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27 November 2017 Written by 

Countdown to Christmas in Hertfordshire

The John Lewis Christmas advert has landed, the Starbucks red cups are back in stock, and towns across the county are preparing themselves to switch on their Christmas lights. The countdown to 25th December has officially begun, and it's about time you got the inside scoop on the very best places for an unforgettable festive adventure in Hertfordshire.

As little as 20 minutes from the capital by train when you travel with Govia Thameslink Railways, Hertfordshire is the perfect place for a festive day trip or short break from the city.

Take a look below at some of the top yuletide festivities coming up this season. It's time to experience a little of Hertfordshire's seasonal sparkle!


Head north (although not quite as far as the North Pole) where you'll find Santa's Grotto, a Christmas market, plenty of family entertainment, and the chance to take part in a fun Christmas trail when Letchworth Town Centre flicks the switch on 25th November.

Join Stevenage Football Club player Chris Day as he lights up Stevenage Town Centre on 30th November, and don't even think about leaving before you've bundled inside the selfie snow globe to savour the moment, or stopped by to stroke one of the adorable huskies who will be joining in the day's activities.

Street entertainment, stage performances and the chance to meet Father Christmas will accompany Hemel Hempstead's light switch-on on 26th November. And, in historic St Albans you're invited to soak up the sights, smells and festive ambience with their light switch-on (also on 26th November).


A trip to the St Albans Christmas Market is a must, as the historic city transforms into a traditional German Market this December. Enjoy a Christmas shopping experience in the atmospheric Vintry Garden with more than 60 fantastic stalls and wonderful food and drink, alongside top-notch entertainment, from 25th November to 23rd December.

Looking for a prezzie for that someone special or the perfect tree decoration? Discover all you want for Christmas and more when Hertford's Christmas Gala arrives on 24th November. Browse traditional Christmas market stalls and pay a visit to live reindeer before popping in to say hello to Father Christmas in his very own grotto.


Has the colder weather and (dare we say it) the start of frantic Christmas shopping got you feeling more frazzled than festive? If so, head straight to Hatfield's The Galleria to get your gift buying completely under wraps! With more than 80 shops in the centre covering the best of the high street names as well as some more specialised stores, you won't have to look far for presents to rival Santa's elves themselves.

For a day out that covers all festive bases, head straight for Watford's Intu Shopping Centre which offers a fun-filled day out for the whole family. Pay a visit to Santa in his grotto, enjoy frosted fun and games, or settle down for Santa's sleigh story! The perfect way to celebrate whilst ticking off those Christmas list tasks.


If you're yearning to be an ice prince or princess, head straight to Watford for a spin on the ice this season. Their outdoor Big Skate ice rink is open from 25th November until 14th January.

Alternatively, slide over to The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead where you'll find Santa hanging out on the slopes from 2nd until 24th December. London's closest indoor real snow slope, The Snow Centre also offers a range of options to make your festive season go with a bang. From a 2 or 3 course Christmas dinner with friends, to an alternative Christmas party night in the snow.


Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a trip to the pantomime. If you're looking for the perfect family activity to break the boredom between Christmas and New Year, head to Broadway Theatre between 27th and 30th December to join Dick Whittington and his Cat on the panto-adventure of a lifetime.

From 2nd December to 1st January let your hair down with Rapunzel when it arrives to Hertford Theatre, or find out whether true love really does conquer all in Stevenage's panto favourite Beauty & the Beast showing at their Watersmeet venue throughout December.


There's really no better time to visit the famous St Albans Cathedral, as the stunning site prepares for the Christmas season. Enjoy special Christmas tower tours in the run up to the big day, and take a break from Christmas shopping to enjoy their Carols on the Hour event on 16th December.

On 20th December head to Hatfield Town Centre and blow away the bah humbugs at their Christmas Carols event! Belt out your favourite Christmas tunes with the accompaniment of a brass band, hot drink, and a mince pie (or two...)


Put the magic into Christmas with a trip to the popular Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter which undergoes a makeover for their impressive Hogwarts in the Snow event between 18th November and 28th January. Marvel at The Great Hall which has been dressed for the season, and make sure to snap a picture of the majestic Hogwarts castle model, meticulously covered in a blanket of filmmaking snow.

In St Albans, Santa arrives to Willows Activity Farm for their Santa Spectacular event which runs every day between 22nd November and 24th December, and kids will feel like they're in paradise with a trip to Santa's Grotto at Paradise Wildlife Park in the lead up to 25th December.

For even more inspiration on ways to spend a December day in Hertfordshire, please visit www.visitherts.co.uk.


If you're looking for a Christmas retreat this December, Hertfordshire has some wonderful places to stay across the county. Curl up with a hot drink by a roaring fire, kick back to open your presents in a luxurious suite, or wrap up warm and head outside for a bracing Christmas day walk at one of these fabulous accommodation offerings:

· Champneys, Tring

· Sopwell House

· Down Hall

· The Grove, London's Country Estate

· Cromwell Hotel, Stevenage

· Devere Theobalds Park Hotel

· Hanbury Manor Marriot Hotel & Country Club

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