September has arrived and we can’t help getting excited for those cosy autumn days. Every year, the season comes round faster than you can say “pumpkin spiced everything”, and we promised ourselves that, next time it does, we’ll have planned out how we’ll be spending those wonderful few months of the year when everything looks warm and inviting (and when we get to re-watch all of Gilmore Girls). We’ve decided that 2023 is the year to be prepared, so with that said, we've prepped for the turn of the season, so here are some things we’ve popped into the diary that we can’t wait to experience.
As Hertfordshire residents, we absolutely love the scenic walks and stunning countryside views that our county provides. But did you know that Ashridge Estate’s special area of woodland and unique habitats is currently at risk? Together with Natural England, the National Trust, and other local authorities, Dacorum Borough Council are working on a new programme designed to protect this Special Area of Conservation's wildlife, habitats and woodland from damage caused by walkers. So, in an effort to help us all respect and protect this beautiful landscape, we're sharing some of the many other glorious spots where you can stretch your legs and enjoy the Hertfordshire countryside.
If you’d like to find out more about the programme, visit the webpage here.
Set against the backdrop of the beautifully historic city, St Albans Cathedral awaits with a yearly calendar of amazing events. Walk the grounds of the cathedral, marvelling at architecture that’s stood high and mighty for over 900 years, being sure to check out the magnificent nave (which, at 84 metres, makes it the longest in any cathedral in the U.K.!), before heading inside to dive into its rich history. Once you’ve got your fill of local knowledge and times gone by, head down through orange leaves to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks for a warming drink, nestled in the corner of one of the city’s cosiest pubs.
With sustainability, wildlife, and nature at its core, Fairlands Valley isn’t your ordinary park. We love getting out for an afternoon walk during the autumn, watching as the sun illuminates the fiery oranges, reds, and yellows of the season, and here is the perfect place to do just that. Explore the 120 acres of parkland, ambling through their fantastic conservation areas and taking a breather as you look out on the lake. If you’ve worked up an appetite, further into town you’ll find many hidden gems where you can satisfy your hunger, like Misya Meze & Grill, with its rich flavours from traditional Turkish dishes, or opt for some British classics with a modern twist at The Chequers.
As the weather gets colder, we can’t help but reach for those snug blankets, tuck up on the sofa, and stick on Netflix for the evening. But what if we told you, right here in Hertfordshire, sits a spot where movie magic has taken place? Throughout the years, the likes of Colin Firth, Will Ferrell, Michael Keaton, and many more have all stepped foot in the magnificent Knebworth House, and now you can too! Grab your camera and come wander the house, its gardens, and the park, snapping the spots you’ve seen on the big screen. Give yourself that star-treatment and book in a stay down the road at Hotel Cromwell, where modern meets traditional in this beautiful Grade II listed building.
For all you craft beer lovers out there, there’s no need to travel far and wide to find tasty, lovingly made brews…right here in the wide-open Hertfordshire countryside sits Crossover Blendery, where traditional beer-making techniques have been evolving and growing since 2018, thus creating some of the most bold and exciting flavours in the game. Combine mouth-watering beer with handmade, stone baked pizza, adding a dash of brilliant atmosphere, and you’ve got yourself a perfect autumnal afternoon at the taproom.
As the season winds down to prepare for the colder weather, why shouldn’t we do the same? The new-found chill in the air and falling of the leaves are signalling to us that its time to give extra care and kindness to ourselves, so now’s about the time to book in a spa stay for an extra special “treat yourself” weekend. It just so happens that Pendley Manor has all you could ask for in a self-care staycation. Outstanding treatments in their luxury spa? Check. An indoor pool for a slow start to the morning? Check. Ample cycling and walking routes nearby to get your body and brain moving? Check. All the signs point to Pendley, so go on, you deserve it!
If there was ever a time to perfect those cooking skills, using local produce to create amazing tasting dishes, we reckon it's autumn. Pop the pan on the hob and get to crafting those hearty, filling meals for you and friends – and where better to learn than in the heart of the Herts countryside, surrounded by the beautiful outdoors and learning from the masters. Tewinbury Farm, once a rustic farm and now a thriving 700-acre estate, boasts a whole host of amazing entertainment, accommodation, and (lucky for our tastebuds) courses at their cookery school. Book yourself in today and polish off those skills in making seasonal, nutritious food. Be sure to stay a little longer to catch one of their live events, or even spend the night in their dreamy accommodation, with your belly full and your mind happy.
We’ll be the first to put our hands up and say that the one thing we don’t love when it comes to the holiday season is having to pre-plan how we’ll get to the places we want to go. Spending money and time on buses, trains, cars, or cabs just doesn’t quite put us in that holiday mood. That's why Watford is top of our list for this year's getaway. Set up base at the Best Western White House Hotel, Watford’s only townhouse hotel, sat minutes from the bustling high street, that has all the charm and character you could ask for without skimping on the luxury. Nearby, you’ll find the delights of Cassiobury Park (beautiful at all times of year, but we must say, it really shines in autumn), where you can spend the afternoon strolling your worries away before popping over to The Florist, a restaurant and bar serving seasonal delights. Feeling adventurous? Just down the road, you can find an unforgettable interactive experience at Escape Hunt, where your puzzle solving skills (and patience with friends and family) is put to the test! We told you, there is really everything you need, all right here in Herts…
Rich in history and abundant in beauty, Hatfield House, and the surrounding Great Park, is our go-to every autumn. Not only is the exterior of the Jacobean house outstanding in its grandeur and breath taking in its architecture, but the inside is truly a sight to behold. Take a walk around the area (remember to bring those cameras!), soaking up all of the natural beauty of the land, before heading inside, discovering the stories and lives of times and people gone by. If you’re feeling peckish from all the exploring, the Coach House Kitchen in the Stable Yard is well worth a visit. With a picturesque courtyard view, and a cosy yet contemporary feel, you can settle yourself down for the afternoon and treat yourself to a warming meal – did someone say Sunday Roast?
Everyone knows that a good bath is one of the best ways to relax - but what about one that’s been buried under the A1 for hundreds of years? Maybe it’s not quite as relaxing, but it certainly is a must-visit for all you history buffs out there. Just north of what is today Welwyn Garden City, you’ll find the Welwyn Roman Baths. Preserved underground, this is one of the best places in the county to get a glimpse into what life was like in the 3rd century, when the tides really began to change in innovative technologies. Once you’ve wandered round and worked up an appetite, pop down to one of the many independent restaurants on the high street (like our favourite, authentically Italian, flavour filled, Vita).
Nights under the stars, campfire cooking, and the sounds of the beautiful outdoors – it doesn’t get much more autumnal than this! Home Farm Glamping is the place to go this season for all of your luxury camping needs, right in the heart of Hertfordshire on London’s doorstep. Spend the night in a beautiful bell tent, snuggled up and cosy as you take a detox from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Plus, all throughout September, you can join in on the fun at the one of the many events at the Farm, as well as the return of At Home Farm's Woodfired Canteen (stay tuned for more details coming soon!).