This review of Rickmansworth Aquadrome has been written whilst some social distancing measures are in place. It didn’t really affect what we were able to do and see though but some of the toilets were closed. Rickmansworth Aquadrome is a local nature reserve in Hertfordshire. The two lakes that make up the nature reserve were actually formed from gravel extraction used to construct the original Wembley Stadium. #FunFact It was originally awarded the Green Flag in 2009 and has retained it every year since. You can download the full map of the site here
There are two lakes. Batchworth Lake is used for waterskiing (which my kids loved to watch), sailing and kayaking. You have to be a member of the watersports club though. Shockingly, this lake didn’t have many ducks of geese swimming around whilst the boats zipped past! Bury lake has loads of birds on it though. There was a massive flock of Canada geese, plus lots of other ducks and swans. It turns out, if you open up a packet of baby wipes right next to a bunch of birds who are very used to being fed, then they’ll mob you because they think you have food. I’m genuinely glad we hadn’t taken any food as I’m not sure all three kids would have made it out with all their fingers still attached! You’ve been warned.
The lakes are quite nice to walk around, although you get little flashes of river rather than continuous lake-side views most of the time. At one point on the path around Batchwood Lake there’s a little wooded area. Fairly near to the car park you’ll find a really good climbing tree and a couple of rope swings. We spent ages on these (right up until I noticed the broken glass on the floor beneath one of the swings).
The wet woodland
Who knew that was a thing? According to a quick google search it’s basically just what you think it is – a woodland that gets very wet and boggy at times. Honestly, writing this review of Rickmansworth Aquadrome has been very educational between this and the cooties! Don’t worry though, there’s a proper, and slightly raised footpath so you’re nowhere near all the mud.
So, it turns out I’m not very good at quickly looking at a map and then remembering where I’m supposed to be going. We ended up taking the scenic route to the playground area. Completely unintentional, but it involved walking through the wet woodland part of Rickmansworth Aquadrome. I’m quite glad we did though, because I thought this was the best part of the walk. The path we took was (mostly along) the easy access trail. It goes alongside the river as well as being a woodland walk. There’s some lovely little features along the way, and they get some interesting wildlife apparently.
Ebury play area
We drove past Ebury play area on our way to the car park. I recognised it from my research and, I’ll be honest, I was worried about how busy it was. As I mentioned at the start, this review of Rickmansworth Aquadrome has been written whilst some social distancing measures are still in place. Playgrounds have reopened, but it’s still fairly new. This is only the second playground we visited (the first being at Hughenden Park) and it was really quite busy. I was hoping that it would have become quieter by the time we got round there (it’s quite a long walk from the car park) but I was wrong. We didn’t stay for that long.
The play frames
There are three main play frames at the Rickmansworth Aquadrome. None of them are specifically designed for younger children but Smallest Child was more than capable of getting around this one and going down the slides. Again and again and again. One thing I will say, there are slides-a-plenty in Ebury play area!! I’m not sure why the “wizard’s tower” was fenced off, but the boys were quite disappointed.
Almost all of the equipment here is suited towards school ages+. There’s lots of stepping stones, rope lines, bridges etc. It’s certainly not suitable for young toddlers and there were only parts of it that Smallest Child was physically able to do (she’s 3).
The other equipment
Don’t worry, there is some stuff for younger children though. There’s a big sand pit (bring your own bucket and spade) and toddler swings. The park also has an activity trail, spinning disk, nest swing, normal swings and an outdoor gym. The park does need some TLC though as there was some damaged equipment and in places it looked quite tatty.
Our Rickmansworth Aquadrome Review
In many ways Rickmansworth Aquadrome reminds me of Willen Lake (read the review here). There’s loads of water birds to see and it’s a nice varied walk that can either be a woodland walk or a waterside one. The fact the playground needs some work is a bit of a shame as this could be an amazing playground.
Just before leaving we stopped to get some ice creams. They have decidedly odd flavours. Middle Child ordered a cherry and dark chocolate lolly. He ended up looking like he was absolutely covered in blood and apparently it was gross. I tried to banana and chocolate lolly and I wasn’t that keen either. What’s wrong with a white chocolate magnum???
Entry is free
Parking / How to get there
Free car-park onsite. It did seem quite busy so if you’re travelling a long way you probably want to get there early.
Address – Frogmoor Ln, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire WD3 1NB
On-site near the cafe and the watersports centre. When we visited to do this review of Rickmansworth Aquadrome the cafe toilets were closed for refurbishment. If the state of the ones at the watersports centre were anything to go by they must has desperately needed it!!
Lots of places for a picnic, including a dog-free picnic area. Cafe on site
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with out three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. 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