10 great things to do in Hertfordshire in April

The Henry Moore Gardens have reopened to visitors

Henry Moore, Large Reclining Figure 1984 (reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation) - Credit: Jonty Wilde

As lockdown measures ease and galleries and museums start to reopen from April 12, we pick out some of the best things to do in Hertfordshire this April. If you prefer to keep things outdoors, fear not, there are plenty of things to do outside in Herts this month...

1. Henry Moore Studio & Gardens, Much Hadham
From April 
The Henry Moore Foundation reopened the gates to its beautiful sculpture park on March 31. The renowned sculptor gifted his 70-acre estate, home and studios in rural Perry Green to the foundation so we can enjoy many of his monumental bronze works in the setting in which they were created. Looking ahead, keep an eye out for the Living Hand Exhibition (dates to be confirmed) which will explore the use of the hand in Moore's work. He said the tactile experience was important 'as an aesthetic dimension in sculpture’.

Henry Moore Large Figure in a Shelter 1985-86 - the gardens have reopened after lockdown

Henry Moore Large Figure in a Shelter 1985-86 (reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation) - Credit: John Chase

2. Amwell Nature Reserve Walk

This past year has taught us, if we didn't appreciate it before, how important our green spaces are for walks, health and solace. Hertfordshire has a host of wonderful walks, and a ramble around the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust's Amwell Nature Reserve ticks all the boxes. The reserve near Ware has a diverse landscape of lakes, streams, woodland and grassland. Look out for the array of wildlife which makes the reserve its home: spring heralds sightings of great crested grebe, heron and lapwing. 

3. Hertford Arts Trail
April 12-May 8   
Whether you are looking for paintings, photography, ceramics, sculpture, textiles or jewellery, you will find a pop-up exhibition at the annual Hertford Arts Trail. Last year this free festival hosted the work of 44 talented artists around the town and venues include retailers, bars, cafes and even beauty salons. Trail maps and more information can be found online.

4. St Paul’s Walden Bury open garden,
April 11

The childhood home of The Queen Mother, St Paul’s Walden Bury is again opening its doors as part of the National Garden Scheme. The formal woodland garden near Hitchin was created in 1720. Covering more than 50 acres, there are long rides lined with clipped beech hedges leading to temples, statues, a lake and a terraced theatre. There are seasonal displays of daffodils, magnolias and rhododendrons and plenty of wildflowers. Tickets £7.50 (booking required), children free. Alswick Hall in Buntingford is also planning an NGS open day on April 11.  

Summerhouse at St Pauls Waldenbury

Take a wander round the beautiful gardens of St Pauls Waldenbury, part of the National Garden Scheme open gardens - Credit: Elizabeth Keates

5. Celtic Harmony's Living Outdoor Museum, Bourne Wood
From April 
How about a family adventure into our prehistoric past, hidden away in one of Herts conservation areas? Celtic Harmony in Bourne Wood near Brickendon is welcoming back visitors to its outdoor living museum, and from May 22 for overnight stays in its authentic Bronze Age roundhouses with non-authentic king size and single beds. Explore the woods, enjoy displays, talks and stories or practise your aim on the mammoth in the Hunting Zone. Enjoy freshly made food, such as mammoth (sorry, hog) roast and veggie options too.

6. Spring Back One at Nude Tin Can, St Albans
April 14-May 5 

Nude Tin Can art gallery is throwing open its doors for its first live exhibition in a year. Spring Back One, will feature local and UK artists across a range of genres, including portrait, landscape, abstract, ceramics, digital art, illustration and sculpture. Owner of the St Albans gallery, Hatty NAME said she was looking forward to welcoming visitors again. 'There is nothing more pleasing then when a complete stranger discovers a piece of art they love when they walk into Nude Tin Can, it's an event to cherish, we miss it incredibly.’ 

7. Andy Warhol at Tate Modern, online

A highly anticipated retrospective of the leading figure in Pop Art, Andy Warhol, at Tate Modern suffered the same fate as many others last year, with doors shut to visitors. However the gallery has put a room-by-room tour of the exhibition with its curator online for us to enjoy. Including iconic Marilyn Monroe and Coca-Cola images plus 25 works from the Ladies and Gentlemen series (exhibited for the first time in 30 years), the exhibition also looks at Warhol’s life and early inspirations. 

Press View of Andy Warhol Exhibition, Tate Modern, 2020.

A retrospective of Andy Warhol's work at Tate Modern can be viewed online - Credit: Tate (Andrew Dunkley)

8. Octagon at Home, online 
25 April

While we await the return of live music, we can stay still listen to great concerts. Octagon Music Society, which in normal times runs a season of world-class classical chamber music concerts in Watford’s Clarendon Muse Concert Hall, has launched Octagon at Home, a free-to-watch concert series. The next gig - Apollo5: Vocal Assemble - features works by James Macmillan (O Radiant Dawn), William Byrd (Beata Viscera), Gerald Finzi (My Sprit Sang all Day) and Matt Greenwood's arrangement of Elton John's Your Song. Donations are welcome to support the society and its artists. 

9. Fantastic Beasts, online 

The natural world has inspired myths and legends for millennia right up to the wizarding world of JK Rowling. Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature discovers the stories behind the myths, revealing the incredible abilities shared by real-life creatures with those in fantasy. The exhibition at The Natural History Museum in Kensington is closed until further notice, but you can take a virtual stroll around the show and learn all about animal magic online. 

Natural History Museum specialist with spider

See fantastic beasts online with the Natural History Museum - Credit: Trustees of the Natural History Museum

10. The Mill House Open Garden, Welwyn
April 17, 18 & 21

In Welwyn, The Mill House, a listed home with associated millstream and race, has ancient apple and box trees underplanted with perennials and herbaceous delights. Other highlights include a large tulip display, colourful terrace and vegetable planters. Open on April 17, 18 and 21. Other Herts gardens taking part include Pie Corner, an impressive red brick modern house built on classical lines with formal lawns and pool and views over a valley in Bedmond, and The Old Rectory in Sarratt, a wild garden covering 20 acres against the backdrop of the Chess valley and the Chilterns (both open April 25).




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