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.
Milton Keynes Theatre announce its summer season of entertainment
Milton Keynes Theatre is delighted to announce its summer season of sensational entertainment!
Returning to the venue after a sell-out run in 2019 is the phenomenal Les Misérables, the musical often regarded as the most popular in the world. Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production arrives in Milton Keynes on Tue 26 Apr for four weeks.
Northern Ballet share their take on the beloved literary classic The Great Gatsby from Tue 24 May, promising the most glamourous party in town.
From Mon 30 May, a whodunnit everyone can enjoy arrives fresh out the boardgame box and onto the stage. Cluedo is the new comedy thriller directed by Mark Bell, director of the award winning The Play That Goes Wrong, which will also be arriving in Milton Keynes on Mon 25 Jul.
Brining life and energy to the immortal songs of the late Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf is the rocking musical, Bat Out of Hell, from 14 June. With all the anthems you know and love, this show is set to be a crowd-pleaser for those inclined to rock ‘n’ roll.
From best-selling author David Walliams comes the Olivier nominated Billionaire Boy from Thu 30 Jun, a winner for the whole family!
Fancy yourself a decoder? Try to decipher the secrets, clues and riddles in The Da Vinci Code from Tue 12 Jul. The world premiere tour of the brand-new stage production stars Coronation Street’s Christopher Harper and Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf, Death in Paradise).
Take a chance on the ultimate feel-good musical MAMMA MIA! as it returns to Milton Keynes on Tue 2 Aug. Set on a Greek island paradise, this musical is a story of love, friendship and identity, cleverly told through the timeless songs of ABBA. And from one musical legend to another, The Cher Show joins Milton Keynes Theatre from Tue 9 Aug. Get ready to Turn Back Time in this outrageous new musical directed by Arlene Phillips (Grease, Starlight Express) and choreographed by Strictly’s Oti Mabuse.
Willy Russell’s moving Liverpudlian tale, Blood Brothers, then takes to the stage from Tue 30 Aug. Few musicals have been received with such acclaim as this multi-award-winning production which surpassed 10,000 performances in London’s West End.
Milton Keynes will be screaming Go, Go, Go Joseph this September when the sensational new production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat comes to the Milton Keynes Theatre for two weeks. The family musical which opens on Mon 12 Sep stars Alexandra Burke as the Narrator and Jac Yarrowas Joseph.
Milton Keynes Theatre continues its outstanding programme of one night entertainment this season. The hilarious Menopause the Musical 2 comes to the theatre on Sat 11 Jun. Enjoy an evening with world famous football manager Harry Redknapp on Tue 28 Jun. Strictly professionals Anton & Giovanni team up for an evening of song and dance with their show, Him and Me. And the tribute shows are back! For Rod Stewart fans there’s Some Guys Have All The Luck on Sun 31 Jul, and celebrating the music of Tina Turner is What’s Love Got To Do With It on Sun 4 Sep.
Ware Festival’s Rock in the Priory line up has been confirmed
After a two year break, Rock in the Priory 2022 is back and will be at its usual location on the Priory Island on Sunday, 17th July.
Showcase auditions were held at Southern Maltings on the April 10th and helped determine the line-up for the main event. The organisers are grateful to all the musicians who came along to perform.
The high standard of performances made the selection process difficult. The seven bands and three acoustic acts who will be entertaining the crowds on July 17th are listed below.
Quivering Lip are a two-piece originals and cover band playing rock and brit pop anthems. Quivering Lip wrote and recorded their first 5 track album Generation Panic in 2018, following it up with a new release “Ashes” in April 2019.
Uptown Punk are a high energy, 5-piece pop/punk band, covering fan favourites from 90s to present. Their set is full of well known pop/punk tunes, with a bit of Rock thrown in. Artists covered include; Blink 182, Green Day, The Offspring, Foo Fighters, Sum 41 and many more.
Grace is a singer, pianist and songwriter based in Hertfordshire specialising in acoustic pop, golden oldies, jazz and much more. Take a moment to listen/watch her Thinking Out Loud cover.
Other artists performing at Ware Festival’s Rock in the Priory include Adam Fearn, Mr No Face, Back to the 50s, George Croucher, Junkyard Dolls, Second Bite, The Routine.
Ware Festival and Rock in the Priory
The last Rock in the Priory was held in 2019. This annual event is known for its excellent atmosphere and energy. It takes place in the unique setting of the Island bandstand, nestled within seven acres of picturesque riverside gardens of the 14th century Ware Priory building. Tickets in advance are £5 entry or a family ticket at £15 for two adults and up to four children. Further details about Ware Festival and Rock in the Priory can be found on rockinthepriory.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)