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Watford

Visitors Guide

Your essential guide to hotels, shopping, nightlife, entertainment, sports and leisure in Watford

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Watford for...

Welcome to your guide to Watford... Watford for You is proud to welcome you to our growing, prosperous town. With our diverse population we think everyone will feel at home and hope you’ll find this guide a useful introduction to all the town has to offer. Watford has activities and attractions to suit all tastes: historical sites, parks, museums, leisure centres and sporting events for the whole family. There’s a wide range of shopping and dining opportunities as well as theatres, cinemas, pubs, music venues and nightclubs for after-hours entertainment. Getting here couldn’t be easier whatever your mode of travel and there’s a wide range of places to stay with prices to suit all budgets.

Events...

Activities...

Getting around...

Welcome to Watford

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Transport

How to find us Watford enjoys an enviable proximity to the UK’s transport network. Its location just inside the M25 at junctions 19 and 20 and just off the M1 at junction 5 ensures it simply couldn’t be easier to get here. Access from the M40 can also be swift via junction 16 of the M25. Alternatively, Watford can be reached by tube on the Metropolitan Line and for destinations to the North or the South, via overground services into Watford Junction.

The tube is a good choice for those wishing to visit Cassiobury Park. Watford Junction is closest to the Clarendon Road business district and Watford High Street station brings Watford’s Harlequin Shopping Centre within comfortable walking distance. Air travellers are well catered for too with London Heathrow and London Luton being less than a 20 minute car journey away.

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Watford for...

Hotels

Perhaps you are in town on business, for a special night out or here to visit friends or relatives for a few days? Whatever the reason, Watford has a wealth of hotels for you to choose from. A selection are detailed below. Jurys Inn Watford Clarendon Road WD17 1JA Tel: 01923 422800 Located in the heart of the town’s business district, this hotel is also less than a five minute walk away from the High Street shopping and the historic Palace Theatre.

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Premier Inn Watford Water Lane WD17 2NJ Tel: 08715 279140

The Grove at Chandlers Cross WD3 4TG Tel: 01923 807807

A popular hotel with those on a tight budget and ideally situated for shopping trips to the Harlequin Centre.

Acclaimed as ‘London’s Country Estate’, The Grove is a luxury hotel, golf and spa resort set in a rural location but just a few minutes drive from the M25 and M1.

Hilton Watford Elton Way WD25 8HA Tel: 01923 235881 A mere 3 minutes away from junction 5 of the M1 and with all the extras you would expect from the Hilton chain.

Park Inn 30-40 St Albans Road, Watford WD17 1RN Tel: 01923 429988 Situated in the town centre, this hotel is close to Watford Market, Harlequin shopping centre and Vicarage Road, home of Watford Football Club.

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Watford for...

Eating out

Eating out

Explore our culinary delights

In harmony with its vibrant, bustling atmosphere, Watford has an abundance of restaurants to try. Choose from family favourites and popular chains like Nandos, Pizza Express, La Tasca and Ask. Below is a small selection of our favourite local restaurants. Zinco Sapori d’Italia 89-91 The Parade Tel: 01923 222888 Right in the heart of Watford, this authentic Italian restaurant is famous for its extensive a la carte menu and delicious monthly specials. The Clarendon Chandlers Cross Tel: 01923 270009

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Serves simple British food with international influences in a relaxed but stylish location.

The Glasshouse at The Grove Hempstead Road Tel: 01923 296015

Flower Drum 16 Market Street Tel: 01923 226711

At one of England’s premier hotels, The Glasshouse’s buffet boasts luxury cuisine incorporating British, Mediterranean and Asian dishes. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also at The Grove: Colette’s and The Stables.

Established in 1978 and still family owned, the Flower Drum is Watford’s premier Peking and Szechuan restaurant. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

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Cafe Mezza 144 High Street Tel: 01923 211500 This Lebanese restaurant’s speciality is lamb from the spit but there are over 75 other dishes to choose from. Prince of Bengal 51 Langley Way Tel: 01923 253676 Award winning chefs, the freshest ingredients, friendly staff and convenient parking. What more could you look for in an Indian restaurant?

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Watford for...

