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5 unique things to do in Hertfordshire

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A side view of the Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, UK
The present Jacobean house was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I | Photo: Paul Hudson

Welcome to Hertfordshire — an enchanting county bursting with captivating wonders that have left an indelible mark on my own journey. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure as we delve into this hidden gem, which I guarantee could interest many people travelling in the UK. Here, you’ll discover a wealth of exceptional experiences that have touched my soul and will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on yours. You can be assured that you will not fall short of things to see and do in Hertfordshire!

Let’s begin our extraordinary journey at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. As a devoted Harry Potter fan, stepping into the magical world behind the iconic film series was like a dream come true for me. Exploring the original sets, touching astonishing costumes and props, and immersing myself in the enchanting process of filmmaking awakened a sense of wonder and pure delight that I’ll forever cherish. Trust me, if you’re a Potterhead like me, this is an absolute must-visit that will transport you into a realm of magic.

Next, allow me to share the historical splendour of St Albans Cathedral. This beautiful Cathedral is nestled in the heart of St Albans city, this magnificent medieval structure took me on a captivating journey back in time. Guided by the stories of its past, I found myself marvelling at the intricate stained-glass windows, each telling a tale of devotion and artistry. But it was when I climbed the tower that my breath was truly stolen away. The panoramic views of Hertfordshire’s picturesque countryside spread before me like a living painting, evoking a sense of tranquillity and awe that is simply unparalleled.

Now, let’s step into the grandeur of Hatfield House — a Jacobean mansion and garden that feels like a portal to a bygone era. With every step of the guided tour, I was transported to the opulent interiors that whispered tales of regal elegance and noble heritage. But it wasn’t just the house that captivated me; the meticulously landscaped gardens were a haven of serenity, where I could wander at my own pace, enveloped in nature’s embrace. The tranquil ambience and breathtaking beauty left me feeling refreshed and at peace, a memory I’ll always carry with me.

Prepare to be awestruck as we embark on a captivating journey to Knebworth House—a Gothic-style mansion and estate that embodies a sense of timelessness. From the moment I laid eyes on its unique architecture, I was transported to a different world. The guided tour revealed the captivating history of the Lytton family, their stories seeping into the very fabric of the residence. But the true magic happened during the legendary summer concerts, where renowned musicians and bands turned this historic estate into a stage of pure enchantment. The melodies and energy in the air created an experience I’ll never forget.

Finally, let’s find solace and connection with nature in the sprawling green sanctuary of Lee Valley Regional Park. As I embarked on delightful walks, ventured along invigorating cycling routes, and even tried my hand at water sports on the serene lakes and rivers, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of peace and harmony. The riverside became my refuge, a place to pause and reflect, allowing nature’s beauty to envelop my senses. Lee Valley Park is a true sanctuary, a reminder of the breathtaking beauty that exists within Hertfordshire’s countryside. In conclusion, Hertfordshire beckons with its exceptional experiences that have woven themselves into the tapestry of my own journey. From the enchantment of Warner Bros. Studio Tour to the grandeur of St Albans Cathedral, Hatfield House, Knebworth House, and the serenity of Lee Valley Regional Park, this county has something truly extraordinary for everyone (including those travelling in Europe). Brace yourself for an adventure that will create cherished memories, forever drawing you back to the captivating wonders of Hertfordshire.

Freelance copywriter living in picturesque Hertfordshire. When she's not busy crafting compelling copy, Louise Wright is an expert in the art of getting lost while travelling, creating her own unforgettable adventures.

Travel

Baros Maldives appoints new PR agency in the UK

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Baros Maldives appoints new PR Agency in the UK
Maldives is experiencing a significant increase in tourism and celebrated a record 12% increase in arrivals last year

Global independent marketing and communications agency, FINN Partners, has been appointed by Baros Maldives and Milaidhoo Maldives to lead on PR and digital services, in the United Kingdom.

FINN Partners communications strategy will focus on tactics that will generate coverage and awareness to showcase the independent, locally and family-owned properties, highlighting what sets them apart from other resorts in the Maldives. 

“With the UK being an important market for us, we look forward to working with FINN Partners to help build brand awareness in the UK for both Baros and Milaidhoo Maldives, by bringing to life the uniqueness of each property and what sets both resorts apart from other luxury resorts in the Maldives,” says Visha Mahir, Chief Operating Officer at Universal Resorts Management.

Maldives is home to 176 resorts and over 800 guesthouses. According to  the Ministry of Tourism, the country is experiencing a significant increase in tourism and celebrated a record 12% increase in arrivals last year.

“Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, it’s an honour to be representing Baros Maldives, ‘The Maldives Icon’. We very much look forward to communicating the private island resorts truly authentic Maldivian offerings to media. We are also excited to showcase how Milaidhoo Maldives, set in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, embraces a contemporary way of living the Maldivian heritage and culture complemented by a wide range of curated meaningful experiences on offer to guests in addition to exceptional cuisine, personalised service, and attention to detail,” says Debbie Flynn, Managing Partner and Global Travel Practice Leader, FINN Partners.

The FINN Partners UK Travel portfolio also includes destinations such as Italy, Greater Palm Springs, The Bahamas and brands including Travelzoo, Intrepid and Accor. 

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Searches for ‘quiet life’ soars by 530%

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a female solo traveler in a mountain trip
The quest for a more serene lifestyle is on the rise, a recent report by Pinterest reveals | Photo: Artur Voznenko

Searches for enigmatic destinations are rising as travellers crave places promising a blend of wonder, adventure and the unexplored, according to a recent Pinterest Summer 2024 Travel Report.

