If you are staying in Hemel Hempstead this autumn and fancy a day out doing something different, you don’t have to go to London in order to have fun. Hertfordshire has plenty of attractions for everyone, whether you want to visit historical buildings and museums, go to the zoo, have fun experiences, spend the day shopping… or all of the above. Here are our suggestions for day trips less than an hour’s drive away from Hemel.
The neighbouring city of St Albans is only a 15 minutes drive and there’s more than enough to do in this cathedral city to keep the whole family interested. No tourist trip will be complete without a visit to the 900 year old Cathedral built on the site of Britain’s first Christian Martyr. There is also a lot of Roman history to explore – St Albans used to be known as Verulamium and there are many Roman ruins to see including the old Roman Wall in Verulamium Park which also houses a beautifully preserved mosaic floor. St Albans has two museums, although the Museum of St Albans is currently undergoing a major refurbishment and won’t reopen until 2018.
If history doesn’t interest you, St Albans is a great place for shopping. It is full of independent shops and boutiques, as well as the national chain stores, and there are street markets every Wednesday and Saturday.
Don’t worry about overdoing it – when you’re tired of traipsing around the shops, you’ll have no difficulty finding a nice café or restaurant for a drink or something to eat.
Around three-quarters of an hour’s drive away, hidden in the middle of the beautiful Broxbourne Woods is Paradise Wildlife Park, a small zoo with lots to see including lions, white lions and tigers. There are talks at feeding time so you can learn more about the animals you’re looking at. And if you’re taking the kids, there’s a large play area where they can spend hours letting off steam.
If you fancy a day exploring the great outdoors, the Lee Valley Park is just under an hour’s drive away. You can walk or cycle along the River Lee for as long as you want (it runs all the way from Hertford into London where it joins the River Thames). Take the kids to the Farm Park, or leave everyone at home and settle down for a quiet day’s fishing, it’s up to you.
The Park also houses the Lee Valley White Water Centre where you enjoy the thrill of white water rafting on London’s Olympic course.
Three-quarters of an hour to the north of Hemel is Milton Keynes. Although it’s a young city, there is plenty to do. If you want to see one of the places where World War II was won, then a trip to Bletchley Park on the outskirts of the city is a must, to see where Alan Turing and thousands of codebreakers made such a difference to the outcome of the War.
If feel the need to be more active, maybe indoor sky diving will be your thing. If you’d rather be outdoors, try Aerial Extreme, the biggest high rope course in the south east of England. Or if you’ve got younger kids, perhaps Gullivers Land theme park would be more suitable.
If you are looking for a great value place to stay in Hemel Hempstead, click here to check out our centrally located serviced apartments, all of which come with dedicated parking.