Bicester Village – A bespoke natural playground for the UK's 2nd largest visitor attraction
Client: Value Retail
Client Type: Retail Tourist Attraction
Location: Bicester, Oxfordshire
Bicester Village, which is owned by Value Retail plc, is the UK’s second largest tourist destination after Buckingham Palace. The luxury shopping destination is home to more than 160 boutiques of world-famous brands, together with a selection of restaurants and cafés.
Value Retail engaged TouchWood Play to design and build a highly unique, new natural play experience at the heart of Bicester Village in order to appeal to children and families visiting the popular retail tourist attraction.
With a focus on quality and character, the new playground needed to be highly distinctive and provide an excellent play experience for the wide age range and ability of children visiting the site to further enhance the visitor experience of Bicester Village.
Based on a creative concept designed to capture the essence of rural village life and complement Bicester Village’s location in the historic Oxfordshire countryside, the TouchWood play experts created a stunning natural play area that includes a wide range of adventurous natural play opportunities.
Several central tower structures designed to emulate Bicester’s historic village buildings provide numerous exciting routes up, down, around and through the play area, with a vast array of nets, tunnels, slides, platforms and climbing opportunities. Following the wild wood route, children can clamber over log hops, tip-toe along balancing logs and wriggle through the hollowed-out ancient tree. From there, they can scramble through the wild wood tree forest, over nets and platforms amongst the tree trunks up to the daredevil high net and treehouse. From here, a net tunnel provides a route to crawl along to reach the village spire before either zooming back to ground level via the tubular slide or taking the V-bridge to the village beyond.
As well as children, the playground was also designed to provide a pleasant environment for adults to spend time in too. Set against the village backdrop and with carefully thought-out seating areas, planters and natural fencing, the bespoke play area offers a pleasant space for adults to spend time while their little ones enjoy all the adventurous natural play on offer.
The completed playground at Bicester has proved hugely popular with visitors to the retail destination since it opened, enabling Bicester Village to enhance its appeal to its valuable family audience.
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Whatever the budget, every job goes through the same meticulous process and we take equal care over the installation of a single swing as we do for an entire playground.