Muddy Herts Summer Hols Survival Guide #3
We’re in the home stretch now, Muddies. And while the dreaded ‘back to school shopping trip’ becomes increasingly unavoidable — why do they grow so much? — there are still a couple of weeks left to fill with goings and doings. Here are a few ideas to get you through…
Sat 20 Aug
I love the sound of this Stone Carving Taster Workshop at the Lowewood Museum, Broxbourne. You get to have a go and then take your masterpiece (which I’m sure it will be) home with you. It’s for grown-ups, too, so get in there! Or you can Put on your Party Face! at the Verulamium Museum in St Albans — helping a Roman husband and wife get dressed up and ready to hit the town.
The Spring into Summer Trail is still going strong at Rye Meads Nature Reserve in Stanstead Abbotts, and it’s a good bet now the weather’s perked up a bit.
Or pitch your tent for a rare chance to go Camping at Ashridge Forest, Ashridge Estate (20-21 Aug). There’ll be loads going on, too — toasting marshmallows, watching the sunset from the top of the Bridgewater Monument, going on a bat walk, playing silly games, that sort of thing. Sounds brilliant.
Sun 21 Aug
Is it your un-birthday? Mine too! Join the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Waterstones, St Albans. There’s lots to do, stories galore, and even a prize for the best costume. (Now, where did I put my dormouse suit…?)
There are celebrations of the 800th Year Anniversary of the Siege of Hertford Castle — guided tours, a brass band playing, and a chance to check out the castle and its history.
Mon 22 Aug
Hear all about Margaret of Anjou and her role in the Wars of the Roses at the Verulamium Museum’s Battling for St Albans session — then make a heraldic banner to take away. Or make Spectacular Clay Sundials at the Welwyn Roman Baths. Chance to brush up on your Roman numerals!
There are some Roman goings-on, too, at St Albans Abbey. Ever asked yourself, “What did the Romans do for us?” This is the time and place to find out the answer.
Tue 23 Aug
Crafty kids? They could be making sandcastle collages at the Mill Green Museum in Welwyn Garden City. Grown-ups need to stay, but there’s tea and coffee. Or meet Lou Treleaven, author of Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip, for a reading and then some fun craft sessions at Waterstones in Hitchin.
Get Digging for History at the Verulamium Museum, finding out about how pioneering archaeologist Tessa Wheeler discovered the buried treasures there before you design your own mosaic to take home. Or you can Protect the Portcullis (23-25 Aug) at Hertford Castle — make a miniature catapult or create your own model castle. More history on hand, too, at St Albans Abbey — with a Medieval Madness arts and crafts workshop.
Wed 24 Aug
Oh, the thinks you can think! Join in with Dr Seuss Story Time and Activities at Waterstones in St Albans. Stories, songs, rhymes and a game of Dr Seuss Bingo? Don’t mind if I do! It is fun to have fun but you have to know how…
How about Den Building and a Woodland Walk up at the Ashridge Estate? Choose one or the other or both — and then sandwich them together with indoor crafts at lunchtime. Or get about Conquering the Air at the Verulamium Museum, discovering the true story of Dolly Shepherd and her adventures as a high-flying acrobat and balloonist and creating your own (not-to-scale…) hot-air balloon to take away.
Thu 25 Aug
Explore St Albans Abbey with none other than Roald Dahl. I mean, not him actually, but check out their Dahl-inspired trail during one of their Family Discovery Mornings.
Fancy making something with clay? You can choose between a Garden Plaque at Mill Green Museum or use your imagination and come up with a Clay Creation at Lowewood Museum. More goings-on, too, with Crafty Capers at Verulamium Museum.
Or, if you prefer something edible — in theory, at least — why not head to the Forty Hall Estate in Enfield to make dough in the historic kitchen and learn to shape it into historic breads. You’ll need to book.
Fri 26 Aug
Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the open air — ranging across the vast reaches of space, perhaps? Nope. Instead, it’s awakening in the grounds of Hatfield House. It’d be good, though, if that’s your cup of galactic tea.
Get to know your armour with a ‘Crazy Castles’ handling session at Hertford Museum. Then get busy and make your very own armour.
There’s plenty of Fairies and Elves Summer Mischief at Frogmore Paper Mill in Apsley. It’s a great museum to visit anyway, but there’s paper crafting, games and cake at this special summertime session.
If you’ve not been to visit Harriet Kelsall Jewellery yet, this is the perfect excuse! Leave your little treasure making their own little treasure in the Jewellery Making Workshop, while you enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of cake — or even a cream tea (hoorah!) in their on-site coffee shop.
Sat 27 Aug
More open-air cinema. This time, it’s that ’70s classic Grease — c’mon, sing along… And get this, you’ll be at an outdoor cinema watching Danny and Sandy at an outdoor cinema. Freaky, huh?
Sun 28 Aug
And even more open-air theatre. This time, travel along as Phileas Fogg and his faithful valet Passepartout race Around the World in 80 Days — without leaving the grounds of Hatfield House. Will they make it back in time? Will they win their bet? Has Passepartout left the gas on? Expect songs, trains, boats, romance, sword fights and even an elephant — which is sort of appropriate, seeing as it’s taking place in Elephant Dell.
Spread your blanket for a fishy-filled picnic and a screening of Finding Dory at the Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne. Yes, she’s cute, that Dory. And just wait until you see her as a baby…
Mon 29 Aug
Make yourself a Roman-inspired canvas bag at the Brilliant Bags Workshop at the Welwyn Roman Baths.
Tue 30 Aug
Boldly go where no one has gone before… Or even further. Star Trek Beyond is showing in 3D at Wyllyotts Theatre, Potters Bar (30 Aug-1 Sep). The USS Enterprise encounters a mysterious new enemy in the furthest reaches of uncharted space. Beam me up, Scotty.
I have no idea what a Mini Beast Run or a Mole Run Course are, but you can enjoy one or both at the Ashridge Estate, with indoor crafts at lunchtime if the excitement gets too much for you.
Wed 31 Aug
Ever wondered what your pets do when you’re out? Check out The Secret Life of Pets (U) and enjoy a pet-themed picnic at the Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne.
Fri 2 Sep
Another great excuse to visit Frogmore Paper Mill in Apsley. Have a look round, and book ’em in for a Rockets and Robots session of paper crafting, games and cake.
Sun 4 Sep
Saddle up for Horse Riding on the Ashridge Estate. There are more than 30 miles of public and permissive bridleways, and they’ve chosen a 2-3 hour way-marked ride for horse-owners through some of the most beautiful areas. You’ll need to book for this one — and bring your own horse.
And they’re back in. More or less. See you at half term….