Fri 19 - Sun 21 April
EXHIBITION: The Eclectic Generation, Romy Kelleher, Nude Tin Can Gallery, St Albans, until 25 April
Er… how can someone so young have so much talent?! This portrait artist is only 18 years old, and is still studying for her BA, yet she’s got her very own exhibition coming to St Albans this month (she’s just been on Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year, too!). And we can see why. Go and see her hauntingly life-life paintings in the flesh – we reckon she’s heading for the big time!
KIDS: Easter trail, Knebworth House, 19 – 20 April
Find the hidden symbols and follow this trail through the flower gardens, around the Edwardian maze and amongst the 72 life-sized dinosaurs to claim a special prize. General admission tickets are just a tenner, which is not bad for a fun day out that’s not just for the kids! Trail sheets are £1 extra.
THEATRE: Honk! Jnr, The Place, Bedford, 19 – 20 April
Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale, The Ugly Duckling has been given a musical twist especially for young audiences. You can expect all the usual moral-of-the-story stuff as the odd one out of the cute duckling gang makes his amazing transformation. Cue warm fuzzy feelings all round.
ACTIVITIES: Cadbury Easter egg hunt (19 – 22 April), Ashridge Estate
Always a reliable go-to for a family day out is the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate. Enjoy a nice walk in the woods over the Bank Holiday weekend while the kids help the Easter bunny complete the trail to win a chocolate egg. Just make sure they give you a bit, eh?!
EVENT: Easter Medieval jousting, Knebworth House, 21 – 22 April
Put on your best fair maiden impression and cheer on the knights on horseback as they go head-to-head in medieval-style combat against the majestic backdrop of Knebworth house. And, if you fancy trying your hand at some archery, the Green Dragon Bowmen will be on hand to show you how it’s done. The jousting diplays are included in your admission ticket and it’s just a couple of quid extra to have a go at archery.
ZOO: Easter at the zoo, Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne, until 21 April
Along with a programme of Easter-y activities there are some brand new attractions opening this month, including a lion pride lands habitat, dino day care – where little ones can meet mini prehistoric creatures (call us sceptical…) – and some new mummy and daddy-sized roaring and moving dinosaurs, too.
FARM: Lamb and goat feeding, Foxholes Farm, Hertford, until 22 April
Kids are invited to come and help the farmers bottle feed the itty bitty baby lambs and goats. All together now – awwww… There are two sessions for each throughout the day and it’s a good idea to book in advance. There’s a farm shop and tea room on site too, so you can make an afternoon of it.
TRAIL: Hertford Easter animal and bunny trails, until 27 April
The Secret Society of Hertford Crafters have been busy knitting all sorts of spring creatures just in time for these special Easter family trails. Pick up a map at Hertford Tourist Information and explore the local shops with the little ones in tow to track down the hidden animals. If you complete the trail there’ll be a chocolate-y prize waiting at the end.
EXHIBITION: Henry Moore Drawings: The Art of Seeing, Henry Moore Studios and Gardens, Perry Green, until 27 October
Coinciding with the re-opening of the studio and gallery for the season, this exhibition of Moore’s drawings is the biggest of its kind in over 40 years. Most of us know him for his iconic sculptures of course, but it was actually an exhibition of his drawings in 1942 which triggered his rise to fame. On show will be 150 pieces dating back to the 1920s including life studies, drawings of animals, landscapes and portraits, as well as sketches of his sculptures, textile designs and a series chronicling wartime Britain. Fascinating stuff.
KIDS: British Dinosaurs: From Fossils to Feathers, Natural History Museum, Tring, until 11 October
Dino-crazy kids will love getting their teeth into some fun facts at this special exhibition which celebrates Britain as the birthplace of dinosaur studies (bet you didn’t know that…) There’ll be lots to look at too, including casts and specimens of prehistoric skeletons, skulls and teeth (eww!), which have all been discovered around the British Isles. A wannabe paleontologist’s dream!
KIDS: Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, until 2 June
If you’ve got a LEGO fan on your hands, this is an absolute must-visit! Imagine their little faces at spotting a life-size gorilla made entirely from their favourite building blocks, or an elephant that literally weighs a tonne of bricks! There’s also going to be a pit full of LEGO for kids to build their own animal creations. Sounds epic!
KIDS: Wizard of Oz, Mead Open Farm, Billington, Bedfordshire, until 22 April
Follow Dorothy and her friends, the lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow along the Yellow Brick Road, for this immersive adventure, especially for the Easter holidays. There’ll also be special shows throughout the day and a chance to meet the baby animals (aww), along with all the other activities that the farm has to offer.
EXHIBITION: Humphry Repton: Art and Nature for the Duke of Bedford, Woburn Abbey, until 1 Sept
This year marks the bicentary of the landscape gardener responsible for designing the grounds and Gardens at Woburn Abbey. The exhibition features his famous Red Book, which is packed with detailed plans and ideas for the planting schemes, lakes and parklands, as well as examples of his other work for the 6th Duke of Bedford’s Devon and London homes. Step outside to see Repton’s work in its full glory, including his trademark features like the grotto, Chinese-style pavillion and aviary.
FESTIVAL: Hertford Arts Festival, various locations, until 5 May
Come and check out some local talent (not that kind, naughty!) at this month-long extravaganza of arts and culture. Unfortunately the art exhibition on the 5th has already sold out, but there’s still masses to see and do including a free Arts Trail with 30 pop-up exhibitions throughout the town where artists will be demonstrating and selling their work (there’ll be all kinds, from watercolour to sculpture – a great chance to bag yourself a unique locally produced piece) – as well as a craft market at Hertford Castle on 5 May.
POP-UP: Creative Living, Christopher Place, St Albans, until 12 May
We’re all in favour of supporting local small businesses, especially if it means we get a chance to snap up some gorgeous handmade goodies. This six-week long pop-up brings together 14 local business (nearly all run by women, I might add) selling unique furniture, home accessories, skin care, jewellery, art, stationery and more. There will also be demonstrations including cushion making and furniture making.
ACTIVITY: Free street table tennis, Hertford, April onwards
Can’t resist a challenge? Then you won’t be able to pass by the new ping pong table in Hertford without having a quick knockabout. Find it in Dophin Yard in the town centre, pop into the library to collect a bat and ball (for a £5 deposit) and enjoy a free 15-minute session. If the idea proves to be a hit, the council might add a few more tables around the town, too, so watch this space.
EXHIBITION: Beasts of London, Museum of London, until Sun 5 Jan
This looks amazing- a fully immersive, digital installation (here’s a sneak preview) exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the animals, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London. There are some major British celebs involved too, with Kate Moss, Brian Blessed, Pam Ferris, Joe Pasquale and more voicing the beasts.
EXHIBITION: Mary Quant, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
This is going to be awesome! The iconic 1960s designer and the mother of miniskirts, Mary Quant, gets her own exhibit at the V&A with over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.
EXHIBITION: Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain, London, until Tues 27 Aug
This new major exhibition will be the first to explore the artist’s relationship with Britain and the literature, art and culture that inspired his work. Over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London. There’ll also be work by British artists who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg.
EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until Sun 14 July
This exhibition, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, has been HUGE- it is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am (from the Grand Entrance) and it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibit by purchasing a membership for the V&A (plus you get loads of added extras like sneak previews, a magazine subscription and access to the members room). Tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him, it’s based on the a Parisian exhibition but with a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.
FESTIVAL: Chilterns Live, Pendley Meadow, Tring, Sat 29 June
Oooh, new and shiny! There’s a brand new festival near our ‘hood! Chilterns Live will be popping up in Tring with a stellar pop line-up of Busted (this got a few squeals in Muddy HQ), Sophie Ellis Bextor and The Feeling.