Against a backdrop of blue sea, palm trees, wandering camels and traditional Arabian architecture, Souq Al Wakrah’s new play park is a delight for both parents and kids. Set in a football pitch-sized area of sandy beach, the new park has plenty of play equipment to keep kids occupied, with enough room left for parents to spread out, relax and enjoy the views. When playtime is finished, wander the souq to discover beachside cafes, restaurants and shops, as well as other family-friendly activities.
Souq Al Wakrah Play Park Review
by Gillian Gibson
Doha Family Rating
A playground on the beach
The park has a multitude of play equipment for kids to swing on, climb and clamber over, jump off, crawl under, and generally run amok in. For kids who love to climb, there are a number of interactive, activity climbing frames. Kids can scramble over and explore a castle, a pirate ship, a boat, a dragon’s castle, rockscapes and a spaceship. All feature multiple climbing surfaces, walls and frames, slides and swings, as well as various paraphernalia to spark the imagination. They can “fire” cannons, spin steering wheels, fiddle with knobs and buttons, and play bongos, drums and chimes. There is a dizzying array of spinners and merry-go-rounds; spring riders in the shape of animals and vehicles; balance beams, blocks and stepping stones; a brightly coloured train with activity carriages to crawl through, slide down, climb on and sit in.
Swings, a staple of any playground, are plentiful and come in an assortment of shapes and sizes, including bird’s nest swings, chair swings and tandem swings for two riders. The park also has a number of goal posts set up for football and a volleyball net—you just need to bring your own balls.
Opened in late 2014, this seaside souq has been expanding ever since. Designed to emulate a traditional Qatari market, the souq’s architecture exudes old world charm. The maze of courtyards and alleyways are heaps of fun for kids to explore and are occupied by an ever-growing assortment of shops and restaurants. The beachfront promenade, lined with cafes, restaurants and sweet shops, meanders along 3-km of coastline making it perfect for a stroll.
This family-friendly beach opened to the public in 2017. Dhows docked on the shore add to its charm, but the biggest crowd pleasers are free access to the sand and water, sun loungers, changing and shower facilities. Winter beach activities, including canoe and kayak hire and bouncy castles, are another bright spot.
The addition of the play park in 2018 has given the souq an extra allure for families looking to head outdoors and enjoy a traditional setting with modern facilities. The park is clean and well maintained, with lighting in and around the park for after-dark play.
Location: Al Wakrah, 25 minutes south of Doha.Facing the sea, the park is left along the promenade, past the Italian restaurant and Cafe 89
- From Doha, head south along the Ras Abu Abboud Expressway. Continue onto G-Ring Road
- Exit left on Al Wakrah Road, heading past Barwa Village toward Al Wakrah
- Once past the new metro station, continue onto Al Wakrah Main Street to the Ooredoo Roundabout
- Take the fourth exit back up Al Wakrah Main Street
- The entrance to the souq car park is located on the right-hand side of the street
Parking: There is plenty of parking at the entrance to the souq. Access to the beachfront and the play park is an easy 3-minute stroll; alternatively, you can always hail a free ride on one of the many golf buggies
Hours: There are no set opening hours for the play park. The beach is open from 10:00–18:00. Business hours for the shops and restaurants in the souq vary, but generally the souq is open from 09:00–12:00 and 16:00–23:00 Saturday to Thursday. On Fridays, most shops and restaurants don’t open until after prayer
Toilets: Toilets are available in a block next to the park
Mosque: Prayer rooms and a mosque are available
Safety: Security staff patrol the souq and the park area. Lifeguards are stationed on the beach from 10:00–18:00. The park is unfenced and bordered by residential roads and the sea; however, the roads are relatively quiet and access to the sea is a fair distance from the play equipment
Dress Code: There are no dress restrictions for the play park or the souq, but modest clothing to respect local culture is recommended. Dress restrictions are in place at the beach, so modest swimwear only, no bikinis or revealing swimsuits
Doha Family Tips
- Currently, there are no benches around the play park for parents to sit on, but there is plenty of space for picnic blankets and chairs should you wish to bring them with you
- Weekend evenings are very busy at the souq, and while the busy atmosphere is a delight, if you are planning to eat out, you may want to book ahead or arrive earlier in the evening
- During the cooler months, additional paid activities are hosted along the promenade next to the play park. These include camel and horse rides, rock climbing, skateboarding in a purpose-built park, and go-kart hire