Entertainment

Entertainment

Shows, films and music

Visitors and residents alike have a rich variety of entertainment options available to them, making Watford a great choice for a memorable night out. Watford Colosseum Rickmansworth Road Tel: 0845 075 3993 Watford Colosseum is a 1392 seat venue in the heart of Watford, which is home to the best live music and entertainment outside London. The Colosseum has had a £5.5 million refurbishment to bring it up to the standard of a world class venue it once was, complete with a Café, Restaurant and a number of bars as well as the main auditorium.

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Jongleurs Comedy Club @ Oceana 127 The Parade Tel: 08451 222 290 Eat, drink, laugh and dance all under one roof as we welcome Jongleurs, Britain’s biggest comedy night, to Oceana Watford. Featuring some of the country’s best comedians. Watford Palace Theatre 20 Clarendon Road Tel: 01923 225671

the forthcoming season. It also boasted a 3D cinema screen showing the best new releases and classic favourites. The Horns 1 Hempstead Road Tel: 01923 225 020 Built in 1756, The Horns provides live music for the people of Watford to enjoy, complemented by an extensive display of music memorabilia.

Opened in 1908, the Palace Theatre has a long tradition of launching new productions before they hit the West End. Contact the Box Office to discover which comedies, plays and musicals are featuring in

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Nightlife

Watford’s nightlife draws visitors from far and wide as its entertainment venues cater for all ages and tastes. With a generous number of restaurants, bars and clubs, Watford provides everything you could need for a truly memorable night. Bars Bar Bodega 151 The Parade A haven for the over 25s to enjoy a chilled out evening against a nu-jazz background. Paparazzi 77-79 The Parade Simple but sophisticated surroundings with music preferences to suit everyone.

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Walkabout 76 The Parade

Oceana Watford 127 The Parade

Something for everyone. Sport, gigs, DJs and karaoke for the adventurous ones.

This venue features six bars each with their own theme, influencing everything from the decor to the drinks. With music ranging from pop and rock to electro and trance there’s something to suit most tastes.

Revolution 48-50 High Street Serving a variety of 90 different vodkas with guest DJs seven nights a week. Clubs Reflex 66-68 The Parade 80s decor and 80s music for all those 80’s lovers out there.

Area 46 The Parade Where music lovers can indulge in the vibrant atmosphere created by a different theme.

Watford has been awarded Purple Flag status, a new accreditation scheme ‘that recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night’. To achieve Purple Flag status, towns must be welcoming to everyone, offer safe ways for visitors to travel home, provide a good mix of venues and be appealing after dark.

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A night on the town

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Shopping

The Harlequin is Hertfordshire’s largest shopping centre. It opens seven days a week and has over 140 shops and restaurants under its roof including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Apple, Karen Millen, Primark, Disney Store, Lakeland and Zara, to name just a few. There are over 4,500 car parking spaces in seven car parks in and around the town centre. The Kings, Queens and Palace

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car parks directly link to the shopping centre and have over 2,500 spaces for shoppers. There is also a Shopmobility scheme that offers battery or manual wheelchairs and scooters free of charge to disabled customers. The Harlequin hosts free events including fashion shows and children’s holiday entertainment and when it comes to catering for the family The Harlequin has it all: baby changing facilities; mother and child parking on all

levels of both Queens and Kings car parks and children’s kiddy karts. You can also enjoy a wealth of restaurants and cafes including the Place to Eat in John Lewis, Pizza Express, Costa Coffee, Cafe Giardino, Pontis and Starbucks. Opening Times: Mon to Fri 9am to 6pm, Thur 9am to 9pm, Sat 9am to 7pm, Sun 11am to 5pm. Tel: 01923 250292 theharlequin.uk.com

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Enjoy some retail therapy

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Shopping For an alternative shopping experience visit Watford Market located just off the High Street in Charter Place Shopping Centre. It is a lively, traditional, indoor market with over three hundred stalls selling everything you need for your family and home. The market is open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday 8am to 5.30pm. Why not stop by one lunch time and sample the great

choice of foods ranging from traditional British to Japanese sushi. Running through the heart of Watford is the High Street which offers an eclectic mix of shops and eateries. Waterfields Shopping Park is a stones throw away from The Harlequin and boasts a large Tesco Extra, as well as a large Boots, Mammas and Papas and Next.

