CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Soft Play Review

I, like many people in Cramlington was gutted when I heard that TJs Jungle was closing. It was where Harry, Dee and Jack had many birthday parties over the years, where we attended friends' birthday parties, somewhere reliable I could take the kids after school for a cheap but nice tea and wear them out without spending a fortune. Basically somewhere with lots of memories for us. 

CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Softplay Review

But businesses and time moves on and on 26 August 2021, the newly named CJ's Funhouse opened to the public. I visited in September with my nephew (6) and Jack (10). Harry (15) came along too. Not to play - just to have a look and order some infamous chicken nuggets to see if they were the same (spoiler - they were). 

Cj's is located in the Hubbway Business Centre in Cramlington. There is a free car park which is shared with other business units. It can get busy in peak periods but in all my years of visiting this soft play, I've never had any problem getting parked. 

I have not visited by public transport but Cramlington Train Station isn't too far - a reader has informed me that it's easy to walk from the station and there are no roads to cross. 

CJ's is easy to get to from both the A1 and A19. 

CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Softplay Review

You do not need to book a time slot unless it's for a special event - simply turn up. I cannot see any time limits and they weren't mentioned to us but I imagine if it gets busy they might start putting a time limit in place. If you are unsure, just pop them a message. They are quick to respond. 

CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Softplay Review - opening hours

Prices are very reasonable and payment is on arrival by cash or card. Under 1s and spectators are free of charge. Now, you keep hold of your shoes at your table rather than handing them in and there is a one way system in and out of the play area which works better for social distancing etc.....

CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Softplay Review - prices

Onto the play frame and the old frame has been completely refurbished. It still spans across three levels and is split into an under 5s and under 12s area as before. 

The thing I most liked about CJ's is that it all felt so fresh and clean. A lot of soft play can feel grubby. That wasn't the case here at all. It was immaculate and staff were constantly cleaning when we were there. 

The kids mentioned that the 'dark' area had been completely removed now and that the slides weren't as fast or high. The yellow tunnel slide into the seating area also is no more. 

I felt as if there seemed to be more space for kids to move around and personally, I like that the ball pools had been removed. I always feel uneasy with babies going into ball pools and I dread to think how unhygienic they are. The toddler/baby area in particular seemed to be much improved with more space for little ones to toddle around. 

CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Soft Play Review - under 5s area

The kids did like all of the different tunnels and things to climb on. Evan loved the 'doughnut' tyre. There are rope bridges too which looked fun. 

Credit - CJ's - a work in progress photo

The baby/toddler area also has a little section with baby toys and a play kitchen which is cute. 

There is a unisex baby change and disabled toilets on site. 

Onto the cafe and as before, you just order and pay at the till and the food is brought to your table. The menu is broadly the same as before but they do seem to have lots of options for kids which is nice. I like that they have breakfast items and I imagine dropping older kids at school and taking your toddler to CJ's for breakfast and a play with friends after the school run will be a popular choice for many families in the area. 

We popped in at around 4:15pm on a school night and it wasn't too busy. I would say maybe 1/4 of the tables were taken. I remember in the past feeling like TJs was a bit manic with kids throwing balls all over the shop, punch bags being kicked, climbing up the slide the wrong way and violently swinging back and forth on the zip wire swing with the TV blaring in the background (I count my own kids in this mayhem too btw).

Now, it actually feels a lot more calmer. Not sure if it was just the time we visited but that is the impression I got. 

CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Soft Play Review - menu

CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Soft Play Review - menu

They also serve slushies, homemade milkshakes and ice cream from local favourites Ciccarellis. I didn't try the coffee so can't comment - let me know if you do. I remember I used to detest the coffee at TJ's so hopefully it has improved. 

I can confirm the chicken nuggets are on the menu and just as good as before. I honestly think they'd have been boycotted if they changed their supplier (which btw I am sure is in Seaton Delaval). 

CJ's Funhouse is a family-run business. The staff really make the place and you can tell they actively care about providing good customer service. They take the time to chat and have a giggle with the kids and were really friendly. I really wish them all the best. 

My kids are too old for soft play now but Evan had fun and I would probably say CJ's Funhouse is best suited to under 8s.

I think it's ideal for 3-5 year olds to visit during term time who are ready to explore somewhere a little larger as you can see the whole soft play from where you are sitting and it is easy to keep an eye on the kids as you enjoy a coffee. I also think it is the perfect place to host a school party for Primary school aged children or somewhere to meet up with friends with 1-2 year olds who will enjoy the under 5s section. I probably wouldn't recommend CJ's for kids much older than 10. 

CJ's Funhouse is the kind of soft play where I would feel confident playing with my baby in the baby area as my older kids played on the main frame. As I said, it is easy to keep multiple kids in your eyeline here as the play frames are built around the seating area. 

It was £5.95 each for Jack and Evan for entry plus £4.95 for a kids meal and £1.10 for a fruit shoot. For us, this felt like decent value for a quick after-school treat. 

Cj's is nowhere near as big as somewhere like The Fun Shack. However it is half the price of the Fun Shack and you don't pay for adults here which I know is a bugbear of many. Overall, it is lovely to have such clean play equipment and a refurbished soft play in the area. 

Their party area has had a makeover too and looks great with the disco lights. Message the CJ's Funhouse Facebook page for details of their party packages. 

CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Soft Play Review - Party Room

CJ's also plan on hosting various events throughout the year, starting with a Halloween Party for little ones. Pop in or message their page for further info. Christmas events coming soon! 


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