Many of you would include Watford to your list even if COVID-19 hasn’t happened. This is because it is in Watford more especifically in Leavesden where the Harry Potter studios are. As a person living in Watford I can assure you that there’s much more than the studios, however as a person who grew up with Harry Potter books and movies I can also say the studios are a place that cannot be missed. I have been there only once but I as like a child in a sweet shop.
So in this post I will share the places you can visit and where you can eat and drink and have a good experience in Watford. To get here you can get the train at Euston Station in London, it is around a 20-minute journey (if you get the train that doesn’t stop a million times) and then to Leavesden you can get the bus or UBER. If you think it is better you can also get the Harry Potter bus that will get you directly to the studios.
What to visit?
Warner Bros studios
Anyone can deny that the studios are the main attraction. Obviously if you don’t like Harry Potter (as my husband) visiting the studios will not have any meaning to you. However for those who have joined the Harry Potter world at same point of their lives it is amazing to visit the studios.
You will recognise different scenarios, clothes and objects. The price of the tickets is not cheap, and that is the common opinion but everyone ends up going.
We visited the studios in September but if you come during special occasions of the year like Halloween and Christmas the studios will be decorated accordingly giving something extra special. With or without COVID-19 you have to buy the tickets months in advance (especially during Halloween and Christmas seasons). It is well worth it to come to Watford and visit the studios, as I said above I felt like a little kid enjoying a magical world.
Leavesden Country Park
If you have time either before or after the visit to the studios I will recommend you to go for a walk around the Leavesden Country Park. The area is really nice and you will have a park and a bit of woodland vibes and even if you like you can do a picnic (if the weather allows it!). Leasveden and Abbott Langley are very cute and pintoresque neighbourhoods with houses decorated with fresh and colourful flowers.
If you are someone who loves to explore and be in contact with nature Whippendell Woods is a good place to go. The woods will connect to Cassiobury Park which leads you to the town center.
In the middle of the woods there is also a big golf club so be aware if you see someone playing. The last thing you need during your holidays/travellings is ending up in the hospital for getting hit with a golf ball. There is also a little boat-cafe in the canal where you can stop and have some beverage or food.
Where to Eat?
There are good options around, depending how you are getting here and which kind of food you want to try. I have mainly two options, which are my favourite.
Watford Town Center: Bill’s
This place is my favourite for a good breakfast.
Most of the times we decided by something that will fill us in until the end of the day. Be aware that sometimes it is really busy so maybe booking a table is not a bad idea (and especially with COVID_19). This franchise can also be found in other locations including London, so if you don’t have a chance to try it in Watford there are other alternatives.
Leavesden: Kingswood Cafe
For those who want to try the famoust “English Breakfast” you have to try this cafe.
It is a simple restaurant but the food is good (and we had some bad experiences with breakfasts in other places around). You can also have lunch but I think if you have the English breakfast you will be happy for the rest of the day.
In Watford there are loads of different and good options to eat. Watford in the last couple of years have extended the number of restaurants and it is now a very vibrant and “foodie” town center. I am going to list the restaurants that I have tried AND I have liked!
Watford town center
- Bella Italia (Italian restaurant – pictures of the 1st row)
- Ask Italian (Italian restaurant – pictures of the 2nd row)
- L’Artista (Italian restaurant)
- Bacarruda (Mediterranean restaurant)
- Wagamama (japonese restaurant)
- Spicy Lounge (Indian restaurant)
- Kasturi (Indian restaurant)
- Nando’s (grilled chicken but also vegetarian options)
- Tortilla (mexican – fast food – picture on the left)
- Five guys (Burguers – fast food – picture on the right)
- Creams (ice cream and waffles – left and middle pictures)
- Dessert Island (ice cream – picture on the right)
You will have also the “usual suspects” like Burguer King and Macdonald’s but you have a lot of good options around so why not try something different?
- The Swan
Leavesden is a residential area and for that reason there are not many places to eat but I will recommend this pub. Before COVID we were going almost every weekend not only for food but also for drinks. The pub is really cute and close to the studios and to Leavesden Country Park.
Watford town center
The places I am going to mention they also do food, but I will recommend coming only for drinks and then have food in any of the places I mentioned above. I am going to choose my favourite three places for drinks because they are cheap and/or the cocktails are super tasty. I will advice you to book a table in advance, for example I have tried multiple times go to the Florist but it is usually fully booked
- Slug and Lettuce
- The Florist
- The Swan (pub)
- Hammer in Hand (pub)
- The Artichoke! (really cute pub but you have to drive/get a Uber from Leavesden/Watford)
If you are coming to Watford during a lovely sunny day and you like to do picnics you can spread your towel or table cloth in the grass at the Leavesden Country Park and order through Uber Eats Pizza Gogo – the pizza we ordered almost every week! There is also a Tesco (supermarket) close by if you fancy buying some drinks or nibbles! And trust me you are not going to be the only one doing a picnic, this is something that British people love to do when the sun comes out for a bit.