7 top tourist attractions to visit in Hertfordshire during the summer holidays

The West Garden at Hatfield House.

The West Garden at Hatfield House. - Credit: Alan Davies

Hertfordshire boasts some top tourist destinations, from historic country estates to beautiful parks and fabulous heritage sites to world-class attractions.

Here's 7 places worth visiting in Herts during the school summer holidays for a day out.


1. Paradise Wildlife Park

One of the big cats in the pool in the Land of the Tigers at Paradise Wildlife Park.

One of the big cats in the pool in the Land of the Tigers at Paradise Wildlife Park. - Credit: Paradise Wildlife Park

Hertfordshire's leading zoo has now fully reopened all its attractions after the July 19 Step 4 easing of lockdown restrictions.

Among the must-see attractions at the White Stubbs Lane site is the bespoke Land of the Tigers habitat where you can watch the Broxbourne park's two Amur tigers, Aleena and Siberia, submerged in their own pool. 

There's also lions, meerkats, penguins and much more to see.

Kids who love dinosaurs will be in their element walking around the World of Dinosaurs.

It features 30 life-size, moving and roaring animatronic dinosaurs – a real thrill for any dinosaur adventurer! 

World of Dinosaurs at Paradise Wildlife Park will be open after hours for Summer Evenings in Paradise.

World of Dinosaurs at Paradise Wildlife Park will be open after hours for Summer Evenings in Paradise. - Credit: Paradise Wildlife Park

Tickets must be booked in advance via www.pwpark.com 

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Tickets are not available at the gate on the day.


2. Hatfield House

Hatfield House and gardens from the air looking towards the North Front

Hatfield House and gardens from the air looking towards the North Front - Credit: Hatfield House

Historic Hatfield House is one of the jewels in Hertfordshire's visitor crown.

Built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, it has been the home of the Cecil family ever since. 

The stately home, its glorious gardens and The Old Palace where Elizabeth I grew up are all worth a visit.

The West Garden at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.

The West Garden at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. - Credit: Alan Davies

You will also be following in the footsteps of the Bridgerton family from the hit Netflix series, Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix movie Enola Holmes, Lily James as Mrs de Winter in the recent remake of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Vin Diesel in the latest Fast Saga blockbuster Fast & Furious 9.

While Lord Salisbury's home is a well-known tourist attraction – and now a very popular filming location – the Hertfordshire estate has created some woodland walks for people to escape the crowds.

Explore the stunning, historical woodland that surrounds the Jacobean mansion on one of the routes available.

The Red and Blue Woodland Walks at Hatfield Park take you to the Broadwater.

The Red and Blue Woodland Walks at Hatfield Park take you to the Broadwater. - Credit: Alan Davies

You can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the crowds by following the walks which take you to the beautiful Broadwater that meanders through the estate.

A park addition this summer is a new maze to explore. 

The maze along with the Woodland Walks and Hatfield Park will be open to visitors everyday throughout the summer holidays until August 30, 2021.

The Broadwater in Hatfield Park, Hertfordshire.

The Broadwater in Hatfield Park, Hertfordshire. - Credit: Alan Davies

After a long walk on a hot weekend afternoon, pop into The Stable Yard shopping area for a delicious Darlish ice cream.

The new Darlish Ice Cream parlour is open every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer, noon to 5pm.

And, yes, they will be serving up their delicious baklava ice cream sandwich!

For opening times and more on Hatfield House's woodland walks, visit www.hatfield-house.co.uk/house-park-garden/the-park/park-walks/

Hatfield House from the air

Hatfield House from the air - Credit: Hatfield House


3. Heartwood Forest

Open grassland and woodland - just two of the important habitats at Heartwood Forest (photo: Woodlan

Open grassland and woodland - just two of the important habitats at Heartwood Forest. - Credit: woodland trust

Sticking with woodland walks, visit Heartwood Forest near Sandridge and embrace its abundance of space – 347 hectares (858 acres) to be exact. 

The Woodland Trust site, near St Albans, is the largest continuous new native forest in the UK and boasts some fantastic walks to help you get back to nature and lost in the moment.

Spot birds and butterflies, discover ancient woodland, wildflower meadows and a community orchard – and all in the fresh air.

A network of paths, including a public footpath and two bridleways, run in and around Heartwood Forest, as well as through the existing ancient woodlands. You can explore the site by bike, horse or on foot.

There are three way-marked trails which take you to different areas of the forest. 

For more, visit heartwood.woodlandtrust.org.uk/


4. Ashridge Estate

The National Trust's Ashridge Estate features ancient trees, rolling chalk downlands and lush meadows in an area of outstanding natural beauty. What's not to love? 

As a result, the estate is now seeing a very high number of visitors. However, there's still plenty of space to explore, after all the Ashridge Estate is a 2,000 hectare area of the Chiltern Hills.

With beech and oak woodlands, commons and chalk downlands, these very different landscapes each support a rich variety of wildlife, including carpets of bluebells in spring, rare butterflies in summer and fallow deer that rut in autumn.

Miles of footpaths and bridleways give you plenty of space to explore. 

Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate for more on the Ashridge Estate.


5. St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral in the September sun.

St Albans Cathedral is a popular tourist attraction in Hertfordshire. - Credit: Alan Davies

Shrine to Britain's first saint, the magnificent Cathedral is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain.

Open daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm, it is a place of worship, music, and home to two medieval shrines.

The restored shrine to St Amphibalus is located near to the shrine of St Alban.

The shrine of St Amphibalus is one of Britain’s 13 medieval pedestal shrines and St Albans is the only British cathedral to house two.

Visitors to the Cathedral can also discover the fascinating stories of the individuals who visited and invested in the Abbey over six centuries in the new Lives and Legacies exhibition until September 3.

The Lives and Legacies exhibition is part of a city-wide celebration of the manuscripts of St Albans Abbey. Entry is free but donations are welcome.

If you enjoyed the Cathedral's exhibition, visit Chroniclers of History at St Albans Museum + Gallery to find out more.

For more on Alban and the Abbey, visit www.stalbanscathedral.org


6. Knebworth House

Knebworth House. Picture: Alan Davies

Knebworth House in Hertfordshire regularly appears on screen in films. - Credit: Alan Davies

The Gothic-looking Knebworth House has been Bruce Wayne's Wayne Manor on screen in Tim Burton's Batman movie, doubled for Balmoral in Netflix's The Crown, and appeared in a host of other films and TV series. 

Set in 250 acres of rolling Hertfordshire countryside, the house is steeped in history, with Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill and Noel Gallagher among the many visitors over the years.

More recently, Will Ferrell filmed part of Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga at Knebworth House, and you can currently see the house in new Netflix dating show Sexy Beasts.

A drone shot of Knebworth House.

A drone shot of Knebworth House. - Credit: Knebworth House

As well as the house, which has been in the Lytton family for more than 500 years, there are beautiful gardens, the Dinosaur Trail and the Adventure Playground with Fort Knebworth on the estate.

Pre-booking a visit is essential at this time. Visit www.knebworthhouse.com for opening times.

The Luna Open Air Cinema also returns from August 19 to August 22.



7. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter

Experience the magic of the wizarding world of Harry Potter at Leavesden in Hertfordshire.

Explore iconic sets and discover what it took to bring the Harry Potter films to life on screen at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter.

Situated next to the Warner Bros. Studios where they actually made the Harry Potter movies, you can step into the Great Hall, Forbidden Forest, Platform 9¾ and Diagon Alley and spot your favourite props from the films.

Tickets must be booked in advance, with additional tickets now available. Visit www.wbstudiotour.co.uk to check time slot availability.

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