In as little as 20 minutes from London, escape the rat race of the capital city this summer and indulge in sun-filled days at one of Hertfordshire’s brilliant urban beaches.

And for those looking for more ways to keep restless children from climbing the walls throughout the summer, Hertfordshire has you covered. From wonderful wildlife and movie magic, to sculpture splendour and even a dusting of snow, there’s enough happening throughout the county to keep kids occupied until the school bell chimes for the start of term.

With Hertfordshire just a short hop on the train from London with Govia Thameslink Railway, it’s the perfect place to head to this season. Grab your sun cream and put on your shades, there’s a spot reserved for your towel at one of the following beaches this summer…

Watford’s Big Screen on the Beach

Enjoy a summer of fun on the beach from 28th July to 28th August. Watford’s wonderful Big Screen on the Beach returns, bringing with it a month-long fiesta of movie blockbusters and activities for the family to delve into. Delight in long, sunny days whilst the kids build sandcastles and play a round of table tennis, or appreciate leisurely, balmy evenings with a cocktail or two at the town’s outdoor cinema located on the Parade by the pond.

The Walled Garden at the Grove Hotel

Feel the sand between your toes, without even needing to leave the comfort of your hotel. If you’re indulging in a luxury five star staycation break at The Grove this summer, a trip to the hotel’s beach is a must. Spend lazy days sunning yourself in their Walled Garden with BBQs, cold drinks, a volleyball court and plenty of sandcastle building space. Why not cool down and take a dip in the Walled Garden’s fantastic outdoor swimming pool?
(This area of The Grove is reserved for residents and Sequoia Walled Garden members only).

Beach & Play Park at the Lee Valley White Water Centre

Find gallons of fun at the Lee Valley White Water Centre this summer as their new adventure, the Beach & Play Park, launches from 22nd July. Whether you spend your day slipping down their mammoth new slide, partying in the disco dome or bouncing the day away in the colossal castle, we're sure the White Water Centre will be an experience the kids will talk about all summer long!

And, if you’re looking for further inspiration for days out throughout the holidays, here are some more Herts highlights to help you to make this summer a sizzling one….


Henry Moore Studios & Gardens

Creative mind flowing? Embrace your inner artist and step into the world of world-renowned artist Henry Moore at one of the most striking outdoor attractions in the UK this summer. At Henry Moore Studios & Gardens you can explore over 70 acres of grounds showing the artist’s iconic work against the landscape he worked in. Tour the Moore family home and gardens, or pop into their inspiring visitor centre.

Garden Sculpture Exhibition at Knebworth House

For a further dose of acclaimed art, spend a day at historic Knebworth House where their Garden Sculpture Exhibition runs from 1st July to 31st August. This exciting exhibition, on display throughout Knebworth’s 28 acres of Formal Gardens, is a spectacular showcase featuring the works of more than 40 artists. Entry to the Garden Sculpture Exhibition is incorporated with general entrance to the Park & Gardens, so make sure to discover what else Knebworth has to offer, including its amazing adventure playground and dinosaur trail for the kids.


Outdoor theatrics at Hatfield House
Thespians and theatre lovers alike should set up camp at Hatfield House this summer, as lashings of drama and adventure await you. Settle down to enjoy one of the magical Shakespeare adaptations taking place throughout August, starting with The Comedy of Errors on 13th August, and finishing with a critically-acclaimed Pantaloons Theatre Company performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on 31st August. 

Wizarding Wardrobes at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London

Discover the magic of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London this summer. Whether you knock for Harry at his Number Four Privet Drive home, have a swig of famous Butterbeer, or try your hand at riding a broomstick, after a trip to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London you’ll soon feel worlds away from the muggle you arrived as! Between 21st July and 4th September peer into the wardrobe of Harry Potter, and take a closer look at the iconic costumes featured throughout the film series with the Studio’s Wizarding Wardrobes special feature. 

Dinosaur World at Broadway Cinema & Theatre

Grab your compass and join Broadway’s intrepid explorer as you venture unchartered territories to discover a pre-historic world of astonishing (and remarkably life-like) dinosaurs on 15th and 16th August. Meet a host of impressive creatures during this educational and entertaining family show, including every child’s favourite flesh-eating giant, the Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Hertford Castle Open Air Cinema

Film fanatics and theatre buffs, step straight to Hertford Castle for a summer weekend of delightful drama! Across the 25th and 26th August, grab your blankets and popcorn and settle down to enjoy cinema screenings of Mamma Mia and Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark with the castle’s picturesque grounds providing the perfect backdrop!


Summer activities at Verulamium Museum

Keep kids amused during the summer holidays with a terrific trip back to the Roman ages at Verulamium Museum. Find out all about St Albans’ fascinating Roman past, and take part in an a whole host of activities and themed events throughout August, from 'Crafts on a Monday' to 'Family Fridays'. 

Natural History Museum Tring

For a fun, free day out in Herts, look no further than the Natural History Museum in picturesque Tring. Grown from the private collection of the somewhat eccentric Lionel Walter Rothschild, the museum is one of the largest private natural history collections ever assembled with more than 4,000 specimens on public display. From 21st July, see the world through the eyes of animals and discover the diversity of vision at the museum’s latest family exhibition, Animal Vision.


Paradise Wildlife Park

Keep little monkeys’ boredom at bay, with a trip to Paradise Wildlife Park this summer. One of the leading wildlife park’s in Europe, Paradise is home to over 400 exotic wild animals including tigers, monkeys, zebras, red pandas, penguins, white lions and snow leopards. See if you can spot the small monkeys, and beware of the largest anaconda in the UK. With more than 30 different pre-booked exotic animal experiences on offer too, why not treat kids to a really special day out that’s sure to send their school mates wild with jealousy!

The Snow Centre

Can’t stand the summer heat? Skate over to the newest Snow sports destination in the UK with the closest ‘real snow’ to London. Home to a 160m main slope & the largest indoor lesson slope, the centre boasts perfect snow conditions all year round. Hosting a range of Skiing and Snowboarding lessons for adults and children from 3 years old, Lift Passes, freestyle sessions and the ultimate sledging experience there is something for everyone to have a great day out! What’s more, book online this summer and receive 20% off lift passes.

Vertigo Adventures

Fun, thrills and nerve-jangling challenges – swap climbing the walls for the high- and low-ropes course at Vertigo Adventures, Stanborough Park. With zip-wire action, breath-taking plunges and daring challenges to test even the hardiest of adventure seekers! For those who want to take it easy, the Monkey Trail is the perfect starting point for little monkeys, or real dare devils can tackle the Hawks View at over 40ft high!

Willows Activity Farm

Hop down to Willows Activity Farm in St Albans and enjoy the boundless family fun and activities throughout the season. With a Summer Spectacular packed programme running until 3rd September, families can enjoy a ride on Tristan the Runaway Tractor, say hello to Peter Rabbit and friends at Cotton-Tail village, perch track side at the Willows Goat Racing before having a turn themselves at Willows’ sports day races, and getting lost in the farm’s A-maize-ing Maze!

With so much going on across the county, you might want to extend your trip to a short-break. From the quintessentially English feel of Pendley Manor, to the freedom of a night under the stars at the Camping & Caravanning Club’s Hertford site, you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep in Herts. Take a look at some of our top picks for places to stay at

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