Things to Do in Much Hadham
PUBLISHED: 12:54 16 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:54 16 December 2014
Sitting beside the river Ash, the picturesque village of Much Hadham is packed full of history and has many beautiful gardens. From sport to sculpture, it’s a perfect corner of the county to enjoy a day out this month
Parts of the buildings that now make up Much Hadham Forge Museum date back to the 15th century. Originally a grand Tudor home owned by the Newce family, it was here that four generations of the Paige family later ran the village smithy until it was converted into a museum in the late 1980s. There are temporary exhibitions and family events throughout the year at the museum, where you can learn about the Tudor period, including viewing the renowned Elizabethan wall paintings; explore the wider history of the village and discover how the smithy worked. Creative types can go one step further and learn to be a blacksmith for a day. Village blacksmith Richard Maynard offers half and full-day packages starting at £80, which teach traditional skills. Participants will go home with their own original creations, such as a wine rack or candle holder.
However active your day, visitors can enjoy refreshments in the cottage garden or wi-fi enabled Charity Café.
Food and drink
Locals and visitors alike are promised a warm welcome from The Bull Inn landlord Peter Roads and his team. There’s plenty of choice on the menu, from the popular ‘pie and a pint’ and ‘fish and fizz’ deals to a range of tempting seasonal specials. Curling up by the roaring fire with a glass of wine is highly recommended.
At Hopleys Café you can indulge in lunch from a daily changing menu. From homemade pastries and bread to the excellent value slow-roasted pork, there are plenty of reasons why this is the village’s top eating attraction on Trip Advisor. This month Christmas lunch will be served from December 3-19, while festive dining evenings take place from December 17-19. A post-lunch stroll around the gardens is an added bonus.
As well as the friendly tennis and bowls clubs, Much Hadham is also home to an 18-hole championship golf course at Great Hadham Country Club. The club welcomes people of all abilities, and also has a nine hole par three short course and driving range, with golf lessons available from experienced instructors.
There is keen interest in horticulture in Much Hadham, evident from a walk through the village. It’s not surprising then that one of the main attractions here is Hopleys Plants. People come here for so much more than just shopping for the garden though, as well as exhibitions and concerts throughout the year, there are activities such as cider making and regular workshops led by art and gardening experts. These range from acrylic painting to garden design.
On Sunday November 30 the village hosts its fourth annual Christmas Market. There will be around 50 stalls with venues including Hopleys Plants, the village hall and the Forge Museum. The free-to-enter event takes place from midday to 6pm. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who want to get away from what can be a fairly manic season, Great Hadham Country Club has impressive pampering facilities. The club has a fully-equipped spa packed contemporary comforts and treatments range from facials to massages – with tempting packages like the £99 Hadham Fitness and Beauty Booster. There’s also a sauna and steam room where you can unwind in peace.
Surrounded by lovely Hertfordshire countryside, with plenty of public footpaths to explore, Much Hadham is a great spot for a relaxed stroll or a more adventurous hike. The village is a regular destination for the East Herts Ramblers, an enthusiastic group that has been welcoming members for more than 30 years. They organise a variety of walks, on some of which you can spend the whole day exploring the countryside, with regular stops at picturesque picnic spots and pubs. Recent walks have been led by local natural history enthusiast Jonathan Forgham, who gives a fascinating insight into the surrounding birds and insects, with plenty of opportunities for wildlife photography along the way.
Tucked away down the road from the village in the hamlet of Perry Green, the internationally-acclaimed Henry Moore Foundation is a must-visit venue for fans of the visual arts, with both indoor and outdoor exhibitions. Established by the sculptor in 1977, many of his monumental works are available to view, and there are plenty of family-friendly workshops to inspire both young and old minds.
The site is open from April to October, but views of Moore’s works can be seen from a public footpath around the grounds. There’s also the added attraction of the Hoops Inn pub and restaurant on the estate offering 12 days of Christmas offers this month.