When doing a review of somewhere like Leavesden Country Park in Abbots Langley I like to visit on a dry, ideally sunny day. I want to have the best experience possible and get great photos for you. My weather app all week has been seriously over cautious so I decided the prediction of rain would be the same again. I was wrong. I’m an idiot. It was glorious sunshine for a while, and then… not so much! Anyway, downpours aside this is a lovely, totally free day out!
Quick note, Leavesden Country Park is a large site, and it actually goes across three roads. There’s crossings on each of these roads though.
Make sure you have a look at the Covid snake near the car park. It’s new (obviously) and was made by local school children.
The play area
There’s several play areas at Leavesden Country Park. The closest one to the car park is outside the Hive and YMCA. It not the biggest park in the world, but it is brilliant!
Instead of a play frame there’s a play mound. It’s got the world’s fastest slide on it. Smallest Child genuinely shot off the end of this like a rocket. Landed on her bum. Looked shocked, then couldn’t stop giggling! There’s a little rope bridge to get to the top, scramble nets and two tunnels. This is on top of a grassy mound and it does get muddy so dress appropriately.
There’s also what I’ve decided is the magic carpet swing. I tried to get photos of this numerous times, but it was so popular I couldn’t get anything without a ton of kids in. I’ll just have to describe it instead. It’s essentially a rubber mat which is suspended on four ropes. There’s another rope running along the length of the carpet that you use to make the carpet rock backwards and forwards. I’m not sure of the intended capacity but I saw up to 6 kids on there at once.
That’s not the only swing in the playground at Leavesden Country Park. There’s also toddler swings and a nest swing. The other equipment includes various rope climbing contraptions, rockers, spinning cups and even a ticket office. For younger children the highlight had to be the model aeroplane climbing frame. On one side there’s a slide and climbing wall and you can “fly” the plane. Smallest Child spent ages on here. Even for the youngest kids this was nice and easy to access.
The Heritage Sculpture Trail
Dotted around Leavesden Country Park are nine sculptures all about three things that are central to the history of the area – Minds, Machines and Movies. You’re pretty much next door to Harry Potter Studios so the movies connection is obvious to all. Did you know that Leavesden studios used to be Leavesden Aerodrome and aeroplanes used to manufactured here including the mosquito? The “Leavesden Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles” was also around this area, and some of the most moving sculptures relate to this.
The highlight for pretty much all kids doing the Heritage trail is the Wooden Wonder. It’s a beautifully carved Mosquito aeroplane. If you sit in the cockpit you can push the buttons to hear stories from people who actually worked on the site. This one is a little bit more tricky to find. Well it is if you don’t read the map properly in the rain, having promised the kids a giant plane to play on, and then panic you can’t find the thing. Should you also struggle to find it stand with the kiss on your left and the plane is up the grass path on your right. In my defence, it’s the only sculpture in the trail that isn’t directly on the route. And did I mention it was raining??
The trail has really good signage to tell you about the reasoning behind the different sculptures. If you want to find out more about the Heritage Trail then have a look at the website.
Langley Lane play area
Confident that I was going the right way we crossed the road shortly after the kissing sculpture to get to the Langley Lane play area. We’d actually driven past this on our way in and thought it looked awesome. It seems to be that this place is quieter than the “main” playground at Leavesden Country Park, but I think that’s because there are no toilets. We were the only ones there when we visited, but (as I’ve mentioned a few times) it was raining. Do you know what though? Even once it did start to rain I had to pretty much drag the kids away. They loved it here. This is a huge playground area, and it’s got various mounds and hills in it so there’s very limited visibility from one area to another. That does make it tricky to keep track of multiple, excited children. There’a a play frame and sand pit in one area (bring your own bucket and spade). I’m grateful the kids didn’t spot this one otherwise they absolutely would have wanted to play in here for ages.
There’s also multiple, distinct play areas – I’ve got photos of just some of the play equipment. On-site you’ll find various swings, frames, slides, scramble nets, a zip line, tunnels, more swings and more slides. There’s some seating around for adults, but not actually a huge amount. Between the various play areas there’s lots of green and wild space for the kids to run around in and explore.
The Parkour zone
At first I thought this was some kind of Krypton Factor assault course. Turns out it’s actually a parkour zone. How cool is this? Middle Child is straight up a tree any chance he gets and loves the idea of parkour so this is right up his street. It is a real shame we didn’t get to stay for longer.
Other facilities at Leavesden Country Park
As you’d expect at a country park there’s tons of green space to explore here. It’s a really nice place to visit. There’s tons of conker trees here so I’m now the proud owner of 10,000 conkers to try and squirrel away before the kids remember them again!! Leavesden Country Park also has a teepee play area, outdoor gym, sports courts. There’s also things like the Edwardian garden, orchards, and an old cemetery. We didn’t get chance to explore all of Leavesden Country Park, which is a good excuse to go back and update the review.
Our Leavesden Country Park review
This is a great place for a free day out. There’s lots to do and you could easily spend the entire day here. I think the Langley Lane play area is actually better than the main one and we WILL be back. The sculptures along the way are a lovely addition.
Parking / How to get there
There’s two small, free car parks on site. I guess they fill up quite quickly on nice days.
Address – 1 College Rd, Abbots Langley WD5 0NX
There’s a cafe on site. When we visited Leavesden Country Park to do this review there were still some covid restrictions in place. I’m not sue if that included a limited menu, but I wasn’t that impressed with what was on offer. It also seemed very expensive so we decided not to get anything in the end.
There’s plenty of places to have a picnic.
There are toilets 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