Verulamium Park in St Albans is hands down my favourite park to go to. It has everything that you’d want and expect from a city park and some incredible surprises too. I used to work in St Albans and had family living there so we’ve been quite a few times. I’m regularly updating this review of Verulamium Park, including the brand new playground!!
Honestly I don’t know where to start with this review. How about the stuff you would expect; there’s lots of green spaces to play and relax in (100 acres apparently), there is a model boating lake and a larger lake which is full of ducks, swans etc. Even just a wander around the lake is a lovely way to pass the time.
The park has a playground area, a lovely cafe, it has your usual sports courts but it also has a “beach court” where you can play beach volleyball. I also seem to remember it gets opened up as a sandpit at times but that might have been for an event. They have an athletics track, golf and a leisure centre as well. There is an outdoors gym, which seems to be as popular with the kids as it is with the adults. There’s a small climbing wall right next to it as well.
The new playground at Verulamium Park
The new playground at Verulamium Park opened in November 2020. It’s designed to represent Verulamium’s Roman past. There’s three main play frames. There’s a large wooden Roman villa for older kids. It’s got loads of levels, climbing walls, a slide rail, slide and rope bridge. There’s another frame that represents the Roman wall which was a bit easier for younger kids to explore. There’s also a fully accessible with ramps, slides, binoculars and a really cute little sling swing.
The playground at Verulamium Park has also got a couple of little wooden houses, a Roman theatre, rockers, a see-saw, accessible roundabout and a little shop front. They also have almost every type of swing you can imagine! There’s a circle of normal swings, a rope swing, a nest swing, toddler swings and another funky swing I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to be.
It is a really good playground and such an improvement on what was there before! I think it’s good for variety of ages and it’s mud free. Plus it’s right next to the cafe which is always a bonus.
Roman History at Verulamium Park
In addition to all of these great facilities it has an incredible history. That’s where this place starts to step it up from your typical park. You may well know that St Albans was a major city in Roman times (hence the name of the park, St Albans used to be called Verulamium) but did you know how much of that history is left behind? Near the end of the lake is the remains of the original Roman city wall. Then there is also the Verulamium museum on site (free for St Albans residents but a small charge for other visitors). As if that wasn’t enough history there is the remains of a stunning mosaic and hypocaust right in the middle of the park (free entry) and there’s a roman theatre across the street (additional charges apply)
The lakeside walk
There’s a really nice lakeside walk at Verulamium Park. There’s so much wildlife to see, although there’s tons of signs asking you not to fee the ducks! It’s a pushchair friendly walk as well, and it’s popular with dog walkers as well. One thing you need to be aware of is that the lake can flood if it’s been quite wet. When we last visited to do this review of Verulamium Park it was partially flooded.
The splash park
There is also a splash park which is very popular (check out the pics on Google maps at the moment, the location of the park is easy to spot by the numbers of picnic blankets around it). The splash park is free to use.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is at the edge of the park (very nice little courtyard) is (supposedly) the oldest pub in England and there’s a path through to another green space and the truly spectacular St Albans Cathedral. This is also free to visit and holds a commanding position over the park and city. St Albans Cathedral has a separate review from Verulamium Park – just click here to check it out.
On top of all of this there’s a little wildlife garden run by the Wildlife Trust. It is a very small garden but it’s got a little pond, bug hotel and lots of bug friendly plants. It’s only open during the week but it’s free to look around.
There is so much to this place and they have regular events of all varieties held in the park. Keep an eye out on their website and social media pages.
Our Verulamium Park review
We have been here so often and still haven’t done everything. I love this park and I’m slightly jealous we don’t have one this good in Aylesbury! It doesn’t really matter what you’re looking to do, you can probably do it at Verulamium Park. The new playground is a great addition and solved one of the few problems they had here. The only thing that could improve it more would be more parking.
Free for the park, splash park, Hypocaust and Cathedral. Other charges apply.
Parking / How to get there
Verulamium Museum Car Park (St Michael’s Street, St Albans AL3 4SW) is the one we use but it’s small and can be quite busy. It’s only £1.70 for up to 3 hours or £3.80 for 3+ hours. You can also use Westminster Lodge Car Park.
On site, next to the museum car park, near the lake and at the Inn. There are also toilets at the Cathedral.
There is the Inn on the Park or Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. Picnics are also welcome.
There’s so many free and cheap things to do with the kids in and around St. Albans. There’s St Albans Cathedral and the St Albans Museum & Gallery. There’s also a St Albans version of the Treasure Maps Trails or you could try DJ’s play jungle.
I’m Vicky and I am a mum of three living in Aylesbury. I set up Free Time with the Kids to review free and cheap family days out in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire, mainly because I kept forgetting all the fabulous places that were recommended to me!! I love getting out and about with the kids (and hubby of course) and we have adventures all over the place. My reviews tell you all the things you need to know about the family days out and activites we’ve done such as how much it costs, if there’s parking, toilets and if there’s a cafe or if picnics are allowed. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook