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Tollgate Centre Shopping Park Play Area Colchester, Essex

Tollgate Centre Shopping Park

Russell Play was asked by the Landscape Practice to create a children’s play area at Tollgate Centre Shopping Park. This was to form part of a planned makeover to improve the visitor’s overall experience at the shopping park. Tollgate decided to ask their customers, in a series of surveys, what they would like to see improved at the shopping complex that would make their visit more enjoyable.

As well as better parking, more seating areas and cycle routes, customers also suggested a new play area as part of the makeover. Tollgate envisaged that the children’s play area should be a fun area to stimulate the kids and give a focal point to the site, while also reflecting something of the heritage of Colchester.

Timber carved roman centurion play figures in historical themed play area


Russell Play was awarded the contract because we were able to create bespoke timber products from our Spielart range and we could design play units with the specific themes that the customer was looking for. 

Themed Play Area
The town of Colchester boasts a long and varied history, part of which was serving as Rome’s first British capital during their 400 years or so of Roman occupation. Tollgate wanted to include these Roman elements into the design so linking the children’s play with history and making it partly an educational experience.

Climbing ramp of timber play structure with playhouse at Tollgate Centre Shopping Park Play Area Colchester, Essex


The Roman theme was incorporated in the form of three timber, carved and colourfully painted Roman soldiers. A photo panel was constructed with two traditional Roman figures so the children could put their heads in and have a picture taken. The idea behind this was to generate interest in social media traffic so the Tollgate name was placed above the figures to show where the image was taken.

Timber Play House and Climbing Frame
The main structure of the play area is an impressive timber climbing frame with a climbing ramp, large slide and two linked towers with platforms. There is also a timber playhouse matching the climbing frame colours of red and natural gold tint. All units together give a complete and varied play experience for children of all ages and add visual interest for visitors to the shopping complex.

Fun historically themed photo panel at Tollgate Centre Shopping Park Play Area Colchester, Essex


The customer expressed how pleased they were that, from design through to installation, the whole service was a very smooth operation. They are very happy with the result and enjoyed the experience of working with Russell Play on creating their new play area.

Detail of timber carved posts featuring blackbird on outdoor timber play units at Tollgate Centre Shopping Park Play Area Colchester, Essex