One of only two garden cities in the country, Welwyn Garden City was founded in 1920 by Sir Ebenezer Howard who envisioned ‘a town for healthy living’, combining urban life with green spaces and surrounding countryside. With recent lockdowns highlighting the benefits of the outdoors for our mental health, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Howard was a man ahead of his time.
Fortunately, Howard’s utopian vision remains intact today. Visitors to Welwyn Garden City will discover a vibrant town centre with contemporary shopping and entertainment venues set among tree-lined roads, beautiful floral displays and award-winning parks. If you’re planning a weekend or day out in Welwyn Garden City, there is plenty to see and do.
Things to do in Welwyn
With a three-screen cinema, roller skating rink, soft play area, live theatre venue, café and bar, Campus West is the town’s entertainment hub. A short walk from the town centre is Gosling Sports Park with a dry ski slope, driving range, trampoline park, gym and tennis courts, plus a luxurious spa to restore both body and mind.
The Howard Centre, named after the town’s founder, houses big brands alongside smaller outlets and plenty of coffee shops where you can rest and refuel. Conveniently located in the heart of the town, it offers plenty of parking with direct access to the railway station. Welwyn Garden City also boasts a large John Lewis department store, complete with café and further parking.
Award-winning parkland in Hertfordshire
Enjoy a visit to Stanborough Park, set in the picturesque countryside on the outskirts of the town. With nature walks, children’s play area, high and low ropes courses, boating lake plus a restaurant and café, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.
Splashlands play area
An exciting new leisure facility opened in Stanborough Park last July. Splashlands centres around a 600m² water play area surrounded by a nautical-themed adventure playground, featuring a large pirate ship and a variety of play equipment for children of all ages. There is also an outdoor gym and sports pitch providing fitness options for teenagers and adults.
Visit the bronze statue of Ebenezer Howard, installed in Howardsgate to mark the centenary of the town he founded in 1920. The 2.2m (7.2ft) bronze sculpture depicts Howard giving a speech before digging the first spade of earth of the garden city.
There’s more to discover in the surrounding area. Visit the Mill Green Museum where you can see local art displays and find out about the region’s history. Learn about the Romans’ culture of bathing at the Welwyn Roman Baths which are preserved under the nearby A1(M) motorway and marvel at The Welwyn Viaduct, an impressive monument of the railway age.