The Orbital Shopping Park, Swindon

British Land, the owner of The Orbital, a retail centre in Swindon contacted Broxap’s playground equipment division, as it looked to create an aviation themed play area at the shopping complex.  The play area is part of a multi-million pound investment of the shopping park to turn it into a more family-friendly location.

The aviation themed play area was inspired by Swindon’s engineering heritage, which saw Spitfires built there during the Second World War. The aviation theme also coincides with the centenary of the RAF in April. The design team at Hand Made Places worked with The Orbital to create an aeroplane themed playground which includes a bespoke designed ‘Orbital Spitfire’ play unit as the focal point. The Orbital Spitfire is a large aircraft shaped timber climbing frame complete with wings, a pull up ramp, a rope bridge to the tail section and a slide. It also includes RAF roundels painted on to complete the effect. A watch tower and spitfire springies were also included in the play area.

Jamie Turner, Centre Manager of The Orbital said “We are moving towards softening out-of-town retail parks and making them nicer areas for families to stay in and want to return to.

“A big part of this is the play area we’ve done with Handmade Places who made a lot of bespoke equipment for us and we are completely delighted with the result.

“We are moving away from the feel of rather soulless retail parks and developing what we call a shopping centre with no roof on. It is a very different approach and we know from the feedback of our visitors that they welcome it, approve of it and most of all, enjoy it as a family destination.

“I am delighted to say that Hand Made Places have played their part in helping us achieve this here and we are more than happy with the quality of their work, their continuing support throughout and the speedy timescale from start to finish. It looks fantastic and the parents are thrilled.”

The playground equipment was designed, manufactured and installed between October and the end of January, ready for children to enjoy during February half term.