Verulamium Park Car Park, 39 St Michael’s St, St Albans AL3 4SW
This 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.
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 playground area is pretty babyish – middle and eldest children were not exactly fans. Smallest child loved it though and there was plenty for her to do. The local council are very aware of this though and they’ve been fundraising to upgrade the equipment. This is now complete and the plans are being sorted to completely upgrade the playground.
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)
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.
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.
Entry – free for the park, splash park, Hypocaust and Cathedral. Other charges apply.
Parking – 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.
Toilets – on site, near the lake and at the Inn. There are also toilets at the Cathedral.
Food – There is the Inn on the Park or Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. Picnics are also welcome.
Rating – 4 / 5. 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!
The playground does need refreshing though.