Recently I was meeting up with a friend from Bedfordshire who was looking after two little Tinki’s. We needed somewhere easy to get to which had the magic three of childcare (good value, keeps the little ones entertained and allows us the opportunity for a good old natter.) I don’t know Bedfordshire that well so after some googling we decided on the Maypole in Kempston. The Maypole is in easy reach of Milton Keynes around 25 mins away, just off the A421.

The Maypole is a Farmhouse Inns restaurant that prides its self on its family friendly credentials. The web is full of praise for its play area and the staff are more than happy to see little ones. Despite being a full carvery restaurant they are happy for families to drop by for just a coffee while the kiddies play, so much so they even do toddle arts and craft sessions some mornings.

There is a lot right about this place, the parking is right outside and free. The play area although much smaller than I expected, kept three full of beans under fours nicely busy.

The prices are reasonable tea costs just £1.90. The cakes are pricier at £4.95 but would happily feed a family of four they are that big and can be taken away in plastic tubs.

There is even a big public outdoor play area a little way behind the restaurant, but sadly due to soggy weather we gave it a miss.

I want to give this place an amazing five star write up I really do, we had a lovely time and the little ones were happy but style of the play area is stopping me. From all the lovely reviews I read I was envisioning a soft play area with slides and ball pools but in reality its more just a collection of toys. There isn’t anything wrong with the area but I fear on a busy Saturday afternoon it could be carnage as the many Tinki’s fight over who’s turn it is in the Peppa Pig car, there were a maximum of about seven children when we were there and there were already tensions rising. After a while Tinki was bored of the toys and whiney not a good sign on our first visit as it would suggest a follow up wouldn’t last long.

Also there were lots of things in the play area to entice you to spend: a ride in the Peppa Pig car £1, a toy in a ball another £1 and grabby arcade machine £1. Factor in two drinks and an enormous cake as well and you can have easily spent £12. Not enough to break the bank but does raise the question is it actually better value than the soft play area in the Xscape or at the Wyevale Garden Center in Woburn Sands.

All in all if you are looking for a cheap and cheerful place to let the little ones play while you relax you could do a lot worse than here. Its easy location and relaxed attitude suit families with very young child well but I wouldn’t rush out and make a special trip.