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Muddy Herts Summer Holidays Survival Guide #2

Ok, they’ve been home for a week or so.  Time for some more ideas for places to go and things to do.  There’s loads going on, so get on out there – or in there – and have a fab time.  The more you do, the longer they’ll sleep – right?

2304 kids

23 July

‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,’ Knebworth House, 23 July, gates at 6pm for 7pm performance

Who didn’t love Mickey Mouse in ‘Fantasia,’ battling all those marching brooms?  This outdoor production of the same story has no mouse, sadly, but does have the original music, a great set, and lots of water.  Great way to introduce little people to the joys of outdoor theatre.

sorcerers apprentice

Art & Science Adventures, Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, 23 Jul-31 Aug

The Royal Gunpowder Mills has themed days running throughout the holidays – ‘Secret Monday Missions,’ ‘Rocket Trial Wednesdays,’ that sort of thing – with their Art and Science Adventures that kick off on the 23rd.  Lots of things blowing up (obviously), code-breaking, mad scientists, wilderness survival, all sorts of good stuff for your    .

24 July

‘The Scarecrows’ Wedding,’ Watford Palace Theatre, 24-25 July


Betty O’Barley and  Harry O’Hay invite you to ‘The best wedding ever, the best wedding yet, The wedding that no one will ever forget.’  I can’t resist a bit of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler – and this one, adapted for the stage, looks just as lovely as all the others.  Scarecrows Betty and Harry are all set to wed, until the dashing Reginald Rake appears on the scene.  It’s a classic love triangle.  Only with straw.

25 July

‘A Song and Dance,’ Hertford Museum, 25 July, 10.30am-3.30pm

Got a young musician?  This free event at Hertford Museum has musicians throughout the building, offering taster sessions on a variety of instruments, as well as some dancing and lots of other music-related goings-on.  It’ll be loud, but it could be fun.   

The Big Beach, Watford, 25 Jul-2 Aug, 9am-9pm

Watford not at the top of your list for a beach holiday?  You might want to re-think that.  Tons (literally) of real sand will be transforming the Parade by the pond into, er, a tropical getaway.  There are different activities and performances every day, so check the list to see what appeals.


Yup, that could be Watford.

Ungulate and Paddocks Weekend, Paradise Wildlife Park, 25-26 July

Not sure what an ungulate is?  I had to look it up – turns out it’s an animal with hooves.  So, Paradise Wildlife Park all about its hoofed residents this weekend: pigs, sheep, deer, tapir, zebra and more.  There’ll be lots of games and giveaways going on, so hoof it on down (sorry…) and enjoy the sunshine.

Rye Meads Wild Sleepout, Rye Meads Nature Reserve, Stanstead Abbotts, 25 July, 5.30pm

As well as their ‘Mini-beasting Mondays,’ that are running throughout the holidays, Rye Meads Nature Reserve is having a wild camping night.  You get to explore the reserve after dark, make glowing lanterns to decorate your tent, toast marshmallows, and get woken by the sound of birdsong in the morning.  You have to take your own tent and spaces are limited so you will need to book: call 01992 708381 or email [email protected].


There is no guarantee that your children will look this happy — or CLEAN — while camping.

26 July

Storytime for the Under-7s, Museum of St Albans, 3-4pm

The Museum of St Albans is good value any day of the week, but add in some story telling and activities and you’ve got yourself a great afternoon.  Storytime on the 26th is all about knights, and there are some things to do to go with it.

27 July


Lugnasa Summer Games, Celtic Harmony Camp, Brickendon, 27 Jul-21 Aug, 10am-5pm

Get in touch with ancient Britain and explore the Iron Age right up close and personal at the Celtic Harmony Camp near Brickendon.  There’s warrior training, archery, arena games, storytelling and tournaments,as well as all sorts of other things to celebrate Lugnasa – the Celtic festival marking the beginning of the harvest.  There are drop-in bushcraft workshops, too.  Sounds like a great day out.

Arts Award Summer School, Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton, 27-31 July, 9am-4pm

Do you have a little artist?  This summer school lets them explore all sorts of arty options – building sculptures from recycled materials, making their own paints from plants and berries, designing and making your own hat, and so on.  Working with real artists – and a hat designer – they’ll have a blast, and get an art award at the end of it.  Limited space for this one, though, and you’ll need to book.


Bright Sparks, Bletchley Park, 27 Jul-30 Aug

All through the summer, Bletchley Park has all sorts of activities for your Bright Sparks – craft and spy workshops, guided tours just for children, trails, quizzes and chances to handle bits from the collection. There’s a focus on Codebreaking and WWII – obviously – but also on E-Safety.

Roman Mask Making, Verulamium Museum, St Albans, 28 & 30 Aug, 2-4pm

The Verulamium Museum is a good afternoon out any day, so add in a  few crafts – then whizz to Inn on the Park for a snack and down to the lake to feed the ducks – and you’ve got yourself a lovely day out.  Result.

29 July

hoo book fest

Our Summer Day, Luton Hoo, 29 Jul, 11am-3pm

As part of the Hoo’s Kids Book Fest, join in with some of the best bits of the festival in the Luton Hoo Walled Garden.  There’s a picture book session for the very young, a ‘we love Harry Potter’ session later on for the older ones, as well as art activities, map making, and a wandering poet.  Perfect for the bookworm in your family, I reckon.

2 Aug

Sing-along-a-Frozen, Watford Colosseum, 2 Aug, 11am and 3pm

Is there no end to the whole Frozen thing?  Apparently it’s permafrost.  So, go with it, and bring your little Elsa or Anna along to the Watford Colosseum for an hour or so belting out ‘Let it Go’ at the top of her voice – or doing the robot actions to the one about getting married far too quickly – or doing silly voices in the one with the trolls (or is that just me?).  They’ll be happy and hoarse.  Perfect.

may frozen

4 August

Tiger Day, Shepreth Wildlife Park, nr Royston, 12-4pm

There are lots of talks and events going on every day at Shepreth – feeding lemurs and red pandas, learning more about the tropical birds, the birds of prey display, and so on – but there are some special days over the summer, too.  Check out Tiger Day on 4 Aug.


Make Your Own Roman Keyring, Verulamium Museum, St Albans, 4 & 6 Aug, 2-4pm

Get your little historians doing and making at the Verulamium Museum – they can head over on 4 Aug and whip up a Roman keyring (did the Romans have keyrings? I suppose they must have).

5 August

Moore Creative Family Fun, Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, 5-6 Aug, 12-4pm

Get those creative juices flowing with some arty-themed family activities and a trail through the beautiful gardens of the Henry Moore Foundation.  Great chance to spend some time round all those amazing Henry Moore pieces, too.


Hang in there — part 3 is on its way….

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hertfordshire