9 things to do this August Bank Holiday weekend in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 18:34 28 August 2020 | UPDATED: 19:04 28 August 2020

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral

There’s another bank holiday weekend approaching. Looking for something to do? Here are nine suggestions for this August Bank Holiday weekend.

The West Garden at Hatfield House. Picture: Pete SeawardThe West Garden at Hatfield House. Picture: Pete Seaward

Normally at this time of the year, the August calendar would be packed with events to attend over the extended, three-day weekend – from the annual Benington Chilli Festival near Stevenage to music extravaganza Goatfest.

However, most of this year’s scheduled August Bank Holiday festivals have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So what is on?

While you can’t worship the pepper at Benington Lordship this summer or enjoy three days of fab music in the Hertfordshire countryside in Codicote at Goatfest, there are still plenty of things to do in the county.

Here’s nine possible activities to do this weekend – keeping in mind social distancing and coronavirus guidelines.

1. Visit a museum

St Albans Museum + Gallery on its reopening day. Picture: St Albans MuseumsSt Albans Museum + Gallery on its reopening day. Picture: St Albans Museums

For culture vultures, the wonderful St Albans Museum + Gallery has reopened to the public in the city’s former Town Hall.

Exhibitions on display include the Handley Page: a history of the Radlett Aerodrome, which tells the fascinating story of the planes made there and the people who worked on site.

In the Weston Gallery, visitors can go back in time in the pop-up St Albans Picture House and experience the early films made by the city’s film pioneer, Arthur Melbourne Cooper.

All museum visitors will be expected to wear a face mask to comply with the latest Government guidance and you will be asked to complete a registration form to assist with the track and trace scheme.

The museum is open every day, from 11am to 5pm.

Aviation enthusiasts should pop over to Salisbury Hall, London Colney, for the de Havilland Aircraft Museum, which preserves the heritage of the famous Hatfield company.

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito B Mk.35The de Havilland Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito B Mk.35

In North Herts you can go back to school at the British Schools Museum in Queen Street, Hitchin, and learn how Hertfordshire has been the source of inspiration for many writers through latest exhibition Dreamers, Radicals and Satirists.

Pre-booked, timed tickets only. Visit britishschoolsmuseum.org.uk for more.

Across town, you can take a guided tour of the North Hertfordshire Museum in Brand Street, including the new ‘In Our Time’ exhibition which opened last weekend and showcases the work of artist Sylvia Molloy. Visit https://northhertsmuseum.org/ for more details.

2. Catch a blockbuster at the cinema

Tenet can be seen at the Campus West cinema in Welwyn Garden City and other cinemas in Herts. Picture: supplied by Campus WestTenet can be seen at the Campus West cinema in Welwyn Garden City and other cinemas in Herts. Picture: supplied by Campus West

During the COVID crisis, cinemas were closed.

However, they are gradually opening up again across the county.

While initially showing movie classics and film favourites – Campus West in Welwyn Garden City, for example, has been screening the Harry Potter series for fans of J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard – the latest blockbusters are now back on the big screen.

Christopher Nolan’s eagerly anticipated sci-fi action thriller Tenet opened in the UK this week.

From The Dark Knight to Dunkirk, from Inception to Interstellar, Nolan is one of the top directors around. Even by his own stratospheric standards, Nolan’s time-bending, techno-thriller Tenet is special and needs to be seen on a big screen.

You can see it at the ODEON Hatfield at the Galleria, and Campus West Cinema in WGC, Letchworth Broadway Cinema, and the just reopened Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Bar.

Drivein-Movies continues at the Hertfordshire County Showground this weekend. Picture: supplied by Drivein-MoviesDrivein-Movies continues at the Hertfordshire County Showground this weekend. Picture: supplied by Drivein-Movies

3. See a film at the drive-in

If you prefer old school, this summer has seen the resurgence of the drive-in movie experience. You can still catch a film at the drive-in at the Hertfordshire Showground in Redbourn, St Albans, this weekend.

Drivein-Movies’ final screenings for the summer include the Saturday morning screening of The Lego Movie 2 on August 29.

