Review: Cassiobury Park Paddling Pool, Watford

Cassiobury Park Paddling Pools and Hub opened on 1st July 2017 after extensive redevelopment work at a cost of £2.8m. 

This Hitchin Mummy went along to check it out!

Paddling Pools and Hub

cassiobury paddling pools

There are three main areas within Cassiobury Paddling pools – one just with various water jets, one paddling pool with central raised fountain and one paddling pool with water jets too. 

Around the pools is a cushioned play area surface which not slippery, soft if there’s a fall and is gentle on little feet. Also handy as my two spent a lot of time running from one pool to another!

There is also lots of space to sit, although not much formal seating so you may want to bring a towel to sit on (if you get a chance to sit down anyway!)

The whole area is fenced and there were staff at the gate limiting entry where required so the pools did not get overcrowded even on a hot sunny day. They also had first aid kits.

changing facilities at cassiobury park

There are changing cubicles and toilets with changing facilities too.

There are two food options – Daisy’s in the Park (the new cafe in the Hub) and their kiosk by the paddling pools.

View from Daisy's in the Park at Cassiobury

Daisy’s food looked lovely. After queuing for ages though I was disappointed to find out they didn’t have any takeaway containers so it was eat in only which we didn’t fancy. That said, I’d return to sit on their lovely balcony overlooking the paddling pools!

The kiosk serves hot dogs and ice creams. Not quite the nutritious lunch we were after but they were both delicious (and the hot dogs were served in brioche buns too!)

It was a hot Sunday afternoon on the day after opening so it was super busy. Yes, we had to queue for food (twice). Yes, there were some unhappy people unimpressed by this. But I couldn’t fault the calm (if slightly stressed looking) staff.

But do you know what? I felt so happy at the sight of my children having such a wonderful time, I really didn’t care.

Somehow, in the midst of the chaos I felt very relaxed – almost as if I was on holiday! When it was time to go home, none of us really wanted to leave.

Play Area & Miniature Train

The play area looked so good over the fence from the paddling pools that we had to pay a brief visit on our way out of the park.

play area cassiobury park

There is a huge range of play equipment for all ages here, including a zip wire. Bouncy castles are also there on weekends  and school holidays in the summer months (charges apply).

There is also a miniature train running weekends and school holidays if the weather is fair. No time to take a ride this visit though.

Conclusion

Cassiobury Park isn’t just a splash park or just a paddling pool. It’s easily a whole day out for the family. Take a picnic along with you and then aside from parking it could be a really cheap one at that!

There are walks and a Wildlife Trust nature reserve we didn’t have time to explore as well as outdoor gym equipment, sports pitches and even croquet! Well worth the drive over to the other side of Hertfordshire…

Top Tips

  • If you want to get a parking space at the park itself, arrive early. There are only 88 spaces plus a small overflow car park and on warm days it’s every man for himself. There is limited parking on neighbouring streets but it’s restricted during certain hours Mon – Fri so check before leaving your car.
  • Although food is available at the time of visiting Daisy’s in the Park didn’t do takeaways for their tasty looking ciabatta, jacket potatoes and pizzas. The only food you could buy without leaving the paddling pool was hot dogs and ice creams from the Kiosk (although very tasty!) so plan accordingly.
  • It was opening weekend so this may not be the case in the future, but at the time of visiting there was a 40 minute wait for ciabattas and potatoes and 1 hour for pizza and no kids sandwiches left (at 12.30pm). If you’re going to eat at Daisy’s maybe don’t wait until the kids are starving (just in case!)

For more info visit Watford Borough Council’s pages on Cassiobury Park.