It’s kind of like the Carling ad. If you could build the best children’s club ever, this is what it would be like. Welcome to Purple Dragon – a private member’s club for kids and their parents – with everything a kid could ever want in terms of fun, and done so well that it is instantly seductive for parents too. The folk behind it run a proper kindergarten in Battersea, also called Purple Dragon, so they’ve got bundles of experience, and boy, does it show.
There’s a big central play area called the Imaginarium with every kind of toy, including Scalectrix, a puppet theatre and an amazing dollshouse. There are designated areas where you can dress up and play house, be a superhero, or read quietly, or, if you are a parent or carer spread out with a coffee and an i-pad, available to borrow from the concierge. Members of staff magically appear to read stories or tell you that there’s a cooking session about to start in the kitchen, or a sing song in the music room.
Yes, there is a special music room, complete with baby grand piano, DJ decks, vinyl records and all manner of instruments. There’s an arts and crafts room, a science lab, and a kitchen with someone on hand to show kids how to make things. There’s a swimming pool specially heated with a huge big shallow play area so that tiny tots, as well as older children, can enjoy it. There are swimming teachers.
There are computers, a games room with Wii, a golf simulator, a giant TV (which isn’t on indiscriminately, but used for screening big football matches and the like), an interactive wall which is a jungle one minute and a garden of flowers the next, which my 19 month old went bananas playing with. There’s a really good cafe where parents can have a delicious plate of sesame beef salad while kids have a kid friendly version. There are home made purees for babies. There’s a library for adults filled with Taschen’s back catalogue, a dining room, a baby changing room with plenty of nappies of all sizes, a huge, state-of-the-art soft play and climbing area that it would be hard to ever tire of. There are loads of lovely staff on hand to make everything easy and pleasant.
I swear, playing with your kids was never so easy or less tiring. And if you have to be somewhere else, you can drop older kids off at the after school club, or arrange for a play buddy to take care of younger ones (babies included) while you do your thing.
Basically, it’s completely fab. I loved it. My daughter loved it. And we’re jealous of the rich folk who can afford membership, because there’s no getting round the fact that you have to be really pretty rich to join. (Prices start at around £1750 a year for an ‘out of towner’ deal, which allows you 32 visits). So there we are. Don’t say we don’t tell you how the other half live.