Who says you can’t tackle all your Christmas shopping in one go, with a weekend escape thrown in for good measure too? At the risk of panicking you just a little, the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on! Fear not though, as we’ve done the hard work for you and pulled together our top five shop and stay combinations across Hertfordshire that will ensure you’re feeling ready (and most importantly, relaxed) by the time December 25th rolls around…
Christmas shopping at Atria Watford & The Grove Hotel
Believe us when we say that you really need to stay the night to make the most of ticking off that Christmas shopping list at the Atria Watford shopping centre. With an impressive line-up of retail brands and leisure choices you’ll find all you need to put a smile on the face of loved ones this Christmas under one roof. What’s more, once you’ve finished treating everyone else, pamper yourself with a night of luxury at The Grove Hotel. Set in 300 acres of countryside, and only 10-minutes’ drive from Atria Watford, this is just the pre-Christmas treat you deserve! Winter in Watford…
Christmas shopping in St Albans’ boutique stores & Aubrey Park Hotel
After a long day Christmas Shopping in the wonderful boutique stores around St Albans, wouldn’t it be nice not to have to rush straight home, and indulge a little instead? If you are laden with shopping bags, why not take a short drive and spend the night in one of Aubrey Park Hotel’s cosy rooms? Treat yourself to an early Christmas present by upgrading to their plush suites for a dreamy winter staycation in the festive period. Feeling seasonal St Albans!
Enjoy St Albans: https://www.enjoystalbans.com/things-to-do/
Aubrey Park Hotel: https://aubreypark.co.uk/
Christmas in The Galleria Shopping Centre & Hanbury Manor Hotel
After a busy day stocking up on seasonal treats at The Galleria Shopping Centre in Welwyn, head North where you’ll find Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club dressed in its festive finery, ready to welcome you in for a winter escape! Indulge in a fireside afternoon tea, escape to the spa for a few hours, or simply wrap up warm and head out to enjoy one of the many walking routes on site. Hello Hanbury…
The Galleria Shopping Centre: https://thegalleria.co.uk/
Hanbury Manor Hotel: https://bit.ly/3kzcTRR
Christmas in Westgate Shopping Centre & Cromwell Hotel
Enjoy a full festive programme at Westgate Shopping Centre this season, including late night shopping events, and even the chance to meet Santa in his Grotto! And with so much going on to wear out little ones, you needn’t head far for a place to rest your head for the night. Just five-minutes away, relax in one of the beautifully decorated rooms at Hotel Cromwell. This attractive hotel in the heart of Old Town Stevenage boasts stylish decor that perfectly complements the character still in evidence from its former times. Check-in to Cromwell…
Westgate Shopping Centre: https://www.westgateshopping.co.uk/
Hotel Cromwell, Stevenage: https://cromwellstevenage.co.uk/
Christmas on Tring High Street & Pendley Manor Hotel
Nestled just a stone’s throw from the picturesque market town of Tring, you’re guaranteed a warm welcome when you check into charming Pendley Manor hotel this winter. Before settling in for a cosy night’s stay, why not make a pit-stop and enjoy a meander through Tring’s high street with its wealth of independently run shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants? The perfect opportunity to support the town’s local businesses and pick up some unique, handcrafted gifts for loved ones!
Tring Together: https://www.tringtogether.org.uk/visit-tring
Pendley Manor: https://www.pendley-manor.co.uk/
St Albans Comedy Extravaganza returns to Verulamium Park in July
St Albans Comedy Garden presented by heycar is set to light up Verulamium Park this summer with a magnificent series of open-air shows from 27-31st July!
Starring legendary BAFTA and Perrier Award winner DYLAN MORAN, the guv’nor himself AL MURRAY, multi-award winning SARA PASCOE, the Last Leg’s ROSIE JONES, Father Ted star ARDAL O’HANLON, lo-fi hero DAVID O’DOHERTY and many more huge names performing at this year’s astounding set of open-air shows.
