* Prices may differ from that shown
Watford has a lot going for it. Its got good shopping, good leisure facilities, located next to the M1 and M25, has good rail links and is on London's door step. SHOPPING For shopping, you have the Harlequin Centre (Indoor) which has many good shops (including Marks and Spencers, John Lewis, BHS, Whsmiths, HMV etc) and is of a good size. Step outside and you're on the High Street, which also has many shops. Situated to one side of the Harlequin is Charter Place, an outdoor section containing a few shops which looks rather dated and is due for redevelopment. Charter Place leads into Watford Market; an indoor market which runs on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On Watford Market, there is a nice cafe in the middle which serves nice food at a good price and is consequently packed. There are the usual array of fruit/vegetable stalls, butchers, pet stalls and even a pick'n'mix sweet stall which is very competitively priced. Charter Place and the indoor market are located at one end of the Harlequin. At the other end, you're on the lower high street and this leads to Watford High Street railway station (London Overground) and also the entrance to Waterfields (a retail park) which has stores including Borders and a large Tescos Extra. One good thing about the shopping in Watford is that most places are within walking distance of each other. You can walk from the Harlequin to the large Tescos - something you can't do in Milton Keynes (the Milton Keynes large Tescos is a few miles away from the city centre in a place called Kingston). LEISURE Watford has two brand new public leisure centres (including swimming pools), both of which opened in 2008. One is located on the edge of the town centre, near the duck pond/public library. The other is located just outside Watford in a place called Garston. The duck pond is located in the restaurant/night club part, about 400 meters from the Harlequin Centre. Here, people young and old can pass time by watching/feeding the ducks at this pond which has been around for two centuries. Because its located near the night clubs, it does acquire more than its fair share of litter - but the council, who are located very nearby, no doubt try their best to stay on top of it. On the edge of Watford, near to the Underground train station, is Cassiobury Park - what is regarded as the Jewel in Watford's Crown. Cassiobury Park is 100 years old, and is a nice place for people young and old to walk around. For the kids, there is a miniature railway in operation. Further afield, there is Rickmansworth Aquadrome - located about 6 miles from Watford. Here, there are three lakes which host a fishing, sailing club, and loads of ducks/geese/swans. This is a place where you can get right up close to the Swans and Geese, who will harass you for food. FOOTBALL Watford is home to its championship league team, Watford FC, who are also known as the Hornets. The Stadium is located in Vicarage Road, which involves about 800 meters of walking from the Harlequin Centre. During match days, you will see loads of yellow hornets (people wearing yellow shirts) making their way to/from the stadium. The stadium itself is good, looks after the fans well, and also serves nice food at reasonable prices (reasonable, taking into account you're in a football stadium). The club has a fierce rivalry with Luton Town, located 20 miles away. TRANSPORT Watford has four railways stations but the main one for travellers from further afield is Watford Junction - located about 800 meters from the shopping area of the High Street. Watford Junction has mainline railways services to/from London and the north west + Scotland. In addition, there are local services covering the immediate area all the way through to London. The other stations - Watford North and Watford High Street are used for local railway services. There is an Underground Station (Metropolitan Line) situated further out of the town centre near to Cassiobury Park. For car users, Watford is next to the M1 and M25 motorways - which makes it ideal for people who use these motorways. In terms of town centre traffic, it can get bad - and the ring road (which runs round the town centre) can be daunting for someone who isn't familiar with it. Watford has many buses, calling in at Watford Junction Railway station and the town centre. For Airports, Watford is situated in between Luton and Heathrow Airports (both of which are about 20 miles away). EATING/DRINKING Watford has many places to eat/drink. There are places scattered about the Harlequin but most places are located along the High Street leading towards the Duck Pond - which is also the night club area. There are different places to suit different tastes, and budgets. Even the market has places to eat. LIVING House prices in Watford are very high, when compared to its rival Luton. However, the prices are lower than London or St Albans (a nearby city to Watford). SUMMARY Watford is a town which once you get to know, you can become very fond of it - and it does grow on you. It has good shopping facilities, some nice parks nearby and good amenities. Its close to London but retains its own feel.
