WHITCHURCH Silk Mill has opened a new children's play gallery and outside area just in time for the school summer holidays.

Youngsters will be able to enjoy 'Whitchurch Play Town', a family-friendly play version of Whitchurch with scaled-down shops, businesses and cafes found in Whitchurch that inspire young children to explore and pretend to their heart's content.

At least six role-play areas, equipped with child-sized resources and dressing-up outfits, will entice children to let their imagination run away.

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They can serve tea and cake in the café, do the weekly shop in the supermarket, repair potholes in the builders' yard or dress up as Victorian silk weavers.

In the Mill's gardens, there is a new play deck for some climbing fun while parents enjoy refreshments while keeping an eye on their little ones.

Residents and businesses supported new play areas with donations from Piper and Sons (Builders of Whitchurch), Derbyshire Accountants, the Southern Cooperative, and the numerous families who donated toys.

Louise Mackay, visitor experience manager, felt there was a need for the new facility as there are no children's play towns in Whitchurch where children could enjoy playing in the unique heritage environment of the Silk Mill.

She said: "The Mill is an incredible place to make summer memories and enjoy imaginative play with families and friends. The toy play town is on the Mill's first floor."

Admission to Whitchurch Play Town is included with annual or day Silk Mill tickets. A yearly ticket means families can visit the Mill as often as they like all year.

While the weather is warmer, children can also have fun in the Mill's Willow Play Den, new play trays and play town toys outside the Mill.

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Louise continued: "We wanted to offer this to help families find something new to do this summer in the local area. We look forward to offering everyone a warm welcome."

The Silk Mill has been at the heart of the community for over 200 years and has been a working museum since 1990. The Mill garden overlooks the River Test, where families can feed the ducks and spot lots of wildlife during their visit.

Whitchurch Play Town is open until Sunday, September 3 and is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10.30 am to 5.00pm.