With 360 Play now the leading brand in the UK, we are actively seeking growth opportunities

360 Play has enjoyed much success during the past ten years with our children’s entertainment centres. Our plans were always to organically roll out the 360 Play model and having opened our first venue in Milton Keynes to much acclaim, we have since opened a further six venues, in Stevenage, Leicester, Basildon, Redditch, Farnborough and now under construction at Rushden Lakes leisure and retail destination. Moving forward, we see this organic, self managed growth to continue with more locations in the UK. If you have a UK location and are looking for a premium leisure anchor we would love to hear from you.

DP Leisure GB ltd, the organisation behind the 360 brand, is also looking for opportunities to take the unique mix of activities to new markets outside the UK. We are keen to engage with investors, operators and municipalities within the following regions; Europe and the Middle East, North America, India, China and its regions. We now have both the strength of product and the operational function to support and deliver proven operational solutions outside the domestic UK market.

If you are looking to explore how the introduction of a 360 Play centre could strengthen your destination of mixed use development we would love to hear from you. We have a variety of models available to partners, from early concept development and licence opportunities, to fully supported franchise operations. Contact a member of our Projects team and we will bring you a solid operational partner with a proven track record.

The strength of brand

360 Play is a dynamic and fast growing business which has delivered it’s hugely popular brand of entertainment for families with young children to well over five million visitors since its inception. We have a vast wealth of experience in the design and operation of children’s play centres and have created a mix of activities that not only provides a great fun day out for youngsters and their parents but which also incorporates numerous activities to help children’s development.

Indeed, 360 Play’s unique offering ensures children enjoy a highly active, creative and imaginative experience so that they learn in a fun way whilst also developing social, cognitive and physical skills, all of which are so important in their younger years. We provide a wide range of activities which in addition to a three storey play structure, dodgem cars and a carousel, also include the 360 Street creative play area and a variety of other, complementary fun things to do, including messy play, building/construction play, singing, dancing and musical play and an Activity Time for our youngest visitors.

In today’s world the need for families to find experiences that are “screen free” and offer an antidote to the ever more tech filled lives has never been so important. 360 Play mixes traditional experiences but for the modern family.

If you are interested in sharing in our success, then we’d like to hear from you. For more information about what is a truly exciting opportunity, please contact:

Project Team
DP House, Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood, Milton Keynes, MK14 6NU, UK
Telephone: (+44) 1908 670160

New 360 Play family entertainment centre opens in Rushden Lakes, UK

360 Play Rushden Lakes will be the newest attraction in the 360 Play group. This new centre is in a fantastic location and will feature an exciting outdoor play space. With six centres already operating in Milton Keynes, Stevenage, Leicester, Basildon, Redditch and Farnborough, for our seventh centre we are updating our customers favourite attractions and we cannot wait for you to see!

360 Play is often described as a softplay centre but softplay is just a small part of what we do. The wide range of facilities on offer at our centres ensures that there are activities and opportunities for all ages and abilities. Our full sized play frames and slides are big enough for parents to play on with their children and you’re never too old to enjoy whizzing around the dodgem track. For the imaginative guests there’s 360 Street where you can try out different careers, dress up in the boutique and visit the supermarket. This has always been one of our most popular activities and a lot of planning has gone into making 360 Street at Rushden Lakes the best one yet. We’ve looked at what children enjoy doing and expanded on that so that there will be more for them to do and the areas will be more interactive. The role play pizzeria will feature a scaled down wood fired oven and our post office will have a sorting centre.

The messy play areas are a must visit for all those essential, messy, mucky things parents would love to have the time to do with their children. We will have messy play activities specifically designed for our younger customers during term time that they can enjoy with Mum or Dad and the area will include children accessible sinks for an easy clean up.

All the current favourite facilities will feature at Rushden Lakes. It just wouldn’t be 360 without a carousel! There will be some new things at Rushden Lakes too, guests can look forward to visiting the sports area where you can enjoy a penalty shoot out in our football area or a game of table tennis and race toy cars on the race track on 360 Street.

There is no time limit on your visit so you could spend all day at 360 Play if you want to. Our cafe bar will serve a wide selection of beverages and family favourite meal options. You could join us for a weekend brunch or enjoy a coffee and slice of cake.

At 360 Play we are all about creating fun experiences for the children and families who visit us and obviously we love a party! Our parties have been designed to give you time to enjoy the experience while we do the work. We have a range of hot and cold food options and a dedicated party host is on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. We have designed 5 different party packages to suit everyone’s needs and they will all be available at Rushden Lakes. Each package has been carefully developed to cater for different requirements and you can personalise your party with optional extras. Our very own resident characters, Twizzle and Twirl, love a good party so you can expect a visit from one of them too!