WARNING TO ALL VISITORSNever would I visit Watford again and I would recommend other visitors stay away.Parking is atrocious. The signs are misleading and tickets are issued and a vast rate - the wardens know the best areas that visitors are confused. Believe me, I have fallen victim to it.If you get a ticket, the appeal process is not independent! And if you want to take it further it will cost you double. Even residents are complaing about the parking but the council have refused to do anything about it - it's a way of making money.Avoid the area - or it will be a very expensive trip. You have been warned.
Having lived in Watford all my life, I think that I am well equipped to tell you all about it (so what if I’m only 16??). Let us begin with a sprinkling of history: Watford had began primarily as a market town, with many Inns for weary travellers on their way to London (thus the enormous number of pubs nowadays).Watford then grew up in the Victorian Industrial eruption, due to it’s closeness to London, and the various mills that sprung up out of nowhere. To cater for this, a mainline train station was constructed, Watford Junction, and the The Grand Junction (not Union as it is sometimes referred to as) Canal that runs from Brentford to Braunston also drifts through. Both were used for the transportation of goods and people to this growing and lively product of the industrial boom. Watford was most well known for it’s printing industry, (Sun Printers is currently being knocked down to make way for some monstrosity no doubt planned by the council), and it’s laundering services, of which only one is still remaining; a small compact place in Sydney Road which I can more or less see from my bedroom window! To accommodate the new workers, terraced housing was built up and this has become what is now known as West Watford. It’s rabbit warren roads and close knit communities typical of areas such as this. There are many small communities in the area; West Indians, Pakistanis, Indians, Portuguese and Spanish to name but a few, and this adds to the cultural diversity of the town. Watford as it is now, has developed and expanded much since those early days. The ‘Pride’ of Watford, as it is put, is The Harlequin Centre. There are a great many shops to keep girls and boys, young and old entertained. Clothes stores, sports shops, many music outlets and department stores clutter the high street and the Harlequin, there are also a good selection of banks and insurance brokers, as well as….pubs. < br><br> Watford’s nightlife is lively, very much so in fact. There are what seems to be hundreds of pubs, Yates’s, The Rat and Parrot and The Artichoke to name just three. These are all within five minute’s walk of each other. There are two nightclubs, Area and Destiny (which used to be Kudos, which was originally called Bailey’s) and both of these offer good nights out. I would recommend that you go to Destiny though; it may be slightly more expensive, but there is more space in which you can strut your stuff, and the music is better too. There are also many restaurants and little bars, the best of which is probably L’Artista, which is famed for its exotic cooking. There are many take away places, Fish and Chips, Thai, Chinese, Greek and Italian delicatessens all inhabit Watford. If you like culture, we have the Colosseum and Watford Palace Theatre. The Colosseum is a 1400 seater venue and has played host to many great acts, from Harry Hill to Oasis, Bottom Live to The Who, everyone who’s anyone has played here. The Watford Palace Theatre is an inexpensive way to spend an evening, watching the best of Watford’s young actors put on shows to delight and captivate their audience. Then there is Cassiobury Park. Most of Watford used to be owned by the Earl of Essex (no I don’t know why Essex either, if anyone knows I’d be most grateful to learn..) and the park is the remainder of what used to be his back garden. There are woods for ramblers and many hiking trails for the intrepid, and many a lazy afternoon can be spent lying in the sun watching the world go by from the park itself. Watford also of course has a football team, formerly of Premiership status, the prices of tickets have risen dramatically in past seasons, and I am only fortunate enough to catch a few games a season nowadays. The club is in severe financial trouble and the recent backroom changes have meant that we are destined f or yet another season of mid table mediocrity in football’s second flight. And how can I forget that “friendly” rivalry with Luton? Watford is also a good place to come to if you are looking to get to London, with good traffic links to the M25, M1 and A414. Heathrow is only an hour away, Gatwick is three quarters of an hour away, and London itself is only a 40 minute train journey, if you use Watford’s SECOND train station, the Metropolitan line’s first station in this area is situated here folks. Watford is an innovative and fun place to be; we always seem to be getting the new improvements the government plans: we were amongst the first to get the E-mail phones in the highstreet you know! Sadly we are lacking in sports facilities, with only one Swimming Pool, and the less than satisfactory Watford Leisure Centre, but I’m sure his will be eventually rectified! There you go, Watford, my home town and there’s no place I’d rather be.
