Cheslyn House and Gardens

"Watford's best kept secret", and a Green Flag Award winner!


Green Flag award winner 2014 - Six years in a row!

Along with our seven time winner, Cassiobury Park, and fellow four time winner, Woodside Playing Fields, Cheslyn Gardens has achieved this prestigious award for the fourth consecutive year; proof that Watford's parks are thriving. If you would like to know more about the award scheme, please click on the link below.

A lot of work has been done over the last few years, including the refurbishment of the pond and the lovely new fountain; a fernery at the rear of the house; and works to the pathways and benches to name a few, and the introduction of guided walks around the gardens has been a great success. 

Cheslyn House and gardens is often described as "Watford's best kept secret", and you can visit at any time of the year.  The garden is in Nascot Wood Road, Watford: the postcode is WD17 4SL.  The garden is open free of charge all year round, except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, opening times as follows:


November to February 9am to 4pm
March, October 9am to 6pm
April to September 9am to 8pm


The gardens comprise a formal, open area to the front, which is wheelchair accessible, and a semi-natural woodland area: wheelchair users may find this part of the garden less accessible, as the vegetation is left to grow as naturally as possible, resulting in very narrow pathways.

Henry and Daisy Colbeck originally owned the house and gardens. Mr Colbeck was a renowned architect, and designed Cheslyn House; he and his wife created the original gardens.  The Colbecks travelled a lot, and this is reflected in the range of unusual and exotic plants in the gardens.

From 1965, the Council ran Cheslyn in partnership with the Colbecks, and increased the size of the gardens to their present day size of 1.41 hectares (3.5 acres). The Council took full control on Mr Colbeck's death, and since then have developed the gardens, with new features added such as the pond, rock garden, large herbaceous borders and the aviary.  here is an onsite gardener, who is usually somewhere in the garden, and is very knowledgeable about the plants and wildlife; he is happy to share this knowledge with visitors.

There are some interesting mature shrubs on the approach to the house, especially the standard trained wisteria sinensis, which is draped with lilac flowers in the summer; and a subtropical planting scheme featuring dahlias, palms and canna lilies creates a riot of colour in front of the house during the summer. The acer in the centre of the lawn is a beautiful sight in the autumn. 

There are budgerigars, quail, assorted finches and other varieties of small birds in the aviary. The gardener and the Park Rangers look after them. Dragonflies and damselflies come to the pond in the summer, and there are frogs, newts, fish and water insects.

The brick arch leading to the woodland area is all that remains of the original boundary of the gardens. The woodland is full of colour in spring, with the azaleas and rhododendrons in full bloom; and snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells and woodland flowers add to the spectacle. Some of the trees in the gardens are:

  • tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera)
  • sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
  • Indian bean tree (Catalpa bignonioides)
  • maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba)
  • various acer species

You can also see wildlife in the gardens: birds, squirrels, foxes, badgers and the occasional Muntjac deer.

There is a small car park adjacent to the gardens, and roadside parking is also available, although there are some yellow line restrictions. Dogs are permitted in the gardens on leads: please ensure that you clean up behind your dog.

The house is available for hire (ground floor only), but there are strict planning regulations which can limit the type of events allowed in the house. Please email us for more information on booking the house or if you have any queries about the gardens, or call 01923 278629.

The 550 and R8 bus routes both stop outside Cheslyn House, and the 318 from Watford Junction stops nearby. Watford Junction itself is a short walk away (approximately 25 minutes).

Downloadable documents


For more information