Hangouts

Climb rolling hills and rainbow bridges at Battersea Arts Centre’s play zone

The Bee's Knees is truly magical and by far the most original, innovative and, crucially, clean soft-play space I've come across

What?: Brilliant theatre and music venue with super-chilled bar and cafe plus an incredible Teletubbyland-esque play space. The Bee’s Knees (that’s its name) comes complete with astroturfed rolling hills, a rainbow bridge, a cave, a few of those creepy periscope things that tell Po and Laa-Laa it’s time to fuck off to bed and some vaguely unnerving intermittent bee/horse audio.

Where?: BAC occupies a lovely big grade II-listed Victorian building on Battersea’s Lavender Hill, a 5-10 minute walk from Clapham Junction (Mainline, Ginger). The Claphams Common and South (Northern) are also nearby, as are Wandsworth Road and Clapham High Street (Mainline).

Facilities: Step-free access, supervised soft play, loads of toys, ok baby-changing in the disabled loo, fussy-eater-friendly kids’ menu, copious high chairs.

Best Bits: The Bee’s Knees is truly magical and by far the most original, innovative and, crucially, clean soft-play space I’ve come across. I was also really impressed with Scratch Bar’s kids’ menu. Bab had houmous with vegetables and I’ve never seen her enjoy a meal so much in her life. There was houmous in her hair, up her nose, in her eye…. she had the time of her life. On top of that we both really appreciated the 90s pop music that was happening.

Worst Bits: It was a very warm spring afternoon and the windowless soft-play room got a bit unbearable after a while. I think if we’d stayed there much longer they would have had to scrape us off the astroturf. Speaking of which, Bab initially found the astroturf a bit frightening but then she can be a bit neurotic about textured flooring.

Price: It’s £3 for all-day access to The Bee’s Knees, which includes any classes that may or may not be on that day.

Would We Come Back? This place is great. We will totally be back.

www.bac.org.uk

Bab plays in The Bee’s Knees at Battersea Arts Centre

7 comments

  1. Glad I read this before today. I’ve been to BAC before but didn’t know about Bees Knees. Today we had tickets for Bring Your Own Baby comedy at BAC, which I was massively looking forward to but my son decided he needed to have a meltdown and then crash out in his pram so I missed most of the show. Naturally he woke up just as the show ended. However, if I hadn’t read your review I wouldn’t have known about this place and would probably have just been so wound up I would’ve headed straight home. Instead, once he’d woken up we were able to spend a very pleasant hour or so here and the boy had a great time trying to head butt a mini xylophone thing. Which is more relaxing than it sounds. So, thanks again!

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    1. I literally just saw this like 10 years later. A Bring Your Own Baby comedy sounds amazing! You do so many brilliant things with him. Bees Knees is so good isn’t it. I feel like I could really do with one in my flat. Where did you get little munchkin’s (sorry I can’t remember his name hence why I keep inventing new ones) dungarees from? Are they Gruffalo?

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      1. Yes, BYOB is such a great idea. I’m still feeling a bit disappointed I missed most of it! There was booze and everything ;-). We loved the Bees Knees though, and will definitely be back. The romper is from Pretty Little Legs. It’s not the Gruffalo (although it does look a lot like him), the print is called Hairy Heroes and you can have it made up into various styles.

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  2. That’s such a shame, especially if you’ve spent a bit on tickets. We can’t go to anything like that now – even the thing today was a bit of a stretch (although I wasn’t under any illusion that it wouldn’t be) because she’s suddenly so mobile. We went to the Bees Knees the other week and she kept wandering off up the stairs. Just did a Google image search for Pretty Little Legs Hairy Heroes and some really weird stuff popped up ha.

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    1. Ha, I just googled that too and see what you mean! You can find PLL on Instagram or Facebook, that’s probably better as I think the website only opens when she is ready to take orders.

      I’m increasingly finding that these kind of things are hard for me to do, he isn’t crawling yet but is very active and so strong!

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  3. Oh yeah I just found the dungarees on Instagram. So cool! Yeah I remember Athena getting like this. We stopped doing things like baby cinema at about 5/6 months because she just got really bored and miserable and then everything else followed. Quite glad we’ve reached the toddler stage and events now accept that they just waddle around all over the place and can’t be stopped. The worst activities we’ve been to were the ones where they tried to make me tame her.

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