Ninja challenge: Check.
Soft play: Check.
Post industrial 90’s interior in an old Art Deco theatre: Check.
Banging tunes: Check.
Glow in the dark socks: Check.
Great cafe: Check.
You may have guessed but we are talking about newly opened Flip Out, E6. Yep, finally that beautiful old theatre on the barking road has been turned into something, um, useful (if by useful you mean chaotic crazy fun with a side of FUN).
Kids will love it. Grown ups will pretend not to love it, but by the end will be racing to the top of the death slide just the same. It’s an ace morning out, and has something for everyone.
The old theatre, refurbished in bright green…
The low down is that Ye olde and fully art deco Granada Theatre (some of you will know it as the Gala Bingo hall, up until 1994) on the Barking Road, East Ham has now reopened as a trampoline and adventure park, following a £3 million (!) make over. Yep, the very same one that has been stood there since 1934, and where The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Rod Stewart played way back when. It tried to be a venue for large weddings for a while, too… Anyway, Flip Out have done it up, and even kept a few of the original features such as the old theatre seats and art deco trimmings (Ok ok, they have painted them a very bright green, but they are still there!).
A 90’s industrial cartoon meets dystopian future with neon grippy socks
If you imagined a dystopian future, possibly set underground, and then merged it with the art style of a 90’s industrial cartoon (think Biker Mice from Mars or Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles) you would be in the right ball park for the inside atmosphere and vibes. It’s dark, industrial metal colours in here, with bright green pops, neon lights and some awesome graffiti. Chic, no. Totally wicked, rad and sick? Yes (parents that means ‘waaaay cool’ in your kids language).
First things first, you have to sign a waiver, promising to behave yourselves, act like responsible human beings and of course, not sue Flip out if you bounce on your face after an ill advised double flip attempt. They provide all the relevant safety & supervision (you are taken into a holding room and given a full safety briefing in video form) but ultimately you are responsible for yourself and any minors in your party so make sure you take care. Kids automatically get priority jumping rights, so grown ups, make sure you concentrate – it’s easy to get carried away in here.
And once all the
boring safety stuff is done, they give you a pair of your very own glow in the dark grippy socks and send you on your way. Um, guys, just in case you are skim reading, we will repeat: GLOW IN THE DARK SOCKS, and they are yours for Keeps!
Outside of the socks, the main attraction is of course, the trampolines (duh, it’s a trampoline park), and those who want to do some serious jumping around will not be disappointed.
On the first floor there are interlocked mini tramps as far as the eye can see, some with bouncers up the wall in case you want to do some nifty parkour style tricks. Some big, some small.
Upstairs even more of the same but this time BIGGER. If jumping is your thang, trust us, Flip out has your back. The best thing though is to run along the trampolines, bouncing from one to the next. It makes you feel like a ninja superhero.
So, what if you don’t want to JUMP JUMP, everybody JUMP?
Well, as it happens, Flip out has you covered too.
There is a host of both active and observational spots to choose from, from the 30ft drop slide (it’s supervised so the kiddie pops can’t lemming themselves into a trip to A&E), a lazer maze where you can make like Catherine Zita Jones in Entrapment and practice limbo-ing around some tricksy laser beams. It’s very Tron in there… For the more competitive, the Ninja Warrior Challenge where you charge through a tricky assault course of seesaw’s, swing ropes and climbing walls against the clock (if you have seen the TV program, you will know what we mean), or the Cyber tower where you race your partner up and obstacle ridden 30 foot wire tower and back down, will do the trick. This is not just kids stuff, even your biggest sportiest team member will be breaking a sweat on these and demanding a second run to beat their time. We ran out of time before we got to the climbing walls but for budding Spidermen, we are guessing that is the place to be.
The softer side of Flip Out
For the wee ones, there is huge soft play on the second floor, all done up like a fairy tale castle with a handy cafe on the side. They have ball pools, slides and the usual climbing frames of wonder in bright colours but unfortunately it has been closed in the last few weeks, for a bit of a refurb. You can check out our pics of its former state below, but Flip out promise us that the new version will be even better! woop!
But if you just want to sit back, watch the kids bounce off the walls and relax, you can. There are 3 cafes throughout the venue, all with good viewing spots so you can keep a beady eye on the kids while enjoying your latte. The food was great too. Great value, and good quality – it goes for classics: pizza, burgers etc but there are some healthy options too. To be honest, it was one of the best burgers we have had in East Ham, and that’s saying something.
With 60 venues in Europe these guys are not the usual one man independent that tends to frequent these East Blam pages but they have created at least a hundred local jobs in the last few months, which we think deserves a shout out (we have definitely spotted a few of the neon green t-shirts out and about in buses and in line for their morning coffee). Similarly, Flip out certainly seems to be interested in listening to the locals – already taking feedback from local parents on recent changes to their soft play set up to increase the size of the ball pool, improve lighting and add a baby food preparation area amongst other things.
All in all, this is one not to be missed
All in all, Flip out is a lean mean jumping machine and not one to be missed. It’s £12.00 for a one hour jumping session (you are given a wrist band and the tannoy announces when your time is up) where you have the run of the floor (there is no charge if you want to come and watch from the viewing platform or cafe only). Alternatively a family of 4 can go in together for £36.
They have some great deals (keep an eye on their facebook page) – Toddler time is £8 for as long as their little legs can jump (weekdays only) and if you want take your kids for an after school session, Flip out will throw in a slice of pizza and some juice for the £12 entry fee.
With 7 party rooms, it’s also a possible for kids parties, christmas parties or any other kind of get together, and they offer free onsite parking.
People will come from far and wide, so East Hammers, get over here quick and get in while you don’t have to book ahead… it’s what weekend treats are made for.
In the words of house of Pain, jump around, jump around, jump up, jump up and get down.
What: A fun-tastic fun house full of big green trampolines, a 30ft slide, a soft play and much more!
Monday to Friday: 10am – 10pm
Weekends: 9am – 10pm
Where: 281 Barking Road, London, E6 1LB
£12 for a 1 hour open session
£36 for a family of 4
£8 – Toddler time (weekdays only)
£4.95 – SoftPlay (NB – the soft play is currently closed for refurbishment so check before you go!)