Roll up, roll up, time is running out for your chance to WIN free tickets to a host of attractions and activities across the Garden of England as part of this year’s Herts Big Weekend…
If you’re a Hertfordshire resident, now is the perfect opportunity to take a look at some of this year’s fantastic offers and free tickets, available right on your doorstep. All you need to do to get involved is enter the online ballot before 16th March, and you and a lucky friend could be heading off for a Herts Big Weekend adventure on 4th and 5th April, as part of Visit Herts’ annual celebration of the county’s tourism industry.
Some of the county’s biggest attractions have signed up to take part in this year’s event, including Warner Bros. Studio Tour – London, Paradise Wildlife Park, Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, St Albans Cathedral, Knebworth House, Hatfield House and The Grove.
And, it doesn’t stop there with the Big Weekend also giving residents a chance to uncover a wide range of smaller, hidden gems throughout the county, including Rye House Karting, Pump House Theatre Watford, Aylett Nurseries, Weston Auditorium, Natural History Museum Tring, Hertfordshire County Show, Ware & Hertford Waterbus and Royston Cave.
In fact, over 50 Hertfordshire tourist attractions and businesses will be opening their doors or offering special gifts to lucky ticket holders this year, with experiences on offer ranging from visits to magical studio tours and stunning stately homes, to close encounters with wild animals, delicious meals, and relaxing afternoon teas for two. With hundreds of pairs of tickets up for grabs in this year’s ballot, the Herts Big Weekend is the perfect excuse to get out and discover (or rediscover) exactly what makes this charming county so special…
Registration for this year’s ballot opened on 20th February, and interest in the event has been brilliant so far, with a whopping 30,856 applications for tickets to date.
One of the most convenient and sustainable ways for residents to get around Hertfordshire is by train with Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern Railways all servicing the county. Book direct and you’ll pay no booking fees. Look for Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak tickets to save money when you travel outside of Peak times.
Deirdre Wells OBE, Chief executive of Visit Herts, said: “The Big Weekend marks the start of the tourist season and is a fantastic way to celebrate all that’s on offer across Hertfordshire. Over the last five years, the Herts Big Weekend has given our residents some brilliant opportunities to discover, and rediscover, what’s happening in their home county and this year is no different!
“Once again, we’ve been overwhelmed by the support from attractions and businesses across the county, and the range of visitor experiences on offer. We would encourage all of our Herts residents to get involved and discover the amazing things to see and do right on their doorstep.”
Residents can apply for as many pairs of tickets as they like at https://www.hertsbigweekend.co.uk/ until 16th March. Following this, two tickets (one pair of tickets) per household will then be allocated at random by ballot (some family tickets are available).
This year’s event will once again support The Family Holiday Association, with a range of attractions also donating tickets to the charity, giving great days out to families that are normally unable to take holidays together.
The Herts Big Weekend 2020 will also form part of the Hertfordshire Year of Culture, which sees a multitude of cultural activities, special events and experiences taking place across twelve themed months. In April the theme is ‘Go Somewhere Local’, with this celebration providing the perfect opportunity for residents to become a local Hertfordshire ambassador.
For further information inspiration on things to do in Hertfordshire, head to www.visitherts.co.uk.
St Albans Comedy Garden brings laughs to Verulamium Park
After a difficult 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions, St Albans residents can look forward to a laugh in the park as St Albans Comedy Garden brings laughs to Verulamium Park.
The all-new St Albans Comedy Garden promises the ultimate remedy this summer with five nights of stupendous stand-up comedy starring DARA O’BRIAIN, SARA PASCOE, ALAN DAVIES, TOM ALLEN, AISLING BEA, ROB BECKETT, JOSH WIDDICOMBE and many more in the glorious surroundings of Verulamium Park.
St Albans Comedy Garden line up
From Wednesday 28th July to Sunday 1st August comedy-lovers from St Albans and beyond will be treated to a dazzling array of stand-up superstars including the multi-award winning SARA PASCOE, the glorious DARA O’BRIAIN, observational wizard JOSH WIDDICOMBE, the stupendous ALAN DAVIES, riotous TOM ALLEN and the magnetic ROB BECKETT to name but a few.
