18 things to do in Hertfordshire in November
PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:28 29 October 2020
Colin Drake/Chilterns Conservation Board
Remember remember... there WILL be fireworks this year, thanks to St Albans Cathedral! And there’s plenty more going on besides that in Herts this month
Editor’s Note: Please be aware that Covid-19 restrictions can result in the cancellation of events or alterations to these activities or the way an event is delivered
1. Chilterns Walking Festival
October 17-November 1
Enjoy the spectacle of autumn on walks in the county and beyond during the Chilterns Walking Festival. The programme features over 40 guided countryside walks and events including routes centred around nature reserves, historic locations, farms, and even filming locations. There are literary hikes, mindfulness meanders or try Nordic walking. Routes includes views of Berkhamsted and Capability Brown’s Ashridge. Limited number groups are led by knowledgeable guides, and Covid-19 precautions will be taken. The majority of the walks are free.
2. Fantastic Fireworks at St Albans Cathedral
St Albans Cathedral is crowdfunding to host ‘the only known public firework display in the country’. Taking inspiration from New York, Fantastic Fireworks – who create the annual display in Verulamium Park which has been cancelled this year – estimate it will be visible from across the city to more than 50,000 people, with supercharged fireworks rising 300-400 ft. It will also be livestreamed on the cathedral’s YouTube channel. The cathedral needs to raise £20,000 for the display.
To donate, go to stalbanscathedral.org
3. Where’s Wally at North Hertfordshire Museum, Hitchin
Until November 1
Where’s Wally? The lovable children’s character, instantly recognisable with his red and white striped shirt and black rimmed glasses, has got lost in North Hertfordshire Museum. The Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search has been launched to celebrate the book release Where’s Wally? Spooky Spotlight Search. Complying with social distancing, families will be able to hunt for Wally among the museum’s collections, as well as spell out a spooky phrase with letters hidden alongside mini Wallys. Once found, there’s prizes to be had and the chance to enter a competition.
4. The Royal Ballet from the Royal Opera House, online
Until November 8
The Royal Ballet returns to the stage for this event livestreamed from the Royal Opera House. After an absence of seven months, the renowned ballet company will perform highlights from its wide repertory accompanied by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Pour yourself a glass and enjoy the incredible talent and artistry from world-class dancers from the comfort of your sofa. Watch or share for £16.
5. Royston Arts Autumn Exhibition, online
Until November 30
Royston Arts Society is holding its Autumn Exhibition online, after a successful virtual exhibition earlier in the year. The show includes more than 150 paintings submitted by 50 artists, priced from £12 to £600. Society chairman Richard Clayton said, ‘As our premier show of the year, we are delighted that so many local artists have taken the opportunity to exhibit with us.’ Pictured below: Three Swallows in Flight by Anna Pye.
6. Habitat by Herts Visual Arts Textile Group at Baldock Arts and Heritage Centre
Until January 9
Taking inspiration from nature, members of Herts Visual Arts Textile Group are hosting an exhibition of works at Baldock Arts and Heritage Centre. Titled Habitat, the artists have used varied textile techniques including quilting, weaving, felting, stitch, machine and hand embroidery, dyeing and shibori in contemporary and often unexpected ways. The group formed in 2004 under the HVA umbrella to bring together textile practitioners to exchange ideas and knowledge. Works are for sale, including Anthropocene: Acorn Weevil by Frances Green made of iron wire and recycled plastic yarn. There are also plans to hold artist-led workshops.
Old Town Hall, High Street, Baldock SG7 6AR; hvaf.org.uk
7. The London Scene: Paintings of London by Herts artist Tony Archer, online
A London cabbie is recreating scenes of the city that he used to see from behind the steering wheel. Tony Archer, a black cab driver for 25 years, was left unemployed when lockdown decimated London’s tourist industry. But he used the time to pursue his passion for oil painting at his home in Ware. He has now set up a website and exhibits paintings online. Tony’s work captures colourful snapshots of London; from busy rush-hour traffic to vibrant depictions of nightlife, bustling cafes and pubs. Describing painting as therapeutic, he added, ‘I just love recreating the London that we all know and love – the sights, sounds and the unforgettable and unique atmosphere.’
8. National Portrait Gallery’s Hold Still digital exhibition
The reverberations of the national lockdown were felt across generations. To reflect the experience, the Duchess of Cambridge, patron of the National Portrait Gallery, launched Hold Still, a project to capture photographic portraits, taken over a six-week period in May and June. It focused on three themes – helpers and heroes, your new normal, and acts of kindness. More than 31,000 submissions were received from across the country, with entrants ranging in age from four to 75. The 100 final images, including a portrait of Ashwell couple Mavis and Mick by Hertfordshire photographer Chris Fraser Smit, give a powerful account of the humour, grief, creativity and kindness shown during the unprecedented event. The gallery plans an exhibition in cities across the UK.
