Hertford Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld
  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld
  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld

Best Rated Things to Do in Hertford

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    Ice House

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    Lying on the southern side of the gatehouse, just beyond the walls lies a small green area where you can see a mound. This was once an ice house built during the 18th century when the gatehouse was used as a private mansion. Ice houses were forms of early refrigerators which used ice cut from rivers to store food for long periods of time. The large dip in the green area is the site of the castle's inner and outer moats which were fed by the nearby River Lea.

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    Hertford Castle

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    It is unknown when the first castle was constructed at Hertford, although it was built by the Normans and grew up from two burhs (fortified places) established by Edward The Elder around 911AD. By the time of the Norman Invasion in 1066, a motte (a raised mound in the form of a small, often artificial hill and topped with a wooden or stone structure known as a keep) and bailey (an enclosed courtyard, typically surrounded by a wooden fence) were on the site surrounded by a moat.

    The building often referred to as Hertford Castle is in fact the gatehouse, built in the mid 15th century. The castle itself no longer stands but occupied the enclosed area behind the gatehouse. For 300 years a Royal Palace stood within the flint walls having previously been one of a series of castles built for defence purposes. James I of Scotland was a prisoner at Hertford Castle, as were the Templar’s. Queen Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood at both Hatfield House and Hertford Castle. The gatehouse, today, is used as offices for the local and district council.

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    First General Synod

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    Outside the entrance to the gatehouse lies this ceremonial stone that states: "Near this spot was held the first general synod of the English church on 24 September 673A.D. under the presidency of Theodore of Tarsus, seventh Archbishop of Canterbury and first primate of all England."

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    Postern Gate and Castle Walls

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    The flint walls of the castle were built between 1170 and 1174 and once surrounded the whole castle compound that used to have a wall made of timber. The walls now only encircle about half way. Postern Gate in the walls dates from the 14th century.

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    Hertford Museum

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    The Hertford Museum occupies an early 17th century town house but was closed for refurbishment when I visited and is due to re-open in early 2010. I hope to write more about it when it re-opens.

    18 Bull Plain
    Open: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm.

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    Buildings of Hertford

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    Hertford has some wonderful old buildings that date from the 15th century, one of the oldest being the lovely timber framed Tudor building of St Nicholas Hall. Most date from the 17th-19th century's and can be found in the town's small compact centre making them ideal to walk around. More can be found in one of my travelogues.

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    Streets of Hertford

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    Hertford still retains most of its Olde England feel in its town centre streets with little modern infringement. As the town centre is compact, you can simply pick up a free map from the Tourist Information Centre and walk around and explore.

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    River Lea

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    The River Lea flows through the middle of Hertford via a series of weirs, one of them, known as the Hertford Weir, is quite spectacular. The river originates in Leagrave Park, Leagrave, Luton, Bedfordshire in the Chiltern Hills and flows for 68km (42 miles) until it meets the River Thames in London.

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    Riverside

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    Just north of the town centre where the River Lea runs through the town, you'll find a lovely path called Riverside which, as the name suggests, runs along the river with a pub and some nice 19th century terrace houses. The area to the north of this in between the river and Hartham Common features more small streets of Victorian terrace housing.

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    McMullens Brewery

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    The Hertford Brewery of McMullens & Sons was built in Hartham Lane in 1891. The brewery was founded in 1827 in Railway Street and moved first to Mill Bridge in 1832 and then to its current location. However, the main brewery was closed a smaller, modern brewhouse was built on the other side of the road in 1984. The old site has now been sold to supermarket chain Sainsbury's.

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    Hartham Common

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    Hartham Common is located to the north of the town centre with the elevated suburb of Bengeo running along its northern edge. The park is situated in the valley of the River Lea and the River Beane, where the rivers' confluence is, at the eastern edge of the main field.

    Hartham Common is very sport-orientated, with many different sports being practiced in the area. A selection includes football, rugby, tennis, fishing, bowls, kayaking and canoeing. A full gym and swimming pool is already located on the edge of the park.

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    Hertford Library

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    The Library in Old Cross is a Grade II listed building constructed at the turn of the 20th century. Inside it features a fiction and non-fiction library, information on the town and surrounding area plus internet stations.

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    Remains of St Mary The Less Church

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    The remains of the Saxon Church of St.Mary The Less were discovered whilst the library was being built, and some of these remains can be seen to the left of the building. The original church was built around 1210 but was destroyed in 1552.

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    St Nicholas Hall

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    Formerly known as The Verger's House, this wonderful Tudor building was built around 1450. Cottages which once stood behind the building were demolished in 1892 and replaced by St.Nicholas Hall. The two buildings were not joined however until 1970. The Hall is named after the medieval parish of that name, which was combined with that of St.Andrews around the beginning of the 17th century. Money for the restoration of the hall was raised by a fete on Hartham Common and donations from Hartford in North America.

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    Parliament Square

    by Willettsworld Written May 4, 2009

    The Parliament of England temporarily moved to Hertford during the Great Plague of London in 1665. This is why the main square in the town, Parliament Square, is so named, although it is a twentieth century creation. In the middle of the square lies the war memorial for those who died during World War 1 and which features the counties emblem of a Hart, a male deer.

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Hertford Things to Do

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