With over one billion travel-related searches and over 10 billion travel saves in one year, the platform has become a source of inspiration for those planning a future trip.

8 out of 10 weekly Pinterest users turn to Pinterest when planning their summer escapades. Since last year, searches for ‘travel vision board’ and ‘packing guide’ have skyrocketed by 210% and 480% respectively as travellers curate their bucket lists and gear up for unforgettable journeys. 

However travellers are not looking only for adventurous things to do while on vacation.

The quest for a quieter, more serene lifestyle is on the rise, with searches for ‘quiet life’ soaring by 530% according to a report by Pinterest. As the longing for simplicity has extended to travel, since 2023, searches for ‘quiet places’ and ‘calm places’ have increased by 50% and 42% respectively. Pinners are searching for digital detox travel: many sought-after nature destinations offer a respite from the constant buzz of connectivity and digital distractions, providing a much-needed break. Solo travel emerges as a liberating choice, granting individuals the freedom to craft their itinerary, pace and priorities without compromise. Whether basking in the tranquillity of a secluded beach or meandering through serene countryside landscapes, these experiences contribute to self-care and overall well-being. Increase in specific searches include solo travel (up +35%), glamping aesthetic (+260%), Cabin in the mountains (+180%), Village vibes (+145%), Island life (+30%), and searches for national parks, which increased +250% since last year.

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Britons holidaying abroad are getting more value for money

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A elderly British couple holidaying abroad.
Sterling has strengthened in value against 21 popular currencies over the past 12 months | Photo: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

Strong currency performance puts more cash in pockets of Britons holidaying abroad

Rising rates for sterling mean holidaymakers can look forward to getting more for their money in the vast majority of holiday destinations this year, according to new exchange rate analysis by Post Office Travel Money for its regular Holiday Money Index survey of currency rates and sales trends.

Sterling has strengthened in value against 21 of Post Office Travel Money’s 25 bestselling holiday currencies over the past 12 months but the amount by which Britons can hope to benefit varies quite significantly from one destination to another. While Britons can expect to receive 3.8 per cent more than a year ago when changing their pounds into euros and 5.5 per cent more US dollars, they will get far more for their money when visiting Turkey, Kenya and Japan.

The Exchange Rate Monitor, published as part of the Holiday Money Index, reveals that Britons visiting Turkey will currently get around 73 per cent more liras for the pounds than a year ago – the equivalent of almost £211 extra on a £500 currency purchase. This rises to 113.5 per cent – or £266 extra – over two years.

Sterling has also gained almost 21 per cent in value against the Kenyan shilling and 15.7 per cent against the Japanese yen compared with a year ago. Although the dramatic fall in value of the Egyptian pound reported in last year’s Holiday Money Index has bottomed out, it is still 6.3 per cent weaker than last March. Cumulatively, this means visitors will receive around £234 (88 per cent) more on a £500 currency transaction now than two years ago.

There have also been sizeable sterling gains against the currencies for a trio of the most popular destinations for UK holidaymakers – Prague (Czech Republic: +12.7 per cent), Thailand (Thai baht: +9.9 per cent) and South Africa (South African rand: +9.2 per cent), while Britons visiting friends and family in Australia will get 8.5 per cent more holiday cash for their pounds.

Only four currencies – the Polish zloty, Mexican peso, Costa Rican colon and Swiss franc – have gained ground against sterling. The pound’s biggest fall of 4.3 per cent year-on-year has been against the Polish zloty, although this is eclipsed by two year losses of over 20 per cent against the Costa Rican colon and Mexican peso.

Sterling’s current buoyancy against most leading holiday currencies – including the euro and US dollar – provides a great incentive for Britons considering trips abroad in the coming months. Most currencies have weakened against the pound in the past year, and many of these are for destinations that traditionally offer the cheapest prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples. Good examples of this range from Turkey and the Czech Republic in Europe to Kenya, Thailand and Vietnam further afield,” says Laura Plunkett, Head of Travel Money at Post Office.

The latest analysis of currency sales by Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four of all UK foreign exchange transactions, reveals that sales of 16 of its 20 bestselling currencies have risen over the past 12 months (February 2023-January 2024). It also observes that many of these currencies are continuing to show marked growth in 2024 to date.

Reviewing sales for January 2024, Post Office Travel Money reports that Caribbean currencies have seen the most dramatic year-on-year growth among its 20 bestselling currencies. In particular, it found that East Caribbean and Barbados dollar purchases rocketed by 103 per cent and 64 per cent respectively in January – outperforming growth levels by rival destinations in the Far East.

However, taking at the year as whole, seven Far Eastern currencies dominate the top 10 chart of Post Office Travel Money’s currencies showing the greatest levels of growth. The biggest percentage sales increase was for the Chinese yuan, which recorded a spectacular 573 per cent year-on-year rise, albeit against very low sales the previous year when visits to China were off limits.

The euro and US dollar remain by far the most popular holiday currencies, topping the chart for the past year as they have consistently done – and a sales increase of nine per cent in January made the euro the 10th fastest growing currency for that month.

Demand for aspirational destinations is also particularly strong. Both the Australian dollar, third in the Post Office bestsellers top 10, and New Zealand dollar, ninth in the table, have built on the exceptional currency growth seen a year ago when Australia and New Zealand re-opened to international visitors.

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