Affectionately known as one of the ‘home counties’ Hertfordshire, located on London’s popular commuter belt also makes a great place to visit, not just a great place to live. With sweeping valleys and lush green landscapes mostly untouched by any kind of development, it’s a wonderful place to discover a few of England’s Areas of Outstanding Beauty. Throw in some fine stately homes, pretty suspended in-time-villages and easy-on-the-eye historic towns open to the public and you’ve got yourself a very charming English county indeed. Although it’s hard to know where to start in such a scenic area, so here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Hertfordshire…
1. Ashridge Estate – one of the most stunning places to visit in Hertfordshire
If you are a lover of natures and refreshing long walks, then head for Ashridge Estate. Ashridge Estate is 5000 acres of green land and is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Hertfordshire.
Ashridge Estate is a vast area of lush greenery and unspoiled woodland, you’ll be welcomed by gorgeous natural landscapes here. Every part of the estate has its special kind of trees. You can choose to take your dog along for the walk, take a stroll with your loved one, or even have a bike ride with your family to explore the fantastic scenery and Hertfordshire on offer. Ashridge Estate has lovely spots where you choose to take a picnic or even a barbeque in the summer with family and friends (BBQs are permitted on Monument Drive).
2. Berkhamsted – a pretty Hertfordshire town which is home to many scenic sites
I promise you’ll fall in love with this pretty historic market town in Hertfordshire, located just east of England. Highlights of Berkhamstead include the picturesque Grand Junction Canal which is great for scenic strolls and the vast array of independent shops, cafes, pubs, and restaurants.
Also, make sure you check out the ancient Norman motte-and-bailey castle which dates back to the 11th century, great for both history buffs and children eager to learn about England’s past. It’s a 5-minute walk from the town, with a lot of green space for children to run about and play. Explore the ruins of the castle and then relax on the green grass for a great way to spend an afternoon.
3. Aldbury – a pretty suspended-in-time Hertfordshire village
One of the best places to explore in Hertfordshire is the impossibly picturesque village of Aldbury, which is blessed with a large number of 16th and 17th-century timber-framed buildings.
The English village has also been used as a setting for popular television programs including midsummer murders (Murder of Innocence and Written in Blood).
The historic village has two fantastic traditional pubs, the Valiant Trooper, and the Greyhound. Both pubs date back to 1769. The village has a suspended in time feel and visitors here can enjoy the view of historic buildings dating back to the 17th century. One of the most fascinating is Applegarth, a Grade II listed building on Stocks Road dating to 1598.
4. Shaw’s Corner – the former home of the renowned Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw
Here can you explore the beautiful home of the famous Irish playwright, comic dramatist, literary critic, and Novel prize winner, George Bernard Shaw, the pioneer of ideologies like socialism, feminism, and pacifism.
The beautiful house was initially built as the New Rectory for Ayot St Lawrence by the Church of England in 1902 but now the National Trust owns it. Shaw purchased the arts and crafts home after a long time of house hunting in 1920, where the family stayed for more than 40 years.
Here you can see Shaw’s beautiful gardens as well as important rooms such as his main study. Easily one of the best places to visit in Hertfordshire!
5. The Gorhambury Estate – a fine place which is one of the best places to explore in Hertfordshire
Located near St.Albans here you can explore the 18th-century Palladian-style house and wonderful rural estate where you’ll be charmed by both history and fascinating sites. The Old Gorhambury was a beautiful Hertfordshire house which was originally built in the time of Queen Elizabeth I by the Lord Keeper of the great seal, Sir Nicholas beacon. It has now been replaced by Gorhambury House in 1784 as Old Gorhambury had fallen into complete ruin.
The Gorhambury estate is also home to The Roman Theatre of Verulamium, and the ruins lie there in the estate. Initially, the arena would have been many events including religious processions, dancing, armed combat, and even wild beast shows – a very interesting place to visit in Hertfordshire!
6. St.Albans Cathedral and St.Albans itself – a pretty historic Hertfordshire town and an elegant attraction
The historic affluent market town of St.Albans is a charming place to visit in Hertfordshire and is home to scenic walks along the peaceful River Ver as well as museums and a great collection of independent shops, pubs, restaurants, bars, and cafes.
Once here make sure you pay a visit to its cathedral. St Albans Cathedral is the oldest discovered site of continuous Christian worship in Britain. It stands over the place where Alban, the man who hid a priest when Christians were suffering persecution, was buried after giving his life for his faith over 1700 years ago. The beautiful cathedral itself is a blend of architectural styles spanning millennia and contains recycled Roman bricks from Verulamium. Sites of special interest here include the 13th-century wall paintings and the shrines of Saint Alban and Amphibalus, the priest who converted Alban to Christianity.
7. Hatfield House – a stunning country house set in a large park
One of the most famously stunning places to visit in Hertfordshire, Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park near Hatfield in Hertfordshire.