In today’s ever-busy world it’s very easy to miss the joy of play and what that brings to the development of our children. 360 Play hopes and desires to provide the setting to get us all having some fun together while at the same time reminding us how simple playing with children actually is.

360 Play operator DP Leisure begins 10 year celebrations

DP Leisure, headquartered at Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood, marked its 10th anniversary recently with a day of celebrations for all staff in its home city of Milton Keynes.

The operator of the award-winning family entertainment centre brand 360 Play marked the milestone by bringing staff from its six centres around the UK to Milton Keynes, where the first 360 Play centre opened 10 years ago. All the company’s sites were closed for the day as the entire staff of over 400 “made time for play,” starting with a reception and party on 12th Street, Milton Keynes’ newest leisure district. After a morning involving indoor golf at the all new Mulligan’s, a street party was hosted by the original site, 360 Play Milton Keynes at Knowlhill, with street food, stalls, games and activities.

Founder and Managing Director Duncan Phillips commented: “I don’t really know where the time has gone but here we are 10 years on from an idea that started from a day out with my own children. It has been very special to celebrate this milestone in Milton Keynes where we are based and where it all began. We have a great team of staff in the group that deliver hundreds of thousands of magic memories to families in the regions we serve throughout the year and we are all very proud of the company we have now become.

Someone who has been with Duncan since day one is group business support and development manager Anne Basketfield who added: “Now with 6 (soon to be 7) centres the business and concept continue to grow and we have stuck to our early principle of ‘back to basics’ – encouraging families to play together away from screens and technology, developing imaginations and building independence.

In contrast to Anne’s experience, recent 360 Play recruit Holly Mortiz, who has been with the company for just a few months, commented: “The close day was lots of fun and brought everyone from 360 Play together. I got to meet lots of people from the other centres who do exactly the same thing as me. Working at 360 Play has changed my life for the better. It has helped me make amazing friends and I have gained more confidence.

In true leisure industry style 360 Play’s special celebratory day in Milton Keynes was just the start of a year of celebrations, with key dates coming up to further mark 10 years of success for this ever expanding leisure group.

New 360 Play family entertainment centre opens in Farnborough, UK

After two successful ‘Golden Ticket’ preview days 360 Play Farnborough opened its doors to the public on Wednesday 18th October.

Managing director Duncan Phillips who was on hand with the new 360 Play team said: “We are delighted to open our newest family entertainment centre at The Meads Shopping Centre here in Farnborough, our sixth UK venue. Our Golden Ticket open days have been very well received with a great response to the new centre from those who visited, both children and adults, so we are naturally very pleased with such a response. We are sure 360 Play will be a valuable and popular addition to the area as part of the town centre’s wider regeneration and are very much looking forward to providing our unique brand of children’s entertainment in yet another part of the country.

On Wednesday Deputy Mayor Cllr Steve Masterson was present to officially open the new centre which as well as using local contractors for the build has also created 40 new jobs.

Amongst the many 5* reviews are lots of happy children who have enjoyed meeting our mascots Twizzle and Twirl as well as all the fun activities on offer. Among the attractions are a three storey central play structure, a dodgem car track, a carousel and the creative play area 360 Street, where youngsters are able to let their imaginations run wild in a series of play shops and other ‘buildings,’ including a supermarket, pizza parlour, vet’s, fire station, garage and more. A special party zone and dedicated toddlers’ area are also on offer, along with a café and plenty of comfortable seating.

Everything at 360 Play is carefully designed so that mums and dads can join in with their children, a key element of the philosophy of the owners who recognise the importance of adults being involved in their youngsters’ play activities.

DP Leisure announces development of fifth 360 Play FEC in Redditch

Following the success of its four existing venues in Milton Keynes, Stevenage, Leicester and Basildon in the UK, DP Leisure (DPL), operator of the 360 Play family entertainment centre brand, has announced that it is to open a fifth UK site in 2017, in Redditch in Worcestershire.

Already firmly established as a leading brand name within the UK’s family entertainment centre sector, the newest 360 Play site will be located within the Kingfisher Shopping Centre in Redditch town centre, a departure from the norm as far as the location is concerned with all the other 360 Play venues being sited on leisure parks or similar.

Kingfisher Shopping Centre is owned by Capital and Regional, with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (Oaktree). The site is home to a diverse range of retail stores and eateries, but the addition of 360 Play will bring a whole new offer to the centre as a retail and leisure destination for families.