St Albans Comedy Garden line-up
Stand-up favourites are out in force too with cult poet / comic TIM KEY, German Comedy Ambassador HENNING WEHN, observational master ED BYRNE, Afterlife star KERRY GODLIMAN, Taskmaster champ LOU SANDERS, Edinburgh Comedy Award winner JOHN ROBINS, Netflix star JOEL DOMMETT, the inimitable REGINALD D HUNTER to name a few.
Alongside established names sit some of the brightest breakthrough talent such as the acclaimed CELYA AB, stand-up phenomenon FATIHA EL-GHORRI and the award-winning ESTHER MANITO, fast rising TADIWA MAHLUNGE all making their St Albans debut.
What to expect at St Albans Comedy Garden
Following last summer’s huge sell-out first edition St Albans Comedy Garden returns with another astounding programme of stand-up comedy presented in a fully-seated open-air theatre in the Park’s beautiful Water Meadow.
This year’s comedy extravaganza will once again be brimful with bars serving up a tastemaker selection of craft beers, cocktails and more, plus an array of street-food stalls from the leading lights of the local street food scene.
Tickets are expected to fly as comedy-lovers from St Albans and beyond grab the chance to see these masterfully curated shows, each featuring a host of critically-acclaimed stars guaranteeing a hit of absolute entertainment in the heart of the summer.
The sibling team behind the Comedy Garden, Cass Randolph and Will Briggs of 57 Festivals, can’t wait to return to St Albans. Cass said “We’re thrilled with this year’s line-up and to be back in Verulamium Park, we had such a great first year last summer, the audiences were an absolute riot, far livelier than we had expected! The acts really feed off that kind of energy and in turn give incredible performances.”
Will added “We have some outstanding acts joining us this year, i’m especially looking forward to seeing Dylan Moran headline our opening night and can’t wait to watch stand-out newcomers CELYA AB and FATIHA EL-GHORRI on the big stage.”
This year’s event is partnered with heycar, Chief Commercial Officer Karen Hilton said: “With this year’s Comedy Garden returning to St Albans, it’s shaping up to be an incredible, feel-good summer. We have so much laughter to catch up on after the last few years and I can’t think of a better way to do it. The line-up is truly world-class, and we’re particularly looking forward to seeing the incredible Joel Dommett in action. heycar is honoured to be sponsoring this incredible event and we can’t wait to see everyone in St Albans this July!”
St Albans Comedy Garden tickets
Get your tickets now and be part of this year’s magnificent St Albans Comedy Garden! Visit the website to find out more www.stalbanscomedygarden.co.uk
The Chequers in Woolmer Green reopens after refurbishment
Wells & Co’s Hertfordshire based pub, The Chequers, is opening its doors after an extensive refurbishment. Completed works include an entirely refreshed bar and dining area, redecorated throughout to create a modern and chic look and feel to the pub located in the civil parish village of Woolmer Green. The cosy interior boasts an intimate lounge area, large dining area and an extensive garden makeover inclusive of heated spaces and high table fire pits, perfect for those late-Summer evenings.
Upstairs has been reconfigured to make room for four en-suite bedrooms for guests to book, as well as a private dining room holding up to 20 people. The new dining room is perfect for all event needs, whether its a private party, private function or even to host a work meeting.
The updated food menu features seasonal and fresh dishes inclusive of much loved pub classics like fish and chips or the ever popular 21-day aged beef burger, where the team will also be donating 25p of every burger sold to local primary school St Michael’s. Aloingside the classics the full dining menu at The Chequers includes more indulgent dishes such as cajun sweet potato, okra, and black-eyed pea gumbo, wild porcini mushroom, truffle and ricotta filled mezzaluna pasta and new daily specials.
There is also a great new range of drinks behind the bar including a range of tasty Brewpoint beers brewed just down the road in Bedford, as well as a full wine and spirits list for guests to enjoy.