Here you can explore the Elizabethan park with a famous Jacobean house. A leading example of the prodigy house dated about far back to 1611; it was built by the renowned Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I, and has been the humble abode of the Cecil family ever since. A ‘seventeenth-century character’ with terraces and garden enclosures, including a knot garden, herb garden, and privy garden. The park is full of beautiful oak trees and pleasant green land for kids to along with.
8. Wheathampstead Heritage Trail – an ancient village which makes a great place to visit in Hertfordshire
Wheathampstead is a beautiful ancient village a few miles north of st. Albans in Hertfordshire. The small town is a great place to go in Hertfordshire as it’s one of the most picturesque in the country known for its number of ancient buildings at the center of the village near the famous River Lea. Sometimes it’s even referred to as the “The First Capital” as the history goes back a whopping 10,000 years. Once there you can take one of the many several interesting and scenic Heritage Trails.
Highlights include visiting Devil’s Dyke, which was rumoured to have been where Julius Ceasar defeated Catuvellauni and forced the British tribe to submit to Rome in 54bc. The Dyke is about 400m long, with banks 40m across and up to 12m high.
9. Knebworth House – a beautiful Tudor stately home and gardens
The most interesting object in the room is a huge crystal ball. It is said that the writer would stare for hours at a time, waiting for inspiration to strike, before they started writing.
The grounds have lots of tourist attractions such as an adventure playground and dinosaur park and host various events including classic car rallies.
Knebworth’s most prominent resident was Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), the Victorian author, dramatist, and statesman, who embellished the gardens in a formal Italianate fashion. He was also famous for the oft-quote “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Numerous movies have been shot at the Knebworth house, like Johnathan Creek, Kings Speech, The Hour, Midsummer Murders, Batman, Sacred Flesh, Women like me, and many more. Knebworth House is an excellent place to visit in Hertfordshire.
10. Tring – a charming and interesting market town which is the gateway to the beautiful Chilterns countryside
Pay a visit to the pretty market town of Tring and discover it’s beauty and be fascinated by its historical background. Make sure you include a visit to the interesting Natural History Museum located here, which gives home to the incredible private collections of Walter Rothschild, a passionate zoologist.
Often known as the Gateway to the Chilterns, this is a great place to base yourself to discover this underrated but truly beautiful part of South East England.
Also discover the Woodland Trust’s Tring Park which offers 264 acres of fair green land where you can have long and peaceful walks with your kids or your dog, Tring’s very own brewery which offers award-winning beers from the Chilterns (available from the brewery shop) and the stunning Tring Reservoirs Nature Reserve.
11. Benington Lordship – a fine and elegant Hertfordshire attraction
One of the best places to visit in Hertfordshire this place is a Norman keep with a moat and a 17th house which makes for a beautiful visit out. The gardens are also lovely and highlights include a rockery, a spectacular Victorian Folly, and herbaceous borders.
Here you can explore the glorious view of the beautiful park and fine farmland on the west wing of the house. The magnificent neo-norman folly, comprising a gatehouse, summer house, and adjoining curtain wall, was completed in 1838 by James Pulham of Broxbourne.
12. Aldenham Village and Country Park – a beautiful place to explore and go in Hertfordshire
Aldenham is a village and civil parish in Hertfordshire and Aldenham Country Park is a stunning 175-acre of parkland and woodland which is also home to the scenic Aldenham Reservoir.
Here you enjoy the 500 acres of beautiful unspoiled Hertfordshire woodland – you could spend an entire day here and still have a lot more to do. One of the best places to explore in Hertfordshire there is also a café where you can also relax with your family or just opt to take a scenic walk with your dog, and feed cute goats and alpacas!
13. Hertford Castle – an interesting historic Hertfordshire attraction
This is a wonderful place to visit in Hertfordshire, especially for history lovers. Hertford Castle was a Norman castle but now only the Grade I listed Gatehouse survives.
The grounds of Hertford Castle are also lovely. It is an excellent place to take a stroll or just sit, relax, and watch the world go by. The grounds are well looked after with clever landscaping and little bridges. It would take about 30 minutes to do a slow tourist paced amble around the circular walk.
14. Pitstone Mill – a unique place to explore in Hertfordshire
Fancy visiting a 17th century-old windmill, one of the oldest in all of England? Also known as the gem of the Chiltern countryside, is home is part of the Ashridge Estate and now owned by the National Trust, so be sure to take stunning walks around the mill.
It’s a unique and rare example of an early form of a post mill in England where you can visit and see how the beautifully restored mill was used to mill wheat in days gone by. A great place to go in Hertfordshire!
15. Stanborough Park – a great place to go to explore the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside
Located just on the outskirts of Welwyn Garden city is this a beautiful countryside park consisting of about 126 acres, with two peaceful lakes covering the area. Stanborough Park is visited by hundreds of people every year because of its numerous scenic attractions.
A great place to visit in Hertfordshire with a family or a dog here you can take gentle strolls, more zealous hikes, or go cycling. You can also explore the lakes and go kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding or sailing.