The opening of the latest 360 Play venue is scheduled for mid-February 2017 and DP Leisure is developing the 12,000 sq. ft. former Woolworths unit to accommodate its newest operation which will become home to all the classic 360 Play elements which have proved so popular with families with young children over the years.

The design and master planning of this latest project has once again been carried out by DPL’s sister company DP Associates (DPA), while DPL will project manage the build on site. Pre-manufacturing of many of the key play elements and structures that will be housed within the shopping centre location is currently underway in workshops at DPL’s headquarters in Milton Keynes.

The newest 360 Play FEC will follow the company’s unique family play time ethos and provide to the families of Redditch space and time to play without the distractions of modern life. With a wide range of activities for all young children, from toddlers to 10-year-olds, 360 Play also actively champion parents getting involved too, so families are encouraged to put away their phones, stop thinking about the to do list and just play! A true family experience is therefore on offer.

Among the attractions will be a two-storey play structure, dodgem cars, a carousel, creative and messy play and the 360 Street imagination play zone, a feature at all 360 Play sites. This is made up of individual play units such as a fire station, supermarket, pizza parlour, vets, car garage/body shop and dressing up boutique and is designed to stimulate the creativity in young minds, while also providing an opportunity for parents to get involved in play with their children. A party zone offering a dedicated area for children’s parties will also be included.

“We are delighted to announce the planned opening of our fifth 360 Play family entertainment centre in the UK,” said Managing Director Duncan Phillips, “and are particularly excited to be moving into a shopping centre location. This is obviously something totally new for us but we are confident our offering will complement what is currently available to shoppers and will become a key element of a visit for families with young children. The retail experience these days is changing in many ways and this is a great opportunity for ourselves and Capital and Regional to create a genuine retail and leisure destination and to provide a new experience for visitors.

“We offer a unique product concept and will create a fun, stimulating, engaging and entertaining family play facility based on the successful model we have previously used. I’m sure it will be very popular with families with young children from throughout the area. We can’t wait to start the build!”

Ken Ford, Executive Director at Capital and Regional, said: “We’re delighted to welcome 360 Play to Kingfisher Redditch. When it opens in February, it will offer our customers an entertainment offer that will be unrivalled in the area. As the first 360 Play to open within a shopping centre environment, I believe it will not only provide very exciting leisure amenities for children and families, but will also enhance our wider retail and food and beverage offer.”

Developing a successful costume character programme

Helen Ede at costume character and mascot specialist Rainbow Productions looks at the use of characters in parks and other entertainment venues.

Opportunities for costume character activities within parks and FECs are varied and include meeting guests on arrival, entertaining families queuing for rides, performing in stage shows and attending birthday party packages. However, the starting point of a well-run costume character programme should be the end-audience.

When designing a character, the focus should be through a child’s eyes, thinking from their physical perspective about how the character will look to them. The aim is to create a character which appeals to children, whilst also complementing the venue’s offering and branding.

Design should also be sympathetic to the environment of use. Will it be transported often? Factor in the overall size. Will appearances mainly be made indoors, outdoors, near a swimming pool? Factor in materials and cooling systems.

Another dimension a good costume character programme should consider is engaging guests in the design and naming process. School competitions and social media campaigns help leverage PR; prizes can include season tickets and themed birthday parties featuring the costume character.

A good costume character programme should also invest in a high quality manufacturer, mindful of both the design and the performer’s comfort. Performer training is also a key consideration.

Then there is the inevitable question of whether or not a venue should go for a well-known IP character or a ‘home grown’ character? No one-size-fits-all approach applies when considering a well-known IP character versus a ‘home-grown’ character.

Investment in an IP enables venues to tap into existent brand marketing – often on an international scale – delivering a ready-made audience with a degree of loyalty to the brand. But the IP’s demographic should align as much as possible with the venue’s own audience – and it should possess longevity. While associated licensed merchandise stocked in on-site outlets may generate increased sales, a percentage of these sales must be returned to the brand owner.

Home-grown characters generally offer greater flexibility, are less costly initial investments to develop but need to be widely marketed to bolster the character’s identity. Opportunities to develop merchandise lines will also exist, generating royalty-free revenue streams for the attraction.

A successful home-grown character can also help create its own strong, regional identity. The branding often translates well on corporate communications – websites, business cards, focal points for kids’ clubs – becoming a brand in its own right. Over time, the venue can tap into their own home-grown character’s appeal through the possibility of perhaps introducing a partner/family of characters to complement the existing programme, opening up extra merchandise and branding opportunities.