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Our High Street also plays host to Watford’s Imagine Festival that has run for the last two years. The town centre is transformed by some of the UK’s most exciting up-and-coming theatre companies as well as world-class international spectacle from around the world for two weeks each year. 16

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Where it’s at... KEY: 1 High Street Station 2 Watford Junction Station 3 Watford Met Line Station 4 Cassiobury Park 5 Colosseum 6 Watford Palace Theatre 7 The Harlequin Centre 8 Watford Market 9 Watford Leisure Centre – Central 10 Watford Football Club

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Watford for...

Sport

Sport

Living the sporty life

Watford is proud to be a healthy active town with great sports facilities. It currently has a thriving male and female football team, American football team, fencing society and hockey club to name but a few. Watford Football Club

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Watford FC, based in Vicarage Road, is at the heart of the town’s community. Its excellent Community Sports and Education Trust team runs a variety of schemes and initiatives aimed at improving the lives of those who live

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in Hertfordshire and the surrounding area. The club’s academy system, which regularly produces high-quality players for the first team, has also linked up with The Harefield Academy to combine education and football in a pioneering scheme that hasn’t been seen before in England, blazing a trail for football development. Woodside Stadium Woodside Stadium is one of the country’s leading athletic stadiums and plays host to numerous high profile and prestigious

events. As well as providing a venue for top athletics, this stadium also caters for the enthusiast and club athlete. Woodside Stadium is one of the country’s top athletics stadia, with an eight lane synthetic track, two 100m straights and full athletic markings. The stadium is set in an amphitheatre surrounded by poplar trees. This attractive venue is within easy reach of the M1 and M25 motorways, making it one of the most accessible facilities in the region.

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Fitness

Keeping fit has never been easier or more enjoyable in Watford as there are a host of health centres. Watford has two leisure centres, both of which are fully equipped with top quality and eco-friendly facilities providing a wide range of classes and leisure opportunities. Watford Leisure Centre – Woodside and Watford Leisure Centre – Central have many facilities, including swimming and

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learner pools, sports courts, fully equipped gyms, dance studios and even a climbing wall. Both centres also have a crèche and cafè. The award-winning leisure centres are owned by Watford Borough Council and have proven to be very popular since they opened in 2008. Contact details: Watford Leisure Centre Central

Watford Leisure Centre Woodside Tel: 01923 892710 www.everyoneactive.co.uk Watford is also home to a number of premier health and fitness clubs. David Lloyd Health Centre Tel: 01923 213760 www.davidlloyd.co.uk Fitness 4 Less The Parade www.fitness4less.co.uk Email: watford@fitness4less.co.uk

Tel: 01923 296750 www.everyoneactive.co.uk

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Watford for... Leisure

Fun for all the family

Leisure The broad range of leisure activities on offer in Watford ensure you can make the most of the time available to you, your family and friends. Warner Bros. Studio Tour wbstudiotour.co.uk Warner Bros. Studio Tour London provides an amazing new opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter™ films – the most successful film series of all time. This unique walking tour takes you behind-thescenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props. It also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world. Hollywood Bowl Woodside Leisure Park Tel: 01923 682929 Open every day from 10am until midnight, Hollywood Bowl has 26 lanes so is ideal for families, friends, groups and parties.

Vue Cinema Woodside Leisure Park Tel: 08712 240240

Top Golf Bushey Mill Lane Tel: 01923 222045

Unrivalled picture and sound quality is guaranteed at our Vue Cinema in Watford thanks to a winning combination of Sony Digital 4K screens and Dolby ‘Profound Sound’, guaranteed to leave you fully immersed in your film. Stepped SuperVue seating gives you fantastic views from every angle, plus four of our eight screens are 3D enabled, perfect for showing the latest 3D blockbusters. Discounts for parents come courtesy of Kids AM and our special Family Ticket offers, while special Over 18s and Vue Classical screenings keep more mature film fans happy!

A golf driving range with a difference! It is a revolutionary sports entertainment complex combining games with great food and an environment you can enjoy year-round with friends and family of all skill levels. With a microchip in every ball, your shots can be accurately tracked at this state-of-the-art golf range. An 18 hole adventure golf course is also available for you to enjoy.

Gambado Indoor Play Centre Woodside Leisure Park Tel: 01923 892140 An innovation in childrens play centres, Gambado offers a full-scale climbing wall, mini dodgems as well as a giant play frame.

