Exploring The Beautiful Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire

Ashridge Estate is a National Trust run estate with over 5000 acres and 80 miles of footpaths and bridleways to explore. Expect scenic rolling hills and ancient woodlands in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Chiltern Hills in Hertfordshire.

It is a fabulous place for family walks and is a free day out (parking is also free), although having a National Trust membership is really worth it when you have little ones and helps to maintain these beautiful places.

Looking for more ideas for family walks? How about trying out a Gruffalo Trail? Find out more here..

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire.

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Duncombe Terrace at Ashridge Estate

Duncombe Terrace at Ashridge Estate | Photo Credit: Colin Sturges

How to get to Ashridge Estate

Ashridge Estate is located about 2 miles (3km) north of Berkhamstead and about 25 miles (40 km) north of London (as the crow flies).

Ashridge Estate
Moneybury Hill

You can reach the Estate by train from London by taking a direct train to Tring from Euston Station on the West Midlands line. The journey takes about 50 minutes. From Tring you would need to take a taxi to Ashridge.

If you are driving to Ashridge from central London, the journey can take between one hour and ninety minutes. Considering having a full day out from London? You may find that you have time to squeeze in a visit to the Tring Natural History Museum which is only 10 miles (16km) away in Tring.

Ashridge Estate parking

There are 20 designated car parking areas at Ashridge offering free parking. During the warmer months there is plenty of parking all the way down Monument Drive, the main parking area, but this becomes more limited during the wetter months when it is too boggy for parking.

The car parks can become quite busy, so if all the parking areas are full, National Trust urges you to back later rather than park on the grass verges on the side of the road which can cause a lot of damage.

Try to arrive earlier in the day to avoid the crowds.

Parking along Monument Drive at Ashridge Estate

Parking along Monument Drive at Ashridge Estate

Best time to visit Ashridge Estate

Ashridge Estate is a great place to visit year round. Our favourite times to visit are during the spring when the famous Ashridge Estate bluebells are out. The bluebell woods are completely carpeted in a sea of blue and on sunny days, the sun streams through the tree canopy lighting up the bluebells. It is truly stunning and one of our favourite outdoor places to take the kids in the Spring.

If you like bluebells, you might want to also check out Heartwood Forest in Hertfordshire, one of the best bluebell woods in Hertfordshire.

Bluebells at Ashridge Estate

Bluebells at Ashridge Estate

We also love Ashridge Estate during the autumn when the autumn colours are vibrant and the mornings start with a lingering mist giving it a bit of a ghostly appearance. Just be prepared for lots of mud!

When the kids were younger they would wear puddle suits. Now that they are older we like to have waterproof trousers for wet weather days out.

Autumn days at Ashridge Estate

Autumn days at Ashridge Estate

Ashridge Estate Walks

With over 80 miles of paths around the 5000 acre estate, there are lots of options. You can pick up a map at the visitor centre when it is open. It is currently closed, but all of the walks at Ashridge Estate are clearly signposted so you can easily do self-guided walks. Have a look on the National Trust, Ashridge Estate website for more details on the walks.

The most popular walk is the 17 mile boundary walk, but this is something we haven’t tackled yet as it is too far for the kids.

If you don’t feel like sticking to a particular walking route, you can just wander through the woodland. The kids love just playing in the woods. There’s a track from the monument heading away from the visitor centre that takes you into the woods and over a bridge.

So many times we’ve heard people mutter the ‘who’s that trip-trapping over my bridge?’ line as they cross this bridge. Good to know it’s not just us. Even now aged 7 and 6 they will do a quick check for Trolls under the bridge before deeming it safe to cross!

Troll Bridge at Ashridge Estate

Troll Bridge at Ashridge Estate

If you head down into the valley from the bridge, following a gulley, you’ll come to the edge of the woodland and have lovely views out over the estate. There are also fallen trees across the gulley which are popular with our kids and great for imaginative play.

Ashridge Estate is one of our favourite Hertfordshire walks for families as there is always a different part of the estate to visit.

Woodland playground at Ashridge Estate

Woodland playground at Ashridge Estate

Nature playground at Ashridge Estate

Nature playground at Ashridge Estate

Rolling hills of Ashridge Estate

Rolling hills of Ashridge Estate

Ashridge Estate Monument

The Bridgewater Monument was built in 1932 in memory of the Third Duke of Bridgewater who once lived in Ashridge House. If you’re feeling energetic, you can climb the 172 steps between April and October.

There are fabulous views of the surrounding countryside from the top. On clear days you may be able to spot Wendover Woods,Waddesdon Manor and even Canary Wharf.

There is charge of £1 per person to do this, although the monument is closed currently.

Ashridge Estate Monument

Ashridge Estate Monument

Facilities at Ashridge Estate

The Brownlow Cafe Ashridge Estate – The Ashridge Estate Cafe is a great place to pick up a quick bite. We have previously enjoyed their bacon sarnies and a coffee before heading off on a cold walk. It is not run by the National Trust.

Ashridge Estate Visitor Centre – provides information on Ashridge Estate and walking maps. Also sells local handicrafts.

Toilets – There are toilets to the left of the visitor centre.

The visitor centre and the cafe are currently closed but the toilets remain open. If you are looking for something to eat, there were a couple of temporary food vans or you could try The Alford Arms (one of our favourite pubs in Hertfordshire) which is 15 minutes away.

JuiceDub at Ashridge Estate

JuiceDub at Ashridge Estate

Things to see and do in the area

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Dunstable Downs

Tring Natural History Museum

The Snow Centre, Hemel

Frithsden Vineyard

If you’d like to spend a little more time in the area, you can even rent a super cute cottage on Ashridge Estate.

Cottage in Ashridge Estate

Cottage on the Ashridge Estate

A Guide to visiting the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire

A Guide to visiting the Ashridge Estate

Views from Dunstable Downs over the surrounding counties.
Hertfordshire walks for families.
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