To see all 100 photos, visit npg.org.uk/hold-still
9. Maltings Art Prize 2020 Virtual Exhibition at St Albans Museum + Gallery
24 Oct-29 Nov
The Maltings Art Prize 2020 Exhibition went virtual this year, but the all entries are now on display in a short film in the Landing Gallery of St Albans Museum + Gallery. The art competition saw school pupils aged 4-18 years from 13 local schools compete for the chance to win £1,000 for their school Art Department and £250 for the overall winner. The competition saw over 300 entries, with 40 shortlisted by a panel of judges. The Group Winners and Overall winner will be announced once the award presentations have taken place in the individual schools.
St Peter's Street, St Albans AL1 3DH; stalbansmuseums.org.uk
10. Hertfordshire County Showground Christmas Frost Fair, Redbourn
While the Hereford Racecourse Christmas Frost Fair was sadly cancelled, the Hertfordshire County Showground Christmas Frost Fair is due to go ahead. A great place to source unusual gifts for friends and family, this year it is being held at Hertfordshire County Showground in Redbourn with marquees offering everything from baubles and bath bubbles, to toys and treats. Enjoy fine foods direct from the producers, creative crafts, and Christmassy creations for the home, all in a festive atmosphere.
11. Hertfordshire Half Marathon, Knebworth
Limber up and run off some steam at this year’s Hertfordshire Half Marathon. The charity event at Knebworth House offers two distances, the half marathon distance of 21k and a 10k run. It starts and ends by the grand house, taking participants through the beautiful estate and surrounding rural roads, which will be traffic free for the event. If you don’t fancy pulling on your trainers, come and enjoy the atmosphere and grounds and cheer friends and family on. Included in the entry is a medal, t-shirt and refreshments. Cost per entry, £28 or £34.
12. Women and the Tower of London, online
As part of St Albans Cathedral’s November talk series, historian and author Lauren Johnson will discuss Women and the Tower of London. The Zoom event will look at the lives of well-known and ill-fated prisoners such as Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey, and other less-celebrated women who lived and worked there. Tickets £10, students £6.
13. Wetland Wildfowl Talk by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, online
This hour-long Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust talk by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is for those wishing to know more about wetland wildfowl and how to identify them. This includes the various ducks, geese, rails, herons and grebes seen around Hertfordshire’s nature reserves. The talk, by people and wildlife officer Josh Kalms, includes time for questions. By the end of the session you’ll know your divers from your dabblers and your goldeneye from your gadwall.
14. Wicked Watercolours Painting Classes, Welwyn & Codicote
From 31 October
Artist Fiona Pruden has launched a new series of classes focussed on painting ‘wicked watercolours’. Classes are being offered for beginners and less experienced watercolourists as well as more advanced painters. Subjects to be tackled include landscapes and seascapes, still life with coloured glass, learning to paint bodies and portraits, with ‘some extra fun painting’ thrown in. Classes will incorporate painting Christmas cards and show the palette changes needed to paint autumnal colours, mists and wintery snow scenes. Classes in Welwyn and Codicote begin on October 31 and cost £165 per term. Fiona also holds Zoom classes each Tuesday, costing £6.50 per class.
For full details, email firstname.lastname@example.org
15. Village Events Virtual Craft Fair
Want to take the hassle out of Christmas shopping and source gifts not found on the high street? Then this virtual craft fair hosted by Village Events could be for you. More than 40 UK crafters including from Herts and Beds will be displaying their bespoke creations and there’s also live videos and prize giveaways. You can browse from the comfort of your sofa – no mask required.
16. Madeleine Mitchell in Concert with Benslow Music, Hitchin
Benslow Music in Hitchin is hosting a programme of concerts, including, on November 9, Madeleine Mitchell. The acclaimed solo violinist and chamber musician has performed with major orchestras around the world including for the BBC Proms. Her recordings have been nominated for Grammy and BBC Music Awards, and she has recorded music for film and television. The programme includes Strauss’ Violin Sonata in E flat major Op 18. Tickets from £15.
17. A Streetcar Named Desire will be shown at Broadway cinema, Letchworth
The classic 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire will be shown at Broadway cinema in Letchworth. The movie features Vivien Leigh as the disturbed Blanche DuBois, who after suffering money losses moves in with her sister in her dilapidated apartment in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law (Marlon Brando). Brando received an Academy Award nomination for his performance. Tickets £5 adults, £4 seniors.
18. Online Global Stress and Wellbeing Summit
It’s been a very anxious year and this five-day summit offers a timely range of online talks and discussions on how we can manage stress. The Online Global Stress and Wellbeing Summit is organised by the International Stress Management Association whose chairwoman is Hertfordshire-based stress managment expert Carole Spiers. It includes advice on managing day-to-day challenges, becoming future-fit and getting to grips with a changing world. Tickets from £19 per day.