Do not adjust your screen – I really am writing about a day out in Watford, a day out that is blogworthy and something I want to share with you, really. Go with me on this one…
We spent 8 hours yesterday at Whipsnade Zoo (here’s our Day Out guide) so today was planned to be a little quieter – a day out with friends but not on our feet for a whole day. So we headed to Watford. Cassiobury Park to be precise.
Cassiobury Park is easy to get to, there is a fair amount of free (yes, free – but read the signs people) parking on the streets nearby and it’s massive. There is so much to do and so much space and plenty to entertain children of all ages – pack your picnic, your sunscreen and you can fill anything from an hour to a day.
What’s there to do?
Today we headed to the paddling poolsThese are large, shallow paddling pools which are great for all children who are under 12. Well enclosed, the maximum depth is just 30cm so although toddlers will need supervising, for older children there’s enough depth to lie down in, splash and generally have fun
There is some seating around the edge but not a great deal and it’s definitely not comfortable. Otherwise you’re sitting on the concrete surrounds. There is also absolutely no where to hide so you’re in full sun, all the time. There are public toilets there (not the nicest) and a small hut that sells snacks, drinks and ice-creams. The water is well chlorinated – hence the goggles.
It’s small enough to be able to keep an eye on your children – but large enough for them to feel that they have some independence and space to run around
The playground was refurbished and re-equipped in 2009 and was really well thought through – there is play equipment for every age, and some really good accessible stuff – including adapted swings and roundabouts. Again, no shade but there are plenty of big trees near by.There are also plenty of picnic tables around – and litter bins but they were swarming with wasps (then again, it is summer!).
On the other side of the park, by the Arts Centre, there is another playground for smaller children – the space between being large enough for picnics, kick abouts, kit flying or whatever else you like to do in the park.
There’s an ice-cream van in residence but if it’s really hot be prepared to queue – for some time. Last week friends were reporting waiting 30 minutes for an ice-cream (they have more patience than me).
There’s also a little train that runs on a 10.25″ gauge track around half a kilometre of track. Usually £1 per person the train operates at weekends, bank holidays and during the school holidays. Mind the step when you get off!
Just a few minutes walk from the train ‘station’, is the Grand Union Canal where you can amble along the footpath and watch the narrowboats going past. There are ducks and I have seen children paddling in some shallows by the bridge. There’s also a nature trail if you enjoy that sort of thing – it was too hot for us today so after drying off and a quick play in the playground we headed off for lunch…
Back in 2010 we spent 2 weeks of the summer holidays at Great Ormond Street with the Sealion Keeper who was having intensive rehabilitation therapy after having Scarlet Fever. We ate out a lot – frequently at Giraffe in the Brunswick Centre. The friends we were with today, came to visit us there and we ate at Giraffe. It made our time there much more bearable.
Joy of joys Giraffe has opened in Watford this week! After a serious refit, Tesco at the Waterfields Site now has Giraffe instead of their cafe and it is such a positive change.
We were very impressed at the fact that they weren’t filling every seat in order to let the new staff (they only opened on Monday this week) ensure that everyone had a positive experience. We waited for all of 10 minutes for our table and the experience was most definitely positive. Great food, excellent service, little mistakes corrected very quickly and a really nice lunch. Although those used to eating at Tesco may raise an eyebrow at the pricing, the quality of the food is far superior and the it’s a restaurant, not a cafe!
By the time we’d been to the park, had lunch and had a pootle around the new Tesco layout (very impressive) we’d filled the day. A great summer day out in Watford – that’s not something I thought I’d be blogging about!