Things to do in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is one of the smallest Counties in England, containing much of England's heritage, whilst encompassing the requirements of south east England today.
Hertfordshire lies between Bedfordshire in the north, Cambridgeshire in the north-east, Buckinghamshire in the west, Essex in the east and central London only twelve miles to the south.
The county covers approximately 630 square miles.The Chiltern Hills to the north west of the county are designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Around half of Hertfordshire has been designated as 'Green Belt' and there are 43 sites of Special Scientific Interest, 1 National Nature Reserve and 15 Local Nature Reserves.
Farmland, ancient woodland and river valleys combine to make up the beautiful and varied landscape.
Away from the main roads many old villages remain unspoiled with thatched cottages and leafy lanes. Walkers will enjoy the Hertfordshire Way, a 166 mile (265 km) circular footpath and there are also designated cycle paths, and canals, rivers and lakes, which provide opportunities for water sports such as sailing and canoeing.
Hertfordshire Tourist Information can be found in the County Town of Hertford, which lies at the confluence of the Rivers Beane, Lee, Mimram and Rib. The Lee Navigation Canal runs south from Hertford and barges can be hired for cruises.
Hertford has many fine buildings with decorated plasterwork - the Shire Hall in the middle of the town was designed by Robert Adam. The Norman castle was built to protect London from the invading Danes, and the remains are a feature of the town today.
The city of St. Albans has an ancient history to discover and all the amenities of an up to date city. With many specialist shops and good leisure facilities St. Albans has plenty to keep visitors happy. A particular feature is the magnificent Cathedral found in the old part of the city.
Best Villages in Hertfordshire Chart
|1. Ashwell||Thatched Cottages||1,667|
|2. Park Street||Nature Reserve||6,781|
|3. Sandridge||St Leonard's Church||11,451|
|4. Wheathampstead||The Bull Inn on the River Lea||6,410|
The following historic towns can be found in the County, all worth visiting and each with its own history to explore: Baldock, Berkhamstead, Bishop's Stortford, Harpenden, Hatfield, Hitchin, Hoddesdon and Tring.
Letchworth was the world's first Garden City, planned by Ebenezer Howard in 1903, and this was followed in 1920 by Howard's second development Welwyn Garden City, one of England's finest examples of a new town, with a neo-Georgian town centre, offering excellent shopping facilities.
During the 1940s and 50s, new towns were developed around existing old towns, such as the Saxon town of Hatfield, home of Hatfield House. Stevenage was designated the first New Town in Britain in 1946 and had the first pedestrianised traffic free shopping area in the country. The Old Town still exists with historic buildings, coaching inns and pubs.
Borehamwood and Elstree are separated by about a mile, two separate towns, but thought of as one, in connection with the British film industry. Elstree Film and Television Studios has been synonymous with film making for the best part of the last century. Some of the world's best known films and programmes were made at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood.
Days out in Hertfordshire
Aldenham Country Park
Aldenham Country Park is the perfect setting for a great family day out in the countryside. The park comprises 175 acres of parkland, woodland and a beautiful 65 acre lake.
A 5,000 acre countryside estate with many splendid walks. The focal point of the area is the Bridgewater Monument.
Celtic Harmony Camp
Step into Celtic times for a great day out at Celtic Harmony Camp, a reconstructed Iron Age village set in 13 acres of woodland near Hertford. You can try your hand at Longbow Archery, Celtic cookery
There has been a windmill in the parish of Ardeley (in which Cromer lies) since 1222, and the tree forming the mainpost of the present mill was felled in the spring of 1679.
The Forge Museum is set in attractive Grade II* Listed buildings situated in the picturesque village of Much Hadham.
Celebrated Jacobean House and Tudor Old Palace steeped in Elizabethan and Victorian political history in a spectacular countryside setting. Built in 1607 and home of the Cecil family for 400 years.
The Lytton family have lived at Knebworth for 500 years. Queen Elizabeth 1 stayed here, Charles Dickens acted in private theatricals in the House and Winston Churchill's painting of the Banqueting Hall hangs in the room where he painted it.
Letchworth Museum and Art Gallery
Letchworth Museum opened in 1914 to house the collections of the Letchworth Naturalists' Society. Since then the museum has expanded greatly in both size and scope.
A listed Georgian building dating from the 1750's is the perfect setting for Lowewood Museum's impressive collection.
Mill Green Museum and Mill
The museum is housed in the former Miller's house, dating back to the 16th century. There is also a fully restored eighteenth century working watermill, adjacent to the museum.
Museum of St Albans
At the Museum of St Albans you can discover the fascinating story of our historic cathedral city.