Each show will be bursting with incredible acts featuring the very best names in stand-up like Netflix star PHIL WANG, British Comedy Award winner AISLING BEA, one-liner king MILTON JONES, Taskmaster champ LOU SANDERS, the undisputed queen of ventriloquism NINA CONTI, podcast heroes ED GAMBLE and JOHN ROBINS, stand-up champion REGINALD D HUNTER and the award-winning SINDHU VEE alongside fast-rising breakthrough talent like MAISIE ADAM, SARAH KEYWORTH and DARREN HARRIOT plus many (many!) more – all guaranteeing some much-needed uplifting hilarity for 2021.
This series of magnificent mixed-bill shows will be presented in an open-air theatre set in St Alban’s beautiful Verulamium Park. The comedy extravaganza will be brim full with pop-up bars serving craft beers, summer-styled cocktails and more to wash down tasty morsels from the leading lights of the local street-food scene.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the Comedy Garden has been specially designed to reflect the Government’s Roadmap, with added flexibility should the event need to be adapted to suit current guidelines.
Laughs in Verulamium Park
All shows will take place in a fully-seated open-air theatre with tickets sold in multiples of two, these key features are designed to ensure a smooth transition should social distancing need to be introduced across the event. If necessary the theatre-style seating will be transformed into socially-distanced seating plots and walk-up bars and street-food stalls will be replaced with a deliver-to-seat drink and snack service.
St Albans Comedy Garden tickets
Tickets for some of the shows are already sold out. Tickets for Wednesday 28th July with headline act Josh Widdicombe are sold out. The same applies for the late show on Saturday 31st July headlined by Tom Allen and Sunday’s 3.30pm show headlined by Dara Ó Briain. All other tickets are available at this time. For more info on tickets, click here.
About St Albans Comedy Garden
The team behind the Comedy Garden, 57 Festivals, have already successfully delivered a covid-secure event with their Greenwich Comedy Festival in September 2020.
This new St Albans event is the latest venture from the London-based comedy event company run by sibling-team Will Briggs and Cass Randolph. The pair have spent the last decade building a reputation for delivering meticulous comedy programming in boutique-festival settings.
Starting back in 2009 with the Capital’s critically acclaimed Greenwich Comedy Festival, held annually at the National Maritime Museum, the pair went on to introduce their Comedy Garden event to Bristol in 2011, followed by Brighton in 2019, and they are now incredibly excited to be bringing their winning formula to the cultural heart of Hertfordshire.
Cass say “The live industry has had a tough time of late and so we feel very lucky to have been able to reimagine our events to suit these challenging times, and we’re especially proud to be introducing this new event.”
Will adds: “There’s no doubt that everyone deserves some excellent live entertainment and we can’t wait to bring exactly that to our new St Albans audience. We’re working closely with the local council and our suppliers to make sure we deliver an event that is safe and enjoyable for everyone – and above all very funny!”
This summer’s event is all set to be a rib-tickling remedy to the past year, so get your tickets now and be part of the first-ever St Albans Comedy Garden! Visit the website to find out more www.stalbanscomedygarden.co.uk
What’s on in St Albans during July?
Enjoy St Albans and support home grown talent at one of our exciting markets taking place this July. Markets are a great way to discover new produce and soak up the vibrancy of this amazing Cathedral city. Just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London St Pancras international, St Albans is the perfect day trip destination.
- St Albans is one of the best-kept secrets in UK tourism. A historic gem of an English Cathedral City just 20 miles and 20 minutes by train from London is easily accessible by road with links to the M25, M1 and A1(M)
- The city’s colourful history and heritage can be seen in the Roman remains and the beautiful medieval architecture and picturesque buildings that look spectacular all year round.
- A fabulous shopping destination, St Albans is home to an array of innovative independent retailers and well-known chains
- The city is famous for its café and pub culture with a fantastic range of award-winning eating and drinking establishments, including Britain’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
- Enjoy lots of green, open spaces and parks – making St Albans a family friendly destination.
