Watford is a small town that is filled with history, picturesque parks and many children’s activities. You can tour a film set or watch a live show. The many parks offer pristine space for picnicking, hiking and viewing wildlife, and many of them offer children’s playgrounds.

    For those who love the outdoors, Watford also has nature preserves and beautiful gardens to stroll through while you enjoy the sounds of birds singing and scents of blooming flowers. Downtown hotels are popular among travellers who want to be close to the action, and you can also find charming bed-and-breakfasts. Here are the 10 best things to do in Watford.

    1

    Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour

    Visit the set and learn about the special effects of the Harry Potter films

    • Families

    Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour allows fans to tour the original sets and learn about behind-the-scenes tricks and special effects of the Harry Potter movie series. You can find the tour located in the studio where the movies were filmed, just north of Watford.

    You will have the chance to explore the Hogwarts Great Hall or the Forbidden Forest, while the highlight of the trip is boarding the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9-3/4. The tour is sure to be a memorable experience for fans.

    Location: Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR, UK

    Map

    photo by Karen Roe (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Cassiobury Park

    Spend a day with your family at a park with fun activities

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Budget

    Cassiobury Park is a historic park with stunning natural beauty and activities for the whole family. The park is situated at the end of Gade Avenue near the bottom of Cassiobury Park Avenue. Children will have a great day at the 2 playgrounds, miniature railway and exciting splash pool with fun water features.

    When you’re ready for a bite to eat, you can dine at Daisy's in the Park cafe or Cafe Cha or enjoy a picnic on the open green space. The heritage trail provides great hiking opportunities whether you are interested in a short stroll or a longer hike.

    Location: Gade Ave, Watford WD18 7LG, UK

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +44 (0)1923 226400

    Map
    3

    Cheslyn House and Gardens

    Explore a beautiful garden filled with exotic plants from around the world

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Cheslyn House and Gardens offers approximately 1.4 hectares of green space and includes a pond, a fernery, large herbaceous borders and an aviary. Cheslyn House is located near the intersection of Nascot Wood Road and Ridge Lane. As you explore the gardens, you will see a collection of unusual and exotic plants that were collected from around the world.

    A few of the exciting plants include the sweetgum tree, the Indian bean tree and the tulip tree. Past the house, you will find a lush woodland garden that is especially impressive in the spring when the azaleas and rhododendrons bloom. Modern features have been added, including a pond, bird aviary and rock garden.

    Location: Nascot Wood Rd, Watford WD17 4SL, UK

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1923 278629

    Map

    photo by David Marsden (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    4

    Watford Palace Theatre

    Watch a show in a beautiful Edwardian theatre

    • Couples
    • History

    The Watford Palace Theatre is a magnificent 600-seat Edwardian auditorium that features dance theatre and shows for children and teens. The theatre is situated near the intersection of Beechen Grove and Clarendon Road. Programmes star professional and emerging actors, and past shows have included ‘Comedy Club 4 Kids’, ‘Showstopper! The Improvised Musical’ and ‘Community Choir 2020’.

    You can purchase snacks and drinks at The Green Room Bar before the show. Theatre restorations have provided modern and accessible facilities while keeping the beautiful architecture intact.

    Location: 20 Clarendon Rd, Watford WD17 1JZ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1923 225671

    Map

    photo by Richard Rogerson (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    5

    Bushey Rose Garden

    Enjoy the sights and smells of a manicured rose garden

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    The Bushey Rose Garden is made up of the Sunken Garden with a fountain and rose beds, the Lawn that's surrounded by mixed borders and the Rose Walk path lined with mixed borders and rose pillars. You will find the garden on High Street, just 10 minutes from Junction 5 of the M1.

    As you stroll through the garden, you will see over 40 varieties of roses and 4,000 different plants. When you arrive, stop at the summer house for a plant list so you can identify the diverse foliage.

    Location: High St, Bushey WD23 3HH, UK

    Open: Daily from 7.30 am to 7 pm

    Map

    photo by LUC (CC BY 2.0) modified

    6

    Bentley Priory Museum

    Learn about the Battle of Britain

    • History

    The Bentley Priory Museum was the headquarters of the RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, and the museum tells the story of how that battle was won. If you are travelling by bus, number 142 stops right in front of the museum. At the museum, you will learn about the contributions of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, the aircrew responsible for defending Britain and the many who worked tirelessly on the ground.

    The museum also highlights the earlier history of Bentley Priory, when it was once a hotel, a girls’ school and the residence of Queen Adelaide, the wife of William IV, in the last year of her life.

    Location: Mansion House Drive, Stanmore HA7 3FB, UK

    Open: Saturday and Wednesday from 10 am to 4.30 pm (closed Sunday–Tuesday and Thursday–Friday)

    Phone: +44 (0)2089 505526

    Map

    photo by Peter Trimming (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    The Forties Experience

    Relive the 1940s through historical exhibits and experiences

    • History

    The Forties Experience highlights the history of World War II through museum exhibits and experiences. You can find The Forties Experience located east of Fishers Field Nature Reserve. You can explore reconstructed buildings such as a 1940s house and village schoolroom as well as street scenes.

    There are several hands-on activities to try, and you may enjoy the Dig For Victory garden or taking a ride on a jeep as part of the London Blitz experience. The on-site NAAFI cafe offers sandwiches, sweets and beverages. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop after your visit.

    Location: 29 Lincoln Field, Bushey Hall Drive, Bushey, WD23 2ES, Lincoln Field, Bushey WD23 2AX, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1923 233841

    Map
    8

    Oxhey Park

    Enjoy a tranquil walk along a lake or visit an activity park

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Budget

    Oxhey Park features a children’s play area, a cycle and footbridge crossing the River Colne, wooded areas and rolling grassy hills. You can access the park south of Watford through one of the entrances found on Eastbury Road, Wiggenhall Road or Lower High Street.

    You can visit the playground, skate park and cafe in the Oxhey Activity Park. In the winter, slopes make it a popular spot for tobogganing. Two paved paths wind through the park, one at river level and the other at the top of the park.

    Location: Eastbury Rd, Watford WD18 0GF, UK

    Open: 24/7

    9

    Rickmansworth Aquadrome

    Stroll around a nature preserve with diverse wildlife

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Budget

    The Rickmansworth Aquadrome is a 41-hectare nature preserve with 2 lakes, play areas, paved pathways, wooded areas and green spaces. The park can be found on Frogmoor Lane, just off of Harefield Road. You are likely to see abundant wildlife among the diverse habitats that span the preserve.

    Several paths are clearly marked and accommodate walkers, runners and cyclists. If you are feeling ambitious, you can take the woodland trail that covers 1.3 kilometres. Children will enjoy the large playground while you enjoy the beautiful scenery.

    Location: Frogmoor Ln, Rickmansworth WD3 1NB, UK

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 9.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1923 776611

    Map

    photo by Iridescent (CC BY 3.0) modified

    10

    Watford Museum

    Learn about Watford’s history and view local fine art

    • History

    The Watford Museum highlights the past of Watford with local history, art and archaeology. The museum can be found at the former location of Benskin's Brewery just off of the Watford Junction from the M25 and M1. Historical exhibits include Print and Brewing, a Watford Football Club display featuring Elton John memorabilia, and Watford at War.

    You can also view the Cassiobury Collection of Fine Art, highlighting Essex family portraits of the Earls along with their wives and children as well as paintings of Cassiobury such as ‘A View of Cassiobury Park’ by John Wootton.

    Location: 194 High St, Watford WD17 2DT, UK

    Open: Thursday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1923 232297

    Map

    photo by Bazj (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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