From a creative couple of days away, to adrenalin-fuelled weekend breaks, Hertfordshire has so many options for mini staycations this year. Fresh for 2024, we’re sharing our top ideas for taking a 24 hour Hertfordshire getaway, so whether you’re a foodie fan or a lover of retail therapy, we’ve got you covered...


Watford Observer: Henry Moore Studio Credit: Nigel MooreHenry Moore Studio Credit: Nigel Moore

First up, we’re taking a little cultural break in East Hertfordshire.

A lifetime of creativity at Henry Moore Studios and Gardens 

We’ll start the day at Henry Moore Studios and Gardens, reopening for the season at the end of March. It was here that artist Henry Moore lived, and created his iconic sculptures. Seventy acres are here to explore, with Henry Moore’s studios, workshops and artworks waiting to be discovered. Set against the backdrop of the Hertfordshire countryside just outside the chocolate box village of Much Hadham, Moore’s bronze sculptures are jaw-droppingly beautiful, while the six studios reveal a lifetime of creativity, each providing a glimpse of Moore’s methods and the stages of creating these monumental works of art.

Farmers markets and independent shops in Hertford

Our next stop is the historic market town of Hertford. Take in views of Hertford Castle, the Grade I Gatehouse built on the grounds of a Norman Castle, which was once a Royal Palace, and the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I. Keep an eye open for special events during the month as this market town really shows off with its very own farmers market, Saturday market, and even a Street Food Market from March until October. Pick up local produce and be sure to check out the many boutique clothing shops, jewellers, delis and cafés and coffee shops.

Cosy pub dining

For dinner we recommend taking a trip to The Golden Fleece in nearby Braughing. Multi-award winning and offering some of the best seasonal and locally sourced produce around, the Golden Fleece is the perfect cosy spot for relaxed dining. Set in a renovated 17th century inn, it’s the perfect spot to sample local ales beside a roaring log fire after a day exploring. As this menu is ever-changing it’s difficult to say which delicacies you’ll be sampling, but we can promise they will be local and seasonal.

An evening of grandeur at Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel and Country Club 

Tonight, you’re settling in for the evening at Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel and Country Club, a manor house set in 200 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds which exudes grandeur and charm. The Jacobean-style hotel offers timeless style, with wood-panelled libraries, open fireplaces and even a spa to tend to your every need. Cosy up in your hotel room and wake up to breakfast overlooking that gorgeous Hertfordshire countryside.


Watford Observer: The Snow Centre Credit Ross WoodhallThe Snow Centre Credit Ross Woodhall

We’re taking things up a gear with this action-packed getaway.

Take to the track at Drift Limits

Starting the day off at top speed is Drift Limits, the UK’s leading Motorsport Academy in Hemel Hempstead. Petrol heads, this is your chance to get behind the wheel, get 1:1 tuition and try your hand at drifting, take to the track for supercar experiences, enjoy thrills in your choice of car from Aston Martin to Lamborghini and truly experience the adrenalin-fuelled fun. Whichever experience you choose, and trust us, there are many to pick from, we can guarantee this is a not-to-be-missed day out.

Local brew

After all that activity you’re going to need a pick-me-up, so head to Smith’s Café in Apsley. Home of Smiths Coffee Company, this local favourite are roasters of their very own beans, making this one of the best spots for a cup of Joe.

Real snow slopes at The Snow Centre

Once you’ve warmed up it’s time to cool down at The Snow Centre, home to a 160m indoor real snow slope. As the UK’s largest indoor lesson slope, it’s the perfect chance to try your hand at skiing or snowboarding with lift passes and lessons available to cater to all, be it snow pros or skiing newbies. There are even adventures to be had for little ones, with Ringo Slides and real snow fun on offer. After taking to the slopes, head to The Lodge Bar & Kitchen for hot chocolate or an Alpine meal.

Dinner and drinks at Ashridge House

Dinner is served at Ashridge House, once the royal residence of King Henry VIII, this magnificent manor is set in 190 acres of landscaped gardens. Settle in for cocktails at The Vault for a taste of old school glamour, before taking your seat at Acres and sampling a mouth-watering menu of locally grown produce, expertly curated by head chef Paul Patterson.

