Free things to do with kids in or near St. Albans

The joys of Half-Term!  To stay sane we try to do at least one thing each day.  However, the cost really starts to add up so I’ve put together a wee list of things to do in or near St Albans that are virtually free. You can thank me later!  ;-)

Stockwood Discovery Centre – one of my favourite hidden gems.  It’s near the airport in Luton, only 15 minutes from St. Albans up the M1.  It has a permanent display of horse drawn carriages, plus changing displays, an outdoor playground, bee keeping display, beautiful gardens to run around and a café for a much needed latte.

See if you can find the Anderson Shelter.  It’s near the chickens. We’ve been at least a half a dozen times and discover something new each time.  It’s normally free but during half term they have special events that cost a couple of quid.  This time they have some Creepy Crawlies.

Cassiobury Park, in Watford, we often venture over there on the weekend.  It’s one of Madame’s favourite playgrounds.  It was rebuilt a few years ago and other parks should take note.  The playground is brilliant with very creative apparatus for kids to explore.  Plus, there’s a hot dog stand, ice cream truck, mini railway (£1) and nature reserve.  I love wandering down to the canal to watch the barges go through the locks.  I’ve also recently discovered that there is another ‘nice’ café and playground at the top of the park but I haven’t found it yet.  Do take your scooters!

Nottcutt’s Garden Centre on Hatfield Road.  This one is a bit cheeky, but perfect for a rainy day.  It has a great display of outdoor climbing frames, which technically you aren’t supposed to play on, loads of animals and fish, plus books and toys to browse.  There is also a café with reasonably priced kids meals, with a small fenced off play area.

Then next door there is PJ Camping, which has a giant display of tents that the little ones can run in and out of!  Great fun!

Aldenham Country Park and Rare Breeds Farm, another one of my favourites just past Costco on the A41, it’s well sign-posted.  Technically it isn’t free as it costs you £4 to get out of the carpark but worth it.  There’s an adventure playground, animals to visit, Winnie the Pooh’s 100 Aker Wood to explore and if you remember to bring some bread you can feed the ducks.  Plus, if you’re feeling energetic you can wander around the reservoir.  There’s also a café but if it’s nice out it’s a great place for a picnic.  Or you can do what we do and combine it with a trip to Costco; lunch for two is only £4.20!

The Wick, Marshalls Drive, St. Albans.  The majority of locals don’t even know this exists.  It’s a small wood which is just off one of the poshest streets in town, it has a very small playground in the back of it, but it’s a wonderful wood to explore.  We often go hunting for fairies and monsters.  It’s magical!  Plus, you can ogle the big houses!

Do you have any local hidden treasures you would like to share?

How did you tell your other half you were pregnant?

Parts of this may horrify some of you.  I never planned on having children and believed that the batteries in my biological clock were well and truly dead.  However, on Christmas Day 2006, after we drank our way through everything in the house including the duty free cupboard we got a bit carried away!

Late January, I knew in the back of my mind that I was pregnant (sore boobs, etc) so I went off to a chemists, one where no one would recognize me, and bought a pregnancy test.  I came home, peed all over my hand and to my great relief it was negative.  But, I knew it must be wrong, so off I went again to get another one and no big surprise this one was positive!

I was in utter shock and in my true fashion I wandered to the shop at the end of the road and bought 20 fags and 4 of the largest tins of beer I could get.  I then returned home smoked all the fags and drank all the beer and called my best friend in tears somewhere in the middle.  She managed to calm me down.

When hubby arrived home I had the fire going and made him sit down in front of it.  Then I presented him with a present…gift wrapped and all.  Inside were these:

It took him a moment, but he was over the moon and then……I passed out!

So how did you tell your other half?

Please note:  I did give up all this silly business during my pregnancy!