12 great things to do in Hertfordshire in September

PUBLISHED: 14:33 28 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:53 28 August 2020

The Kaiser Chiefs are appearing at Pub in the Park's Drive-In Garden Party (photo: Edward Cooke)

The Kaiser Chiefs are appearing at Pub in the Park's Drive-In Garden Party (photo: Edward Cooke)

The Kaiser Chiefs

Where did summer go?! It’s nearly autumn and it’s time to switch gears, shake off lockdown and explore the best of Hertfordshire...

1. Chilfest cinema, Tring (until mid-September)

Organisers of Tring’s annual music festival, Chilfest, have, like so many others, had to cancel this year’s festival, but instead of music there’s movies. Pendley Manor’s meadow will be transformed into an outdoor cinema with entertainment running Friday to Sunday until mid-September. Evening performances include classics like Jaws and Bladerunner, and there are family-friendly matinees scheduled before the final September weekend. All ages will love Toy Story, The Lion King and Paddington. There’s a range of tickets from £15, including premium which come with a deckchair and popcorn. See chilfest-cinema.co.uk

2. Drive-In Garden Party at Knebworth Park (September 12-13)

Summer is the time for festivals, well that was until a global pandemic put a stop to the fun. But the organisers of Pub in the Park, a food and music festival that was due to take place in St Albans, have come up with an innovative alternative – a Drive-In Garden Party. They are promising a socially-distanced party with live music and amazing food, all from the safety of your own roped-off garden area at Knebworth Park. Headliners include Rick Astley, Kaiser Chiefs and Basement Jaxx, with support including Gabrielle, Scouting for Girls, Toploader and DJ Judge Jules. And chef Tom Kerridge and co will be serving Michelin-quality food from five different pop-up pubs and restaurants. Park up with a car full of friends, pop open the bubbles and enjoy a party with a difference. Tickets from £45. See driveingardenparty.com/knebworth

Test your cycle skills in the Étape dAmwellTest your cycle skills in the Étape dAmwell

3. Étape d’Amwell (September 13)

The ladies and gentlemen in Lycra return to test themselves in the annual cycling challenge, Étape d’Amwell. The event, organised by the Rotary Club of Amwell and Your Town, has new routes this year. Starting in Ware, participants will pass through beautiful scenery with harder climbs and faster flat sections. Run by passionate cyclists for cyclists of all abilities, the race includes routes of 50k, 100k and 150k and a KOM timed section. A medal, photographs and a licensed bar await those who finish. Entry from £15. See amwellsports.com

4. Heritage Open Says: Hidden Places in Hertfordshire (September 11-20)

England’s largest festival of history and culture is back, in a socially-distanced way. Last year 46,000 volunteers organised 5,500 events to celebrate the country’s heritage. This year’s theme is Hidden Places and it’s an opportunity to discover hidden gems, try new experiences and explore places in Hertfordshire, all for free. Guided tours of Rothamsted Manor, the gardens designed by Humphry Repton at Ashridge and The Lost Wharves of Berkhamsted – a guided tour of the town’s canals, are some of the events taking place. See heritageopendays.org.uk

5. Royston Rotary Club’s virtual balloon race (September 14)

This is a balloon race with a difference. Racing with virtual balloons is much more eco-friendly – no balloons exploding around the countryside and getting stuck in trees. Once released they are programmed to respond to the real world wind and temperature conditions and can be tracked on Google Earth. Each charity balloon costs £3 (buy as many as you like) and can be decorated in different shapes and colours, and you can really get technical with rubber thickness and helium content. Get family and friends involved and see just how far you get, the furthest win prizes. Sign up to the national event via Royston Rotary Club with proceeds going to the local branch of family support charity Home-Start. See roystonrotary.com

Rothamsted Manor is opening its doors as part of Heritage Open Days (photo: Rothamsted Research)Rothamsted Manor is opening its doors as part of Heritage Open Days (photo: Rothamsted Research)

