Five shopping & overnight breaks in Hertfordshire before Christmas
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…
Atria Watford: https://atriawatford.com/
The Grove Hotel: https://www.thegrove.co.uk/
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/
A brand new Bingo Brunch experience is coming to Watford’s Barrio
On 5th November, the newly opened Barrio venue will launch its bingo brunch concept, La Isla Bonita 80s Brunch, in Watford. Translating to ‘The beautiful island’, La Isla Bonita Brunch aims to recreate that perfect tropical holiday feeling, with food and cocktails galore, bingo mayhem and 80s music all afternoon-long.
Already a popular party experience at Barrio Shoreditch, the 80s themed musical brunch is scheduled to run every Saturday from 12pm, and will include a two-course brunch, welcome cocktail and a variety of bottomless drinks (prosecco, spiced rum sangria and Sol beer).
Once guests have finished tucking into a menu of delicious burgers, including Queso Libre as a vegetarian option and Saint and Sinner as the vegan burger plus Barrio Churros, the musical bingo commences, brought to life by a captivating host and nostalgic 80s tunes by Barrio’s best DJs. Brunch goers can expect witty bingo calls, group singalongs and impromptu tableside performances. Prizes for winning the brunch also include a very tasty £100 bar tab.
For £35 per person, over-21s can enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless drinks and then eat, bingo and party until 5pm.
Those interested can book the first La Isla Bonita 80s Brunch at Barrio Watford for a special launch price of £25 (valid for 5th and 12th Nov brunch dates).
More about Barrio Watford
On 20th October 2022, Barrio Familia opened its first out-of-London venue in Watford, bringing Latin-inspired cocktails, authentic Mexican eats, a killer happy hour offering, live entertainment and DJs, plus an immersive 80s Bingo Bottomless Brunch.
Following the announcement of the group’s flagship site, and world’s largest tequila bar, in Covent Garden which is set to launch in early November, Barrio Familia has opened Watford’s first Tequila bar this month.
Bringing the spirit of the Latin Quarter into Watford, the new venue will have space for up to 200 guests to enjoy a brand new, freshly crafted cocktail menu, delicious Mexican inspired food creations, including their signature tacos, and famous Latino party vibes.
The outside terrace is also being turned into Barrio’s popular tropical yard, offering the perfect space for another 80 guests to gather with like-minded ‘amigos’ and sip cocktails, enjoy a meal and experience a fiesta like never before.
Barrio Familia was acquired by Nightcap in November 2021 and has since gone from strength to strength. New venues; Barrio Watford and Barrio Covent Garden will add to their growing portfolio of sites in Shoreditch, Soho, Angel, and Brixton. After opening the first Barrio site in 2007, the group’s vision was to have a Barrio in every big party neighborhood in the UK and Watford will play a huge role in that exciting expansion.
Each of the Barrio Bars sites offer a full-colour, full-flavour experience, and of course, plenty of Tequila. The group plans to open seven days a week and be the perfect new spot in Watford for all occasions, from lunches and daytime drinks to brunches and late night partying.
Jim Robertson, Managing Director of Barrio Familia, commented:
“We are incredibly excited to be taking our Latino party outside of London for the first time. This is a fantastic venue and we can’t wait to welcome the residents of Watford into the Barrio familia and bring the party! I believe Barrio will be a fantastic addition to Watford High Street that will suit all types of occasions and bring a feel good bar that welcomes everyone. We have some amazing things planned for Barrio Watford, so watch this space and get ready for the biggest fiesta in town!”
The Almere Milton Keynes launches Neighbourhood Hero initiative
‘All about the community’, The Almere prides themselves on making living easy for their residents. With residents set to move this month, the exciting new community boasts co-working, communal and event spaces within the building.
The ground floor ‘Gathering Place’ is bookable to the local community and to residents, whilst upstairs on the 11th floor sits an amenity space for residents, where part will be for co-working, roof terraces to hang out, barbeques and yoga classes. Additionally, there will also be a fitted kitchen and dining area which can be closed off for a private dining experience.
The Almere Neighbourhood Hero initiative
With community at its heart, The Almere aims to build relationships and work collaboratively with local businesses to guide residents to the best spots and products in town. The Almere’s new Neighbourhood Hero initiative has handpicked local, and predominantly independent businesses to connect residents with the true value of living in Milton Keynes, highlighting all that there is to offer.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic having had such an impact on small, independent businesses it’s key to get people back out there and supporting locally. The Neighbourhood Hero initiative is a fantastic example of this, helping businesses to thrive and regain their position within the economy. Current Heroes include Bogota Coffee Co; DeRoka; Fuuudgelife; Suds; Sweat Studios; Doorstep Cocktails; Mollys Pantry; Pup Club; Headonist Hair and Beauty; and Moxy Hotel.
Benefits of the Almere led scheme include:
- Feature on The Almere website, with regular spotlights and tags on social media channels
- Exposure to over 600+ residents, and the ability to send offers and deals to them, without incurring any marketing costs
- Welcomed as a core part of the community, allowing the businesses to use the communal spaces to hold pop-up events for residents and the local community
- Include collateral in the ‘move in packs’ for new residents, for free
- Invited to all community events at The Almere, and work together on collaborative event activations
Community Manager, Holly Birmingham explains, “Community is so important to us at The Almere – it is all about meaningful connections both within our own four walls and the wider neighbourhood. At The Almere, we aren’t just a building, we are a new community in the heart of Milton Keynes. We want to support the brilliant local businesses around us, create lasting relationships and of course, show our residents the best our town has to offer.”
The new scheme offers an exciting experience for local businesses to work on an exclusive basis with the upcoming, Milton Keynes hotspot, offer discounts to residents and in turn help show the rest of the UK what Milton Keynes has to offer!
About The Almere
A pioneering new rental community for Milton Keynes, The Almere, is a collection of 294 rental apartments built across two buildings with neighbourhood and outstanding service experience at its core.
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