UPDATE 24 MARCH: Sadly, this article was written before government guidance changed to advise us all to stay home. As such, all Easter events in our listings have been cancelled. Some properties with gardens and farm shops remain open, but please check with the venue before you travel, and remember that advice is to stay local and leave the house only when necessary.
This article is sponsored by Hatfield House, Park and Gardens
Hatfield House Park and Gardens: Enjoy a house steeped in over 400 years of history, with gardens that offer 40 acres of tranquillity. Built by Robert Cecil, in the grounds of Queen Elizabeth I’s childhood home, the Elizabethan and Jacobean-style Hatfield House is home to countless precious artefacts, collected over the centuries by the Cecil family.
Now in the car of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, this stunning, historic house and its idyllic, enchanting gardens are open to all for guided tours or exploring at your own pace. Take a peaceful stroll through Hatfield Park and you’ll discover the very spot where Elizabeth learnt of her succession to the throne in 1558.
The picture-perfect gardens date from early 17th century, when Robert Cecil employed John Tradescant the Elder to collect plants from all over Europe from his new home. The trees, bulbs, plants and fruit trees, which had never before been grown in England, have crafted the inspiring and fragrant gardens you can explore and enjoy today.
The Stable Yard: The Stable Yard used to house the Cecil family horses is now home to a cluster of independent boutiques and truly delicious dining. Shop for gifts, jewellery, arts and crafts and a range of services you won’t find on the high street.
For the latest updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) see hatfield-house.co.uk and hatfieldparkfarm.co.uk
1 The Gardens at Hatfield House, Hatfield
From 4 April
Sadly, this year’s Easter Bunny Park Trail at Hatfield House has been cancelled, and the 2020 reopening of the house itself has been postponed until the end of June, but the glorious park, gardens and woodland walks will reopen on 4 April, but will be closed Thurs-Sun. The East Garden is open on Thrusdays only. The opening of Hatfield Park Farm, where kids can see animals in a natural countryside setting, has been delayed. The Stable Courtyard shops remain open, but the Coach House Kitchen is closed. Click here for the latest updates,
Great North Road, Hatfield AL9 5HX; hatfield-house.co.uk
*Events cancelled but farm shops open – please see websites for details*
2 Lambing Experience at Foxholes Farm, Hertford & Church Farm, Ardeley
Nothing says Easter like little lambs! Foxholes Farm in Hertford has more than 120 ewes ready to lamb, which can be viewed from 11am-3pm every day throughout the Easter school holidays. Get up close to these cuddly creatures in the indoor handling barn, where you can help bottle feed the newborns and interact with the farm staff. You might even see a lamb being born! Feeding sessions are £9.99 per child, including entry to the farm park. You can also bottle-feed hand-reared lambs at Church Farm in Ardeley. Sessions run from late March and time slots are 10.30am, 1.30pm and 4.30pm (booking is essential as this is a popular event). £10.95 per child. Look out for details of Church Farm’s woodland fairy hunt too.
Foxholes Farm London Road, Hertford SG13 7NT; foxholesfarm.com
Church Farm, Ardeley, Nr Stevenage SG2 7AH; churchfarmardeley.co.uk
*Farm closed due to coronavirus*
Willows Activity Farm throws an annual Easter Eggstravaganza that’s choc-o-bloc with fun. This year there’s a new Easter Grotto, and as ever there’s an Easter Egg Hunt, arts and crafts and bunny biscuit decorating. You can also see three new Peter Rabbit and Friends shows, hop a ride on Tristan the Runaway Tractor, meet the baby animals and watch bottle feeding demos. Online tickets are £19 for adults and £20 for kids; on the door tickets are £22 per adult and £23 per child (all activities included in the ticket price).
Colney Heath, St Albans AL4 0PF; willowsactivityfarm.com
*Closed due to coronavirus*
4 Land of the Tigers at Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne
From Easter weekend
Paradise Wildlife Park is launching a new tiger habitat this Easter weekend. The Land of the Tigers, created from what used to be the cheetah and lion habitats, will be the first ever Amur tiger habitat in the UK with a pool deep enough for the tigers to be fully submerged underwater, with a viewing area to let visitors watch them swim and play from just inches away. The pool will also be home to a species of beautiful fish, making it the first mixed species habitat with a big cat in the UK. Plus, Paradise Wildlife Park has more than 800 animals, including penguins, red pandas and white lions. There will also be an Easter trail, arts and crafts activities, shows, and each day a different animal will open an Easter egg containing special treats from 4-19 April. Adults from £17.86, kids from £15.98.