6. Evening tour of the gardens of Hatfield House (September 17)

Join head gardener Andrew Turvey for an evening tour of the gardens of Hatfield House. The tour takes in the West Garden – Lord and Lady Salisbury’s private garden, including the south front with views to the deer park not usually seen. It continues into the East Garden with views of the house across the lake and the Kitchen Garden to the north of the house. Andrew will describe the landscape and plants grown in the different gardens and give an insight into how they were developed and are maintained. There’s a glass of bubbles and the opportunity to ask questions too. Tickets £45. See hatfield-house.co.uk

7. Imperial War Museum Duxford’s Battle of Britain Air Show (September 18-20)

A newly-transformed Battle of Britain exhibition featuring Second World War aircraft, interactive displays and personal stories opens just over the border at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford this month. Duxford was the base of the first Spitfire squadron, and the iconic plane will be on display. Duxford’s annual Battle of Britain Air Show will take place on September 18-20. Adults £36, children free. There’s also a vintage airshow on September 6 at The Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden and if you still need your aircraft fix, head to de Havilland Aircraft Museum in London Colney. See iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford

Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow takes to the skies in September (photo: Phil Chaplin/IWM)Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow takes to the skies in September (photo: Phil Chaplin/IWM)

8. Decorative Salvage and Vintage Fair, Knebworth Park (September 19-20)

Love unusual, vintage and rare pieces for your home? Then head to the Decorative Salvage and Vintage Fair at Knebworth Park. Moved back from its original May date, more than 30 traders from the UK and overseas will be selling reclaimed items including industrial furniture, textiles, ironwork, art, bronzes, decorative mirrors, lighting, fireplaces, garden statuary... the list goes on. Visitors to the event can also enjoy the formal gardens and park and dinosaur trail as part of the ticket price. Tickets £10. See knebworthhouse.com

42nd Street The Musical is on at The Sandpit Theatre, St Albans (Theatre Royal London production)42nd Street The Musical is on at The Sandpit Theatre, St Albans (Theatre Royal London production)

9. 42nd Street at The Sandpit Theatre, St Albans (September 20)

The legendary Broadway musical 42nd Street is showing at The Sandpit Theatre in St Albans with glitz and glamour on a big scale. Filmed at the Theatre Royal, London, it captures the largest ever staging of the show. Starring Bonnie Langford as Dorothy Brock and featuring iconic songs 42nd Street, We’re in The Money and Lullaby of Broadway. Musical magic on the big screen. Tickets: adult £13, concessions £10. See sandpittheatre.co.uk

10. Cycling around Ashridge Estate

Many people enjoy the lovely walks around Ashridge Estate in the west of the county but what about discovering the area by bike? There are over 30 miles of public bridleways that can be cycled at the National Trust site. An Ordnance Survey map will show the marked routes, indicated with a long green dash, or cycle maps can be purchased from the Ashridge visitor centre for £3.99. Go for a big ride or make it a family affair with a four-mile route through woodland and commons. The route is marked with red waymarkers and starts near the cafe as you head down the hill. See nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate

11. St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society’s 175th Anniversary Exhibition (until September 6)

This year is the 175th anniversary of St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society and to mark the milestone is an online exhibition highlighting the work of local and national importance carried out by the society. Split into four themed galleries – Discover, Protect, Innovate and Inform – the exhibition, 175 Years of SAHAAS, shows the remarkable achievements of ‘Arc and Arc’ to save and protect the city. See stalbansmuseums.org.uk

12. Tudor Legacies: Mee the six wives of Henry VIII, Hatfield House (September 6)

If you love the Housewives of Beverley Hills then step back in time and meet the housewives of Hampton Court – the wives of Henry VIII. At Stable Yard at Hatfield House, discover the personalities behind the portraits and find out what it was really like to be married to England’s most infamous king. Brought to life by Tudor Legacies, a living history group of Tudor enthusiasts, the six wives will regale visitors with tales of scandal, intrigue and beheadings. The group also features a young Princess Elizabeth, who spent her childhood at Hatfield. See hatfield-house.co.uk

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