Cheslyn Gardens

We visited a real hidden gem this week! Cheslyn Gardens is a little-known outdoor spot in Watford, but it’s absolutely perfect to let the kids out for a run around and some secret explorations after a morning’s shopping.

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I have to admit that even the entrance is a bit hidden…so much so I drove past it twice! The driveway is small and unassuming, but once you’ve noticed the sign you’ll find a small car park at the end of the driveway, just by the entrance to the gardens.

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This, the entrance and the paths near to the house are wheelchair and pushchair accessible, although not all the woodland is. I’d recommend a sling for non-walkers, especially if you’re chasing after toddlers as well. The gardens are free to enter, have toilets and are open all year round.

As we came in, we were greeted by the beautiful borders around the main lawn. Picnics are allowed, and there are several benches dotted about too. The children went straight off for a run around, quickly cottoning on that the inviting hidden pathways and tall trees were perfect for games of tag and hide-and-seek.

dens parking, cheslyn gardens watford with kids

The Gardens cover an area of 3.5 acres, and are planted with rare and exotic plants from around the world, collected by the architect Henry Colbeck and his wife Daisy. My eldest loved spotting unusual looking plants, and was very excited to find real bamboo!

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Following the path around to the back of the house you’ll find the fish pond filled with koi carp. Note, its not fenced off so hang on to little ones! There are benches surrounding it, so we stopped to have a snack while watching the fish.

dens parking, cheslyn gardens watford with kids

Just next to the pond is a small aviary with exotic birds. This was a surprising hit, and we spent a while imitating the birds and trying to entice out the ones hiding at the back! The littlest absolutely loves birds so was in his element.

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Behind the fish pond and aviary is the main attraction of Chesyln – the woodland area. Filled with twisting, winding pathways, sky-scraping trees and colourful plants, we immediately set off on adventures looking for fairies, robins and squirrels, and just generally getting ‘lost’…

“I’m over here! On the left!”            “Where? That’s the right!”

and so on!  I’m pretty sure we spent half an hour going in a circle around the same tree but for a 1 and 3 year old it’s a real secret garden of possibilities. There are also sculptures strategically placed around the garden, and information boards for older children and adults.

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The wooded area is so dense we didn’t notice it had been raining until we came to leave. It was lovely to find somewhere a bit different to stop and have a picnic lunch, and the gardens provide a great opportunity to stretch your legs and let off some energy if you’re in the area.

We’ll definitely be back for more secret adventures!

How to get to Chelsyn Gardens

  • Bus: numbers R8 and 318 to Ridge Lane bus stop
  • Train: 1.3 miles from Watford Junction station
  • Car: there’s a small car park and limited roadside parking


Business Name: Chelsyn Gardens

Address: Nascot Wood Rd, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 4SL

Opening Times:

Cheslyn House gardens are open all year round, except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

November to February - 9am to 4pm
March and October - 9am to 6pm
April and September - 9am to 7pm
May to August - 9am to 8pm


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