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Five shopping & overnight breaks in Hertfordshire before Christmas

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Cromwell Hotel Stevenage

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…

The Grove Hotel

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/

St Albans Market

St Albans busy market sits in the middle of a selection of boutique stores

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/

Pendley Manor Hotel

Pendley Manor Hotel

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/

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Win a ‘Freebie Fridays’ meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

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Win a 'Freebie Fridays' meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

By simply tagging your favourite restaurant and who you would like to dine with, you could win a ‘Freebie Fridays‘ free meal for two courtesy of TrendLife Magazine. Launching in January 2022, Freebie Fridays will give foodies across The Three Counties the chance to take a friend or loved one to a restaurant of their choice

Freebie Fridays Entry tasks

  1. Tag your chosen restaurant/eatery.
  2. Tag your chosen guest and follow us.
  3. Sit back and wait for the weekly draw.

You can tag as many friends and resturants in each draw. Duplicates will only be counted once. You and your nominated guest BOTH need to follow us to be entered into the prize draw. You can enter on both Instagram or Facebook.

Win a 'Freebie Fridays' meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

 

Freebie Fridays Terms and Conditions

  1. The promoter of the Freebie Fridays prize draw is TrendLife Magazine. The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  2. The Freebie Fridays prize draw is open to UK residents aged 18 or over.
  3. Winners must select/tag a restaurant within the Three Counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The winner will be chosen at random and a check will be performed to ensure the winner’s account is. valid. You cannot transfer the prize to a third party.
  4. To enter the prize draw you should follow the instructions on the Facebook post or Instagram post announcing the competition.
  5. Late, invalid or incomplete entries will not be considered, and we accept no responsibility for lost entries.
  6. The Freebie Fridays prize for one winner will be defined within the Facebook and Instagram post.
  7. The Freebie Fridays prize is non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives. Freebie Fridays meal value will be limited to £50 per person. Alcoholic drinks are not included.
  8. The winner will be chosen at random from all qualifying entries. The result is final and no discussion will be entered into concerning the outcome.
  9. The Freebie Fridays prize draw closes on the date defined in the social media post. Entries received after this date will not be considered.
  10. The winner’s contact details may be passed on to a third party for prize fulfilment purposes.
  11. The personal information and contact details you supply will be used only for the purposes of administering the competition, including contacting winners. Winners will be asked to review their meal and chosen restaurant.
  12. We reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions or to cancel, alter or amend the draw or the Freebie Fridays prize due to any circumstances that arise beyond our control.
  13. The Freebie Fridays prize draw is subject to the laws of England and Wales.

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The Swan and The Black Horse both receive award for sustainability

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Two local pubs, The Swan in Salford and The Black Horse in Woburn have been officially recognised for their actions to reduce their impact on climate change and help people to make more sustainable choices when eating out by being awarded a Three Star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

The pubs and their owners Peach Pubs were given the accolade for the steps they have taken to be  better businesses and make a difference to people and the planet.  To achieve it, they worked with the Sustainable Restaurant Association to complete a detailed assessment of the sustainability of the businesses looking at 10 key areas.  These ranged from celebrating local and seasonal and sourcing fish responsibly to treating its people fairly and eliminating food waste.

When combined to provide an overall performance across three key pillars – Sourcing, Society and Environment – Peach and the pubs were given a total Food Made Good Rating of 73%, earning them a Three Star status.

This means that the pubs have been able to show that they are good restaurants with a score of 72% on Sourcing, 74% on Society and 72% on Environment, adding up to a consistently good  performance on all three key pillars.

The pubs’ focus on putting local and seasonal produce on their menus was highlighted by a score of 80%, while the way they look after the people who cook in their kitchens and run their bars and restaurant achieved 76%. Their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle were recognised with a 76% score and the chefs’ hard work in eliminating food waste was rewarded with 72%.

Finally, everything the pubs do to support the community, especially during lockdown when they kept their teams busy doing voluntary work, cooking takeaways for local residents as well as preparing and delivering free meals to frontline NHS workers, was singled out with an impressive 84%.

“It’s fantastic news to be given a Three Star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and doubly significant after what has been a year like no other for the hospitality industry,” says Frazer Sutherland, Peach Partner who looks after the pubs.

Two local pubs have been officially recognised for the positive steps they have been taking to reduce their impact on climate change by being awarded a Three Star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Frazer Sutherland from Peach Pubs

“We are hugely proud that what we have been doing to be better businesses and put the planet first have been recognised in this way. It is tremendous encouragement from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and we shall be working with them over the year ahead to be even better and improve our scores in areas we need to.  In the meantime, we shall be celebrating this excellent news with our team and with our guests” he says.

Juliane Caillouette-Noble, Managing Director of the SRA, said, “By being the first pub business to complete the Food Made Good sustainability rating after the pandemic and additionally achieving Three Stars, Peach truly is demonstrating to its customers, staff and industry colleagues that it is 100% committed to serving up a better food future.”

The Swan Salford Address

2 Wavendon Road
Salford
Milton Keynes
MK17 8BD.

Tel: 01908 281008.
https://www.swansalford.co.uk/

The Black Horse Address

The Black Horse,
1 Bedford Street
Woburn
MK17 9QB.

