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Mum's Guide To St Albans Blog

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Six places to go when Christmas is over


Christmas is here! Great! But what happens after that?

Trust me, sooner rather than later, everyone is going to be bored of their toys/gadgets, start to get a bit tetchy, become sick of having Quality Street for breakfast and need to get out of the house. Time to go back to school, young brood.

But wait! There’s still at least TWO WEEKS until the kids go back! (I’m SURE when I was a kid we used to back to school on the 3rd January, right? Mine go back on the 8th!)

How do we fill that gaping void that doesn’t (necessarily) involve dawn til dusk screen time, you ask??

Before going any further, I should add that one thing I cannot be doing with (especially at this time of year) is CROWDS. So here is our definitive list of local things to do post-Christmas, pre- going back to school that DOESN’T include standing around in queues or barging through hoards of people. And certainly no Sales shopping (shudder).

Plus, having emptied my entire wallet into the till at The Entertainer in mid-December, I do NOT want to have to spend a lot of money, so nothing on this list will break to the bank.

Here goes…

Disclaimer: Some of the following activities may involve getting into a car and driving somewhere that is NOT St Albans. But it's going to be OK.

1.      Willows Farm 

Now, I know I know I KNOW it’s an arm and a leg if you don’t have membership, but it REALLY IS the best time of year to go because a) prices drop to a pretty reasonable £11 per adult and £13 per child online in advance and b) it’s not that busy.

The soft play is good, the Peter Rabbit shows are good, the sheep racing is good. Perfect for mentally switching off whilst your kids are entertained for hours. Magic.


2.      Ice Skating in Hemel 

Its winter and its freezing, so you may as well be freezing at Planet Ice, watching your kids try to skate. They’ve got 2for1 on New Years Day so you can feel virtuous going out whilst the rest of the country are on their sofas nursing their hangovers.

I’ll be there in huge fur coat and oversized plastic glasses, channelling the mum from I, Tonya. Plus, DJs Play Park is only a couple of doors down, so if it all goes wrong you can bundle into there and get one of their 50p mini ice cream cones. Win. 


3.       Coral Reef Waterworld Park

No one goes swimming around Christmas time, this is FACT. So that’s a great reason to go: less people to hog those life-saving family changing rooms. As everyone knows, there is a ridiculous lack of decent water parks in the St Albans area (I’m talking wave machines, etc).

The best one I’ve found is an eye-watering 53 minutes away in Bracknell in Berkshire. If you can face the drive then you won’t be disappointed – it’s got a pirate ship, proper water flumes, an exploding water volcano AND CBeebies nerds will remember it featured in this episode of Do You Know. Wetsuit & full blow dry anyone?


4.       Dunstable Downs

If you haven’t been before, get in the car now and go go go! Being the highest point in Bedfordshire, this National Trust spot is the most breathtaking landscape you can imagine with the most minimal effort required: the car park is right next to the café, which is right next to the view. If it’s not raining then you must bring a kite- it’s practically the law.

For even more wholesome fun there is a very cute play area with natural wooden climbing frames in Chute Wood, which is about a 10 mins walk from the café. Everything is free except the parking.


5.       RAF Museum in Edgware

Its only 20 mins away, its free of charge (apart from the parking, again) and an excellent opportunity to palm the kids off onto my husband so they can do tech together with the planes and flight simulators and what-not, whilst I take a wander through the war history section in peace. What’s not to like?

Open from the 2nd January 2019.


6.       Center Parcs

It seems to be that every single person I know is going to Centre Parcs in early Jan this season, and I’m cursing myself for not thinking of it sooner. The Woburn one offers unparalleled family bliss and is only half an hour up the road.

Why oh why don’t they offer day passes, I wonder? MUST book up for a long weekend January 2020.


Please note that Mum’s Guide To St Albans are not paid by or affiliated with any of these places, all opinions are my own. Please check websites before you travel.

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