A licensed IP at Adventure Time, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai

So how long can a costume be expected to last? Factors determining this particular aspect include the environment and frequency of use, how the costume is stored and looked-after in between appearances, maintenance and client expectations.

Typically, a costume can be expected to last around five years, often much longer. In the extremities of Middle Eastern heat, for example, costumes can be adapted for the performer and materials chosen to help prolong the costume’s life-span, although the extreme environment of use, in these cases, means costumes often may not last more than two to three years.

Training is also a very necessary element of a character costumer programme. Performing in costume is a very exclusive performing medium. Often regarded as street theatre, on any one day a costume could meet and interact with up to 2,000 people. Often the photo of a costume character posing alongside a family is considered the keepsake souvenir of their day out.

Therefore, investing in a training programme to complement the actual development of the physical costume should be factored into a successful costume character programme. To not place fully trained staff into the costume character is doing the brand a disservice because – in short – the better the training, the better the performer. As well as learning the art of improvisation, character movement and expression through gesture, training often addresses topics such as the performer’s health and safety and how best to look after the costume to best prolong the life of the investment.

For more information or advice on developing a costume character programme contact Rainbow Productions on +44 (0)20 8254 5300, email




DPA provides new designs for 360 Play Milton Keynes refurbishment project

DP Associates (DPA) has recently lent its many years of expertise in the design and creation of a variety of entertainment venues to the refurbishment and upgrading of one of its earliest projects.

Having carried out the design and masterplanning work of the original 360 Play children’s entertainment centre in Milton Keynes, UK, DPA has now provided refreshed layout and design plans for the venue’s recent refurbishment and upgrading.

The hugely successful centre, operated by sister company DP Leisure (DPL) and the very first 360 Play, opened in 2008 and has since entertained over 1.4 million visitors. A refit to maintain standards and provide an updated play experience was therefore due and DPA was called upon to design and create new layout features and other elements.

Since 360 Play MK first opened, the design team at DPA who conceived the first venue have also built additional centres in Stevenage, Leicester and Basildon, building on and improving the offer each time round. And now some of the best elements and enhancements featured in the more recently opened centres can be found at Milton Keynes.

Among these are various new activities in the main play frame, a new play fire station on 360 Street and a new toddler play frame away from the main structure to ensure a more comfortable experience for younger guests and their parents, as well as improved visitor flow. Additionally there is a new party guest area, new carpets throughout, a new look F&B counter with improved queueing area and facilities and new TVs at the main desk to highlight more clearly any current promotions to guests. The centre has also been subject to a fresh coat of paint and a deep clean.

All the design work was carried out in the company’s headquarter premises, also in Milton Keynes, and DPA/DPL Managing Director Duncan Phillips said: “360 Play Milton Keynes was our very first venue and having entertained over 1.4 million visitors over the past eight years it was time for some refurbishment work so that we can continue to give guests a great play opportunity.

“Our centres provide an all-inclusive family experience that promotes the philosophy of the whole family playing together and we have brought in some superb new elements, which have proved hugely popular in our newer venues, to increase the fun at Milton Keynes and enhance overall what we have to offer.”

Play centre operator DP Leisure opens fourth 360 Play site

Milton Keynes, UK, based children’s play centre operator DP Leisure (DPL) has continued the expansion of its 360 Play children’s play centre brand with the opening of its fourth and largest venue, this time in Basildon in Essex.

The company currently operates sites in Milton Keynes, Stevenage and Leicester and following the on-going success of these three sites has continued the roll out of what is one of the UK’s leading children’s play centre brands by opening its largest venue to date at the Festival Leisure Park, Basildon.

As with the existing sites, design and master planning of this latest project, which is housed within a 28,000 sq. ft. building, was carried out by DPL’s sister company, DP Associates (DPA), who also project managed the build.

We have been looking to open a fourth site for some time,” said 360 Play Managing Director Duncan Phillips, “and having seen the opportunity available in Basildon decided that Festival Leisure Park would be ideal for our next centre. We were also impressed with the plans the landlord, Aviva, had for the site in redeveloping it into even more of a family leisure destination and we have become a key part of this project. I’m confident we’ll enjoy a great deal of success there as we have done at our other three locations over the years.

360 Play is a recognised expert in children’s and family entertainment. All its centres are carefully designed to ensure a stimulating, creative, imaginative and active play environment for children aged 2 to 12, and with everything also designed so that adults can join in too, the venues offer a genuine family day out opportunity.

At Basildon, the company has maintained its ethos of utilising local companies and trades people for all the on-site building work, while the new centre has also created 50 new jobs for locals in Basildon and the surrounding areas.

