12 great things to do in Hertfordshire this August

Elvis Presley with his wife Priscilla Presley and singer Tom Jones, 1967 File Reference # 329

Tom Jones with Elvis and Priscilla Presley in 1967. Sir Tom will perform as part of Audley End House heritage season - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Guide to the best events in Hertfordshire this month

Roman drama
August, 3-14, St Albans
August 17-21, St Albans

Who would have thought when it was built in 140AD, that nearly two thousand years later the Roman theatre in Verulamium would still be entertaining audiences? 

Believed to be the oldest amphitheatre in the country still hosting theatre, this year's Roman Theatre Open Air Festival in St Albans culminates this month with the timeless Little Women (tickets from £7.50) and Wilkie Collins' thriller, The Woman in White (from £11.50). A great way to enjoy classic plays in a unique setting.

Sarah & duck 
August 5, Bishop’s Stortford 

Based on the enchanting BAFTA-winning CBeebies series, Sarah & Duck’s Big Top Birthday is told through inventive puppetry, storytelling and music.

Sarah and Duck puppets

Sarah and her best friend Duck are off on new adventures at South Mill Arts in Bishop's Stortford - Credit: Pamela Raith

There’s favourite characters including The Ribbon Sisters, The Shallots and Flamingo and Umbrella. A circus-themed birthday party is planned for Scarf Lady, but when the weather turns windy and the big top is blown away, Sarah, a wide-eyed seven-year-old and her feathered best friend Duck try to save the day.

The show at South Mills Arts is recommended for children aged three to six. £15.50.

Keeping Faith
August 5, Hatfield

It’s been a busy year for Paloma Faith, but she's squeezing in a performance at Hatfield Park.

Hot on the heels of the release of her BBC documentary Paloma Faith: As I Am, the flamboyant star’s Age of Optimism summer tour will feature hits from her much loved repertoire including Only Love Can Hurt Like This and Lullaby and songs from latest album, Infinite Things.

'I love nothing more than singing for you all and hearing you sing back to me,' she says, so warm up those vocal cords.

Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder is a special guest. £52.25. 

Queen symphonic
August 6, Hatfield
Ever the showman, one gets the feeling Freddy Mercury would love this symphonic spectacular celebrating the magic of Queen.

Greatest hits including Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are The Champions will be performed by vocalists We Will Rock You accompanied by the Heart of England Orchestra.

Gather friends and family, take a picnic, and enjoy all those Queen classics boosted with a full orchestra. £26.

Castle rock
August 7, Hertford 
Local musicians will perform across three stages with music ranging from acoustic, folk, indie, rock and pop as Rock at the Castle returns to the grounds of Hertford Castle. 

There's food and drinks stalls on the lawn to fuel those inevitable dance moves and kids are kept entertained with bouncy castles, face painting and other activities. A rocking good day for all the family with free entry. 

Gin on the river
August 13, Ware

Does a Saturday afternoon cruising down the river Lea drinking gin with a specialist bar tender sound good?

Board the boat at Ware Town Quay, then take in the lovely scenery on the three-hour trip towards Hertford and back, while sampling gins and learning the story behind each one and what creates its unique taste.

There's the chance to try two of your favourites in a signature G&T. Drinks are served in custom gin glasses to keep. £60.

What's new pussycat? 
August 14, Audley End

Near Royston and just over the border into Essex, we had to mention Tom Jones will be taking to the stage at Audley End House. With a career spanning nearly 60 years he has had plenty of hits including It’s Not Unusual, Thunderball, Green Green Grass, Kiss, Delilah, What’s New Pussycat? and Sex Bomb. And now aged 82, his latest album, Surrounded By Time, has been met with critical acclaim.

Set to the backdrop of the stately home, Sir Tom is part of the Heritage Live concert series which also features Simple Minds on August 11 and Elbow on August 13. £64.40.

Wilde on the lawn
August 16, Knebworth

Prepare the cucumber sandwiches, pop a cork and enjoy open-air summer theatre with the backdrop of Knebworth House. Immersion Theatre invites you to enjoy an evening of decadence and hilarity as they perform one of Oscar Wilde’s wittiest comedies on the Sunken Lawn.

Actors in a production of The Importance of Being Earnest

Pack a picnic for The Importance of Being Earnest on the Sunken Lawn at Knebworth House - Credit: Lidia Crisafulli

The Importance of Being Earnest is the story of bachelors Jack and Algernon and their double lives. It's a story of mistaken identities, icy women, trivial banter and surprisingly muffins! £14.

Village oddity
August 19-21, Flamstead  
This eccentric English village festival celebrating the scarecrow has live music and traditional dancing over three days. Past years have seen more than 100 scarecrows around Flamstead from scary ones, funny ones and just plain odd ones including one of our favourites - a Greatest Showman tribute, the Greatest Crowman. There's food and drink stalls to fuel the fundraising fun. flamsteadscarecrowfestival.co.uk

The labyrinth 
August 20-29, Watford
Journey to a world of colour, light and space in a remarkable installation in Cassiobury Park. A labyrinth of 70 interlinked chambers gives a different perspective as intense colour changes around every corner, accompanied by musicians and dancers around the spaces.

Child walking through Colourscape

See colour in a different perspective at this interactive exhibition in Watford - Credit: Getty Images/Johnny Greig

Weekdays will feature resident musician Michael Ormiston presenting family-friendly music. An out of this world experience. £5.

Feeling hot, hot, hot 
August 27-29, Benington  
This festival is guaranteed to make you feel the heat this summer. Celebrating the chili pepper, there will be more than 60 traders offering everything from fresh, dried and smoked chillies to chutneys, sauces, pickles, seeds, cheese, and chocolate.

Sample foods from around the world or try a Hot Mule cocktail. There's plenty of entertainment, including for  those that dare, the chilli eating competition. It’s all set in the glorious gardens of Benington Lordship. Adults £8.50, children £3, under 12s free.

Classic motoring
August 21, Tewin
August 28-29 Knebworth 

With over 1,000 classic and collectable vehicles on display, the parkland of Knebworth House is the place to see everything from family classics to outlandish sports cars, Americana, military and commercial vehicles, plus motorcycles. There's arena shows, including the popular ‘decibel duel’ - block your ears for that one - and live music. Tickets £11.50. 

The weekend before, on a smaller scale, but of equally quality, vintage vehicles will also be on display at Tewin's Classic Car and Craft Show.