Kid's play and the alternative D2 market

There has been a recent resurgence from the large space D2 market.

27 February 2015, Words by Mat Oakley


As we emerge from the economic downturn and consumer’s are spending more of their disposable income on leisure-based activities, there has been somewhat of a resurgence from the large space D2 market, as a plethora of diverse new entrants are seeking space in the UK; offering activities such as adventure golf, laser combat and trampolining.

A number of established overseas trampolining operators are racing to crack the UK market in 2015. Gravity, Gravity Zone (Australia-based), Gravity Force and Skyzone (US based) are all on the search for new sites, with Gravity Force opening the first in Admiralty Park, Camberley in 2014. Other more established UK pastimes, such as laser tagging and adventure/crazy golf, are actively acquiring new sites.

"More established pastimes such as laser tagging and adventure/crazy golf are actively acquiring new sites"

A new era of kid’s play offers has also emerged, which combine education and entertainment. Kidzania, due to open in Westfield London, is a ‘reality theme park’, which lets children get ‘jobs’, earn ‘money’ and to then spend on treats and activities. The brand is already trading successfully in South America, the Middle East and the Far East.

In the UK, 360 Play were the first to diversify from the basic ball pit/climbing frame offer, with a superior quality fit out, interactive work/play areas and a wider food offer. The company currently have three sites in Milton Keynes, Stevenage and Leicester and are recently contracted on a site in Basildon.

Similarly, Kidspace; who operate units in Croydon and Romford are also on the look-out for traditional soft play space, as well as for new concept ‘Hobbledown’; an adventure farm park based on a mysterious world full of ‘Hobblers’, where children can enjoy both indoor and outdoor play as well as animal petting.

The key to the success of these new brands is a diversified and unique offer; which is beginning to get an increasing amount of attention from landlords as a way to increase dwell time and footfall in their shopping centres and retail/leisure parks. Despite the draws of these operators, they are still very rent sensitive, with rental affordability still at the lower range of the D2 sector at £6 - £8 per sq ft for a circa 20,000 – 25,000 sq ft unit, with a capped service charge and significant incentive packages typically of 24 months+.



Key Contacts

Mat Oakley

Mat Oakley

Commercial Research

Margaret Street

+44 (0) 20 7409 8781


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