Stay in splendour at Pendley Manor

Your stay for the night is another grand and historic house. A Grade II listed manor house, set in 35 acres of grounds, Pendley Manor offers the kind of sumptuous luxury you would expect from a stay in Hertfordshire. Rooms here are plush, sophisticated and offer that taste of quintessential splendour and, most importantly, a relaxing retreat after a full-on day of action.


Watford Observer:  The Florist in Watford Credit: The Florist The Florist in Watford Credit: The Florist

This staycation is all about style, fun and many an Insta-worthy moment.

Stylish shopping at Atria Watford

Comfortable shoes at the ready because Atria Watford is THE place to go for some retail therapy, with 200 stores and big brands ranging from Kurt Geiger and Mango to MAC and Rituals all under one roof. Refuel at the likes of Joe and the Juice and Grounded Kitchen so you can shop a little longer before you drop.

Escape rooms, axe throwing and high-tech mini golf

Once those bags start to get heavy, the fun can truly begin, so take your pick from Escape Hunt, where you can put those mystery solving skills to the test or get set for some wild fun at Boom Battle Bar, with Bavarian axe throwing, shuffleboard, augmented reality darts and pool. But if all that doesn’t suit, take a swing at Puttshack; it’s mini golf, but not as you know it, paired with high tech fun, award-winning drinks, food and even DJs!

Dinner and décor at The Florist

Your day rounds off nicely with the ultimate Watford destination, The Florist, where else? We promised you Instagrammable and we can certainly say this Watford favourite delivers, with elegant décor, beautiful surroundings, and exceptional food. Raise a perfectly poured (or shaken) cocktail to your nearest and dearest and drink in those views.

Your choice of stay ( or

Your bed awaits, and we can recommend two cosy stays. Firstly, DoubleTree by Hilton in nearby Elstree, the home of oh-so-much movie magic care of Elstree Studios. Settle into that luxurious Hilton bed after tucking into the hotel chain’s iconic warm chocolate chip welcome cookie and enjoy a restful night’s sleep.

For an even more photo-ready stay come springtime, we recommend checking into nearby Home Farm Glamping, a glampsite set in the gorgeous Hertsmere countryside, with your choice of bell tent or yurt. Whichever you choose, you’re in for peace, quiet and an idyllic stay, with all the home comforts you’d expect coupled with the added magic of a festoon-lined firepit and 150 acres of countryside to explore.


Watford Observer: Tewinbury Cookery School credit Visit Herts Tewinbury Cookery School credit Visit Herts

Our final break promises plenty of foodie finds.

A taste of Hertfordshire at Tewinbury Cookery School

In the heart of a 700-acre estate that was once a working dairy farm, sharpening up your skills at Tewinbury Cookery School is a far cry from the stresses of the professional kitchens we’ve seen on TV, with classes that are perfect for chefs ranging from beginners to pros hoping to develop their skills. Here it all comes down to fresh, sustainable produce, high quality ingredients, and making the most of them. Get hands on with classes including fun Bottomless Brunch specials, curry nights and gastro pub food. After full culinary training on each course, you’ll leave with a certificate endorsed by the Independent Cookery School Association and the Craft Guild of Chefs.

A stroll through time at Knebworth

A Tudor House that sits behind a Gothic exterior, the home of Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton and a manor house famous for its rock concerts – with 500 years of tales to tell, just about everything to do with Knebworth is full of intrigue. Stories and heirlooms throughout the house and archives tell these tales of literature, politics and foreign service, along with those of some its most infamous visitors, including Charles Dickens Winston Churchill and Noel Gallagher, to name a few! Outside, the gardens are a literal playground for families, with dinosaurs and adventures to be found alongside the glorious formal gardens.

Dinner at Rump and Wade Brasserie

In the heart of Stevenage Old Town is your dinner and bed for the night. Rump and Wade Brasserie at Hotel Cromwell is the perfect spot for relaxed dining after a day exploring. Expect plenty of favourites on this menu, with seasonal dishes and modern European cooking styles, including pan-fried fillet of salmon and slow cooked beef.

Stay the night at Hotel Cromwell

After dinner it’s time to head up to your room, one of the individually styled rooms, which is packed with vintage charm and original character. Cosy up in your luxurious bed and unwind after a day of eating, drinking and relaxing.