Coast’s Choice: Hertfordshire

Located just north of London, Hertfordshire is a world away from the hustle and bustle of urban living in many parts with its picturesque villages, bluebell woods, canals and market towns.

This week’s Coast’s Choice looks at some of the county’s greatest tourist hot spots. It’s especially useful if you’re thinking of staying somewhere close to London so you can enjoy some of the capital’s highlights before returning to tranquillity and greenery at the end of the day.

Ashridge Estate

This sprawling 5,000-acre estate brings together stunning views, woodland, wildlife and history in one superb day out. Although the property is closed to the public (it’s now a business school), there is plenty to see and do outside including taking a walk through the Golden Valley, a garden to the north east of Ashridge House designed by the famous Capability Brown. Keep an eye out also for birds and animals such as red kites and muntjac deer.

If you’re looking for a workout, visitors can climb 172 steps to the top of the Bridgewater Monument, erected in honour of the Duke of Bridgewater in 1832, and admire panoramic views of the area – Canary Wharf can be seen 30 miles away on a clear day.

You can also admire the 17th century Pitstone Windmill located on-site, which is open to the public during the summertime.

Admission to Ashridge Estate is free although there is a £2.00 charge to climb the Bridgewater Monument. More information is available via the National Trust website.

Nearest caravan site: 2.5 miles

Hatfield House

Dubbed one of the ten most magnificent houses in England, Hatfield House was built by the first Earl of Salisbury, Robert Cecil, in 1611 and today belongs to the seventh Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury.

Hatfield House sports some fine examples of Jacobean craftsmanship, from the carvings of the Grand Staircase to the private chapel’s stained glass window. The surroundings are equally stunning with its famous knot garden and fountains, woodlands featuring naturalised daffodils and bluebells, along with the parkland where Elizabeth I found out about her accession to the throne.

The house and gardens are open daily from early April until late September. Tickets cost £15.50 for adults and £8.50 for children, click here for further details.

Nearest caravan site: 1.7 miles

Letchworth Garden City

This Hertfordshire settlement has played a very important role in the development of residential areas as we know them today. It is the world’s first Garden City, designed to combine the best aspects of town and country living, and has been the trial site for many features and plans that are now commonplace; the world’s first roundabout was built in Letchworth in 1909.

A host of green open spaces are dotted around the city including the landscaped Broadway Gardens overlooking the Town Hall with an eye catching water fountain.

There is also some inspiring architecture and culture to enjoy including the art-deco cinema, outdoor swimming pool, arts centre and weekly farmers’ market. You can learn more about the development of the area at the First Garden City Heritage Museum or admire the Spirella Building – an iconic Grade II listed former factory for the famous corset company.

For more information, including details of admission prices for individual attractions, visit the Letchworth Garden City website.

Nearest caravan site: 4.8 miles

Shaw’s Corner

One of Britain’s most famous playwrights enjoyed a four-decade love affair with the county of Hertfordshire, living in an Edwardian villa in Ayot St. Lawrence from 1906-1950.

Shaw took up residence at the property during the height of his fame and much of the house has remained unchanged since his death. Among the relics that take pride of place on view to the public are a 1938 copy of Pygmalion and many of his personal possessions. Visitors can also take a peek at his writing hut, a 1920s shed at the bottom of the garden.

Entry to Shaw’s Corner costs £6.00 for adults and £3.00 for children. The house is open from Wednesday-Sunday.

Nearest caravan site: 4.8 miles

Six Hills

This scheduled ancient monument comprises of six Roman barrows, or large mounds of earth, that rise from the ground in Stevenage. Legend has it that the hills were created by the Devil hurling handfuls of earth at Great North Road travellers for his own amusement, but in truth it is more likely that they are burial sites dating back to 100 A.D.

Six Hills are free to visit – click here to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 11.1 miles

When preparing for your holiday, don’t forget to check you have an up-to-date touring caravan insurance or motorhome insurance policy. For a quotation on your renewal from Coast, call Freephone 0800 614 849.