Back to The Future flies back onto the big outdoor screen on Saturday night. Fans of Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta can sing-along to Grease on Sunday, August 30.

Visit https://www.drivein-movies.com/ to book your parking spot.

Hatfield Park. Picture: Pete SeawardHatfield Park. Picture: Pete Seaward

4. Take a woodland walk in the park

While the Jacobean mansion at Hatfield House is closed to visitors this year, that doesn’t stop you walking around the estate’s exquisite grounds.

You can take in the wonderful gardens or venture out on one of the picturesque park’s woodland walks.

Open August Bank Holiday Monday, there are three walks of varying lengths marked in the park to explore.

Visit www.hatfield-house.co.uk to book tickets.

A new Pygmy Marmoset baby has been born at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne. Picture: Paradise Wildlife ParkA new Pygmy Marmoset baby has been born at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne. Picture: Paradise Wildlife Park

5. Go to the zoo

Hertfordshire’s Paradise Wildlife Park has reopened following the COVID-19 outbreak and there’s plenty of cute animals to see around the White Stubbs Lane site in Broxbourne.

New additions include baby pygmy marmoset Mimo, and the latest penguin chicks to have hatched.

Kids, and adults alike, will also love the World of Dinosaurs, the biggest and most spectacular animatronic dinosaur attraction in the county featuring 30 life-size, moving and roaring dinos.

Tickets to the family-run park must be pre-booked at www.pwpark.com

A red panda at Shepreth Wildlife ParkA red panda at Shepreth Wildlife Park

Shepreth Wildlife Park near Royston is also open again for all those that wish to see lemurs, red pandas, meerkats and tigers.

Visit sheprethwildlifepark.co.uk for more.

6. Get in the Abbey habit

St Albans Cathedral is steeped in history. So why not discover more about the Cathedral on the new outdoor The Great Survivor Tour?

Taking place on Wednesdays and Saturdays in August and September, walk the outline of St Albans Cathedral in the company of one an experienced guide.

St Albans Cathedral.St Albans Cathedral.

You will hear stories of monks, martyrs, parishioners, Victorian restorers, royals and archbishops.

Inside the Abbey, you will find a prayer installation in support of Black Lives Matter on display in the North Transept.

Visit www.stalbanscathedral.org for more.

7. Watch some live theatre

Yes, actual live theatre! If Shakespeare is your thing, the Maltings Open Air Theatre Festival continues at the Roman Theatre of Verulamium in St Albans this weekend.

The Merry Wives of Windsor. Picture: Laura Harling.The Merry Wives of Windsor. Picture: Laura Harling.

Running until August Bank Holiday Monday, August 31, you can catch the final outdoor performances of The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry V at the historic venue.

As well as the two plays presented by OVO, this weekend also sees the Bard’s The Taming of the Shrew being performed on the outdoor stage.

Visit http://maltingstheatre.co.uk/ for the full programme and to book tickets.

8. Visit a stately home

With its expansive parkland, glorious formal gardens, dinosaur trail and kids’ adventure playground, there’s plenty to keep the family entertained at historic Knebworth House.

Knebworth House. Picture: Alan DaviesKnebworth House. Picture: Alan Davies

Granted the official UK ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark, it’s safe to visit, although numbers are capped per day and pre-booking is essential.

Visit www.knebworthhouse.com for more.

9. Head out on the water

Hertfordshire’s London 2012 Olympic venue – the Lee Valley White Water Centre – has reopened for business.

Visitors can now enjoy a host of exciting adrenaline-filled activities on the beautiful clear water of the lake and Legacy Loop white water course.

Lee Valley White Water Centre. Picture: Mark Sims PhotographyLee Valley White Water Centre. Picture: Mark Sims Photography

These include canoeing and kayaking, family rafting, the Water Wipeout inflatable obstacle course, Hot Dogs (two-person inflatable rafts), hydrospeeding, and stand up paddleboarding.

Bookings are open at gowhitewater.co.uk for all these activities and for white water rafting on the Olympic Standard competition course, which starts again on September 2. You will get wet!

The A Last Supper painting in St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Alan DaviesThe A Last Supper painting in St Albans Cathedral. Picture: Alan Davies

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