There's nothing like a day out in the fresh air to invigorate the kids and give you quality family time.
Aldenham Country Park is a true gem of the Hertfordshire countryside, offering everything you need for a true outdoorsy adventure.
For the animal-mad, there's a lovely farm – not too big and not too small – complete with animal petting sessions. There are two excellent outdoor adventure playgrounds for your thrill-seekers and crazy climbers, a soft play barn, not to mention the stunning 55-acre lake and surrounding woods, which is as perfect for muddy winter walks as it is for sunny summer strolls. There's also a charming Winnie-the-Pooh area called the 100 Aker Wood, a section of woodland that has Winnie-the-Pooh characters and objects dotted throughout – the perfect spot for a picnic.
So come rain or shine, grab your kids, a picnic, maybe some wellies, and head off to Aldenham Country Park for a day of good, old-fashioned country fun. Here are our seven top things to do when you get there.
Meet Some Furry Friends at Aldenham Farm
This educational children's farm is home to a surprising variety of animals, including turkeys, ducks, chickens, guinea fowl, donkeys, ponies, alpacas, geese, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, goats, sheep, pigs and cattle. Animal lovers will enjoy going from pen to pen and getting up close to their favourites. You can buy bags of feed at the reception and enjoy the delight on your little ones' faces as they feed the animals. There's nothing quite like the expression on a child's face when they first feel a goat licking food off their palm! Aldenham Country Park prides itself on being an educational establishment, which means there are loads of opportunities to learn new things. The farm has animal petting sessions every day at 11 am and 2 pm. Kids can learn about their favourite furry friends before having the chance to hold or stroke them. Egg collecting takes place at noon every day. The farmer will give you a tour of the farm, looking at different breeds of chicken, before you enter the chicken coop where the eggs are laid and collect a tray of eggs yourself! You're even allowed to take some eggs home with you! (Egg collecting costs extra.)
The farm also houses the Playbarn, a small soft play barn where your littlest ones can blow off some steam while you have a cuppa on the sofa. The Playbarn is suitable for kids up to age 7 or 8 (although there is no age limit) and includes a bouncy castle to help tire them out. Older kids can hang out in the Snug, a small, warm room with air hockey, a pool table, hot drinks and comfy sofas. It's also a great respite if it's raining.
Take A Stroll Through The 100 Aker Wood
The 100 Aker Wood is a special Winnie-the-Pooh-themed trail through the woods. You don't have to be a Pooh fan to appreciate this trail, which is dotted with Winnie-the-Pooh characters and charming references to the much-loved children's books. Younger kids can entertain themselves spotting their favourite characters, while your more adventurous ones will be happy exploring the woods as you go. Throw your Pooh sticks from Pooh Bridge, spot Pooh Bear's House, explore Eeyore's Gloomy Place, find the Bee Tree (look up!) and play in Roo's Sandy Pit. The 100 Aker Wood is a lovely shady spot for picnics as well, so don't forget to bring your own. Winnie-the-Pooh also makes an appearance every day at 2 pm during half-term and school holidays by the farm.
Climb High At The Playgrounds
When the time comes for running, jumping, climbing, balancing, crawling and swinging, Aldenham Park has two brilliant playgrounds. The first is just off the car park, beside the farm, and it offers free entry. It has a section for younger kids, with swings, climbing structures and bridges. Just next to this is an area for older kids, with an obstacle course to challenge your energetic companions. Further into the park is the larger adventure playground. This playground is for SEND visitors only every day until 11 am. After that, it is open to all, for a £3 entry fee. Your kids will love the challenge of its larger climbing structure, plus there are lots of little extra activities dotted around, and a zip wire, which will keep everyone busy and entertained. There is also a SEND Pavilion, providing indoor SEND activities, including arts and crafts, sensory rooms, a ball pond and soft toys.
Go On A Lakeside Walk
The 55-acre Aldenham Reservoir will wow the whole family, visible as it is from the car park. Walking from your car to the park entrance, you can't miss seeing the ducks at its edge. If you have little nature lovers to entertain, the 2km path around the lake is relatively easy and not particularly muddy. It's perfect for a relaxed stroll, or even a light bike ride. It's hard not to be impressed by the tranquil beauty of this spot – and if any of your kids are budding photographers, this is a wonderful location for wildlife watching. Keep an eye out for ducks, geese, dragonflies and swans. You might even spot rabbits and squirrels if you look hard enough. Bring a picnic along, and don't forget some food for the ducks!
Take A Ride On A Pony
Turn your trip to the park into an especially memorable day by booking a pony ride for your little one. There's something so exhilarating about riding a pony, especially for younger children who may not yet have experienced larger animals up close and personal. The exciting animal encounter starts with your child meeting the animal and then being led around the park by a member of the park team. You should definitely book the pony ride in advance, and in the holidays these fill up pretty fast. You can book online or over the phone and you have the option to choose a standard 15-minute time slot, or extend it by booking consecutive slots. Pony rides are available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during term time, and on most days during school holidays. Riders must be over three years old and weigh under eight stone (or be under five feet tall). For kids who love ponies but aren't able to ride, there is an option to help groom the ponies.
Stay Overnight At The Park
Aldenham Country Park isn't just for daytime fun. Surprise your little adventurers with a glamping experience. Spend the night under the stars in a fab five-person bell tent. Kids will be wowed when they see the tent, set up with beds, mattresses and cute little rugs. And then to wake up to views of the gorgeous park, with the playgrounds at their fingertips, knowing there's a day of fun ahead – memories in the making! Glamping packages can include a barbecue kit as well, so it's the perfect way to spend a summer night. There are also camping packages available if you prefer to bring your own tent.
Have a Special Experience
Sometimes an hour at the farm just isn't enough. So how about a whole day? Treat your little animal lover to the special experience of becoming a Little Farmer. They will feel so important following a real farmer around, seeing his daily routine and helping him with all the animals he cares for. Or you could book a one-hour pony experience where your little one can groom, ride and care for one of the park's gentle ponies. These experiences are perfect as a birthday surprise or just a way to make your child feel special and grown-up.
Kidadl Tips To Know Before You Go
- The park is open every day. The farm and playgrounds are always available, but there are more activities on during half term and holidays, so it's worth checking the website before you go.
- Parking costs £4.50 (or £4 if booked online in advance) and the car park barrier is open until 6 pm.
- Bring your own picnic – there are plenty of picnic spots and picnic tables dotted throughout the park. There is also a lovely cafe inside the park, called the Farm Kitchen, which serves organic homemade dishes.
- There are baby changing facilities next to the farm reception and in the car park toilets.
- Aldenham Country Park camping and glamping must be booked in advance.
Where is it? Aldenham Country Park Farm, Aldenham Country Park, Aldenham Road, Elstree, Hertfordshire WD6 3BA
How much to budget for: Entry to the park is free. Farm entry is £5 per adult, £4.50 per child (under 2s go free). To buy a bag of feed is £3, or £5 for three. Egg collecting is £9.95. Pony rides are from £12. The larger playground costs £3 per child. Parking is £4.50.
Nearest Tube: The main stations closest to the park are Elstree & Borehamwood, and Radlett. The park is about a 10-minute drive from each.
Is it buggy friendly? Yes, the entire park is buggy accessible.
Kidadlers say: Corinna says: 'Aldenham is awesome! Farm, playground, Winne the Pooh trail!!'
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