3 days of glorious gardens and delicious dining in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire, also referred to as ‘Herts’, has it all when it comes to exploring a quintessential English county. It’s steeped in a rich and colourful history that dates back as far as the Roman Empire and also boasts quintessentially English countryside. Plus it’s got some spiffing places to eat and drink, and this itinerary is designed to not only show you the very best on offer but also engage all your senses as well.
To make the most of Hertfordshire’s wealth of food, heritage, iconic sites and countryside, immerse yourself in this three-day itinerary and let the adventure begin!
You’ve got a busy three days ahead of you and our plan is to start as we mean to go on! Start off nice and early in West Hertfordshire at Tring Park. For typical English countryside and stunning landscapes, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty boasts an abundance of ancient woodland just waiting to be explored. Come rain or shine, grab a sensible pair of shoes (Wellington boots are always a winner) and amble around this wonderful park. Animal lovers best keep an eye out for some of the park’s locals as it’s home to a variety of wildlife typical to Hertfordshire, in particular, butterflies. Keep your eyes open for the rare purple emperor! Marvel as you wander leisurely through the avenues of mature beech, oak and ash trees, or if you prefer to do things officially, follow this map to make sure you get to see all the sites around the park and immerse yourself in the full woodland experience. The walk can take between two and four hours, depending on your route.
The George and Dragon Restaurant, Graveley
After a magical morning hunting elusive butterflies, head to The George and Dragon for lunch. Is there anything more English than enjoying a pint of traditional ale in a country pub named after England’s patron saint? This gastropub prides itself on a warm and friendly atmosphere that welcomes families. Navigate your itinerary to arrive on a Sunday and allow plenty of room for lunch. The iconic English roast dinner doesn’t get any better than at the George and Dragon, where roast beef with all the trimmings is on the menu. Rest assured that all the food here is hearty, wholesome and delicious whatever day of the week you arrive.
The George & Dragon Graveley
Mebourne Lodge at Brocket Hall
After a busy day, treat yourself to a stay at the luxurious Melbourne Lodge at Brocket Hall, a stunning Georgian coach house conversion nestled within the grounds of Brocket Hall. Expect a traditional country house style that’s presented and furnished to the highest standard and promises a tranquil and luxurious experience during your stay. Wander the grounds, admire the serene lake and play a leisurely round of golf before heading to the fantastic, award-winning restaurant, Auberge du Lac for dinner. Food is crafted with love and care and served with a pinch of passion. The atmosphere here is calm and full of charm, just like the venue itself.
St Albans and Chandler's Cross
While your hotel does offer breakfast, save room for a trip to The Waffle House in the cathedral city of St. Albans. Beautifully located within a Grade II listed, 16th century watermill in the heart of the city, The Waffle House has been feeding locals and tourists for the last 40 years. It’s open from 8.30 am and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from a unique menu. If you happen to make it after breakfast, the hearty chilli con carne waffle followed by the banana flapjack comes highly recommended.
The Waffle House St Albans
Rich in Roman history, medieval architecture and the home of a magnificent cathedral, St Albans is a wonderful English city to explore and get lost in as you walk off that magnificent meal. The mighty cathedral is a must-see for any visitor, as are the ample Roman museums, like the award-winning Verulamium Museum, the Roman Theatre; the Hypocaust and the St Albans Museum + Gallery, which includes Roman finds from the excavations in Verulamium.. The Roman Theatre, in particular, is the only example of its kind in Britain, being a theatre with a stage rather than an Amphitheatre, and can be explored at your leisure.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
Before you leave St. Albans, make a quick pit stop at Britain’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. A traditional British pub, this award-winning venue is perfect for a relaxed glass of wine or a traditional pint. It’s every bit as charming and quaint as you would expect a pub that dates back as far as the 11th century to be, although the original building does go back as far as the 8th century. Sit back, sip your pint and think about the stories the walls could tell, and admire the history of this magnificent wood-framed building while you imagine the rich and colourful history.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
With the day drawing to an end make your way to the luxurious five-star Grove Hotel for an indulgent night’s stay. Set in 300 acres of countryside with an array of perfectly preened gardens and lazy woodland trails to explore, it’s hard to believe that you’re less than 20 miles from London. This private resort boasts three fabulous restaurants. The Glasshouse has nine live food stations offering a selection of dishes from around the world, whilst The Stables is the perfect setting for a cosy, traditional meal. Or, you can enjoy a spot of afternoon tea in The Lounge overlooking the stunning formal gardens. There’s also an impressive golf course and a tennis court, bike hire and three different swimming pools if you’re feeling energetic. However, there’s nothing better than wrapping up in a fluffy white robe and having a pamper-session in the opulent spa... you’ve had a busy day after all.
Feeling refreshed and ready for the day, take a leisurely drive to visit the spectacular Grade II listed Knebworth House. There are two sides to this incredible building. On the one hand, you have a Tudor stately home that flaunts an intricately fascinating, Gothic design and has been the home of the Lytton family for over 500 years. On the other hand, this beautiful mansion is not entirely your traditional stately home as it is most widely known as one of Britain’s largest music venues, having hosted some of the biggest names in rock music. The Rolling Stones, Queen and Oasis are a few iconic artists who have played at Knebworth since the 1970s. The amazing interior has also been used for the Oscar-winning film, The King’s Speech, and British TV institution, Midsomer Murders.
Knebworth House, Park & Gardens
Afternoon tea Hanbury Manor Mariott Hotel
For the afternoon, head to Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel for a spot of traditional English afternoon tea. Savour delicate sandwiches, tasty nibbles and a scone with jam and cream... or cream and jam, depending on your preference. The Jacobean-style hotel exudes timeless elegance and Hertfordshire charm, thanks to the wood-panelled libraries, open fires and delectable dining room restaurants.
Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club
Henry Moore Studios and Gardens
After admiring the grounds of the hotel, head over to the beautiful nearby hamlet of Perry Green and visit the inspiring Henry Moore Studios and Gardens. The estate features Henry Moore’s restored Hoglands home, beautiful gardens, and the studios that saw the creation of his iconic work, particularly his collection of abstract bronze sculptures. Here you will discover the fascinating world of Henry Moore, with the chance to experience the iconic sculptures first-hand, whilst wandering through the 70-acre estate.
Lawn House at Hatfield House
As your three-day trip in Hertfordshire draws to a close head to Lawn House, an idyllic country retreat nestled in the grounds of Hatfield House. Rooms here are the perfect blend of classic style and harmony, with en-suite bathrooms and modern amenities, and in the morning you can explore Hatfield House and its gardens before going on your way.
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