10 things to do...in Bushey
PUBLISHED: 12:47 27 May 2014
It was once home to one of the leading art schools in Britain, headquarters to an American fighter command and its church was the location of a christening in EastEnders. We look at 10 highlights to enjoy today in the varied town of Bushey
Coming up roses.
Celebrating its centenary last year, Bushey Rose Garden is a tranquil space that has given pleasure and a place to escape the bustle of everyday life to generations of locals and visitors. Located on the High Street, it was completely renovated last year and is included in the English Heritage register of parks and gardens. Its landscape designer Thomas Mawson also designed the Peace Palace Gardens in The Hague. The summer house charts the history of the garden or just take a book or a picnic and enjoy the variety of roses, shrubs, perennials and bulbs on display.
Bushey Museum and Art Gallery.
Another centenary is the death in 1914 of eminent Victorian Academician Sir Hubert Von Herkomer. The Bushey resident founded the Herkomer Art School in the town, which became one of the leading art schools in Britain. There are various exhibitions running until the end of the year to mark the anniversary, featuring drawings and paintings as well as artefacts from Herkomer’s house. The artist specialised in social realist paintings, portraying the working classes, and later focused on portraits. His most famous subject was Queen Victoria who he painted on her death bed.
Yoga has always been a hot topic for its health benefits but the heat has been literally turned with hot yoga at the Hot Zen Yoga and Wellness Centre. One 90 minute classes on average burns 680 calories. Owner Kathy Ran says, ‘It’s for all ages, all fitness levels and all shapes and sizes and it is never too late to begin.’ The series of 26 postures reduces stress, inflammation in the body and helps you sleep, she adds.
High Street eats.
There are plenty of options for foodies along Bushey High Street. St James, which opened in 1970, has built up a good reputation over the years. The restaurant serves modern English cuisine with the occasional hint of French and Italian. It’s ranked number one on Trip Advisor with one reviewer commenting on its ‘simply superb cooking’. The expansive Blue Check (both in size and menu), ‘where people can eat and have fun’, regularly has Sinatra nights, while Italian restaurant Zaza has a pleasant rear garden and courtyard area.
Experience the ‘40s.
The Lincolnsfields Children’s Centre on the site of Bushey Hall, the wartime location of the USAAF 8th Fighter Command headquarters, recreates life during the Second World War in Britain. The sound of fighter planes, bombers and the wail of air raid sirens as well as a history of life at war for ordinary people can be experienced at its 1940s house on the last Sunday of the month from January to November. The centre also holds an annual weekend ‘family forties’ experience.
Children’s services manager Rachel Collins says, ‘Children love the fact that you can touch the exhibits and try things – they really immerse themselves in the experience.’
Bring your clubs and play a round at the Bushey Golf and Country Club. Day members are welcome at this nine-hole course set in mature parkland with rolling hills and panoramic views.
Its small greens make it a good test for golfers with a range of par threes, par fours and a par five. For those wanting to improve their game there is floodlight driving range and a teaching academy which includes video coaching. Down the road, Bushey Hall Golf Club offers day memberships to the oldest parkland golf course in Hertfordshire.
Antiques and collectibles.
You may pick up a bargain at the family-owned Bushey Auctions. The company specialise in fine art, antiques and collectables and holds sales once a month at Bushey Golf and Country Club. The catalogue can be viewed online before the auction but it is interesting just to see what things make on the day. A pair of damaged Chinese ginger jars were valued at £40 to £60, but made £6,500 on the day. Be careful of scratching your head though – you may end up taking home a more than you bargained for.
Padel tennis anyone?
Try out the fastest growing racquet sport in the UK. Think of it as tennis with walls or squash with a net. It is normally played in doubles with in an enclosed court, half the size of a tennis court. Scoring is the same as in tennis and the ball can be played off the wall as in squash. Bushey Grove Leisure Centre has three outdoor courts. Operations manager Dean Tearle says, ‘It’s a fast paced game but suitable for all ages and the good thing is because it’s all enclosed the ball stays in the court.’
Indulge your creative side at Craft and Clay. Situated on the High Street, this studio offers pottery painting, decoupage and mosaics. Next door is Bonny’s Café – so you can enjoy a cappuccino at the same time. Owner WHO?? has also recently introduced button craft evenings from 7pm to 11pm for adults where you can bring your own nibbles, create something special and have a chat.
A merry walk.
Get back to nature and enjoy the Merry Hill Walk. This four-mile circular walk takes you between Bushey, Oxhey and Carpenders Park – an area of 240 acres of woodland, meadows and ponds with views as far as Windsor. Part of this area was formerly farmland bought by the Woodland Trust in 1996. Since then 60,000 trees have been planted to create new woodland for generations to enjoy. For a leaflet on the walk and volunteering opportunities, go to hertslink.org/cms/getactive/walkroutes/merryhill