My Favourite Places: Samantha Williams
Founder of Rush trampoline park Samantha Williams jumped to it when we enquired about her secret hang-outs, both local and beyond. She's got some brilliant spots for you to visit.
If you live locally and have little ‘uns, you’ll probably know Rush Trampoline Park in High Wycombe – aka boingy, bouncy, kiddie birthday party nirvana. My 8-year-old son is still proudly wearing the complimentary neon orange socks he nabbed at one such bash several years ago.
What you may not know is that Samantha Williams, Rush’s founder, is a total entrepreneurial powerhouse. The Bucks-based mother-of-three came up with the concept of a high-end, sleek fitness facility when she was doing the rounds of drafty church hall play sessions and grotty soft plays when her children were small. She launched the Wycombe Rush five years ago, swiftly followed by a Birmingham branch. Now the business turns over £4m per year. Impressive, no?
Samantha is currently busy working on expanding Rush’s adult fitness timetable (why should kids have all the fun, right?), adding yoga and pilates to the existing trampoline-based workout classes and spin sessions. There’s also a new indoor multi-sports pitch, drop slide and ice cream parlour. And if you haven’t popped in recently, you may like to know that they’ve now got a whizzy new soft play area that’s ideal for the under-4s.
We managed to get Samantha to step off the trampoline long enough to tell us all about her favourite hang-outs.
Black Horse, Fulmer, Slough
We live about three miles away in Farnham Common. This is a lovely gastropub, not far from Pinewood studios so you get a lot of movie industry people coming in and one of the barman often works there as an extra. We like going for a Sunday roast and in the summer we’ll sit outside in the beer garden.
Starbucks, La Motte Picquet, Paris
We moved to the 15th arrondissement for my husband Tim’s work in 2012 and I spent a lot of time in this café. I’d drop the children off, open my laptop and drink loads of Americanos. I had been a City trader but I couldn’t work in Paris so I decided to write a novel to keep myself occupied. It was here that I had the idea for Rush so I started doing my research.
Stoke Park, Stoke Poges, Bucks
I spent a lot of time here when my children were little. It helped inspire my business idea – it’s somewhere stylish where you can meet friends, do a fitness class or have a swim and grab a nice coffee. I’m a qualified personal trainer and something of a gym bunny. I used to do triathlons and marathons and did a lot of training here.
Electronic Theatre, South Bank, London
I like to research other leisure activities – it’s such a fun part of the job. This place on the South Bank was recently launched by the guys behind Tough Mudder races. It’s social, interactive gaming that’s great for a family group – you all play together in a 3m by 3m room. It was a bit like a modern version of The Krypton Factor. We all loved it, especially my son who’s a big gamer – the hour went by in a flash.
Cafè Wolseley, Bicester Village
We have operating team meetings here as it’s perfectly placed halfway between our Wycombe and Birmingham sites. I go for the eggs Florentine. I’m not a massive shopper but while I’m here I do like a peek at the Lululemon fitness gear. And Reiss is my go-to brand as their clothes suit my tall frame.
Burnham Beeches, Bucks
My stress relief is exercise but unfortunately too much of my time is spent whizzing around in the car at the moment, doing all the school runs and similar. If I get the chance though, I absolutely love taking the dog for a walk in Burnham Beeches, which is technically one of the London parks, believe it or not. It’s an easy stroll from my home. If we do it as a family outing, we might stop at The Blackwood Arms, which is a traditional country pub, for a drink, before walking back.
Osteria Basilico, Notting Hill, London
This place does the best rustic Italian food. It’s in West London so easy to get to from Bucks and we love meeting our city friends here. I go for the anti-pasta and seabass and my husband always has the lobster linguine.
George & Davis, Jericho, Oxford
I did a masters in maths at Oxford University in the ‘90s and used to live very close to this ice cream parlour on Little Clarendon Street. I love all the little independent shops on this street and the fact that there’s not so many tourists in this part of town. I have a really strong memory of visiting George & Davis on the day we heard Princess Diana had died. A bunch of us sat there, in shock, eating ice cream.
Dorney Lake, nr Windsor
We’re a pretty sporty family so our weekend activities are often fitness-based. We put the bikes in the back of the car and go here for a 5km ride around this man-made lake where the Eton rowers train. Or sometimes we’ll walk with our Labrador. The café here does a cracking afternoon tea or hot chocolate.
Roux at Skindles, Maidenhead
This is where we head for a girls’ night. I’ve been living in the area for 14 years and have a great group of friends who’ve gone through the various stages of motherhood at the same time as me. Girls’ nights out used to be wild in the olden days, now they’re far more sedate. I can’t cope with gallons of wine any more. The focus now is on the food and the fish is excellent at this Michel Roux restaurant.
Rush trampoline park, Lexmark House, Cressex Business Park, Coronation Rd, High Wycombe. HP12 3TZ. Tel: 01494 414128
Rush trampoline park, Avery Dell, Lifford Ln, Birmingham B30 3DZ. Tel: 0121 726 8500