The top days out in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire is a beautiful county, which is not only well connected, but also offers an array of fantastic activities to try, whether you're looking for something to do with friends, family or even your grandchildren.

Written by

Sheila Frampton

The following are a selection of our favourite activities to try in this historic county, so read on to gain inspiration for your next day out in Hertfordshire.

We have categorised our day trips by occasion, although these locations are of course worth visiting for many reasons.

Top places to enjoy a picnic in Hertfordshire 》

Top places to discover Hertfordshire's history 》

Top beautiful gardens to visit in Hertfordshire 》

Top days out in Hertfordshire for adults 》

Top days out in Hertfordshire with your grandchildren 》

And you can view our interactive map to discover the attractions closest to you, and our development in Hertfordshire by clicking here.

Harpenden Common Golf Club

 

Harpenden Common Golf Club

Knebworth House, near Stevenage

 

Knebworth House, near Stevenage

Top places to enjoy a picnic in Hertfordshire

With miles of countryside to explore, Hertfordshire is a great place to enjoy a picnic.  We’ve selected just a few for you to visit.

 

Rothampsted Park, Harpenden

This beautiful 58-acre park laid out on gently sloping land has a country park feel and appearance with wide open spaces, grassland, woodland, wildlife habitats, rose garden and play and sports areas.  

Almost the entire park is laid on gently sloping land.

Find out more 》

 

Tewinbury Wildlife Reserve, Hertford

Set between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford, this is a beautiful nature reserve nestling in the Mimram Valley with a variety of wildlife habitats including a tall fen/swamp set around a clear lagoon.  

During the summer, this is a bird watcher’s paradise and a fabulous place to enjoy an al fresco lunch.

Find out more 》

 

Memorial Garden, Tring

If you don’t want to go far and just fancy a picnic close to a High Street, head to Tring’s Memorial Garden just a few minutes’ walk from Tring High Street.  

Created from a section of Lord Rothschild’s 300-acre Tring Park, the land was turned into a memorial garden for the fallen of the Second World War in the 1950s.  After pond improvements, extensive tree work, a new fountain and planting, the park gained Green Flag status in 2012 and has held the award consistently since then.  It’s now known as one of Hertfordshire’s best secret gardens providing a green area for relaxation, dog walking and remembrance.

Find out more 》

 

Oxhey Park, Watford

This riverside park is another of Hertfordshire’s Green Flag award parks offering acres of parkland and rolling grassy slopes with good tarmac footpaths at river level and at the top of the park linked by a long flight of gentle steps.  

There’s an outdoor gym, children’s play area, picnic tables and a café – in case you prefer not to take your lunch with you.

Find out more 》

Rothampsted Park in Harpenden
Rothampsted Park in Harpenden

Top places to discover Hertfordshire’s history

There are few better places to discover the history of Hertfordshire than St Albans.  Known as Verulamium, St Albans was the third largest city in Roman Britain and some of the finest Roman mosaics and wall plasters outside the Mediterranean can be found in the city.  

 

Discover the Roman History of St Albans

Verulamium Park

This award-winning park holds both Green Flag and Green Heritage Site awards.  

Set in 100 acres of beautiful parkland close to the city centre, it is named after the Roman City of Verulamium.  This is where you’ll see the city walls and the outline of London Gate and the museum displaying hundreds of artefacts excavated locally.

Find out more 》

 

The Roman Wall

The Roman Wall, built between AD 265 and AD 270 to defend the Roman city can still be traced for most of its two-mile circuit.  

Today you can still see the surviving foundations of two towers and bastions, the remains of the impressive London Gate and parts of the wall that still reach 4 metres in height. 

Find out more 》

 

Verulamium Museum

Within the park, this is a museum of everyday life in Roman Britain.

You will discover recreated Roman rooms and large-scale mosaics as well as a wonderful collection of interesting artefacts including the Sandridge Hoard, a collection of 159 Roman gold coins.

Find out more 》

 

The Hypocaust Mosaic 

Within the park and just a short walk from the Verulamium Museum is the Hypocaust which is free to visit.  

This example of a Roman underfloor heating system is thought to have been part of the reception and meeting room of a large town house built around AD 200 near Watling Street.  The hypocaust and mosaic is housed in a specially constructed structure and is free to visit.

Find out more 》

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans isn’t just about the history of Roman Britain.  