First of all I'll tell you my favourite thing about Watford. Once, when playing Trivial Pursuits a few years back, I received a question (I think in the Sports category, which is unusual for me to pick, so it may have evn been for a bit of cheese). This question was 'Is there a bull ring in Watford?'. My immediate response was 'of course there isn't, don't you think that I would have noticed a huge bull rink, on at least one of the million occasions that I have been in Watford!' However, I didn't blurt this out straight away (obviously a tense point in the game). Instead I thought about it loads. 'Maybe that big buliding used to be a bull rink. But 'used' doesn't mean that it is still in Watford....etc etc'. Finally, I replied 'No'. My opponent slowly swiveled the card around, gazed at the answer with a serious expression and declared 'Correct'. Bloody bull ring in Watford, my arse. They only have those in Spain. Stupid question. However, it wouldn't really surprise you if Watford did have a bull ring. It's one of those really weird places. Funny even. When you go there, everything and everyone is defiantly 'Watford'. There is a 'Watford' accent despite being so close to central London. There is Watford dress sense (snakeskin loafers are son in this season). The place seems genetically engineered to be the perfect place for its inhabitants. It has dick loads of shops, so that you can buy things during the day. Like shoes (snakeskin preferrable), CDs, Watford football shirts, Reebok classics etc. Then at night, there are more pubs than you have ever encountered shoved into the smallest area possible, with two clubs, TWO (that's 'two' McDonalds), kebab vans, Krunchy Fried chicken, the lot. The Harlequin centre is like the Arc de Triumph of Watford. It stands tall and bold, with parking and Virgin Megastore, Burger King, Teddy Bear factory , Vision express, previously TLC giftshop (now sadly defunct). It is huge and has caused high street shopping to suffer greatly according to my GCSE Geography project. This is why I will ignore the main part of the high street which is occupied by pound shops (cheap but short tenancy you see). But down the other end of Watford, as previously stated, there are so many pubs, you will cry tears of blue WKD. The Hogwash, Yates, O' Neils, Red Bar, Aura (which mistakenly thinks that its in Hoxton square to hilarious effect), the Moon, the Pub on the Corner, Bodegas, the Boardwalk, Chicagos. There's more too. Then there are clubs, make sure you bring your smart shoes or you a'int getting in. Area, with house and garage, and Brandon Block quite alot too. Then there is Destiny which is a bit like your school disco, but loads of 30 year old twats have turned up. Loaded magazine (I promise I don't read it) once ran an article on nights out in Britain. On their ratings they said 'chance of a decent conversation: 1/10' Chances of getting into a fight = 10/10. Believe me, there are a hell of a lot of fights in Watford. I would go as far as to say more than anywhere else in the UK in terms of number. There are a lot of people, there are a lot of pubs, there are alot of fights. Watford, in short is hilarious. Seemingly unaffected by the cosmopolitan outlook of Lonon, it bubbles away in its own Wafordness and may it never change. You know it kind of grows on you after a while.
If you like to shop and you are good at using the old plastic card, Watford is the place for you it has a big shopping centre called the Harlequin situated around a big ring road, where you will find car parks for the harlequin. The Car Parks In the car parks you will find plenty spaces for disabled and people with children spaces. The real disappointment about the car parks are that you have to pay for them and it is quite alot but the good point about the paying thing is that you don’t have to pay on Sunday’s and on Thursdays after 5.00pm. The Shops There are about 150 different shops in the harlequin, which are all the normal shopping centres shops like WH Smiths, Virgin Megastore, Marks and Spencer, Clinton cards etc. From the other normal shops there are some designer shops like Morgan and French Connection, which are quite expensive shops. Out of all the shops you should find what you came looking for because it has moralises everything you need from cards to your new pillow for your dog from the pet shop. Food In the harlequin there is a big food court with the usual names like Burger King, KFC , Sandwich place and a little Chef. With a Mc Donalds straight outside on the highstreet with another one about 300 yards up the highstreet. There are also places like cafes and restaurants stretched all the way up the highstreet. Activities There are loads of activities to do in Watford like the cinema, tempin bowling, ice skating, join snooker clubs, swimming..... The night life is rather good as well with a load of clubs, bars and pubs all the way up the high street playing the usual garage and r'n'b and the little bit of the old 60's 70's stuff. Other stuff in Watford Also in Watford there is the football club Watford which is quite near the town centre, but Saracens also play there so if i was you thinking for trip up to Watford on a Saturday I think it would be wise to turn on your telly and look on the Tele text to see if ever clubs are playing. I’m not saying not to go in but you will have to fight for a car parking space.