Twice weekly charter markets – every Wednesday and Saturday. Come and shop for everything you could possibly want and enjoy the buzz and energy of the legendary market that is at the heart of the St Albans story.
St Albans Young Traders Market
*NEW* Recently launched, this night market takes place on the first Thursday of each month across the summer. Created to support and nurture young talent, the market hosts a collection of young entrepreneurs offering everything from baked goods to jewellery, cocktails, and 3D printing.
Market place. 4-8pm. Thursday 1st July
Inside Out Market
Enjoy the fringe pop-up market every Friday in Market Place. Enjoy delicious street food and artisan goods from a collection of local businesses.
Market Place. Friday: 2, 9, 16, 23 July
St Albans Vegan Market
The St Albans Vegan Market takes over St Peter’s Street in the centre of the town, where the Charter and Farmer’s Markets operate, on several Sundays throughout the year. The event features up to 60 stalls including a huge variety of vegan fast food, healthy eats, artisan savouries, sweet bakes, craft cheeses, handmade cosmetics, ethical clothing & jewellery, arts & crafts, plastic-free, and charity stalls. All created by a handpicked selection of talented, ethical and sustainable businesses.
Sunday 4th July. 10.30-4pm
*NEW* This fabulous market brings the spirit and historical concept of caravanserai to St Albans every second Thursday of the month. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe (most notably the Silk Road).
So, expect to find gorgeous handmade Pakistani dupattas, sumptuous traditional Indian desserts, authentic Bangladeshi plants, tasty Moroccan tagines, handcrafted homewares from all the Arab nations and henna artists whose skills have been passed down from generation to generation. Come along to soak up the flavours and colours from across the globe and support homegrown specialised talent.
Thursday July 8th 4-8pm
St Albans Farmers Market
A taste sensation! Stock up on local specialities, mouth-watering cheeses, seasonal fruit and vegetables, fresh herbs, top quality meat and game, dairy produce, freshly baked cakes & bread and locally hand-crafted goods. Street food to eat there and then, and plenty to take home, alongside entertainment and delicious refreshments.
Farmers’ Markets help local farmers, growers and producers to sell their own produce, direct to the public. The markets provide fresh, safe, natural, nutritious food that you can trust. Plus, a vibrant and entertaining shopping experience in the heart of St Albans, just opposite the Museum + Gallery.
Sunday 11th July 8am – 2pm
St Albans Vintage Market
This outdoor street market right in the heart of this amazing Cathedral City brings all manner of Antiques, Vintage, Brocante and Architectural Salvage. An amazing atmosphere with inspirational dealers and fascinating finds!
Sunday 18th July 9-3pm
Harpenden Farmers Market
Expect to find local specialities, mouth-watering cheeses, seasonal fruit and vegetables, fresh herbs, top quality meat and game, dairy produce, freshly baked cakes & bread and locally hand-crafted goods. Street food to eat there and then, and plenty to take home, alongside entertainment and delicious refreshments. St Albans, just opposite the Museum + Gallery, and on Lower High Street in Harpenden.
Sunday 25th July. 10–4pm St Peter’s St
Discover produce and delights form around the globe at the World Market which takes place in High St, Market Place and George St.
Sunday 25th July 11-5pm.
Real Street Food Nights
Thursday 29th July 4-8pm *NEW* Real Street Food Nights takes place on the last Thursday of each month, 4-8 pm throughout the summer, bringing together a range of traders offering delicacies from around the world, that are guaranteed to tantalise the taste buds. Throughout the year we will havemexican dishes from Baja Cantina, award winning churros from Churro Boyz, sour dough toasties from Toastielicious, Carrabien fusion from Funky Elephant and much more.
Join Black Futures panel event on 6th August at 5.45pm to celebrate Windrush Day 2021 and reflect a year on from St Albans Black Lives Matter protests. The event plans to showcase the contributions of black people in St Albans, bringing together members of the community to have an open discussion about inclusivity, explore the achievements and challenges faced and build awareness in St Albans. Event take place at St Albans Museum + Gallery Visit www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk for details
July 23rd, pubs across St Albans take part in charity Ask for Clive’s first ever Pub Pride event. The charity launched the event to unite LGBTQ+ communities across the UK while supporting local businesses.
