Hertfordshire is a small but perfectly formed county just north of London, and thought to be rather posh, with Harpenden being the epitome of rich commuter belt living. The countryside around here is rich too, with pastoral scenes to rival many in the UK, but unfortunately it’s fast disappearing. Hertfordshire was the first county to dabble in New Towns. Letchworth is the world’s first Garden city which came about in 1903, closely followed by Welwyn Garden City in 1920 while Stevenage was the first officially designated New Town in the UK in 1940.
Walkers will enjoy the Hertfordshire Way, a 166 mile circular footpath, many of it next to canals, rivers and lakes, as well as the Chiltern Hills. Hertfordshire’s county town of Hertford is found at the interchange of rivers Beane, Lee, Minram and Rib, allowing plenty of opportunities for water based activities in Hertfordshire.
The ancient city of St Albans has a magnificent Cathedral while the town of Hatfield is home to Hatfield House, where Elizabeth I grew up. Elstree is the Hertfordshire town famous for its contribution to the British Film Industry, with Elstree Studios located here.
HERTFORDSHIRE’S TOP 10
10. Mill Green Museum and Mill Dating back to the 15th Century with a restored 18th Century working watermill next door.
5. Letchworth Museum and Art Gallery Opened in 1914 by Letchworth Naturalists’ Society.
9. You will come up smelling of roses after a visit to Hertfordshire’s Royal National Rose Garden, built by Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal Winners Michael Balston and Adam Frost.
4. Knebworth House Queen Elizabeth I, Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill have all visited. Wouldn’t that make a fascinating dinner party?
8. Shaws Corner Visit the home of famous playwright George Bernard Shaw who lived here from 1906-1950.
3. Aldenham County Park Owned and run by Hertfordshire County Council and created back in 1971 as a green space for countryside recreation.
7. Rye Meads Nature Reserve Set out on an urban wildlife watch.
2. St Alban’s Museum has some interesting archaeological artefacts, while telling the story of the city well.
6. Paradise Wildlife Park Meet lions, tigers, monkeys, zebras, tapirs and more.
1. Verulamium Museum & Ruins in St Albans and a fabulous expose of everyday Roman with a Roman Theatre next door.
Magic Summer Live takes place at Hertfordshire’s Hatfield House during the month of July. Only top acts will perform, book early though. Tickets from £60.
Battle Proms Concerts in July have been spellbinding audiences since 1997. Thousands turn up at Hatfield House and bring hampers and champers to watch Hertfordshire’s finest musical events.
Bishop Stortford Beer Festival is one to look out for during July if you’re in Hertfordshire. Get your beer goggles out and head for the Town Centre.
Sonisphere Festival takes place at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire during July with some of the top bands in the world performing.
Get over to Royston for Hertfordshire’s biggest kite event. The Royston Kite Festival kicks off in August in the town centre.
The Knebworth County Show is held annually during August at Hertfordshire’s Knebworth House, for heavy horses, a Sheep Show a Dog Show and many other things.
The Classic Motor Show brings some Va Va Vroom to Hertfordshire during August, at Knebworth House.
Chilli Festival Check out some of the fiery little devils at Benington Lordship Gardens, Hertfordshire at the end of August.
Chilterns Countryside Festival is held at Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire in September with crafty displays and mouth-watering produce for your delectation. Get some seasonal cheer at Knebworth’s Christmas Fair at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire at the end of November.
WHEN TO GO
· Hertfordshire is located in the South East of the UK, just 20 miles from central London – it shares a temperate maritime climate with the rest of the UK with four distinct seasons and no real extremes in temperature throughout the year.
· Summer is the hottest time of year in Hertfordshire, with temperatures up to around 22°C, so be prepared with sun cream if planning a trip at this time. Autumn Is cooler but temps are still likely to be around 11°C, and in winter you will need to pack a few jumpers since temps dip to 4°C or so.
· Summer tends to be the driest part of the year, but as ever in the UK, expect the unexpected since even the months of July and August have their fair share of rainfall.
· Hertfordshire has outstanding transport links – by car it can be reached via the A1, M25 or M1, and National Express coaches run to all the main towns in the county from virtually all other main UK destinations.
· By rail there are high speed trains from St Albans and Hertford into London Kings Cross, St Pancras International or Moorgate, a journey which takes under half an hour.
· Heathrow and Gatwick airports are highly accessible by bus and train, as are Stansted and Luton.
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