Tel: 01525 290210
www.blackhorsewoburn.co.uk

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A definitive guide to what’s on in St Albans this Christmas

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A definitive guide to what's on in St Albans this Christmas

Enjoy a magical day out in St Albans this Christmas where you’ll find lots of fun festive events for all ages to cherish. Why not ‘crack two nuts with one nutcracker’ and pick up some wonderful Christmas gifts from an array of eclectic independent shops and top high-street retailers – and take a well-earned rest in one of the many outstanding eateries offering superb festive fare. So, wrap up warm and enjoy the buzz of St Albans this festive season…

Here’s what’s on in St Albans this Christmas:

What's happening in St Albans this Christmas - Nutcracker soldier and Cathedral

Complete the trail and get the chance to win a £250 Enjoy St Albans Gift Card

The Nutcracker Christmas Trail

The whole family will love getting involved in this trail and will discover some interesting facts about St Albans along the way, whilst enjoying the beautiful sights of the city.

Nutcracker’s may actually look a little scary but according to German folklore, they represent power and strength, bare their teeth to evil spirits and serve as the traditional messenger of good luck and goodwill.

Find your free Nutcracker Trail map in town or view it online (here) and then wander around the city and district to find 15 Nutcracker Soldiers. The map tells you the location of the soldiers and as you find each one, write his name down on the Trail Sheet. Once you’ve found all of the names, fill in your details and post it into Santa’s postbox, which is also marked on the map. First prize is a £250 St Albans Gift Card, plus two runners-up will each receive a £50 St Albans Gift Card.

Go nuts for this fun family Christmas trail from 21st November 2021 until 4th January 2022.

Winterscapes

Wonder at the vibrant and beautiful artworks created by local St Albans artists at this outside pop-up public art exhibition. The community arts initiative with Collective Gallery aims to enhance the city centre and make art inclusive for all, giving people joy in the most unexpected of places.
Throughout December, City Centre, Parklets, Museum Railings 

Covent Garden Street Performers

Bringing the magic and theatre of Covent Garden to St Albans. You might just bump into these outrageously funny and brilliant street acts as you wander around town, who knows where they’ll pop up- watch out for the toy soldiers and trees on stilts.

Christmas installations provide the perfect opportunity for a picture

Christmas Installations

Incredible Christmas lights and animation installations dotted across St Albans town centre will bring fun and joy to all folk across the festive period- and provide the perfect opportunity for a fabulous Instagram picture too.

Christmas Carol Concerts

A number of special festive events will be taking place at St Albans Cathedral this winter. Including The Hospice of St Francis concert, a magical afternoon of popular carols, guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit. With special performances from talented local choirs, the hour and 15-minute concert will feature a mix of solo recitals, thoughtful festive readings and plenty of opportunity for merry audience participation. Standard tickets cost £12.

Live Street Entertainment

Wrap up warm and enjoy festive family fun when a variety of fantastic theatre productions come to town. Innovative and interactive live theatre performances from Trestle Theatre and Booster Cushion Street Theatre. 7th, 10th, 12 December (Trestle) & 23rd December (Booster Cushion), Outside The Museum + Gallery. 

Santa's Post Office - Make memories when Santa's ‘official' and busy Post Office comes to town

Enjoyment for the whole family at Santa’s Post Office © Kate Lindeman

Santa’s Post Office

Make memories when Santa’s ‘official’ and busy Post Office comes to town. The space is beautifully decorated to get everyone in the Christmas spirit, children can write a letter to Santa, enjoy Christmassy arts and crafts and interactive family games and fun. Every day from 21st November to 24th December 11am-4pm, old Cath Kidson shop, Christopher Place.

Santa’s Post Boxes Fun and wonder for little ones when they write a letter to Santa and post it in one of the special post boxes located around town – watch the delight on their faces when they receive a reply from the Big Man himself. There’s also the chance to win a £100 St Albans Gift Card. 21st November – 4th January, Fleetville Larder, Cositas, Eyes on St Albans, Alban Arena

Charity Postbox Topper Trail is popular with locals and visitors and raises thousands for charity

Charity Postbox Topper Trail is popular with locals and visitors and raises thousands for charity

 St Albans Postbox Toppers Charity Trail Discover 82 postbox toppers that have been handcrafted by a team of dedicated volunteer yarn-bombers with designs including everything from Nativity scenes to Snowmen wearing colour-blind glasses. The trail is one of the biggest fundraising initiatives in St Albans that has raised over £64,000 for local charities. Search for ‘EYES on St Albans’ in your App store to download the App, enjoy the trail, donate and scan to win prizes and follow the Facebook page for more.

Denise Parsons Manager of St Albans BID

Manager of St Albans BID, Denise Parsons says:

“St Albans is the perfect winter destination for family fun, entertainment and Christmas shopping. We have an eclectic mix of independent shops, big-name retail outlets and of course, our famous Charter and Pop-Up Markets all alongside our fantastic pubs and eateries.

“It’s incredibly important for people to shop local this festive season and our TV ad and detailed Christmas Gift Guide will help locals and visitors to the make the most of their time shopping in our wonderful city. Our St Albans Gift Card also helps to support local businesses and is perfect for Christmas- as a stocking filler, a handy last-minute gift and it’s perfect for the person who is hard to buy for… and we all know one or two of those!”

 

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