Paradise Wildlife Park
Paradise Wildlife Park is a fantastic place to meet lions, tigers, monkeys, zebras, tapirs, reptiles, birds and more.
Royal National Rose Garden
The new Gardens of the Rose were designed for the Royal National Rose Society by Michael Balston and built by Adam Frost Landscapes (both Gold Medal Winners at the Chelsea Flower Show).
Rye Meads Nature Reserve
This urban nature reserve has something to offer everyone and will appeal to families, walkers, birdwatchers and photographers.
Visit the home of George Bernard Shaw from 1906 until his death in 1950.
St Albans Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Alban stands on a hill that has been a site of worship since Saxon times and a place of history since the Romans founded St Albans as Verulamium.
At Stevenage Museum you can find out the complete story of Stevenage, from the Stone Age right up to the present day. There is plenty to do for all ages, children or adults.
Discover the life and times of a major Roman city at St Albans, Hertfordshire. This is the Museum of Everyday Life in Roman Britain.
Willows Farm Village
Just a short distance from London, the unique Willows Farm Village is an incredible rural retreat, ideal for family fun days out.
Places to Visit in Hertfordshire
Ashwell is an absolute gem well worth exploring. The nearby Icknield Way leads you into the beautiful surrounding countryside and is very popular with local walkers.
Ayot St. Lawrence
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Where in Britain might you stumble across an authentic Canadian-carved totem pole? Or find the hub of the chilli-growing industry? The answer is Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, 30 miles north of central London.
The market town of Bishops Stortford is in a rural area of Hertfordshire, close to the county boundary with Essex and 27 miles north of central London.
Encompassing 325 acres, Caldecote is one of the smallest villages in Hertfordshire. It is a narrow strip of land, which is bounded on the north by Hinxworth, on the south by Newnham, on the east by Ashwell, and on the west by Bedfordshire.
Cheshunt is in south east Hertfordshire and is a largely modern town which has grown up around a delightful historic centre.
Colney Heath is recognised as environmentally important for the heath is a wetland habitat and home to many shrubland and aquatic animals.
We have just received a description of Datchworth from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
Great Wymondley is a village between Hitchin and Stevenage. The village, formerly known as Much Wymondley, is a conservation area with a number of listed buildings
Harpenden is a busy commuter town, and retains its charm with a tree-lined High Street and many 17th and 18th century buildings. The town centre offers several small interesting shops, excellent pubs and restaurants.
Hatfield is a town of Saxon origin, situated 22 miles north of London in central Hertfordshire. The town had a close relationship with the aviation industry throughout the 20th-century.
Hemel Hempstead is in Hertfordshire, eight miles west of St Albans and close to both the M1 and M25 motorways.
Hertford is the county town of Hertfordshire and despite its country town atmosphere, it is just 19 miles north of London.
Hitchin first known of in the 8th century but grew as a market town during the 15th century, then expanded rapidly when the railway came and presently has a population of approx 35,000. Hitchin is surrounded by open farmland
London Colney is a large village sited on the old coaching route between London and St. Albans. The village has a thriving historic centre with a hypermarket to the south. With 1,800 car parking spaces, it is one of the largest hypermarkets in the UK.
Park Street Village is situated between Radlett and St Albans. There is a beautiful Nature Reserve, which was once chalk pits, and now there are 3 man-made lakes which are home to many species of birds and insects.
Redbourn was a strategically positioned roman settlement along Watling Street and is famous locally as the scene of the first recorded cricket match in Hertfordshire in 1666.
Sandridge lies north-east of St. Albans, and was recorded in the 1086 Doomsday Book. Sandridge Village is a conservation area centred around St Leonards Church, which is open most summer weekends.
St Albans has been welcoming visitors from far afield for 2000 years. First built as Verulamium by the Romans, the city was renamed St. Albans after the first British Christian martyr.
Stanstead Abbotts is a large village in Hertfordshire, north of London. The Greenwich meridian passes through the centre of the village, which is recorded by marker posts.
Stevenage was the very first of the constructed New Towns of Britain, primarily built to house post-war Londoners who had either lost their houses, or needed a boost in morale and a cleaner, safer alternative to London.
Ware is a pleasant market town in east Hertfordshire. Set in the valley of the River Lea it lies just to the north of London and was once a popular coaching town on the Great North Road.
The Hertfordshire town of Watford is 20 miles north west of London within the M25 motorway.
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Garden City is a new town developed in the 1920s. It is close to London for commuters, but there is also lots to do in the town itself.
Wheathampstead is one of the district's most attractive villages. Wheathampstead has a well documented history dating back to pre-Roman times.