The beautiful 11th century Cathedral in the city centre is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in England and the welcome centre and exhibition reveals the Cathedral’s many treasures and fascinating stories.  The exhibition area tells the story of St Alban and the Cathedral and it’s possible to climb the 211 steps up to the top of the Cathedral Tower to experience fantastic views of St Albans but, on the way up, it’s possible to see the Rose Window up close, explore the roof spaces and visit the ringing and bell chambers.

Find out more 》

St Albans Museum & Gallery 

The three floors of the Museum and Gallery showcase over 2,000 years of heritage alongside contemporary artworks. 

There are regularly changing exhibitions and cutting art installations, a programme of events and history of the Town Hall, Assembly Room, Courtroom and Cells.  There’s a permanent timeline detailing the story of St Albans.  Introductory tours of the building take place daily.

Find out more 》

St Albans Museum + Gallery
Berkhamsted Castle, Hertfordshire

Berkhamsted Castle 

Located in Berkhamsted, just off the A41, this 11th century Norman castle was built by William the Conqueror’s half-brother, Robert of Mortain and was owned by Thomas Becket and Henry II.  

In the 13th century, the castle was besieged for 20 days by the future Louis VIII of France following his support of the Barons’ War against King John.  A number of English royals lived at Berkhamsted including Edward II, Edward III and the Black Prince and Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV and Richard III.  After Cecily’s occupation it was abandoned, falling to ruin.  Today, it’s an English Heritage Sige and its possible to visit the ruins of the large outer defences and some structures within the bailey. 

Find out more 》

Image credit: Steve Knight "Berkhamsted Castle, Hertfordshire"

De Havilland Aircraft Museum, London Colney

This museum, located in the Hertfordshire countryside just off Junction 22 of the M25, is a must for aircraft fans.  

This is the only museum in the world to have three de Havilland Mosquitos on display where the prototype was originally designed and built.  There are two huge hangars which ensure most of the collection of exhibits are undercover. There’s free parking, a small café serving hot drinks, sandwiches, pastries and cakes and an outdoor picnic area.  

Before you leave, there’s a shop full of models, diecasts, books, clothing and branded merchandise. 

Find out more 》

De Havilland Aircraft Museum Logo
Tring Natural History Museum Logo

Tring Natural History Museum

With over 4,900 fascinating specimens, there’s plenty to see in the galleries at Tring Natural History Museum.  

The private collection of Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild (1868-1937) was the basis of the collections housed at the museum which is located in the grounds of his family home.  

Specimens include cases of such animals as the polar bear, Emperor Penguin and Mandrill, dressed fleas and the lower jaw of a sperm whale!  There’s a temporary exhibition space used for displays of photography. 

Find out more 》

 

Top beautiful gardens to visit in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire has some glorious gardens – modern, classic, contemporary and unusual.  These are just a few of the many for you to take a look at.

Knebworth House Gardens, near Stevenage

At Knebworth House, you’ll discover 28 acres of formal gardens including a maze, colourful borders, a fine collection of trees and a wilderness area with a Dinosaur Trail.  

The present gardens date largely from the Edwardian era with Sir Edwin Lutyens simplifying the ornate beds and statuary of the previous Victorian Garden and an herb garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1907 and recreated in 1982.  

The recent wood carvings are of particular interest.  From the Rose Garden and the Sunken Garden to the Walled garden, each area has a different feel – and within the woodland, there are 72 life-sized dinosaurs.

Find out more 》

 

Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, Much Hadham

Visit the studio where Henry Moore created much of his best work and you’ll be able to view world-famous sculptures in a stunning outdoor setting.  

The gardens extend to over 70 acres and the artist’s iconic work is set against the landscape in which he worked.  As an added bonus, you can take a tour of the Moore’s family home and the beautiful gardens created by Irina Moore. 

Find out more 》

 

Hatfield House, Hatfield 

At Hatfield House, you’ll discover over 400 years of history and 40 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.  

This is the house where Queen Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood.  The gardens, dating from the early 17th century, feature a deer park and woodland walks.  The three measured walks – The Yellow Walk, The Blue Walk and The Red Walk vary from 1.4 miles to 3.1 miles in length.  

In the grounds, it’s possible to see the oak tree marking the spot where young Princess Elizabeth first heard of her accession to the throne as Queen Elizabeth I.  Check for opening times for the house and gardens.  