We design each centre at our offices in Milton Keynes and build much of the content for our sites in our own workshops,” Phillips explained. “However, once on site there is obviously a requirement for numerous trades and we always source these from the local area. We’ve had an excellent team working in Basildon and it’s hugely satisfying to see all the hard work everyone has put in now having come to fruition.

The attractions at 360 Play Basildon, which are spread over two floors, are similar to those at the company’s other centres, while also including some new ones. Among these are a four storey central play frame, supplied by Soft Brick Company and incorporating a host of climbing, sliding, crawling and other activities, a dodgem car track and carousel from IE Park/SOLI Bumper Cars, specially designed climbing walls which utilise auto-belays and climber timers from Innovative Leisure, and the creative play area 360 Street. This features the familiar series of play shops and other ‘buildings,’ including a supermarket, pizza parlour, vets, fire station, garage, post office and more.

A special party zone, messy play and a dedicated toddlers’ area are also on offer, while the Club 360 outdoor play area will be an added attraction in the summer months (weather permitting) and will feature sand play, water play areas, a climb zone and more. A café serving a wide assortment of drinks, refreshments and freshly cooked food choices is also available, as are seating areas throughout the building.

DP Leisure announces development of new 360 Play FEC in Basildon, UK

Following the success of its three existing venues in Milton Keynes, Stevenage and Leicester in the UK, DP Leisure (DPL), operator of the 360 Play children’s entertainment centre brand, has announced that it is to open a fourth UK site later this year, in Basildon, Essex.

Now firmly established as a leading brand name within the UK’s children’s entertainment centre sector, the newest 360 Play site will be located at Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park, located just a short distance from Basildon town centre. The mixed use site is currently home to a wide variety of other leisure businesses, including Empire Cinema, Hollywood Bowl, Fitness First, Festival Wakeboard Park and a host of restaurants, and the 360 Play centre will add further diversity to the mix.

With opening scheduled for the end of 2015, the latest 360 Play venue is a key part of the redevelopment of the leisure park by landlord Aviva, which includes a drive towards catering increasingly to the family market. DP Leisure is developing a bespoke, 24,000 sq. ft. unit which will house its newest operation and become home to all the classic 360 Play elements, which have proved so popular with families with young children over the years, as well as several new components too.

We are thrilled to announce the planned opening of our fourth 360 Play centre in the UK,” said Managing Director Duncan Phillips, “and are delighted to have secured a site on what is a very popular leisure destination in Basildon with a significant catchment area. Our operation will certainly complement the existing offering and will help to attract more families to the leisure park, something which is clearly the intention of the landlords as they look to redevelop the site.

We will once again create a fun, stimulating, engaging and entertaining family play facility based on the successful model we have used at our other centres and I’m sure it will be very popular with families with young children from throughout the Basildon area and further afield. We offer a unique product concept which we are continually developing and this latest venture will feature a number of new ideas and elements to further enhance the experience provided to visitors. We can’t wait to get it all up and running!

On behalf of Aviva, Justin Brand, Director – Real Estate, Head of Out of Town Retail and Leisure, said: “Aviva are delighted to be working with DP Leisure to deliver the fourth 360 Play facility at Festival Leisure Park in Basildon. It will be a fantastic addition to the park offering market leading facilities in family entertainment and will work very well with the current leisure offer.

Pre-manufacturing of many of the key play elements and structures that will be housed within the Festival Leisure Park building is already underway in workshops at DPL’s headquarters in Milton Keynes, while the design and master planning of this latest project has once again been carried out by DPL’s sister company DP Associates (DPA), which will project manage the build.

The newest 360 Play FEC will follow the company’s tried and tested formula with a wide range of activities for all young children, from toddlers up to age 12, and with everything designed so that adults can join in too, it will be a true family day out offering. There will be both indoor and outdoor areas with the former including the familiar, multi-level play structure, bumper cars, a carousel and the 360 Street creative play zone, a feature at all 360 Play sites. This is made up of individual play units such as a fire station, supermarket, pizza parlour, car garage/body shop and dressing up shop and is designed to stimulate the creativity in young minds, while also providing an opportunity for parents to get involved in play with their children.

A party zone accommodating a dedicated area for children’s parties will be on offer, while various new elements will also be introduced for the first time at a 360 Play venue, details of which will be announced nearer the time of opening.

An outdoor area, Club 360, will also be a key part of the centre and will incorporate features such as a sand play activity area, water boats, climbing attractions, water play, an event area and outdoor seating and catering facilities.