Where to go outdoor paddling in Herts, Beds and Bucks

For about 6 years my family and I have visited Stanborough Lakes to do some paddling, its a tradition for us now in the summer holidays! There are obviously other places to visit in the 3 counties so here is a list of a few that you could try out :). Thank you so much to everyone that contributed information and pictures to help me put this post together. If you know of anymore please drop me an email so I can add it!

I haven’t personally visited all of these locations but I would recommend that if you are paddling take some wet shoes in case there are stones underfoot!

Stanborough Lake

Location –  Welwyn Garden City AL8 6DF

Our visit – 

Stanborough Lake is a lovely place to visit. You have to pay for parking but there is LOADS of space for parking, a park and splash park to visit when you are there.

Find out more



Ashwell Springs

Location – Ashwell, Hertfordshire.

This site is only small. Please if you go be careful as the local area isnt being looked after and as a result rare and precious flowers are getting destroyed.

Find out more

Biggleswade Common

Location – Biggleswade – not the river ouse.

Cassiobury Park 

Location – Watford, WD18 7LG

Barton Springs

Location – Barton le Clay MK45 4LA

Our visit – 

Barton Springs is really really beautiful with lots of space for picnicing. It gets really really busy and parking can be a bit of an issue so arrive early. If you go, use the entrance near the church and just follow the path all the way and you will see the springs on the right. It’s ok for buggys but is only a dirt track.

Commons Nature Reserve

Location – Welwyn Garden City behind Commonswood School – The little stream runs through the nature reserve.

Aston Clinton Park

Location  – Harpenden at the end of Crabtree lane AL5 1DT

River in Wheathampstead

Location – Behind the Bull Pub AL4 8BS

Oughtonhead Nature Reserve

Location – Hitchen SG5 3RP – I have heard that its a little difficult to find in the park itself so someone over on Facebook was nice enough to put together this map 🙂









Batford Springs

Location – Harpenden AL5 5AQ – Park free on Lower Luton Road and it’s 1-2 mins walk to the springs.

Our visit – 

Batford Springs is great to visit. There are parts that are deep enough to actually swim in and there is a waterfall that you can climb on and shallower waters suitable for younger children.



Cloud 9 Leisure – Indoor Inflatable Park


We were lucky enough to be invited along to sample Cloud 9 Leisure, which is an indoor inflatable park based in Frances Coombe Academy’s sports hall in Watford (please excuse the quality of these pictures! I have no idea what was wrong with my phone – but I think you get the idea). When we arrived the kids first reaction when seeing it through the glass was “WOW!” so we were off to a good start. They had a variety of inflatables including a ninja warrior tunnel and a dash and grab (they mix up whats on offer so if you go on another week its different). My girls favourite was the ninja warrior which they went on loads!! the queues weren’t bad at all and there was always something they could have gone on in the meantime if they didn’t want to wait.

My girls were cracking up on some of the stations and it kept them busy for the full hour  (they got upset when we had to leave).  The atmosphere is really fun, with music so its like a little party and they managed to go on everything as many times as they wanted, which was good.  They were well and truly tired out but the end.  You have to wear socks and are advised to wear grip socks, which I would recommend as even the floor was slippy! There is a kiosk onsite selling hot drinks and snacks if you wanted to get some.  Its a really fun way to spend an hour and is perfect for using up energy!

You are advised to get there 20 mins before your session. This allows you time to park (there is a free park there onsite and other carparks around if you have problems getting into that one), sign your waiver (which you can do beforehand if you want to save time) and have safety briefing then you are free to enjoy your hour! As an adult if you wanted to go on the inflatables with your children then you would have to purchase a wristband but you are free to go in and watch them without buying one.

The sessions are now available on weekends and over the half term (from 29th October to 2nd November) and some of these are selling out. They also have dedicated SEN sessions which is always good to see but I imagine these will be popular.


The early sessions are £8 and other sessions are £10. Find out more.

Here’s that they say…..

Cloud 9 Leisure is the ultimate indoor inflatable experience.  An indoor inflatable park where you and the kids can come and enjoy a fantastic range of different inflatables – we’re not just for kids.

Located at Francis Combe Academy, we are open weekends and school holidays.

We have created an environment entirely out of inflatables, including a huge obstacle course, a giant slide, interactive bungee run, and everyone’s favourite Gladiator Duel and many more activities, as we regularly change the set-up!   Suitable for those over 1m, kids and adults alike.  We love to see the whole family take part and often the adults have more fun than the kids.

Looking for peace & quiet? We also host SEN sessions on the last Saturday of every month where kids can play the way they want to, PLUS carers go free.

We love a party at Cloud 9.  We host birthday parties with a range of different packages available.  Cloud 9 is also a great venue for other events including hen parties and team building events.

Check out our website for how to book and our full opening details.