MY FRIEND Sarah has asked me to keep what I am about to tell you a secret. She is frightened that this lovely place will be inundated and there will be a long queue when she visits for lunch or to order her latte and homemade cake.
Well sorry Sarah, but it is just too good not to share... So readers, the brand new Café in the Park at Rickmansworth Aquadrome is the place to go with your children this year.
If you have visited the café previously, prepare to be amazed: The only thing that remains from what went before is the friendly service, the fabulous food and the warm family atmosphere. The tiny brown concrete out-building has gone and in its place is a fabulous and very large log cabin structure, with acres of inside seating, separate rooms for children's activities, outside seating and the all important buggy-friendly toilets.
I love the ethos of the Café in the Park. It is run by passionate foodies Carly and Ian Trisk-Grove, who have young children themselves and therefore know instinctively what parents want and need.
Everything on the menu is lovingly made from scratch, the ingredients are sourced locally where possible and you can happily go for a full lunch or just a snack, knowing you can feed your children with things you might have cooked for them at home.
Homemade pizzas, hummous or delicious salmon fish-cakes made to Carly's grandma's recipe or simple beans on toast or soft rolls.
For the adults there is a wide choice; my favourites are the famous organic, free-range house burgers, a range of yummy salads served with home-made garlic bread or gourmet hot sandwiches including delicacies such as goats' cheese, pesto and rocket or griddled chicken, rocket and lemon mayonnaise to mention just two.
A visit to the Café in the Park is the high point of a great recession-busting day out. It is free to park your car, there is no charge to get in, there is a unique children's playground, buggy-friendly paths and 100 acres of lakes, grassland and woodland to explore and play in.
I love Black Park but resent the £2 charge to park my car and, it is £5 to park at Aldenham Country Park. Ruislip Lido is free to park and offers a great family day out, but the restaurant, although significantly improved, just isn't a patch on what is on offer at the Café in the Park. Enjoy.
How to find it:
The Café in the Park is located at The Aquadrome, Frogmoor Lane, off Harefield Road, Rickmansworth, WD3 1NB.
Visit www.thecafeinthepark.com to find out more and to see the second café located in Marlow.
The café is open seven days a week from 9.30am to 5pm and breakfast is served until noon. Directions: From Harefield take Rickmansworth Road (Harefield Road) and look out for Frogmoor Lane on your left.
If you reach the large Tesco you have gone too far. At the end of Frogmoor Lane is a large free car park; the café is conveniently located next to the the car park and lake.