What's on this weekend? 9 ideas for things to do this May Bank Holiday
- Credit: Paradise Wildlife Park
Stuck for things to do this weekend? Looking for somewhere to go this May Bank Holiday?
With Step 3 of the government's lockdown easing not happening until May 17 at the earliest, the county's cinemas, theatres and indoor attractions at museums and other heritage sites are still closed to the public.
They are due to open later in the month. So what can you do on Bank Holiday Monday, May 3?
You can still enjoy what our great county has to offer.
Head outdoors and there's plenty to see and do, both in Hertfordshire and just across the county border.
Here's 9 suggestions for things to do over the extended holiday weekend in Herts and the surrounding area.
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1. Walk this way...
If you are looking for a free activity to do, then follow the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Walk.
It's a 20.20km circular walk around WGC to commemorate the town's centenary in 2020.
Celebrating Ebenezer Howard’s original vision of "a marriage of town and country", the route can be accessed from many points across the garden city with spokes heading out into the beautiful countryside surrounding WGC.
The route takes in Mill Green, The Commons Nature Reserve, the site of the Panshanger Aerodrome, Tewin Bury, Digswell, Sherrardspark Wood, Brocket Hall and Lemsford.
For more, visit www.wgc100.org/signature-events/centenary-walk
Alternatively, follow the Alban Way cycle route path connecting Hatfield and St Albans.
The stretch from The Galleria in Hatfield to Smallford takes your past the lovingly restored Nast Hyde Halt, a renovated platform on the old railway line linking the town with St Albans.
It's a peaceful stop away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Near the old Smallford station further along the route towards St Albans, veer off the track and you can either pop to The Plough at Sleapshyde or head in the opposite direction to the nearby Smallford Farm Shop & Café.
2. Take a stroll in the park
Hertfordshire is blessed with some glorious parks – both public parks and ones belonging to stately homes.
Panshanger Park is a 1,000 acre site situated between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford.
There are lots of trails to enjoy that take in the best of the park – from the Great Oak to the Dragonfly Trail and many more besides.
The tourist seasons have opened at both Knebworth House and Hatfield House, where you have acres of parkland to roam, although the mansions themselves have not reopened yet.
Both Hertfordshire stately homes also have glorious gardens to explore.
The historic deer park at Knebworth covers over 250 acres. The Park is a perfect setting for families to enjoy a country picnic and walks during the open season.
The Adventure Playground featuring Fort Knebworth is also open at Knebworth and is a great place for letting little ones let off steam.
For visiting Knebworth House, Park & Gardens, tickets go on sale two weeks in advance.
Pre-booking is essential at this time. Visit www.knebworthhouse.com for more.
3. Visit the zoo
Herts' Paradise Wildlife Park and ZSL Whipsnade across the county border in Bedfordshire are both open again and welcoming families, albeit with COVID-safe measures in place and indoor attractions closed.
The new Land of the Tigers is a must-see at Paradise, with Amur tiger sisters Siberia and Aleena having their own pool at the zoo in White Stubbs Lane.
Visitors can see these majestic beasts underwater in the pool along with koi carp and grass carp.
Elsewhere, the Broxbourne site houses everything from lions, penguins, meerkats and adorably cute red pandas.
At Whipsnade, you can see rhinos, elephants, hippos, zebras and much more.
As the UK's biggest zoo, it's a huge Bedfordshire site where you can meet some of the world's most exotic animals.
Pre-booking is essential. Visit www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo for more details.
Shepreth Wildlife Park near Royston is also open to the public again for those living in the north of the county.
Wildlife Walk tickets are available between 10am and 4.30pm. Visit sheprethwildlifepark.co.uk to book.
4. Go walking with dinosaurs
If you visit Paradise Wildlife Park, the kids will also love the World of Dinosaurs on the Broxbourne site.
You can experience your own Jurassic Park moment at the zoo in White Stubbs Lane, not far from Newgate Street Village, with a trail featuring triceratops, velociraptors and a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Knebworth House's Dinosaur Trail through the estate's Wilderness Garden is also very popular with younger visitors.
The 72 life-sized dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures can be found grazing among the shrubbery.
Exploring the woodland paths, children can learn about the T-Rex, the woolly mammoth and other fascinating creatures.
5. Head down to the lakes
Stanborough Park in Welwyn Garden City, Verulamium Park in St Albans, and Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage are all good spots to enjoy a wander in the late spring sunshine.
So get out in the fresh air this bank holiday weekend.
Fairlands Valley Park consists of 120 acres of parkland situated within the heart of Stevenage, and includes four linked lakes.
As the name suggests, Verulamium Park is named after the Roman city of Verulamium on which it stands.
The city's Roman walls and outline of the London Gate can still be seen today.
The 100 acres of beautiful parkland lies in the shadow of St Albans Cathedral.
For a quick drink, the historic Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub is between the former Abbey and the park.
6. Take off to the museum
Spread your wings – by crossing into south Cambridgeshire – and enjoy some aviation heritage on the county's doorstep.
While indoor museum attractions at de Havilland Aircraft Museum in London Colney are currently closed due to COVID rules until May 18, outdoor spaces are allowed to open.
And there's plenty of space to explore at IWM Duxford, just north of Royston, where the family-friendly, self-guided trail lets you experience the museum's outdoor grounds.
Duxford’s airfield and architecture have witnessed world-changing events from World War One onwards.
A WW2 RAF base, Duxford's illustrious past is present all around when you walk the mile-long grounds of this historic site.
IWM Duxford is set to reopen fully from May 19, government COVID restrictions permitting, with new themed flying days taking place.
7. Drive to the cinema
Multiplexes and community cinemas can't reopen until May 17 at the earliest. But drive-in cinema is allowed under Step 2 rules.
So The Luna Drive In Cinema will be returning to the grounds of Knebworth House from Saturday, May 8.
So fasten your seat belts and enjoy classic movies such as Grease, Pretty Woman, The Greatest Showman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, Dirty Dancing and Jurassic Park in Knebworth Park.
With state-of-the-art in car speakers and high-definition outdoor screens, you won’t miss a moment of the action – whether that’s Baby and Johnny having the time of their life in Dirty Dancing or going Back to the Future in a DeLorean at 88 miles an hour.
Visit www.lunadriveincinema.com for more details and to book tickets.
There's also drive-in cinema operating at London Luton Airport.
Nightflix Outdoor Cinema will be bringing big screen thrills, blockbusters and family favourites to the long stay car park until Friday, May 21.
8. Follow your art!
The popular annual Hertford Arts Trail continues in the county town until May 8.
Designed to showcase and promote the talent of Herts artists, the 2021 trail runs sees over 30 artists exhibit their work in prime locations across Hertford town centre – from retailers to beauty salons, from gift shops to underground walkways, and florists to cake shops.
The public can view the pop-up exhibitions free of charge.
An array of media is on display from sculpture to cartoonist, oil on canvas to pottery.
Venue opening times vary, so check locations in advance.
9. Find some Solace
Handcrafted by leading glass artist Layne Rowe, the Solace glass wings installation is on display in the North Transept until Friday, May 14.
Designed as a reflective memorial to the pandemic, the installation is made up of 160 individually blown glass feathers.