Shops, restaurants, nightlife, pubs... Watford has it all. I used to work in Watford, but I have to say that it is only recently that I have really noticed how much there is going on. The Harliquin center is quite big, and has got a lot of the old favourite shops, like WH Smiths and Boots, unfortunately I dont think that there are any shops unique to Watford. But none the less it is a good shopping center and the car park is free on Sundays!!!! I guess the main thing that attracts me to Watford at the moment is the pubs and nightlife. There is so much to do, loads of places to drink and generally have a good time. Watford has got every thing you need for a good night out all within walking distance of each other. It is definately not a holiday destination, but if you want a good night out it is worth a try. The infamous ring road can be a bit awkward at times. There is a huge car park for the Harliquin centre, but finding a parking place for the nightlife can be a bit tricky.
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to the sunny town of Watford. My name's Paul and I'll be your guide for the afternoon. Showing you the highlights and lowlights of this busy town. Home of course to the football team of the same name – also called the Hornets. Ex-premier division but now sadly going down faster than a balloon with a puncture. The grounds are also home to The Saracens Rugby team, who are doing remarkably well at the moment. Elton John is reported to be chairman of this football team, something he apparently takes great pride in – there are no recent reports of him attending a match in these grounds. Starting at the top end of the high street we find ourselves standing at the edge of the beautiful Cassiobury Park. Many people flock to the park in the summer, swarming around the children's pool area. Beware those footballs and Frisbees that have been known to strike a man hard enough to knock him unconscious for days. Through the park runs the canal which, if followed, takes you into Cassiobury Woods. There are many quiet walkways through the woods for any one who fancies a quick ramble – it is rumoured that one could soon forget that they are in the middle of a busy town once inside the park. And I have to say – it is indeed a welcome relief for those townies who like a bit of countryside. It is a beautiful park which is equally stunning in the autumn with it golden-brown trees leading you down the main pathway. For those who wish, there are tennis courts, but get their early in the summer months if you wish to play. At the top end of the high street we see three major buildings. Watford Town Hall/Coliseum, The Library and Watford Baths. The Coliseum is part of the Town Hall and is used primarily as an entertainment venue. Stand Up Comedians, Classical Music, Pop-Stars, Opera Singers - they've all been here to perf orm in this 1400 seat venue. And on a Friday night you can enjoy the 70's disco nights for which people flock from miles to get into. The library – well, that's full of books. And the baths – One big swimming pool. Now the only pool in Watford since the new "Watford Springs Health Complex" closed down. I guess the people of Watford aren't as interested in exercise as was first hoped. Onto the main high street and we find ourselves standing next to Watford Pond. The pond dates back to the late 1800's and unlike then, is now surrounded by pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants. If we look we will immediately see two traditional pubs, two clubs, one comedy club, and five fancy new bars. Mixed in with these we will see around 12 restaurants and several fast-food outlets for those who like their food to come in pitta bread or seeded bun. Moving further down we are suddenly aware of the presence of some retail outlets. Oxfam for one. Oh, and there's a bank over there if anyone needs some money. To our right you can see, oh, three more pubs, another four restaurants, and a new club. This is known as the Weekend area of the high street. Both Destiny and Area nightclubs attract coaches filled with short skirts and too much Kudos aftershave from 8pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. If you are not in to clubbing, drinking, or keeping your life – then this area is best avoided at these times. Moving into the centre of the highstreet, we now see a plethora of shops opening up. Clements department store – the oldest in Watford, and apparently the shop that Are You Being Served? was based on. Jimmy Perry used to work around the corner from the store and would make frequent visits. It still hasn't moved on from this period in time. Again, more fast food