White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire EN10 7QA; pwpark.com
*Closed due to coronavirus*
5 Easter Fun at Capel Manor Gardens, Enfield
Meet and greet the Easter Bunny at Capel Manor Gardens over Easter weekend. As well as an Easter bunny hunt, where you have to find all the bunnies to unlock the secret location of the giant egg and win yourself a treat, you can immerse yourself in 30 acres of gardens, including the Fairy Forest and enchanting maze. Other egg-citing activities to enjoy include visiting the ring-tailed lemurs, alpacas and meerkats, the chance to pot your own flower, arts and crafts and face painting. 10am-5.30pm. Adults £7, kids £6 (additional costs may apply for some activities).
Bullsmoor Lane, Enfield EN1 4RQ; capelmanorgardens.co.uk
*Please note that the house is closed due to coronavirus, but the gardens remain open*
6 Easter Trail at Knebworth House, Knebworth
Follow Betsy the Knebworth Bunny around the garden, Edwardian maze and Rose Garden to discover where she has taken her Easter selfies. Pick up a trail sheets from the gift shop (£1 or free for season ticket holders) to take part in the fun, with prizes to be won. And there’s plenty more to do in the gardens at Knebworth House this Easter, including Fort Knebworth, the Adventure Playground, and a trail of 72 life-sized dinosaurs. Adults £13, kids £12.50 (tickets for the gardens only are cheaper).
Knebworth, Stevenage SG1 2AX; knebworthhouse.com
*All scheduled Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts have been cancelled*
7 Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt at Shaw’s Corner, Ayot St Lawrence
The Easter Bunny’s been up to mischief again, hiding clues throughout National Trust locations across the UK. In Hertfordshire, you can hunt down Easter treats at Shaw’s Corner, cracking the clues along the way to discover Cadbury chocolate treats. Enjoy the quintessential English garden at Shaw’s Corner, the country home of playwright Bernard Shaw for 44 years, and pick pick up a garden trail to discover the newly blooming snowdrops, mahonia, daffodils and tulips, as well as the birds and bugs. 10am-12pm. Egg Hunt £2.50 (no admission fees). You’ll also find Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts at the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted (6-13 April, £3-£5).
Bibbs Hall Lane, Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire AL6 9BX; easter.cadbury.co.uk
*Cancelled due to Coronavirus*
8 The Secret Society of Hertford Crafters’ Easter Trail, Hertford
The Secret Society of Hertford Crafters has been busy knitting for the town’s annual Easter trail. This year’s theme is Noah’s Ark, but where have Noah and all the animals gone? Visit Hertford town centre and search for the woolly creations hiding in shops and businesses. There are 20 in total, but you only need to find 15 to earn a badge and chance to win a cash prize. Pick up the free trail map at Hertford Town and Tourist Information Centre.
*Cancelled due to coronavirus*
9 Alice in Wonderland at The Grove, Chandler’s Cross
You and the children will be smiling like Cheshire cats at The Grove hotel, spa and golf resort near Watford, which is bringing Alice’s wonderland to life. Those booking an Easter break will see everything from March hares to Mad Hatters, with parties and egg hunts galore. Wander the bluebell-filled woods, join in a treasure hunt, solve crafty clues and you could be in for a treat. Play flamingo croquet and enjoy The Mad Hatter’s tea party, a magic show and birds of prey to see. Easter breaks from £395 per room per night.
Chandler’s Cross, Hertfordshire WD3 4TG (for sat nav use WD17 3NL); thegrove.co.uk
*Closed due to coronavirus*
10 Rye-Assic Adventure Park, Hoddesdon
There’s a roaring time to be had as the dinosaur themed Rye-Assic Adventure Park transforms for Easter. Get the youngsters dressed up for a costume competition, hunt for Easter eggs and let them loose on messy play. There’s indoor soft play areas and outdoor areas to explore and a dino-maze to get lost in. Children £12.50.
Rye Road, Hoddesdon EN11 0EH; rye-house.co.uk
*Closed due to coronavirus*
11 The Old Barge Duck Race, Hertford
Get your ducks in a row for this year’s annual Duck Race at The Old Barge in Hertford. Collect your rubber duckies from the pub and decorate as you desire before setting them off to race down the river Lea, which runs beside The Old Barge. There are prizes for the best decorated and race winners. Alternatively enjoy a drink at the pub and cheer on your favourites as they bob down the river. Now in its seventh year, this year’s event is in support of the Hertford and Ware Sea Cadets. £5 per duck.
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