11 great things to do in Hertfordshire in July

Hertfordshire festivals: Battle Proms takes place at Hatfield House on 17 July 2021

Battle Proms is a celebration of our armed forces with music, fireworks, Spitfire, parachutists, cannons and cavalry - Credit: Battle Proms

The best things to do in Herts this summer from Standon Calling to the Great British Food Festival at Knebworth House and Folk by the Oak at Hatfield House

1. Great British Food Festival, Knebworth House
July 17 & 18

The Great British Food Festival arrives at Knebworth House this month, bringing with it foraging walks, stage shows based on popular TV programmes like The Great British Bake-Off and Man vs Food, live music and a programme of children’s entertainment. The show, which is celebrating its 10th year, includes artisan producers offering small batch eats, plus chef demos from independent restaurants. The guided foraging walks, with their emphasis on ‘wild food’, last around an hour and consist of an easy stroll suitable for all ages and abilities to explore plants and fungi that are edible, medicinal or used for cosmetic purposes. Bars, an artisan market and a craft and gift fair complete the line-up. 

Drinks sign at the Great British Food Festival

The Great British Food Festival returns to Knebworth House - Credit: Archant

2. Chilfest at Pendley Manor, Tring
July 9-10
With a strong 80s flavour, the Saturday at Chilfest has artists and bands from the decade (as well as a sprinkling of 70s and 90s) performing at Pendley Manor in Tring with Tony Hadley, Adam Ant, Boney M, Heatwave, The Christians and more. Feelgood? Yes. And the event raises thousands for charity. The preceding Friday is tribute act day with The Bootleg Beatles, Noasis and Who Are You among the bands. Check out the website for Chilfest's summer season of outdoor cinema at Pendley Manor every weekend too.
Cow Lane, Tring HP23 5NS; chilfest.co.uk

3. Battle Proms, Hatfield House
July 17 
A celebration of our armed forces with music, fireworks, Spitfire, parachutists, cannons and cavalry, the Battle Proms picnic concert takes place in the Queen Elizabeth Oak Field in the leafy parkland at Hatfield House. This quintessentially British party in the park features a two-hour orchestral programme with Last Night of the Proms favourites as well as the swinging popular sounds of the war years. Whether you’re planning a romantic day out as a couple, a celebration as a group, or want to enjoy an informal concert as a family - pack up a picnic, stock up on fizz and join the party. 

4. Folk by the Oak, Hatfield House
July 18

From the intimacy of the Acorn Stage to the open-air festival buzz of the Main Stage, this family-friendly festival in the parkland of Hatfield House brings award-winning folk and blues musicians together with inspiring new talent in one memorable day. This year’s line-up includes Seasick Steve, Kate Rusby, Kitty Macfarlane and the Sam Sweeney Band. The music is complemented by carefully-selected caterers and craftspeople, and for younger Folk by the Oakers there are creative workshops and a dedicated family area. Have a go at willow sculptures, circus skills or the climbing wall, before trying your luck on the traditional fairground stalls. Bring a picnic and settle in for joyful day. 

Hertfordshire festivals 2021: Folk by the Oak is on this year

US Bluesman Seasick Steve is one of the headliners at Folk by the Oak - Credit: courtesy of Seasick Steve

5. Big JiveSwing Festival, Watford
July 25

Get in the swing for one of the UK’s largest free jazz festivals. The Big JiveSwing Festival centred on Watford’s historic bandstand in the lovely setting of Cassiobury Park features some of the best jazz musicians, bands and dancers in the UK. As well as great music, there are dance classes for young and old, professional dance displays, vintage clothes stalls and a retro photo both. A great family day out.

6. Standon Calling, Bishop's Stortford
July 22-25 

Starting as a pool party for friends at Standon Lordship near Bishop's Stortford, Standon Calling has grown into Hertfordshire's premier music festival and is celebrating its 15th birthday this year with a stellar line-up, including headliners Bastille, Hot Chip and Primal Scream. There’s also Craig David, De La Soul, Sister Sledge and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, as well as big names in comedy like Ed Gamble, dance tents with the likes of Club de Fromage and a dog show. Standon Calling is a very family-friendly festival - kids will love How to Train Your Dinosaur Live, Horrible Histories, Dick and Dom’s DJ Battle and the adventure playground. If you want your creature comforts, there's boutique camping as well as general and family sites. 
Standon Lordship, Hertfordshire SG11 1EE; standon-calling.com

Hertfordshire festivals 2021: Standon Calling sees Sophie Ellis-Bextor perform this year

Sophie Ellis-Bextor is just one of the many star acts at Standon Calling - Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

7. The Legends Festival
July 31-August 1

Hertfordshire Showground in Redbourn will play host to an impressive line-up of 13 of the world’s biggest arena tribute acts over two days. Put on your dancing shoes and and sing along to acts including Killer Queen, Take That Rule the World, ABBA Mania, Absolute Bowie and The Upbeat Beatles. With a focus on family, festival goers are very welcome to bring the youngsters and a picnic or take advantage of the artisan vendors.  
Hertfordshire County Show, Dunstable Road, St Albans AL3 7PT; legendsfestival.co.uk

8. St Paul’s Walden Bury gardens, Hitchin
Until 20 August

This spectacular formal woodland garden, laid out in 1720 in a hamlet near Hitchin, is open Wednesdays and Fridays 2pm-7pm in the summer (till 20 August). The childhood home of the Queen Mother, it features long walkways lined with clipped beech hedges that lead to temples, statues, a lake and a terraced theatre. Enjoy the seasonal displays of irises, magnolias, rhododendrons and lilies. Tickets £7.50.
Bury, Hitchin SG4 8BP; stpaulswaldenbury.co.uk

View along an undulating beech-lined avenue towards the house at St Pauls Walden Bury near Hitchin 

View along an undulating beech-lined avenue towards the house at St Pauls Walden Bury near Hitchin - Credit: MMGI / Marianne Majerus

9. I Feel, How I Feel at Collective Gallery, St Albans
Until July 29

A powerful solo exhibition by Aldenham artist Helen Lack documents her emotions and fears as she fought and recovered from breast cancer. I Feel, How I Feel, focuses on her emotional and physical journey using contemporary art and photographs as well as revealing Helen’s reflections on the experience. It is the first solo show at the Collective Gallery and Art Project Space in St Albans. 
18 Holywell Hill, St Albans AL1 1BZ; collectivegallery.co.uk

10. Here Comes the Bride, Hertford
Until September 5

If you or someone you know is tying the knot this year, take inspiration from this wedding dress exhibition. Hertford Museum is exhibiting dresses from its collection covering the century from the 1870s to the 1970s. The free exhibition also features wedding photos from local brides and explores bridal traditions, including the recent rise of the 'bridezilla', and why we all love a wedding.  
18 Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DT; hertfordmuseum.org

11. St Albans Comedy Garden, Verulamium Park
July 28-August 1

With five nights of big name comedy acts, the alfresco St Albans Comedy Garden in Verulamium Park is a must-see this summer. Four acts take to the stage each evening, including Dara Ó Briain, Sara Pascoe, Alan Davies, Tom Allen, Aisling Bea, Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe alongside up-and-coming stand-ups such as Maisie Adam, Sara Keyworth and Darren Harriot. The fun is paired with street food from local artisans, craft beers and cocktails. Tickets £25. 



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