Find out more 》

A blossoming tree in a garden
A close up of a waterlily
Knebworth House

Top days out in Hertfordshire for adults 

Farr Brew, Wheathampstead

Open every Saturday across the spring and summer months and providing BBQs and mini beer festivals, this award-winning brewery- set in the heart of the beautiful Ayot estate is worth a visit.  

There’s a working brewery at the back and a cosy tap room at the front.  You can sample the beer or just drive over and take some home. Brewery Tours run every month and you can see where the magic happens.  For the price of a ticket, you receive a pint of your favourite Farr Brew beer, a tour explaining the history of beer, and of Farr Brew and the way the beer is made.

Find out more 》

 

Novelli Academy Cookery School, Tea Green

For a day out – or a weekend – with a difference, find your inner chef.  

Jean Christophe Novelli runs a range of classes and workshops at his farmhouse in the Hertfordshire countryside.    From ‘Cooking with a Star’ and ‘Mini Taster Course with Jean Christophe’ to ‘Classic Simply Novelli’ there’s something to suit everyone of all abilities.

Find out more 》

 

Harpenden Farmers’ Market 

There’s nothing quite like spending a few hours on a Sunday browsing round a farmers’ market.  

Harpenden Farmers’ Market, which takes place on the fourth Sunday of each month from 10 am to 2 pm, is hosted and managed by Harpenden Town Council.  Here you’ll find about 70 stalls offering meats, pies, fish, preserves, pickles, jams, honey, cheeses, fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants, fresh bread, cakes, pastries, eggs, beer and wines.

Find out more 》

 

Golf at Harpenden Common 

If you enjoy golf, Harpenden Common Golf Club, situated in one of the most beautiful spots in Hertfordshire, is a great place to spend a day.  

Visitors are welcome at the club throughout the week and can expect a challenging round of golf followed by excellent food and drink in the club house which has floor to ceiling windows at both levels providing beautiful views over the green. 

Find out more 》

 

The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

Top days out in Hertfordshire with your grandchildren

Warner Bros Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter

This day out is a must for Harry Potter fans of all ages – but make sure you leave plenty of time to see all the exhibits.  

We were there for seven hours!   Booking is essential and if you’re taking the grandchildren, choose the priority parking option and you not only get to park close to the studios, you get a golden snitch sticker for the car windscreen.  

The studio tour includes a visit to the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, the Hogwarts Express and Gringotts Bank as well as a stop at the Dursleys House and a chance to have a photo taken in the flying car (thankfully now stationary) and one of the motorbike-side car combinations.  

One of the newest additions is Professor Sprout’s greenhouse where you can pull a screaming mandrake from its pot!  There’s so much to look at – but collect a passport at the front desk and the children will be keen to ‘stamp’ the relevant pages.  Call into the café and sample the Butter Beer which comes with a souvenir tankard.  

The tour is well worth the money but do take some extra to pay for the photographs of your grandchild flying on a broomstick, appearing on a wanted poster or sitting in the Hogwarts Express.  And the shop takes some negotiating with masses of merchandise and a long queue to pay. 

Find out more 》

 

Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne

Set in Broxbourne Woods in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside, Paradise Wildlife Park is home to a fantastic range of animals as well as a world of dinosaurs and other attractions.  

The wildlife includes the big cats such as white lions, tigers and snow leopards, large and small mammals, primates,  reptiles, birds and farmyard animals.   Children can experience feeding times, enjoy talks and shows, play Safari Adventure Golf and visit the National Speedway Museum as well as meeting life-size, animatronic dinosaurs.

Find out more 》

 

Willows Activity Farm, St Albans

At Willows Activity Farm, children can meet farmyard animals, enjoy funfair rides, bounce on inflatables and trampolines and visit Peter Rabbit and friends at the Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground or Cotton Tail Village, an imaginative play area.

There’s a chance to ride on tractors including the JCB pedal tractors and enjoy a variety of children’s shows.  Be prepared for the younger ones to get wet in the Puddle Playpark – run through water sprinklers, play with overflowing taps and slide down the water ditches (do take a towel!)  

There’s also a Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail, Peter Rabbit’s Garden and the Squirrel Nutkins Zip Wire.  There are also seasonal events so check out the website.

Find out more 》



Scones with cream and jam
Huffkins Bakery, burford
Tea and cake

View the interactive map of the top days out in Hertfordshire

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