Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Herts, Bedford and Buckinghamshire - Places to go

Ashridge Estate has miles of walks and forest though the Manor House is now a Business college. The National trust Cafe is a nice place to eat and has wonderful homemade cakes. There is a information centre and lots of things for the children like Easter Egg hunts.  The Monument at Ashridge can be accessed for a smal charge and although the steps are steep the view is great from the top.
 The Grand Union Canal passes through Hemel Hempstead providing interesting walks with plenty of bird life to watch. Herons stand guard on the bank of the canal waiting for their dinner to pass and kingfishers light up the trees like blue candles. You can often see horses in the Boxmoor fields facing the railway station and the canal has a number of pubs on the walk from Hemel Hempstead to Berkhamstead. The Fisheries Pub is shown in the above photo and   a Harvester by the station.

St. Albans Verulamium Park in the photo below shows the Cathedral peeping over the trees. The weather is so lovely today that it makes me think of picnics. Need to wait a little while yet I think unless I intend sitting in the car but Summer will soon be here. There is something really nice about a picnic in lovely surroundings, a picnic rug and the children playing nearby. St Albans park has a fantastic childrens play area, lake to feed the ducks and a great cafe. It also has Roman walls, a museum and a water play area.

Ashridge was pretty in the snow and a great place to walk. In May the Bluebells shower the ground and all year deer sneak over the golf course.

The Magnificent Dunstable Downs -

Dunstable Downs - Fantastic views, a visitors centre, National trust cafe with their wonderful homemade cakes. Free parking if you are a National Trust Member, £2 for all day if not. Plenty of benches to sit and just admire the world. London Gliding club is based here so you can watch the gliders sway in the winds. Colourful kites that families fly startle the birds and provide hours of fun for everyone.

Whipsnade Zoo is only a few miles away and is a partner of London Zoo. I have never been inside the Zoo so can`t honestly write about it but it does seem huge and has an impressive list of animals. The annual family memberships seem very good value and allow access to Whipsnade and London Zoo prices Family - 1 adult and up to 5 children £158.00 - 2 adults and up to 5 children £237. Children under 3 are Free

One of my favourite places to eat is the Abbots Kitchen in St Albans Cathedral it has a good childrens menu and lots of choice. When you step outside the door who can not be impressed by the Cathedral itself, even little ones like the huge stained glass windows and the glass cases showing photos.