Tucked into the county of Hertfordshire, England, Hertford is a historic market town with a population of around 30,000 people. Approximately 20 miles north of London and known for its rich history, thriving cultural scene, and plethora of green spaces, Hertford is a charming and vibrant town with plenty to see and do. And as a town with something for everyone, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Hertford.
What’s there to do in Hertford?
1. Visit Hertford Castle
Originally dating back to Norman times, Hertford Castle as you’ll see it today is all that remains of the settlement. The Gatehouse is a Grade I listed building seated on centuries of history, from Norman invasion and civil war to various sieges and the eventual presence of royalty – including Queen Elizabeth I during much of her childhood. Even if you’re not interested in its fascinating history, its meticulously cared for gardens provide a welcome breath of fresh air for nature-lovers.
And don’t forget about its many fantastic events held in the grounds. From car shows and food festivals, to open-air theatre screenings and heritage celebrations, it’s worth a visit any time of year.
2. Explore Hartham Common
With over 1,000 years of recorded history and only a five-minute walk from the town centre, Hartham Common has plenty to do for all ages. Whether it’s taking advantage of the park’s walking trails and spying its many seasonal wonders and wildlife-rich meadows, letting your kids blow off some steam at its play parks, or riding bikes across the stretching green space.
If you’re up for something a bit more energetic, stop into the leisure centre for their indoor and outdoor facilities. From taking a swim and hitting the gym, to playing basketball, tennis and more, there’s loads to discover. Or, for a place to set up and watch the world go by, there are plenty of picnic areas, too. A day here is never disappointing.
3. Discover the Hertford Museum
Hertford Museum is definitely one for the curious. Caring for over 100,000 objects across geology, fine art, natural history, archaeology, and more, get up close and personal with the past. The museum holds items dating as far back as 40,000 BC, including the only corn drying oven in the UK – weighing in at 20 tonnes from the 4th century.
And it’s never short of exciting exhibitions, such as its ‘Early Days’ collection showcasing how things were collected in the 19th century to share different cultures with the people of Hertford.
4. Catch a performance at the Hertford Theatre
When it comes to visiting the theatre, you can’t beat going local. Though currently closed to the public, Hertford Theatre is undergoing its Growth and Legacy Project. This project aims to put the theatre at the heart of the community, offering more space for activities and events. Overall, the project works towards the future of the arts, helping the theatre become self-sustaining, develop closer links to its community, and provide accessibility for all.
5. Explore the River Lea
Running 58 miles across the county, the River Lea has been an essential part of everyday life throughout its industrial history. From powering watermills and acting as a valuable trading route to marking boundaries and playing a key part in King Alfred’s victory over the Vikings at Hertford. Though today it exists as a place of reflection and engagement, the River Lea is a fantastic and beautiful place for a number of different activities.
For walkers, amble along the Hertford to Ware River and canal walk for some especially gorgeous sights. For cyclists (whether you have your own bike or hire from Highways Cycles) choose from the north or south route to enjoy a day of exploration. Or take to the water with a range of available hires, from canoes and small electric boats to canal and narrow boats.
6. Shop in Hertford’s Town Centre
Boasting a mix of 200 stores, including local and independent, there’s always something to do in Hertford’s town centre. Clocks and collectibles, unique jewellery, gorgeous clothes, delicious food – not to forget the charter market every Saturday – you’re spoilt for choice whatever you’re looking for.
7. Visit the Van Hage Garden Centre
More than your average garden centre, Van Hage Great Amwell is an award-winning shopping and leisure experience perfect for those tinkering in the garden or picking things up for their home. Besides picking up plants, decking and barbeque equipment, you can also grab a cuppa and something to eat at its cafés, champion local produce at the food hall, grab something for your furry friends, or hop on board the East Herts Miniature Railway for just £1.
8. Enjoy a drink at one of Hertford’s Pubs
Whether you’re stopping in at The Blackbirds, a traditional, pet-friendly pub, enjoying a quiet moment next to the river at The Old Barge (just ten-minute walk from our Granary & Chapel development), or sampling locally-brewed ale at Woolpack, there’s plenty of fantastic pubs to choose from. Read more about the best places to eat in Hertford.
9. Attend the Hertford Arts Festival
Hertford Arts, now named HArts Festival, is a must-visit when it rolls around. This week-long festival has a host of different things to do and see, including open exhibitions, the Children’s Art Trail, and even free workshops held inside the beautiful Hertford Castle grounds. Besides being a lot of fun, the HArts Festival celebrates arts, culture and community, and showcases local businesses and groups – maybe you’ll find a new passion.
10. Play a round of golf at the Hertfordshire Golf and Country Club
Opened in 1995, the 18-hole course at Hertfordshire Golf and Country Club was designed by renowned course designer Jack Nicklaus II. Available to both members and non-members, it’s the perfect place for golf lovers to bring their best swing. Starting off gentler before ramping up in difficulty, the course is both beautiful to look at – with its towering trees, stunning lakes and soft grass – and a challenge to play. All overlooked by the striking 18th century Broxbournebury Mansion.
From exploring green spaces to retail therapy, there are plenty of things to do in Hertford. Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend or looking for your dream home, Hertford is the ideal hub just a quick train journey from London full of friendly people and a vibrant community at its heart. Explore our amazing selection of new build homes in Hertford today!