Plan your visit to Hatfield Forest

Hatfield Forest is now fully open for visitors. Head for a walk, relax by the lake and enjoy some tempting refreshments from the cafe. Take a moment to plan your visit here.

Car parking and when you arrive

Car parking is available by the main entrance gate and in the central area, by the lakeside, cafe and toilets, when the forest is open. Our opening hours change with the seasons, so please check before you travel. From Monday 1 November 2021, the forest is closed on a Monday and Tuesday. 

We have a limited amount of parking space which can become rapidly filled at busy times.  To avoid disappointment, you must pre-book your parking at weekends, bank holidays and in the school holidays, even if you are a National Trust member

On normal weekdays, there is no pre-booking. Parking is free for members. Non-members have to pay £8 for their space.

You can pay at the gate or by using the PayByPhone parking app. If you plan on using the app and you do not already have this on your phone, you are advised to download this from your usual app store before you arrive, as mobile phone reception is limited at Hatfield Forest. The location is 803370 (Hatfield Forest, Main Car Park Entrance). 

Please park only in designated spaces. Please do not park on local roads outside the forest, or on roadside verges or across drievways, and observe the red and yellow lines. Blocking roads can cause accidents and we need to have constant access to our site – thank you.


Our lakeside café is open daily. Please ensure that you have checked our opening times before you visit as our hours change seasonally.  Outdoor seating is available whilst the Fishermen's Shelter offers some undercover seating and tables.  Time to indulge yourself with a hot chocolate or perhaps a hearty one pot?

Toilets are open in the lakeside area.

The Shell House and Discovery Room are closed.


To borrow our manual wheelchair or the PMV please email

Mobility parking and adapted toilets are available at the lake area.

What to expect at this special National Nature Reserve

Autumn has arrived. The leaves are starting to change colour and fall from the trees, this will continue for several weeks, with oak leaves the last to go.  Horsechestnuts, sweet chestnuts and acorns are falling to the ground.  The blackberries are over but there are still sloes in the hedgerows.  The fallow does and fawns are gathering on the grass plains, ahead of the return of the bucks. For a millennium this has heralded the annual fallow deer rut.

The red poll cattle stay on site doing their important grazing conservation as long as ground conditions permit. The heritage sheep continue their important conservation grazing in fenced-off enclosures in reclaimed wood pasture, nibbling away at any emerging scrub. Please keep your dogs on leads when near the animals.

The ground conditions are already starting to deteriorate and it is becoming become muddy underfoot.  If you see a path that is closed off or looks particularly muddy, please explore another route.

While Hatfield Forest may look like other forests or woods you’ve visited, it’s actually a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Specific Scientific Interest, so there are steps we must all take to look after it and keep it special for everyone.  This forms the basis for our Every Step Counts strategy.  Please click here to find out more about this important initiative.