11 great things to do in Hertfordshire in May

Drive-in cinema in Hertfordshire: Luna Cinema Drive in at Knebworth House and Gardens

Pull up and watch a movie with Luna Cinema at Knebworth House and Gardens - Credit: The Luna Cinema

With more and more things opening up into May, it's a great time to get back out there and remind yourself how great our county is! Herts Life picks out some of the best things to do in Hertfordshire this month...

Words by Victoria Purcell & Julie Lucas

1. Luna Drive in Cinema, Knebworth
May 8-26

Luna Cinema is parking up at Knebworth House for a return to drive-in movie nights. Socially-distanced with state-of-the-art in car digital sound and a high-definition screen, enjoy classics like Pretty Woman, Grease, Back to the Future, Pulp Fiction and Star Wars or musical hits Rocketman and The Greatest Showman. Bring your own dinner or enjoy the new click and collect food and drink service. Its 1950s Americana brought up to date in a beautiful setting. £37.50 per car. 

Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman

Elton John biopic Rocketman is playing at the drive-in at Knebworth House - Credit: Paramount Pictures/Entertainment Pictures

2. Hertford Arts Trail
Until 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.

3. Spring Back One at Nude Tin Can, St Albans
Until 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.’ 

Jason Pentney, painting of boy and girl sitting in armchairs

Chalk and Cheese by Jason Pentney, one of 18 artists exhibiting at The Nude Tin Gallery's Spring Back One - Credit: Jason Pentney

4. International Dawn Chorus Day
May 2  
It's International Dawn Chorus Day on Sunday May 2, so drag yourself out of bed and with the help of Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT), make the most of one of spring's delights. The trust is hosting a Facebook live event from 5am with a senior reserves officer who will be taking an early morning walk to identify the individual bird songs - and you can enjoy it all from the comfort of your home. Registration is through Facebook, costing £1.99 per device. Plus, on May 19, as the light fades over the meadows, join a HMWT expert to learn about the bats at Home Farm Glamping near Elstree. Using detectors, you'll hear them echo-locating over trees, hedgerows and lakes, seeking out moths and insects for supper. Adults £10, children £5. 

5. Karolina Kubalkova Livestream
May 6
There's the chance to see one of the rising stars of classical piano as part of Benslow Music's Young Artist Platform. Karolina Kubalkova will be showing her talents at a livestreamed event hosted by the Hitchin venue. Hear three of Beethoven's sonatas and Liszt's Vallée d'Obermann. From 8pm, tickets £10.

Pianist Karolina Kubalkova

Karolina Kubalkova will performing as part of Benslow Music's live-streaming concert series - Credit: Karolina Kubalkova

6. NGS Open Gardens, various locations
Throughout May

The future king George VI finally persuaded the future Queen Mother to marry him - on the third time of asking - at St Paul’s Walden Bury, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon's family’s country estate near Hitchin. On May 9 you can walk in their footsteps as the estate opens its doors for the charitable National Garden Scheme. The formal woodland garden was created in 1720, covering more than 50 acres. You'll also spot seasonal displays of daffodils, magnolias and rhododendrons, and plenty of wildflowers. Tickets are £7.50 (kids free). Other highlights include Patchwork in Berkhamsted on May 2, Brockholds Manor in Ware on May 9, the Manor House in Ayot St Lawrence on May 15-16 and Mackerye End House in Harpenden on May 28. 

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

7. Horrible History's Gorgeous Georgians & Vile Victorians! at Hertford Theatre
May 20-22

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to meet historic characters? Adapted from the Horrible History books series, the Birmingham Stage Company brings the family show Gorgeous Georgians and Vile Victorians! to Hertford Theatre, promising all the gory details will be left in. Are you ready to swing with a Georgian King? Will you see eye-to-eye with Admiral Nelson? And does the Duke the Wellington get the boot? Told with madcap humour, 3D special effects and all socially distanced. Suitable for ages five and up. Tickets £15.50. 

8. Berkhamsted Art Society's Spring Exhibition, online
Until May 23  

Berkhamsted Art Society was established in 1929 and the past year has seen it move into the 21st century with Zoom coffee mornings, demos and now an online exhibition of members' work. Around 30 artists, both professionals and amateur, will display works in a range of media, including paint, ceramics and sculpture, inspired by the lockdown experience. All works are for sale. 

9. Dine al fresco, various locations

While we eagerly await the reopening of pubs and restaurants indoors, there is still time to show your support for your favourite local hospitality venue by dining outdoors (yes, we have been rather chilly for most of April!). Herts Life has picked out its favourite al fresco dining venues in the area here and those open right now here.

10. Go on a wildflower walk
Throughout spring

Bluebells are a spring favourite, covering our woodlands in an enchanting sweep of purple every year from as early as March to April – a spectacle not to be missed and one which Hertfordshire is particularly blessed. Once on the wane, look out for wood anemones, a delicate flower with beautiful white petals and a hint of pink. Named after the Anemoi, the Greek gods of the winds and seasons, they are also known as the windflower. It blooms between March and May in ancient woodlands, before the canopy becomes too dense. Its seeds are mostly infertile and it spreads slowly through the growth of its roots. For more on wildflowers in Hertfordshire and where to find the, click here.

11. Behind the Mask, St Albans Museum + Gallery
May 17-September 5

Behind the Mask charts the history of St Albans' performing arts centre, Trestle Theatre Company. The exhibition invites you to discover the extraordinary theatre and education work that Trestle has created over the past four decades. Behind the Mask will also be available as an online exhibition later in the year. 
Town Hall, St Peter's Street, St Albans AL1 3DH; stalbansmuseums.org.uk

Behind the Mask charts the history of Trestle Theatre Company

Behind the Mask charts the history of Trestle Theatre Company - Credit: courtesy of Trestle Theatre Company



SUBSCRIBE to Hertfordshire Life for the very best of everything the county has to offer