrounds generally constitute space containing outdoor structures designed for children to play in or on, and may include equipment such as slides, monkey bars, climbing frames, activity towers, swings, spring rockers, see saws and sandpits.

“They may also include areas of open space between such structures and so are considered to include the land on which they are situated,” adds the guidance.

Splash parks - which are playgrounds equipped with sprinklers, fountains and nozzles - also remain open.

In Northern Ireland, soft play centres are currently not open, but an indicative reopening date of 24 May has been given.

Outdoor parks, play areas, outdoor areas of properties operated by the National Trust, and the outdoor areas of stately homes, historic homes and castles are all currently permitted to remain open.

Read More: