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Bake Off news, foodie openings, hot hotels, a new adventure park and the fitness craze that's coming back... Life is looking good in Herts and Beds - read on for the latest goss!

GBBO stars in town!

The Bake Off fans among you will no doubt know that the C4 was filmed at our very own Down Hall Hotel and Spa, near Bishop’s Stortford, last year. And we’ve got it on good authority that it’s returning again this year… in fact the judges and hosts have already moved in (lucky them!)

Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas are all isolating at the grand hotel until filming starts in July so they’ll be in their own little bubble and fighting fit, ready to eat all that cake (it’s a hard life, eh?!).

So, if you happen to be hanging out – walking or picnicking – on the estate (the hotel’s closed until 9 July), you might just catch a socially distanced glimpse of Paul, Prue and the big tent (sounds a bit more like a kids’ book, when you say it like that!)

Down Hall Hotel

New foodie openings

Don’t know about you but we’ve definitely noticed a post-lockdown buzz in the air with fresh new hospitality businesses popping up in place of Covid-closures, and it feels gooood!

In Tring, Herts, we’ve welcomed a permanent home to Italian deli, Nonna’s Supper Club, a grandmother-and-granddaughter partnership, which Georgina was running as a bi-monthly event in her home pre-Covid. On the Italian theme, a new family-run Italian restaurant, Storia, has opened in the gorgeous old Post Office building in Tring and it’s coming to Radlett in July, too. The owners are old hands as they used to occupy the building years ago so were pretty chuffed to be taking it back under their wing again.

Storia Tring
The stylish new Storia interior

Meanwhile, we were sad to say goodbye to Lussmans Tring, but the fish and grill restaurant is still alive and kicking in St Albans, Harpenden and Hitchin AND they have a new Hertford Home on Fore Street, too.

Back in business

As fans of The Woburn Hotel, we were sad to see it close during peak Covid, but the good news is that, over a year later, it’s back with new owners, a brand new look and even a new name. The Woburn, as it’s now known, has been taken on by The Oakman Group (known for The White Hart, Ampthill, The Beech House, St Albans and The Akeman, Tring, to name a few). The 48-room hotel (with an additional seven cottages) now has outdoor seating for up to 100 people, including a weather-proof awning, as well as revamped and more informal bar and dining room areas, with the feel of an luxe English country pub (check out that Magic Eye wallpaper below – *love*). And don’t panic, the famous Afternoon Tea (which Woburn is renowned for) will still be on the menu! Phew.

The Woburn

Cafe culture

Now, if you’re a fan of Carluccio’s restaurants you’ll be delighted to hear that you can now get a taste of your favourite Italian with your weekly food shop (and no, you don’t have to take it home and cook it yourself!) The well-known chef’s chain has been reivented as a café and the very first Caffè Carluccio is opening this week in Sainsbury’s superstore St Albans. It’ll be an all-day destination for coffee and light bites from bacon ciabatta rolls to cakes and canoli. Hmm… that’s one way to put off the shopping for an hour or two!

Get your ninja on!

Who’s got what it takes to be a Ninja Warrior? Nope? Us neither, but the kids (and bigger kids!) will love the news that a brand new Ninja Warrior Adventure Park is opening in Watford on 17 June (bookings are already open though, so get in quick!). Based on the hit TV series, it’s suitable for ages 5+ (and they offer group bookings and parties too – that’s little Jimmy’s birthday sorted then!) as well as adults who are keen to get fit and have a bit of fun while they’re at it. Imagine a giant obstacle course featuring jumps, swings, climbing walls, and you’ve just about got the jist. Could be a laugh with the girls, too, non?!

Ninja Warrior

And finally…

Lazy lockdown lifestyle catching up with you? yup, me too! But, we’ve heard on the grapevine that Parkrun is coming back this month. All being well it’ll be up an running (pun intended!) again by 26 June. Parkruns take place all over the country and are a fab way to get fit with friends and have a bit of fun (yes, really!). You don’t need any experience to take part and they’re only an easy breezy 5k (which you can walk if you want to), so dust off those trainers and set a reminder to register!

trainers in field

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