Greg Knox, General Manager for the Wells & Co. site said, “The Chequers has, quite simply put, been a transformational refurbishment. The pub is ready, our food is prepped, drinks will be flowing, and our team are on hand to welcome the people of Woolmer Green and beyond, back to their much-loved pub. I can’t wait to personally welcome everyone back.”
To book a room or table at The Chequers visit the website here: https://chequerswoolmergreen.co.uk/
What’s on at Waddesdon this Summer between May and June
May half-term will see the return of our ever-popular Colourscape as well as the chance for children to discover the animals of Waddesdon with a brand new Birds and Beasts family trail.
In June, outdoor theatre will also be returning to Waddesdon’s lawns. Visitors can enjoy an evening of Shakespearean comedy as well as a performance of The Teapot Prince, a contemporary reimagining of a lost 18th-century ballet that hasn’t been staged for over 280 years!
Eythrope Walled Garden Tour
Every Wed from 18 May – 19 Oct, 10.15am & 1.15pm
Discover the four-acre walled garden, glasshouses and orchard at Eythrope, the private Rothschild garden. Visits are by guided tour only and include a light meal with savoury and sweet elements inspired by the produce from Eythrope.
Adult £50. Includes a meal in the Manor Restaurant, free Grounds admission and shuttle bus.
An Italian Feast with Frescobaldi
Sat 28 May, 7pm
Marchesi Frescobaldi is one of Italy’s most celebrated winemakers, and their global ambassador will be hosting a magical evening at Waddesdon. Wine-lovers can sample a glass of Frescobaldi sparkling wine in the atmospheric cellars, followed by a delightful five-course dinner served with carefully-selected wines.
£99.50 per person (over-18s only)
May Half-Term Sat 28 May – Sun 5 Jun (inc Mon 30 & Tue 31), 10.30am-4.30pm
This May half-term, an immersive experience of colour, light, space and music lands on Waddesdon’s lawns. Returning to Waddesdon for its eighth year, Colourscape is for visitors of all ages and promises an extraordinary experience you will not forget.
Advance booking recommended. Adult £6, Child £4; plus normal Grounds admission applies.
May Half-Term at Waddesdon
Birds and Beasts trail
Sat 28 May – Sun 5 Jun (inc Mon 30 & Tue 31), 10am-4pm
Enjoy fresh air and family fun this May half-term. Discover the animals of Waddesdon with a new outdoor Birds and Beasts trail, adventure in the Woodland Playground and then refuel with a delicious family picnic.
£3.50 per trail (inc souvenir), plus normal Grounds admission applies. One trail per child
Cellar visit and tasting
Every Fri, Sat & Sun from 15 Apr – 31 May, 12noon
Join one of Waddesdon’s wine experts for a short tour of the atmospheric wine cellars, which house over 15,000 bottles of Rothschild wine, before an informal tasting of two Rothschilds wines.
£7.50 per person (over-18s only), plus normal Grounds admission applies
What’s On at Waddesdon in June 2022
The Teapot Prince
Thu 16 & Fri 17 June, 6-9pm
A contemporary reimagining of the lost 18th-century French Ballet des Porcelaines—The Teapot Prince—will be performed in the fairy-tale grounds of Waddesdon Manor, bringing to life a story of magic, desire and exotic entanglement.
Tickets include a talk by the ballet company, exclusive access to the Manor’s west galleries and a chance to preview an Edmond du Waal display until 8.30pm.
Adult £32, Child £16
As You Like It – The Lord Chamberlain’s Men
Thu 23 June, 6pm gates open
One of the UK’s finest touring theatre companies, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, invites you to join them once again for an evening of sparkling Shakespearean comedy in the grounds of Waddesdon Manor.
Adult £20.50, Child £11
Dinner with Gusbourne Estate Wines
Sat 25 Jun, 7pm
Celebrate the wines of one of England’s most renowned and innovative winemakers at Waddesdon. Enjoy a sparkling aperitif in the atmospheric wine cellars, followed by a delicious five-course dinner served with wines from the Gusbourne Estate’s wonderful portfolio.
£99.50 per person (over-18s only)