We (grandmother, daughter and grandsons) went to Stanborough Lakes in Welwyn Garden City on a sunny Bank Holiday. We arrived about 10.30am as we expected it to be crowded and were surprised to find plenty of parking still available – when we saw the chaos of people looking for parking when we left in the afternoon we were glad we had arrived early! As the boating lake opens at 11 am I can only assume that is when most people arrive. We went to the children’s playground first which has quite a good range of the usual type of climbing frames, slides etc as well as adjacent toilets but no snack bar nearby. A large new climbing area for older children appears to be under construction next door.
We went to the boating lake at 11 am and the 3 younger members of the party went off for a row whilst I walked to a seat at the end of the lake to watch. It is a good sized lake but not too deep and the hour hire was just about the right amount of time for the inexperienced rowers to make a circuit of the lake area – with pauses to look at the goslings and ducklings that were swimming around. The boats are available for hire during weekends and school holidays. After meeting up again we went across the road (via a pedestrian tunnel next to the shallow river) to the other lake where the snack bar is positioned – it took us about 15 mins walking slowly.
We had a mixture of a picnic with extra sandwiches (not exciting but fresh and very reasonably priced) and icecreams from the snack bar. We then walked on past the people fishing and into the nature reserve at the end of the lake which was pleasant and peaceful. We then strolled back to the lake where a highlight of the day was seeing a heron catch and swallow a fish only a couple of yards from the path.
Overall a very enjoyable and economical day out which will definitely be repeated though next time we will take bathing costumes so the children can paddle and play in the water joining the lakes.