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Our top cultural things to do in Hertfordshire

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

Get your cultural fix by strolling through the lavish gardens of majestic homes while museum-hopping through historic towns in Hertfordshire.

Historic homes

Go on a cultural journey throughout Hertfordshire. A stunning country estate, Hatfield House features the Old Palace, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I. The Jacobean mansion was built in 1611 by the first Earl of Salisbury. You’ll meander through the gardens, picnic in the park and let the kids loose for fun in the playgrounds. Check the schedule for special events, like outdoor theatre and cinema, throughout the year.

Hatfield House

Marvel at the majesty that is Hatfield House

Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw lived at Shaw’s Corner for more than 40 years until his death in 1950. Now owned by the National Trust, the Edwardian villa is open for you to find the inspiration he did in the tranquil grounds. The rooms of the villa remain much as he left them, filled with objects like his 1926 Nobel Prize for Literature.

A dreamy 250 acres of rolling landscape surrounds Knebworth House, complete with ancient tree avenues to set off the fabulous Tudor manor. With a maze, an adventure playground and a life-sized dinosaur trail, it’s a great choice for kids. After taking selfies with the turrets and gargoyles outside, tour the house where novelist and politician Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton once lived.

Knebworth House is complete with ancient tree avenues, a fantastical maze, and an adventure playground

Museum madness

Have you always wanted to step back in time to a Roman city? Head to The Verulamium Park & Museum, which displays artefacts from the Roman city of Verulamium, now known as St Albans. Discover ruined city walls and a 1,800-year-old hypocaust in the park. Then, wander through the re-created Roman rooms to admire mosaics and wall plasters.

Dating back to 1889, the Natural History Museum at Tring was established to house the private natural history collection of Walter Rothschild. Today, you’ll see a fascinating range of galleries with everything from a full-size gorilla to an extinct giant moa on display. This collection is one of the largest private collections ever assembled.

 Today, you’ll see a fascinating range of galleries with everything from a full-size gorilla to an extinct giant moa on display at the Natural History Museum at Tring

Set aside plenty of time for a trip to the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green. It’s one of the UK’s most striking outdoor attractions, with more than 70 acres of grounds dotted with awe-inspiring sculptures. Pack a picnic to enjoy in the gardens, pop into the visitor’s centre for refreshments and buy souvenirs from the gift shop.

Health and wellbeing

If it’s time for rejuvenating, Hertfordshire’s thriving health and wellness culture ensures you put your feet up! Relaxing and pampering is big news here, with a range of indulgent spas. The Odyssey Spa Knebworth is the spot for lavish treatments after a swim or a workout. Opening its doors in 1925, Champneys in Tring was the UK’s first health spa. It’s located amid gorgeous countryside on an estate once owned by the Rothschild family.

Knebworth House State Drawing Room

Knebworth House offers fantastical interior architecture

At the Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa near Harpenden, you’ll walk in the footsteps of royalty. A luxury spa day here includes the use of Country Club facilities and a beautiful infinity pool. Pop your robe and slippers on when you arrive and sink into pure bliss! If you can’t stand to miss your Pilates or yoga class, stay up to date at Akasha Wellness, with studios in Sucklings Yard and Bishop’s Stortford.

Read more

Top 10 things to do in Hertfordshire

How to spend 48 hours in Hertfordshire

History and heritage of Hertfordshire

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Image credits: ©Chris Orange/Knebworth House; Hatfield House; Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London [2018]. All rights reserved

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