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12 Muddy-approved attractions in Herts

This is 00Muddy reporting for duty with all the best visitor attractions in Hertfordshire, complete with tons of in-the-know intel so you can staycay like a local. Nice.

HISTORY

Headliner: Verulamium (St Albans)

The historic Roman city of Verulamium.

St Albans was once one of the largest Roman cities in Britain – Verulamium. Grab a coffee and wander into the Roman Verulamium Park. On the far side is the Hypocaust (a Roman mosaic). From here head to the Cathedral – an amazing mix of architectural styles, with much of it built in the 11th century from Roman materials. Once you’ve ogled this lot, jump back in the car and whizz over to the Verulamium museum and amphitheatre on the edge of town. The perfect holiday history project, we say.

In-the-know intel: Hatfield House

Hatfield House

Hatfield might not be the no. 1 destination on every tourist’s wish list, but did you know that the grand Hatfield House is one of the top film set locations for period productions in the UK? Most recently, Olivia Coleman’s Oscar-winning turn in The Favourite was captured in this wonderful Jacobean Manor, not to mention all those that came before, including Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Shakespeare in Love and even Batman. Who knew. Oh, and the actual Queen Elizabeth I spent much of her youth at Hatfield Palace (an older house on the grounds), and you can still (literally) walk in the footsteps of this epic monarch today.

NATURAL WORLD

Headliner: Paradise Wildlife Park

Big cats at Paradise Wildlife Park

For a really interactive (absolutely not as scary as it sounds) animal experience, head over to Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne. The zoo is specially designed to make sure you can get (again, I’ll reiterate safely) up close and personal with over 800 species, from big cats and monkeys, to penguins, meerkat zebras and reptiles. Oh, and there are some awesome adventure playgrounds on site.

In-the-know intel: Tring Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum, Tring

Turns out you’ve never too old to draw some wonder from drawers of preserved beetles and butterflies and the occasional stuffed polar bear. The National History Museum‘s outpost in Tring is a fascinating and free way to while away a few hours (donations are welcome).

WEEKEND WALKS

Headliner: Ashridge Estate

Walking on the Ashridge Estate

Make the most of the last days of summer by stomping through the lush woodlands of the English countryside. Head up to the National Trust-owned Ashridge Estate near Berkhamsted and loop around through the beautiful village of Aldbury, before stopping off for a refresher at The Greyhound or calling in at the Alford Arms on the way home for a bite to eat.

In-the-know intel: Stroll from Dylans – The Plough at Sleapshyde

Dylans – The Plough at Sleapshyde

Yes, I do realise that my ‘walks’ section seems to really be a ‘pubs and walk section’, but I’m sure you don’t mind. A lovely little outing, is to head over to Dylans – The Plough at Sleapshyde, park up and take the gang for a great big loop round the fields, returning just in time for your reservation. The two Dylans pubs (there’s also the awesome Dylans – The Kings Arms in St Albans) are local favourites, and The Plough as some great pop ups right now, with Isabella’s Pie & Mash up next.

ART

Headliner: Henry Moore Studios & Gardens

Henry Moore Studios

The perfect cultural outing for any contemporary art fan? It has to be Henry Moore’s Studios & Gardens, Much Hadham. Discover Moore’s estate, complete with 15,000 artworks – from sculpture and drawings to prints and textiles. Wandering amongst the sculptures has got to be one of the best ways to feel the scale, textures and presence of these epic creations.

In-the-know-intel: St Albans Museum + Gallery

A recent addition to the county’s cultural scene, having only opened in the summer of 2018, the St Albans Museum + Gallery has reinvented the old Town Hall and Court house into a state-of-the-art gallery. With over 2,000 years of priceless, heritage and architecture on show, in addition to a fab range of contemporary art works, this one is definitely worth adding to your St Albans itinerary.

SPA

Headliner: Cottonmill Spa, Sopwell House

The recently redesigned Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House is a delight. With clean, calming architecture designed to embrace the relaxing gardens, and of course all the state of the art facilities – insane gym, indoor pool, vitality pools, steam, sauna, relaxations rooms and a salon. And this weekend break location doubles as a members spa – so when you find your perfect Hertfordshire residence, you can sign up and chill out.

In-the-know-intel: Luton Hoo, near Harpenden

Now this one might not come up on Google, as it’s on the Herts/Beds border (not far from Harpenden), but if you’re after some grand country club style living this is the one. Not only does it have golf, shooting and glorious restaurants (not to mention an insanely beautiful country estate) but it also has a fantabulous spa – the perfect weekend indulgence for couples in need of a serious break from it all.

KIDS

Headliner: Willow Farm

Willow Farm

The wonderful Willow Farm is an interactive must-visit for all those with a penchant for Peter Rabbit (whether that be the Cbeebies series, or the original Beatrix Potter masterpiece). There are a range of shows and activities on offer each day, including the Peter Rabbit Show, Goat Racing, and plenty of opportunities to meet and feed the animals.

In-the-know intel: White Water Rafting, Lee Valley White Water Centre

Get on down to Lee Valley White Water Centre for an adrenaline fueled day you’ll never forget – White Water Rafting, en famille! The experience (which includes all equipment) lasts two hours, with a raft holding up to five people. And once you’ve had your fill of thrills, head to the Terrace Bar and redeem the £25 soft drinks voucher included with your booking. Go on, I dare you!

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