5 places to visit this Easter for a walk and some fresh air

George Bernard Shaw's home Shaw's Corner at Ayot St Lawrence. Picture: Alan Davies

George Bernard Shaw's home Shaw's Corner at Ayot St Lawrence. - Credit: Alan Davies

Looking for somewhere to go for an outdoors trip over the Easter holidays?

The grounds of National Trust properties across Hertfordshire and surrounding counties are open again to 'local' visitors.

Here's 5 National Trust sites in Herts – and neighbouring counties – worth a visit if you are looking for some fresh air and something to do this Easter. 

This way to George Bernard Shaw's home Shaw's Corner at Ayot St Lawrence. Picture: Alan Davies

This way to George Bernard Shaw's Ayot St Lawrence home Shaw's Corner. - Credit: Alan Davies

1. Shaw's Corner 

Among the National Trust locations partially open is Shaw's Corner in Ayot St Lawrence.

In line with government guidance, only the gardens will be open for local visitors to access for walks from March 26.

George Bernard Shaw's home Shaw's Corner at Ayot St Lawrence. Picture: Alan Davies

George Bernard Shaw's home Shaw's Corner at Ayot St Lawrence. - Credit: Alan Davies

The country home of celebrated Irish playwright Bernard Shaw for 44 years, Shaw's Corner is closed Tuesday to Thursday each week, but is open over the Easter holiday weekend – including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

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You will be able to explore the rolling gardens at Shaw's Edwardian villa near Welwyn and discover the revolving writing hut of the Oscar and Nobel Prize winner behind classics such as Saint Joan, Man and Superman, and Pygmalion. 

Shaw's Corner in Ayot St Lawrence. Picture: Alan Davies

Shaw's Corner in Ayot St Lawrence is partially open with local visitors able to walk the gardens. - Credit: Alan Davies

The garden at Shaw's Corner is open from 10.30am to 5pm, with the final timed entry slot from 3pm to 3.30pm.

You will need to book in advance and will be turned away if you arrive at the Bibbs Hall Lane site without a booking.

You can book tickets up to 3pm on the day before your visit, and new tickets are released every Friday for the following week.

For more on Shaw's Corner, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shaws-corner


Morven Park, Potters Bar

Morven Park, Potters Bar - Credit: Archant

2. Morven Park  

If you are looking for somewhere to walk the dog, Morven Park is 20 acres of peaceful parkland located in the heart of Potters Bar.

The park is open access and can be found on Hatfield Road. The Hertfordshire Way passes right through the centre of Morven Park.

There's no parking on site. Dogs are welcome.

Open dawn to dusk, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/morven-park for more information.


3. Ashridge Estate

Wander through ancient trees, along rolling chalk downlands and through lush meadows in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Chiltern Hills near Berkhamsted.

In line with government guidelines, the estate remains open for local visitors to access for exercise – and there's plenty of space with 5,000 acres to explore.

Stretch your legs with your four-legged friend walking the miles of footpaths, with trails to suit most people, or get on your bike and try one of the cycle tracks.

There's also many bridle paths on the estate to enjoy spring on horseback.

Car parking remains limited due to ground conditions. The shop and visitor centre are currently closed, as is the Bridgewater Monument.

For more, visit  www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate


4. Dunstable Downs and Whipsnade Estate

For those in Herts living near Bedfordshire, hop over the county border to enjoy miles of footpaths across the chalk grasslands of the Downs.

Within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Dunstable Downs is the highest point in Bedfordshire and offers simply stunning views.

There's also Neolithic burial mounds at Five Knolls

The countryside space is open for local visitors, and the National Trust asks people to follow the guidance on social distancing. Car parking is limited.

For more on the Downs, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunstable-downs-and-whipsnade-estate

Wimpole Hall owned by the National Trust. The parkland on the Wimpole Estate is open but the mansion is closed.

Wimpole Hall owned by the National Trust. The parkland on the Wimpole Estate is open but the mansion is currently closed. - Credit: Bianca Wild

5. Wimpole Estate

This working estate in Arrington, near Royston, features an impressive mansion, parkland, gardens and Home Farm.

However, in line with latest government guidance, outdoor spaces only at Wimpole Estate are open for local visitors to access the walks. 

The parkland and garden are open, but Wimpole Hall and the farm are currently closed. 

There will be a family-friendly Easter adventures nature trail though.

To manage visitor numbers, you will need to book your timed entry slot in advance to be able to walk around the estate.

You are advised to book by 3pm the day before your visit. Booking early is essential at weekends and during school holidays.

Tickets are released every Friday. For visits from Monday, March 29 to Sunday, April 4 tickets are already released, and for visits from Monday, April 5 to Sunday, April 11 tickets are released on Good Friday, April 2.

There's free entry for National Trust members, while non-members will need to pay when booking.

Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate for full details.


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