Stockeld Park is about to open “Playhive” a new £3.5 million immersive indoor play area that will be one of the largest in Europe.
Spanning over 20,000 square feet, it represents the next chapter in the development of the park by owners, Peter and Susie Grant.
- The Playhive is doughnut shaped with a diameter of 130 feet
- A central circle of 65 feet
- Play zones of space, flying underwater and jungle
- Stockeld Park is between Wetherby and Harrogate, adjacent to the village Spofforth
In 2006 Peter and Susie Grant opened a Christmas tree shop selling trees grown on their own estate and to the local community, rather than at wholesale. They are the largest Christmas tree producer in Yorkshire, with the Stockeld Estate spanning 2,000 acres.
They started the Christmas tree shop in what were some stables. Furthermore, they then added some lights and more people came, then they added a grotto, and even more came. That secured their reputation as the Christmas place to go – it just took off.
In November 2006 the Christmas Adventure was launched and that attracted over 20,000. That was the turning point when they believed they had something to develop, next was the Easter Adventure and the Halloween Adventure. This year sees an extension of opening times from school holidays, to include weekends.
The many evolutions have all widened the appeal of a visit to Stockeld. This is a significant addition in that it offers a wet-weather option to visitors.
Peter and Susie Grant themselves have been behind the Playhive, a project 5-years in development and build. They felt that they were mainly an outdoor venue and needed somethingthat would allow them to open more year-round, or a weather insurance policy. One of the business aims is to give people confidence in booking ahead, knowing that there is a wet weather option.
There was a clear vision of what they wanted to create.
Peter taught himself Computer Aided Design (CAD), and set to work on putting the building design together. All the play equipment has been bespoke designed, with zones of space, underwater, jungle, and flying. There is not a set route, and it is designed so that parents can go around with their children. There are many sensory and interactive elements, with the aim that children discover more on each visit.
They teamed up with York-based business, Unconventional Design, with Clare and James Palmer. Clare took the lead on personally hand-painting the artwork through the play areas, and James put the carpentry together in an on-site workshop.
They have had 4-weekends of testing, working on the operational side of things, making sure there are no queues, and that people can enjoy their time. With each of the test weekends, they have been given feedback that have allowed them to tweak things.
Peter and Suzie’s aim has always been about creating play that uses people’s imagination, and that can be seen from the already established attractions, such as the Enchanted Forest, and that ethos is taken through to the Playhive.