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Mellow Yellow

It might as well rain until September, so Michael McIlvenna puts the kids in the frame at Yellow Sub and disappears into a world of his own

Published on September 21st 2010.


Mellow Yellow

IT'S a vision of Hell, or Heaven, depending on whether or not you have kids, in a corrugated-steel and brick shed.

When we arrive, the Yellow Sub play centre is chock-full of children generating enough noise to rouse the dead.

My kids were away like Olympic sprinters the moment we walked in and only re-surfaced an hour and a quarter later, sweat-drenched and a thirst to be quenched

Yet, observe the look of bliss on the faces of their parents who have spent too many summer days listening to rain batter the rooftop while the kids batter seven bells out of the new three-piece suite.

Yellow Sub occupies a big, modern building, overlooking the great swell of the Mersey, south of the city centre at Brunswick Business Park. Owner Fawad Munir is a parent and businessman – in that order – who has created a place where, whatever the weather, children aged nought to 12 can safely offload their pent-up energy while their guardians catch up with the Guardian.

At over 14,000 square feet, this is a big space and needs to be because it is very popular, especially in the holidays. The closest thing to a school here are the fish that adorn the walls – even extending to the toilets - like the set of Finding Nemo.

Like a Pixar film, the secret of a successful play centre is to captivate the kids on one level, and the adults on quite another. For the four-to-10-year-olds, the fun is on three levels of the biggest play frame in the North West, with a whole lot more running, jumping, diving, crawling, climbing, sliding, and very little whingeing, for your money.

A climbing wall, astro turf football and basketball pitch, and four lane astra slide are among the highlights, while the focal point is the 20ft submarine that gives the place its name. But the best thing for our two boys was climbing to the top, then delighting in the terrifying thrill of the long snaking green and yellow slide that carried them all the way down. A giant game of snakes and ladders in which everybody wins.

My kids were away like Olympic sprinters the moment we walked in and only re-surfaced an hour and a quarter later, sweat-drenched and a thirst to be quenched.

A well-stocked area for the three-and-unders includes a mini grand prix racing circuit though the cars – the sort with big handles on the back so parents can help out when the drivers get tired – are more formula milk crowd than Formula One.

But what's in it for grown-ups? Well, you can just sit back in one of the moulded tubular steel armchairs - designed for dining or reclining - and enjoy the fact that it's not your bedsprings they are gleefully bouncing on. Or flick through a plentiful supply of magazines and the day's newspapers.

Fancy a drink? Yellow Sub is not the only play centre turning out decent food but is there another one offering five varieties of (very decent) coffee, with extra shots at 25p a time? Oh, and jasmine petal tea, anybody?

These days, the kitchen prepares everything, from fresh, on the premises. For adults that means everything from Oriental beef noodles and caesar salad to panini, sandwiches and wraps. A great children's menu includes soft boiled eggs or pancakes for breakfast, to chicken fajitas or fish, chips and peas for lunch or tea.

The boys had pizza and pasta (you get both, for £3.95): a fabulous home-made three cheese and tomato topping and a lovely sweet wafer-thin base ("mmm, 10 out of 10!" was the verdict of our eldest) with a dish of spaghetti and tomato sauce on the side. There's also a selection of kids' sandwiches (including jam, if they really must) all for under £2. This is no rip-off joint. And even the biscuits are home-made.

Yellow Sub children's indoor playcentre
Dempster Buildings, Atlantic Way
Brunswick Business Park
Liverpool
L3 4BE
08444 120 850.
Opening hours: 9.30am-6pm, seven days a week.
Prices: £3.95 (£1.95 under 12 months, adults free, concessions available), weekdays, add £1 Saturday and Sunday).

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Latest Rants

Prof. Chucklebutty

This sounds like it will be a very popular event. Although personally, I would prefer my dinner…

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Knowlegeable

Please refer to the sentence up the top about one or two glaring omissions...

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Leaf, Leaf and more Leaf probably the best brekkie place in all liverpool, and second in my opinon…

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I feel ill. The history of the building will be entirely lost.

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