20 summer family days out in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 16:43 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:43 22 July 2019

Splash down on the giant waterslide at Meraki Festival (photo: Kevin Richards)

Splash down on the giant waterslide at Meraki Festival (photo: Kevin Richards)

©2018 Kevin Richards - all rights reserved

It’s the school summer holidays and with it the challenge of what to do with those little angels. Get them off their screens with these 20 great family destinations and events in Herts


- Standon Calling

Standon, July 25-28

A music festival with a big focus on families, Standon Calling manages to pull off the difficult trick of being credible to all ages. It's known for attracting top name headliners and also giving up-and-coming acts a platform, but aside from the music there's top comedy, a fun fair, swimming pool, children's shows and kids' workshops from puppetry to graffiti. You can unwind too with yoga, hot tubs and accommodation ranging from tipis to deluxe suites. There's a family camping area or park up a campervan. There's even babysitting available.

- The Game Fair

Hatfield House, July 26-28

The huge Game Fair returns to the grounds of Hatfield House with a comprehensive itinerary of all-things-countryside for the whole family. There's a Go Wild Kids' Zone with zip line, mini Landrovers, catapult range and more, or try your hand at activities including gundog handling, fishing and clay shooting. You can of course simply eat, drink and unwind while enjoying a spectacular programme of events in the main arena. Camping and glamping is offered.

Have a go at archery at The Game Fair at Hatfield House (photo: The Game Fair)Have a go at archery at The Game Fair at Hatfield House (photo: The Game Fair)

- Flamstead Scarecrow Festival

Flamstead, August 9-11

Spot the funny and sometimes just bonkers scarecrows (about 100 of them!) around the village of Flamstead during its annual scarecrow festival to raise money for charity. It's a family day out with cream teas and cakes, dancing groups, live music and stalls. There's a barbecue and the three pubs in the village do a roaring trade. Don't forget to vote for your favourite scarecrow.

- Beach Week

Hitchin, August 13-18

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea, kind of... Hitchin's Market Place is transformed into a beach for a week in August, so indulge in a little seaside therapy complete with buckets and spades, deckchairs and music. Who needs the sea?

Standon Calling festival pulls off the trick of appealing to all ages (photo: Gobinder Jhitta)Standon Calling festival pulls off the trick of appealing to all ages (photo: Gobinder Jhitta)

- Hertford Tween Fest

Hertford, August 21

Hertford Town Council promises 'on-trend activities' throughout Hertford Tween Fest. Held in the town centre, it's aimed at those aged eight to 12. The wide range of events includes technology and science-related activities, pamper treatments, arts and crafts, cookery classes and information on healthy eating and mental health awareness.

- Meraki Festival

Redbourn, August 23-25

For family fun and great music during the summer holidays, head to the Meraki Festival at Herts County Showground. The festivities include three stages of live music with British country duo The Shires, tribute band Daft as Punk, 80s chart toppers Paul Young, Katrina and the Waves and Carol Decker, DJ Judge Jules' Live Band and comedian Sean Lock among the acts. This all-inclusive event also has loads of activities for the kids, including laser tag, roller disco, archery and lego and slime workshops (while you head off to the spa).

Meeting the meerkats and many more animals at Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne (photo: Paradise Wildlife Park)Meeting the meerkats and many more animals at Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne (photo: Paradise Wildlife Park)


Wild days out

- Animal Crackers

Stevenage, July 27

The animals are coming to Stevenage Town Square on July 27 with everything from donkey rides to exotic creatures. There's free face painting, sand art and a life-size Lego leopard too.

- Paradise Wildlife Park

Broxbourne, all summer

With around 800 animals, five adventure play areas and one of the UK's biggest animatronic dinosaur attractions, there's plenty to keep your tribe entertained at Paradise Wildlife Park. During the school summer holidays there will be weekend events dedicated to different animals to raise awareness and funds for the likes of tigers and red pandas.

Crafts and activities at Ashridge Estate get youngsters exploring the wild (photo: Dawn Biggs, National Trust Images)Crafts and activities at Ashridge Estate get youngsters exploring the wild (photo: Dawn Biggs, National Trust Images)

- Standalone Farm

Letchworth, July 29-August 30

In addition to the usual family fun at Standalone Farm, there's a programme of summer events included in the standard ticket price. There will be donkey rides from July 29 to August 2, sheepdog displays from August 5 to 9, while visitors can watch falconry displays from August 12 to 16. There's even a chance to meet baby dinosaurs down at the farm from August 19 to 23, and magician Mel will be performing from August 19 to 23. The fun will be rounded off with activities inspired by Wind in the Willows from August 26 to 30.