Mecca Bingo 19 King Street Tel: 01923 223568 Will tonight be your lucky night? Enjoy a fast-paced game of skill and luck in this conveniently central location. Skate Parks Lower Derby Road/ Riverside Road Featuring a wide range of equipment, the skate parks are free to use and are open daily from 11am until 9pm.

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The joys of nature

Watford has plenty of open spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy. Cassiobury Park watford.gov.uk/ cassioburypark Cassiobury Park is a lovely sight to behold in any season. It is the largest public open space in Watford comprising of over 190 acres of green space, a wealth of sports facilities, attractions for children such as paddling pools and a miniature railway, Cha Cha Cha Tea Pavilion and a Local Nature Reserve. The entrances to the park are located on Rickmansworth

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Road, Shepherds Road, Gade Avenue, The Gardens, Langley Way and Parkside Drive.

Cheslyn House & Gardens is accessible from Nascot Wood Road.

Cheslyn House & Gardens watford.gov.uk/cheslyn

Listed as an ancient wood, it is believed to have been a wooded area for at least the last 400 years. Enjoyed by walkers, runners and horse riders the wood also has a rather unique claim to fame, having been used for filming scenes from the Star Wars movies. Breathtaking displays of bluebells mean a visit between the last week of April and the first week of May is highly recommended.

Discover Watford’s ‘best kept secret’, Cheslyn House and Gardens, where you can explore a semi-natural woodland area. Its 3.5 acres of space is imaginatively laid out to provide areas of interest including a pond, fernery, large herbaceous borders and an aviary. The gardener is usually to be found in the garden and is keen to share his plant and wildlife knowledge.

Whippendell Woods

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History

‘Yield not thou to ills, but go forth to face them more boldly than thy fortune shall allow thee’ Virgil’s Aeneid VI The town motto Audentior is found on the Watford Coat of Arms and invites people of the town to adopt a bold approach. This sentiment has been embraced and Watford is recognised for it’s rich history of entrepreneurism and forward thinking.

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Follow the town’s journey from market town to business hub, by visiting Watford Museum. The museum houses Watford’s art collection, features exhibitions on the local printing and brewing industries plus a tribute to the town’s football club. Visitors and residents alike can also enjoy the specialised research room at Watford’s Central Library which is

dedicated to local studies and provides an ideal environment for people researching their family history.

Watford Museum, 194 High Street WD17 2DT Tel: 01923 232 297 Watford Central Library, Hempstead Road WD17 3EU Tel: 0300 123 4049

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Watford for...

…Healthy Living

Heart Town

Love your town… Love your heart Watford Borough Council has joined forces with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to become Watford Heart Town. The partnership aims to increase awareness and improve the lives of local resident’s heart health as well as supporting the work of the BHF and raising important funds for the BHF’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal. Mayor Dorothy Thornhill says: “We’ve got lots going on in our town so there’s no excuse for not getting active and trying your best to keep your heart healthy. Let’s all do our bit and raise some funds for this important charity.” As a BHF Heart Town, Watford residents are helping support our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal. At the moment there is no cure for a broken heart. Once your heart muscle is damaged by a heart attack, it can never fully recover. But

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there is hope. To help us learn how to teach the heart to ‘heal itself’, we need to spend £50 million on research to repair damaged hearts. With your support, we could be funding trials with heart failure patients in as little as ten years’ time. Making a difference Poppy Edwards underwent major heart surgery at the age of 11 and is supporting

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Watford Heart Town. Poppy has helped with various collections and fundraising activities in the area. As a member of Garston Ladies Football Club Poppy’s love of football has helped her to recover and lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Whoever you are, wherever you are, there’s a way for you to give hope in your Heart Town. Get in touch to find out about your

local Heart Town fundraising events. For more information on other ways you can get involved contact your local BHF Fundraising Volunteer Manager for Watford Georgia McCormack on 01480 731086 email mccormackg@bhf.org.uk for more information.

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Watford For You The Watford For You campaign aims to unite the voices of both the public and private sectors, to improve the well-being of everyone who lives, works, visits, employs or seeks to relocate their life or business to Watford and really make it a town everyone can be proud of. To discover how you can get involved in supporting ‘Watford For You’ visit www.WatfordForYou.org

Get in touch info@watfordforyou.org www.WatfordForYou.org @watfordforyou


Watford Visitors Guide