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New children’s play space created at Exeter’s Guildhall Shopping Centre

Published: 20 February 2023

Little Exeter

Exeter’s Guildhall Shopping Centre has announced the opening of its new community pop-up initiative Little Exeter.

Little Exeter will open at the beginning of March as a play space for under 7’s in the city centre.

The space is divided up into 12 individual play spaces where children can immerse themselves in role play and discovery - from a boat in the tranquil setting of the quay to a hardware shop.

Nikki Fairclough, Guildhall Shopping Centre Marketing and Customer Experience Manager, as well as the Creator of Little Exeter, said: “We are beyond excited to deliver a family-focused initiative like this on site.

“It is a natural next step for us after the huge success of our indoor garden which will remain in situ and support Little Exeter’s needs.

“This space sees over 200 families a day and has become a valuable, award-winning play space. It has also been incredible to see how quickly partners were willing to sign up and help us fund this space. It’s humbling and inspiring how they all got our vision for the space and the importance of making it accessible to all.”

Little Exeter will be £3 for a child and £2 for an accompanying adult per session. Sessions will be morning or afternoon and it will initially be open Monday to Friday.

It is hoped that Saturdays will be added in a few months and eventually full weekends.

Little Exeter is located on the first floor in an old café unit next to the family garden. There will be a café serving hot drinks, a selection of ready to go cold drinks and cakes and pastries from St Sidwell Bakehouse.

The café is exclusively for those coming into the play area. People are welcome to bring their own cold foods and snacks into the space – a step further taken to remove financial hurdles of play space for parents.”

InExeter is the Business Improvement District for Exeter which celebrates the city, supports local business and delivers change. Their valuable funding has helped to create the space and purchase items from local brands.

Ann Hunter, InExeter BID Manager, said: “We are incredibly proud to be part of Little Exeter. This project reflects our core values which is about creating amazing spaces in our city for the people of Exeter to enjoy.

“Having child friendly areas in our city is vital for families and Little Exeter not only delivers this but is an inspirational play space.”

The space has been created as a case study and will run for one year with subsidy from the Guildhall Shopping Centre as well as partners including InExeter and Lancer Scott, and contributing partners Griffin Chartered Accountants, Briggs and Co designers, Stalite Signs, Meraki Art School and Cornerstone Housing.


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