- Willows Activity Farm Summer Spectacular

London Colney, until September 1

Willow's summer programme is chock-a-block. The maize maze has had a makeover in the shape of Peter Rabbit, and those trying to get out will need to keep their eyes peeled for Peter and his friends - prizes are on the line! There will be a free sunflower for every child visiting from July 20 to August 2 and a chance to learn circus skills in tipis from August 18 to September 1. Mrs Rabbit is set to make her debut appearance, and she even has her own café. All activities are included in the entry price and discounted advance tickets are available online.

The maize maze at Willows FarmThe maize maze at Willows Farm

- Ashridge Adventurers

Ashridge Estate, July 30-August 29

The activities and crafts geared to families with children aged four to 10 offer a great opportunity to learn more about the plants and animals that live on the National Trust Ashridge Estate. From pond dipping and minibeast hunts to den building and orienteering, these Tuesday and Thursday sessions are a great way to get the whole family learning outdoors. Booking essential.

- British Dinosaurs: From fossils to feathers

Natural History Museum Tring, until October 11

Come face-to-face with a Baryonyx or measure up to an Iguanodon at this free family exhibition about British dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum Tring. Young palaeontologists will also be inspired to create their own dinosaur for the Create-a-saurus Competition at until September 3. Between July 23 and August 7 there's also a Dinosaur Diets workshop, where you can get up-close to dinosaur teeth and create a tooth pendant.

Meet a Baryonyx at Natural History Museum Tring (photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)Meet a Baryonyx at Natural History Museum Tring (photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)


Theatre and film

- Aliens Love Underpants & The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Hertford Theatre, July 26-27 & August 30-September 1

Hertford Theatre is a great option for family fun, particularly if the weather is inclement. Aliens Love Underpants, a stage production aimed at children aged three to eight, is a zany and hilarious tale based on the best-selling children's book. The Tiger Who Came to Tea is a musical adapted from the much-loved book by Judith Kerr. Join the tea-guzzling tiger in this delightful show, packed with oodles of magic, sing-alongs and clumsy chaos.

- Luna Kids' Cinema

Knebworth House, July 31-August 4

Introduce the children to the wonders of outdoor cinema against the dramatic backdrop of Knebworth House. Luna Kids' Cinema has a great line-up at the stately home including Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, PJ Masks, The Incredibles 2, Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, Dumbo and The Greatest Showman. The Luna bar will be serving treats to sip and nibble while you watch or why not take a picnic?

Immersion Theatre's Alice in Wonderland will be performed outside at Hatfield HouseImmersion Theatre's Alice in Wonderland will be performed outside at Hatfield House

- Alice in Wonderland

Hatfield House, August 21

Enjoy the magical world of Alice in Wonderland in the stunning grounds of Hatfield House. Immersion Theatre brings its trademark energy to its most spectacularly bonkers show to date, as children and adults are invited to join in this classic story before meeting the characters after the show. Why not all dress up as your favourites?

- Warner Bros Studio Tour

Leavesden, all summer

For something fantastical this summer, immerse yourself in The Making of Harry Potter. See stunning costumes, detailed sets and intricate props from the film studio that brought us the epic magical adventure. Gringotts Wizarding Bank, opened in April, is the newest and biggest expansion of the tour to date, while during the summer holidays visitors can also go 'Behind the Seams' and discover first-hand the secrets of the costume department that created more than 25,000 unique items of clothing for the Wizarding World.

The new Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Warner Bros. Studio Tour, LeavesdenThe new Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Leavesden

- Roller disco

Welwyn GC, all summer

At Campus West there's plenty to keep the little darlings entertained and it's all under one roof. Let them burn off energy at Roller City, Herts' only purpose-built roller skating rink, or head to Soft Play City where there are three dedicated zones - baby, toddler and junior. The cinema will be screening The Lion King and Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans, including special screenings that are autism- friendly, for parent and baby, and for the hard of hearing.

Campus West Roller DiscoCampus West Roller Disco


Arts and crafts

- St Albans Museums

St Albans, all summer

There are a whole host of children's craft activities at Verulamium Museum and St Albans Museum + Gallery this summer, from making mosaics to creating a giant junk sculpture or a mini one out of a bar of soap! There's also the chance to be a Roman code breaker - can you crack it and solve the mystery?

- Family Arts Studio

Letchworth Broadway, August 11

Letchworth's Broadway Studio & Gallery is hosting a free Family Arts Studio event where participants get the chance to be creative with clay. Join artist Chantelle Stephenson for the hands-on activity - just check-in at the gallery information desk when you arrive and you will be given a timed ticket. Family Arts Studio activities are open to all but primarily aimed at accompanied children aged three and up.

- Art Workshop Wednesdays

Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, Perry Green, August 14 & 21

The team at Henry Moore Studios & Gardens is taking inspiration from Moore's drawing techniques to host family-friendly workshops where participants can discover how wax crayons and colour wash can be used to great effective or let the shape of a pebble inspire a mini sculpture. With Workshop Wednesdays included in the general admission price, feel free to explore the 70 acre sculpture gardens and the Henry Moore Drawings exhibition.

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