Style and Design
A superb selection of two storey wooden playhouses from TP Toys based around the basic TP Loft design - the largest in their range. There's certainly plenty to write home about; at ground level there's a floored verandah and three fixed windows to the front, one of which is in the door while upstairs there's a covered play area which extends out to a balcony over the front verandah. There's a further Juliet style balcony to the side in both the Loft and Weymouth versions which is removed to accommodate the wavy slide incorporated in the Skye, Salcombe and Padstow designs. In each case there's an internal ladder leading to the upper area and whether you opt for the Loft or Weymouth or the Skye, Salcombe or Padstow with their slides you'll find plenty to excite the children and keep them playing in the garden for hours on end.
Each version is constructed in FSC approved timber with perspex glazed windows.
The basic footprint of the playhouse is 4'2'' x 5'3'' including the front verandah. When the slide is taken into account this increases to 11'7'' x 5'3''. The overall height is 8'6'' (2.48m).
The timbers of each version are pressure treated and come with a 5 year warranty against attack by rot. In addition the Weymouth and Padstow are pre-decorated in hand painted colours on the roof, balcony balustrade, windows and door.
The playhouse is delivered ready for home assembly by the purchaser - all screw holes are pre-drilled for convenience. The manufacturers estimate assemby time at 8 hours for two adults. You can download a copy of the full assembly instructions here.
See the details of sellers and prices given above.
This is TP Toys' largest playhouse - introduced in 2018 - and is without doubt a highly affordable addition to the larger and tower wooden playhouse category. All five models are designed around the basic TP Loft model. The Weymouth is basically a Loft with some decoration added; red, white and pale blue to the roof, window frames and door. The detail is painted by hand and will save you some rather tricky work if you want the natural wooden appearance of the loft offset by some cheerful colour. And if you pick your deal carefully (see our price guide above), you may find that you have to pay little or nothing extra for the Weymouth over and above the basic price of a TP Loft. On the other hand however the colours may not be to your taste - and you might need more covereage - in which case you have the flexibility of opting to buy the Loft version and applying your own finish.
The remaining models, the Skye, Salcombe and Padstow are essentially the Loft or Weymouth with a wavy slide added. The Loft gives rise to the Skye and Salcombe and the Weymouth to the Padstow. The Skye and Padstow both feature TP's standard blue resin slide and the Salcombe the Crazy Wavy Slide which normally retails on its own at around £150. Whether you think the extra paid for the Salcome version is money well spent is really up to you. Looking at the price difference however we think we'd personally settle for either the Sky or the Padstow.
While the wavy slide is a welcome addition which nicely rounds off this playhouse, the basic Loft and Weymouth versions have more than enough to keep children delighted for hours. There's a nice little playhouse on the ground floor with a reasonably sized play area, pretty verandah and a ladder leading to the upper accommodation. There are plenty of windows too to allow you to see what's going on inside as well as to let the light in. Upstairs the covered play area is protected from the rain and shaded from the sun by the roof and the balcony to the front will allow children a panoramic view of the garden which they're sure to love. We probably don't need to point out that the interior won't be fully wind and watertight but it is well sheltered and there are small gaps between the floor timbers to allow for drainage of any collected water and ventilation of the foundation underneath.
The structure itself looks to be reasonably robust. The combined maximum user weight is specified at 150kg or 23.5 stone so it should in general be able to handle normal day to day play. Note though that the cladding isn't of the tongue and groove variety so the overall structure won't be entirely resistant to the elements. The timbers are pressure treated though - a welcome feature for this size of playhouse in the price range - and the 5 year guarantee will give some peace of mind and reassurance that it will be some time before you need to looking at any maintenance here.
One point we would mention - and it isn't unique to the TP Loft and its derivatives - is that if you do decide to apply your own decorative finish, this should be done before the playhouse is put together. This will make it much easier to ensure that all the timbers are decorated and while it might delay assembly it will be worth it in the long run.
And on the issue of assembly, you should note that unlike many other playhouses, this TP model doesn't come in easily assembled pre-formed panels. If you've already downloaded the instructions you'll know this. If you haven't you should do so here so you know exactly what you're getting into before you order. The good news is that by and large all the screw holes in the structure are pre-drilled for convenience. This isn't always the case with wooden playhouses and it's to be welcomed. The not so good news is that there are a fairly large number of components which will take some time to put together.
There shouldn't be anything unduly challenging to the average diy'er with the correct tools - a mallet, tape measure, step ladder, philips screwdriver, spirit level, and a combi drill or power drill and screwdriver with 3mm and 5mm drill and #2 and #3 pozidrive bits are all recommended. The procedure is however likely to be time consuming and will require at least two adults to complete. We'd suggest the manufacturer's 8 hour assembly time estimate should be regarded as a minimum. And you will need a power combi drill or screwdriver. It just wouldn't be practicable to try to tighten all the screws in the structure by hand.
So, looking at the TP Loft and its associated models as a whole we think that what you get is a good sized economy wooden playhouse with plenty of features to inspire outdoor play, and a construction standard which, while not fully wind and watertight, is perfectly acceptable at the price. We're please to see pressure treated wood used in the construction and the slide is a welcome addition in the case of the Skye and Padstow - if you have the space. The Salcombe's wavy slide brings something a little different but we're not sure it's worth the extra cash.
On the downside we see there doesn't seem to be any way to secure the door so you might want to think about installing a child friendly magnetic catch to prevent it swinging open - and the relatively open structure might not appeal to everyone. Assembly too is likely to be complicated and time consuming - but it's a one off exercise and we don't think it should put you off.
TP are known for producing smaller budget wooden playhouses which give real value for money and we think this venture into the larger playhouse market is well worthy of consideration. We don't see anything out there quite to compare with TP's Loft, Weymouth, Skye, Salcome and Padstow playhouses in either price or style and if you opt for one of these, we think that with the possible exception of the Salcombe, you'll get a value for money budget quality playhouse which, properly looked after, should last a long time. We've awarded the TP Loft, Weymouth, Skye and Padstow playhouses four wooden playhouse stars and the Salcombe 3.5.