Spend a weekend in Hitchin
PUBLISHED: 08:31 17 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:21 20 February 2013
Hitchin is a beautiful fusion of an historical market town and a modern, thriving environment, and it can all be experienced during a weekend in the town, as Damion Roberts discovers
Place to relax
Running through the heart of Hitchin is the River Hiz, a small tributary river which flows into the River Ivel and on to the River Ouse. During the hot summer months visitors to the town like to relax on its most beautiful section, the banks in front of the great eastern window of the chancel of St Marys Church where you can relax on the very doorway of the town centre and watch the world go by in the company of swans and ducks enjoying the water display of the River Hiz fountain.
Place to visit
This year celebrating 200 years since the opening of the first school in Hertfordshire allowing pupils to help tutors to teach, the British Schools Museum offers a hands-on learning experience for visitors who will get the chance to write on a sand tray, dip a pen into an inkwell and play with Victorian games and puzzles. Open to people of all ages every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer, the Museum houses a Headmasters House, an 1853 Galleried Classroom and the Great Lancasterian Schoolroom. Call for events and more information.
British Schools Museum, 41/42 Queen Street, Hitchin, SG4 9TS.
Place to be entertained
With shows running every Friday and Saturday (as well as Wednesday and Thursday) throughout the year, Hitchins Market Theatre has a choice of shows this June with cabaret and comedy on the card featuring some of the areas best new writers and successful working actors. Running from June 2 June 12 is Great Shows, Great Songs 2 while the comedy The Girls opens to the public on June 16 and runs through until July 17.
The Market Theatre, Sun Street, Hitchin, SG5 1AE. 01462 433553.
Place to walk
Purwell Meadow is an expanse of water meadow that along with Walsworth Common is part of an area known as Purwell Field. In addition to the grass areas ideal for picnics and open to playing and ball games there is also the River Purwell to walk along where you can see the ducks and enjoy the local wildlife. The meadow and the common are accessible alongside Purwell Lane and Woolgrove Road and are popular during the warmer months with visitors looking to unwind with the sun above them and green grass below.
Place to laugh
Filling its audience with a bellyful of laughs, Last Minute Comedy holds a laugh-a-minute evening one Friday a month throughout the year. This summers performers include Dan Antopolski and Right Right performing on June 11 and Mandy Knight and Duncan Oakley on stage July 9. The venue has brought quality entertainers to Hitchin for over 10 years and is MCd by the unique Paul B Edwards, an experienced hand of more than 2,000 live shows and a regular at Leeds and Reading festivals.
Last Minute Comedy, Woodside Hall, Walsworth Road, Hitchin, SG4 9SP.
Places to eat and drink
Hitchin boasts a large number of quality restaurants and their number continues to grow year on year. There is British Cuisine (Just 32, 32 Sun Street), Indian/Thai (Blue Mango, 9 Bucklersbury), traditional (Redcoats, Redcoats Green), Italian (Prezzo, 15 Bancroft), Brasserie (Doughtys Brasserie, 87 Bancroft) and even Mexican (Bar Amigo, 23 Market Place) as every taste is catered for both in the heart of the historical town centre and further afield within walking and driving distance.
Places to sleep
After a long day spent exploring all Hitchin has to offer, you will be wanting to put your head down on a nice soft pillow for the night. Here, once again, Hitchin comes up trumps with a wide selection of hotels to choose from including out of town hotels and those in the very heart of the town centre. Among those to choose from are The Sun Hotel (Sun Street), La Belle Vita (Sun Street), Hitchin Priory (Tilehouse Street), First Hotel (Bedford Road) and the Lord Lister Hotel (Park Street).
HITCHIN FESTIVAL AND RHYTHMS OF THE WORLD
A celebration which takes place every year in the heart of the historic market town, Hitchin Festival is a lively carnival running for four weeks from June 26 to July 18, putting the best local talent on display in the form of music festivals, food markets and environmental fairs.
Shows are put on by a variety of societies including Hitchin Film Club, Hitchin Society, Benslow Music Trust and Hitchin Art Club but the biggest and most famous of all the events is the world famous Rhythms of the World Festival, which this year takes place on July 24 and 25.
ROTW is a registered charity which celebrates both local and world cultures and invites musicians, artists and performers from across the globe to show off their talents in a relaxed and spirited environment at Hitchin Priory in Tilehouse Street.
Among the performers at this years event are Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, My Passion, the London Gypsy Orchestra and Glen Matlock, and tickets are now available priced at 7 for adults. For more details visit www.rotw.org.uk