September 24, 2019

The five best parks in St Albans for family photography

A roundup of my favourite St Albans parks if you’re looking for a great family day out and fab family photos!

After reading an article about the benefits of outdoor play for children, I thought I’d put together a list of the best parks in St Albans. Obviously, being a family photographer and a Mum to a very active young boy, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the local parks.

Some of these are pretty well known, others a little more off the beaten track. Do let me know if you discover your new favourite in this list!

A great family day out

I absolutely love spending time outside with my boys at the weekend so if your family are the same then I hope these recommendations will be of use to you.

Truthfully, I had trouble narrowly it down. Between all the great parks further afield like Lee Valley Regional Park, Denham Country Park, Fairland Valley Park, Canons Park, Rothamstead Park, Cassiobury Park and so on you see I could have made this a very long post! (Maybe I’ll write a wider Hertfordshire post another day!!)

Here are my boys having fun in the park not that long ago…

outdoor family photo shoot St Albans

1) Verulamium Park

This is the attraction in St Albans, so I’m sure you’ve been here at least once. It’s such a beautiful park, with great views of the cathedral, the big lake and a lot of outdoor space, it’s worth a visit as there is something to entertain everyone. If your children like scooting or biking then the well-maintained paths will definitely appeal to you. For the sportier among you, there are tennis courts, basket ball courts and it’s the home of Saturday morning’s Park Run. During the warm days the splash park is a great place to cool off (but does get busy).

There is something very relaxing about taking a stroll round the water, enjoying watching the swans and geese do their thing and taking in a bit of history at the same time.

st albans parks, best parks st albans, St Albans engagement shoot, St Albans pre-wedding shoot photographer
St Albans family photography in Verulamium Park

We often take out of town visitors to Verulamium Park because it’s the site of the old Roman town.  As such, the Verulamium Museum and the hypocaust are well worth a visit for history buffs, but also, it’s awesome to simply wander along the remainder of the Roman wall.

Verulamium Park, St Albans family photo session, outdoor lifestyle photography
happy girl on swing in St Albans park

When your kids are tired of feeding the ducks and using the amazing new Roman playground, there is the Inn on the Park for a cheeky ice-cream.  At the other side of the park you can find the oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, for a tipple or lunch. Alternatively, you’re right on town’s doorstep to explore everything going on there.

You definitely need to check out Verulamium Park if you’ve not explored this Hertfordshire gem.

Verulamium park photos, family photo session, best parks St Albans, Verulamium

2) Clarence Park

The big benefit of Clarence Park is the sizeable playground with big sandpit.  It can get busy on hot days (but then there is usually an ice cream truck around!) but my son absolutely loves it.

Clarence park, autumn family photo session, st albans parks, fun family photography
St Albans family photographer

This park has lots of big trees which are great for climbing and picnicking under. The wide, flat paths also make it the perfect park for scooters and bikes. There is a relatively big loop around the main park and cricket fields which usually is enough to exhaust my son, but not far enough to start him moaning! There is a restaurant called Verdi’s in the corner of the park that does a good pizza and has an ice cream stand in the summer.

Clarence Park, family photo session pre-teen, family photos St Albans
mum and son having a leaf fight during family photo shoot in St Albans

Clarence Park boasts other facilities like toilets (of course) and a large cricket pitch so there is often something sport based to watch if that takes your fancy, not to mention it’s home to the local football team’s stadium .  The cricket pavilion also offers co-working days for small businesses from time to time.

3) Highfield Park

I am a little partial to Highfield Park because it’s right on my doorstep and I walked my beloved pooch around the park for many years.  Highfield is pretty large so you can visit all the time and still find new trails to explore. One of my favourite areas is the Windfield Woods which are blanketed with bluebells in spring. My newest find is an adorable little pond in a back corner so even after exploring for five years I can still find new areas!

photography for St Albans creative small businesses
Highfield Park, autumnal family photoshoot, family photos st albans park

Be warned! The paths aren’t as well maintained here so it isn’t our favourite scooter location. However, the park makes up for it with activities like the little tree maze, football pitches or the petanque court. Overall though, it’s the most wonderful place to just enjoy being outside. I love the Millennium Forest, especially in summer. The trees and grasses are taller than me and I weave in and out of paths feeling like I’m in another world!

spring time family photos in St Albans
Spring family photoshoot St Albans

Check out the Highfield Park Trust website for all the events that they run – there are always lots of child focused activities on during school holidays.

4) Heartwood Forest

Heartwood Forest is managed by the Woodland Trust and is the largest continuous new forest in England. There are miles and miles to explore. If your children like animals you’ll often see dog walkers and horses on the trails.

Hertfordshire maternity photographer
Hertfordshire family photography, outdoor family photo session

There is simply no green space around St Albans that can rival Heartwood Forest. If your family enjoys biking, (dog) walking or horse riding then make sure you spend a weekend down here as soon as possible.  The Magical Wood is being developed as a child friendly play area and the den building is already a huge hit with kids!

photoshoot expecting mother, pregnancy, maternity leave, bump photosession, Hertfordshire maternity photographer, St Albans maternity photographer, bump photography
Heartwood Forest, den building, Hertfordshire family photo session

My favourite thing about Heartwood is that it looks totally different at different times of year – sometimes it is awash with wild flower meadows, other times long grass or bluebells.  It makes it beautiful to visit at any time of year.

Heartwood Forest phtoos, st albans family photo session, hertfordshire family photo session, outdoor photoshoot
St Albans family photoshoot, Heartwood Forest, National Trust summer photos with your family

5) The Wick Nature Reserve

The Wick is located in the Marshalswick area of St Albans. If you didn’t know it was there, you’d probably drive right past the entrance gate!

St Albans family photographer, St Albans family shoot

There isn’t much to do here in terms of organised activities but it’s a great space for children to run around.  It feels like a little Julia Donaldson inspired world that Stick Man might jump out of any moment. There are plenty of fallen trees to climb on, wildlife to spot and paths to run on.

There is a small playground and a playing field. I think that it’s a park better suited to being on foot. If you want to scoot or bike, check out some of the recommendations above.

St Albans family photographer, St Albans family shoot
St Albans family photographer, St Albans family shoot

So there it is, the five best parks in St Albans. I hope you’ve discovered a little gem that you didn’t know about from this list. Have I missed out some green space or a park that really deserves a space on my best parks in St Albans list? Then please do let me know! I always love exploring and finding new places.

Happy outdoor exploring!

You can see more of my work in my family photography portfolio and make sure you have a read of this blog post and get all your family in the frame! If you want a photoshoot at any of these fun locations, get in touch using the form below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

About Tori

Hi I’m Tori, welcome to the home of all things happy! Here I reckon you’ll find some of the happiest photos in Hertfordshire…I love being around love so I was made for photography. Your wedding, your family days, your passion projects; they all give me the grins. Anything you want to chat about, I’ve probably seen it so get in touch because I love a good natter. Plus, maybe we’re friends that just haven’t met yet, who knows?!