College Lake Visitor Centre

College Lake Visitor Centre

An outstanding centre for wildlife that delights and informs wildlife watchers of all ages

Please note: College Lake nature reserve and car park are now open from Wed-Sun. The visitor centre remains closed. Please check our new opening times and information about visiting here.

Explore the interactive displays in our visitor centre and around the reserve. Enjoy delicious food and drinks in the café or take stroll around our beautiful lake. College Lake is one of the best places in Buckinghamshire for water birds and there’s something to see all year round.

Facilities include:

  • Café offering delicious hot and cold refreshments
  • Gift shop with a great range of wildlife themed gifts, toys and books
  • Bird hides
  • Interactive geology displays
  • Farming and wildlife exhibit
  • Picnic facilities
  • Toilets, disabled toilets and baby changing
  • Signposted walk routes and seasonal Wildlife Discovery Trail
Nature reserve

Discover College Lake's wildlife

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Education centre

Education Centre at College Lake

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Getting around

Reserve and trails map

Download map

Where to find us

We are located 2 miles north of Tring, Buckinghamshire at:

College Lake, Upper Icknield Way, Bulbourne, Tring, Herts, HP23 5QG

Find us on GoogleMaps

Download a map and directions

Opening times

College Lake has now partially re-opened. Things will look slightly different from normal - please read the guidance below before planning your visit.

  • We are open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am – 4pm, last entry 3pm.
  • The visitor centre building will remain closed.
  • The café will be open and serving a limited takeaway menu only from 11am-2.30pm.

Please note:

  • Tramper (mobility vehicles for hire) will not be accessible at this time.
  • The bird hides are closed.
  • The access gate to the Bulbourne footpath will be closed at 2.30pm. 
  • Some footpaths around the site will remain closed. These will be clearly signed.
  • The outside toilets at the barn area will be open during business hours. This includes accessible toilet and baby changing facilities.
  • We will have to cap the numbers on site so please do not travel too far as you may be turned away if we are at capacity. This includes visitors arriving on foot as well as by car.

You can really help us by complying with the following:

  • Remember to observe social distancing when queuing and using the picnic seating
  • Use a card to pay whenever possible – there is no limit on credit card transactions. 
  • Please respect our beautiful sites by taking the time to use the correct recycling bins. We will be using more takeaway containers and so this is even more important now.
  • If you need any assistance whilst on site please look for a member of staff wearing hi-vis who will be happy to help you.
  • Please do not bring scooters, bikes, trikes, drones or swimming equipment.
  • Please remember that only assistance dogs are allowed on site.

New opening times (from November 2020)

(please note changes due to the Coronavirus lockdown)

Day of the week

Reserve and car park Café (takeaway only)
Wed 10am-4pm (last admission 3pm) 11am-2.30pm
Thur 10am-4pm (last admission 3pm) 11am-2.30pm
Fri 10am-4pm (last admission 3pm) 11am-2.30pm
Sat 10am-4pm (last admission 3pm) 11am-2.30pm
Sun 10am-4pm (last admission 3pm) 11am-2.30pm

Admission to the centre is free. We ask for a donation of £4 for parking. Charges apply for special events (please see our Events page for more information)

Get the most from your visit


Some wheelchair access, including hides; two mobility Tramper vehicles are avaliable to use* - contact us on 01442 826774 or to book.

*these are currently unavailable as part of our measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. We will update this page when they are available again.

Walking information

Gentle slopes, some surfaced paths, gates, benches


Assistance dogs only please.

College Lake walk

Bikes and scooters

Help us look after the wildlife on this reserve by leaving scooters and bikes at home or locking them up on the racks provided. Enjoy stretching your legs on our reserve instead.

Group visits

We welcome groups, but ask that you let us know about your visit by contacting us on 01442 826774 or

What's on at College Lake


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Wigeon by David Tipling/2020VISION

Wild walk

Tring reservoirs Wild Walk

A longer walk exploring the Grand Union Canal and 3 reservoirs

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