The Great Outdoors: Roderick Williams
11th July Songs of Travel by Ralph Vaughan Williams, together with music by Butterworth, Ireland, Gurney and more. The celebrated baritone performs with pianist Susie Allan and Momentum Artist Felix Kemp. Book with confidence: if you find that you can no longer attend you will be entitled to a full refund. Tickets from St Albans Cathedral Box Office, www.stalbanscathedral.org or 01727 890210
St Albans Comic-Con
18th of July 2021. Enjoy a whole new line-up of fantastic guests from your favourite TV shows, movies, gaming & comics as well as a brand-new array of props & vehicles! The ever-awesome Jimcredible will once again host the Cosplay area along with the Creed Cosplay Ambassadors and specialist traders. 10am-4.30pm.
From Wednesday 28th July to Sunday 1st August comedy-lovers from St Albans and beyond will be treated to a dazzling array of stand-up superstars including the multi-award-winning SARA PASCOE, the glorious DARA O’BRIAIN, observational wizard JOSH WIDDICOMBE, the stupendous ALAN DAVIES, riotous TOM ALLEN and the magnetic ROB BECKETT to name but a few.
The all-new St Albans Comedy Garden promises the ultimate remedy this summer with five nights of stupendous stand-up comedy in the glorious surroundings of Verulamium Park.
Looking ahead to other St Albans events…
There’s fun for all the family with Magical Elves Street Theatre on the 5th August with a scavenger hunt and a medieval theme and Booster Cushion Street Theatre with 3 performances taking place on the 19th August.
The St Albans Food and Drink Festival in September celebrates food & drink heroes. A month-long programme of vibrant events across the district includes the St Albans Food & Drink Awards and Feastival Street Festival.
The inaugural Festival of Culture, St Albans, has an inspiring and eclectic range of events on offer and features; author panels, demonstrations from illustrators, discussions with translators, creative writing classes, archaeology talks, musical performances, and a selection of engaging children’s events (from talks to workshops). This will be a wonderful celebration of literature and the arts, for people of all ages. The festival will be held on 14th-15th August 2021 and is organised by independent bookshop, Books on the Hill. Find out more at www.books-on-the-hill.co.uk 01727807248
The festive season begins with the Christmas Cracker event in November, when the Christmas lights are officially switched on! Kickstart your Christmas shopping and enjoy fun for all the family at the Christmas Street Festival with family entertainment, rides, and festive market stalls
Ware Food Festival returns in 2021 for 7th annual event
As big foodies, we are excited to share the news that Ware Food Festival is returning for it’s 7th annual event.
Popular with traders, local residents and visitors from further afield, Ware’s 7th Annual Food Festival makes a welcome return to Tudor Square on Sunday, 13th June between 11am and 3pm.
Come hungry – there will be delicious street food on offer; from the Smok’n Greek, Maud’s Ice Cream, tacos from Healey’s Kitchen, Jamie’s Cakes & Coffee, Sweetlove Burgers and The Chef’s Table will be serving their famous sausage rolls & fried chicken. Tudor Square restaurant Manolya will be open and joining us outdoors serving their delicious Turkish food.
You can carry on later by taking a picnic for home with lovely produce from Hertfordshire Honey, Azahar Spanish food, Italian cheese & charcuterie and then top it all off with pudding from local chocolatier Kate Ashman or Ell Churros. Not forgetting a tipple from local artisan gin producer, Copper in the Clouds.
To complement this mellow, family day there will be some fishy goings on from The Fairly Fresh Fish Company and great music from Lip Service Brass Band.
Members from the TrendLife #lunchNbloggers team will be in attendance sampling the best of
All traders will be Covid secure, and visitors are asked to please be mindful of social distancing regulations in place at the time.
Ware Food Festival
Sunday 13th June 11am – 3pm