The Fun Depot is a soft play area on the outskirts of Ashton. It is new (I think it opened at the end of 2010) meaning everything is fresh, airy and clean.
It's not the cheapest play place I have taken my two (over 4s are 4.50, 1-3 are 3.50 and under 1s are free) but I think you get what you pay for. There are notices to say play sessions are limited to an hour and a half but I bet this is 'negotiable' during the week when its quieter.
There are so many different areas - from the usual 'Over 4s' and 'Toddlers' sections there is also an area for building things, a netted football area and a baby area with a cushioned floor for the inevitable tumbles. There is also a 'Nursing Room' for feeding babies. This area is calm and quiet and offers bottle warming, microwave and changing stations. The owners are passionate about the importance of this area.
There's even a buggy station where you can store your pram in full view of where you're sitting but leaving it out of the way of people walking around.
The cafe is FAB. Even the toast (a quid for two slices) is a thick doorstep of quality bread, oozing with warm butter, not your usual supermarket 'value' range. As well as the usual jacket potatoes and sandwiches they have homemade soup and at the weekend you can get a full english breakfast. There is also a specials board which changes frequently - one day they had minted lamb kebabs with yoghurt and mint dressing on a pitta bread!
The kids menu is the usual nuggets, pizza, burger, sandwich box which I think could be worked upon to offer a few healthier alternatives, given their adult menu is so varied and delicious.
We have been to a party at The Fun Depot - the best bit for the kids is that they have to clamber through an orange tunnel from the upstairs of the play equipment straight into the party room - the coolest thing when you're almost 5! The spread on offer at a party is immense, so much so the adults were offered what was left over - always a bonus in my book! There was a huge array of fresh fruit (with fresh pineapple chopped up and presented inside a pineapple husk) and veg sticks, as well as the usual sausage rolls, cakes and sandwiches.
A breath of fresh air from the usual tired, dirty indoor play centres, when I ask my two where they want to go and play on a rainy afternoon I am usually greeted with cheers of 'FUN DEPOT!!!'