outlets for the burger, chicken and pizza lovers amongst us. MVC Music shop, and Jacksons Jewellers. Jacksons is the home of antique jewellery and silverware. If it's amber you want, you won't go far wrong from taking a look in this tiny olde-worlde shop. More pubs – another two right next to each other, and another one a few doors down. On the right, Woolworths and WHSmith dominate the highstreet. Costa Coffee providing the welcome break between these two giants. Some more banks scattered around us and – another place to buy dead cow in a bap. If we take this walkway on the right handside between the home of the Chicken Royale and American Clothes shop, we find ourselves in Charter Place. Home of the late C & A, sadly no longer with us. R.I.P. C & A! To our right there is Watford Market – a great place for Fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables, hoover bags, cheap cafes and bits and bobs you didn't think you wanted. There is a small stall inside which sells the most beautiful pewter vases, the lady owner also makes delicate soap flowers – (they're actually quite incredible!) These make great presents when you're looking for something a bit different. But the stall is very small and may take some hunting down. But now, the grand dame of Watford, the piece la resistance, the Harlequin Shopping Centre. This enourmous monstrosity houses major shopping outlets such as Trewins (John Lewis), WHSmith, Dixons, Boots, Superdrug, BHS, Marks and Spencer, Barratts, Clarkes, Morgan, Next, Dorothy Perkins, Monsoon, Waterstones, Virgin, River Island, and The Body Shop. There are also a few smaller shops including Wax Lyrical, Partners, Petside, Victoria Health Foods and Games. This, of course, is only a small selection of the shops available. There is multitude of footwear companies, a myriad of clothing outlets and mob of mad shoppers to fill them all. On the high street, running outside the centre, you can also find many more shops and fast-food outlets. Gap, Tandy, Jigsaw, The Music Shop, they all squeeze in between the outside entrances of all the bigger stores that lead you back into the Harlequin. If you are looking for more gentle entertainment then the pubs and clubs of Watford, that too is catered for. If it's food you're after, we highly recommend three restaurants for you, each very different. L'Artista – Offering a large range of pizza and pasta dishes, along with Salads and the all important desserts. This can be found the top end of the high street. Pizzas and Pasta dishes start from as little as £5.50. Pizzas are around 16" and the pasta bowls are deep and big. I for one have never seen anyone complete either. It is extremely good food at extrememly good prices. Further down the high street we find a road called Market Street. Situated a couple of hundred metres down on the right is The Flower Drum. Exceptional Chinese/Pekinese food. It can be pricey if, like me, you order pretty much everything on the menu. But again, the quality and service are superb. They also have a very good vegetarian menu – offering Vegetable Moo-Shi pancakes instead of Duck as an intermediate course. (That was always the part I hated when dining with friends in other Chinese restaurants – I had sit and watch them eat.) And finally right at the bottom of the high street is the excellent Café Mezza, serving up a Lebanese menu. I have eaten many times, and it somewhere I have taken friends and family. 5 People can order a three course meal each, plus alcohol and coffee for less than £100. That's not even £20 each. And for the "yum" factor, it is well worth it. And why not start, or finish, your evening with a trip to the Palace Theatre. The only professional producing repertory theatre in Hertfordshire. Plays change on average every four weeks, and contain a mixed season of c omedies, dramas, classics and new writing, plus the panto at Christmas. (which I recommend). Tickets start at £6 for the Gallery and go up to around £17 for weekends top seats. They are a few pounds cheaper than this during the week. Non-smoking night is every Wednesday – as warning for smokers who turn up wanting a fag before the show, and as information for non-smokers who don’t like smoky atmospheres. The Palace produces very high quality theatre, a lot of which tours the country or goes into the West End after it's run at Watford. It's a good place to see new things before the prices go up. That concludes my tour of Watford. If there are any questions, please don't hesitate to ask as we make our way back to the coach. My name's Paul, and I hope you enjoyed your trip around my home town. Please come and visit us again soon.