Building Research Establishment (BRE) Open Day (19/09/17)

We’d missed the Building Research Establishment (BRE) open day in 2016, and were desperate to go this year after hearing great things from friends. We’d booked in advance (tickets were free), planning to spend a couple of hours there, but the huge amount of things to see and do meant that we ended up staying…

Batchworth Lock (14/09/17)

We’d walked from Watford along the Grand Union Canal as far as Croxley, but had never quite made it as far as Rickmansworth. This trip, however, wouldn’t be on foot, as our little one told use he’d like to go on a bus – and who are we to refuse?! The bus dropped us off…

Wardown House and Park (07/09/17)

We’d seen adverts for Wardown House Museum and Gallery when we visited the excellent Stockwood Discovery Park.  Both museums, run by Luton Culture, seem to have benefited from significant investment in the past few years, and have clearly worked hard to provide a rich and varied visitor experience for all ages. Wardown House, just north of…

Redbournbury Watermill (03/09/17)

An ancient mill grinds flower. A market stall sells bread and cakes. Down the valley a horse paddles in the river ford, while over the water meadows rare wild fowl roam free. No, it’s not the Cotswolds: we’re only 20 minutes north of Watford, at Redbournbury Watermill. A mill has probably been on the site  since…

Ragged Victorians at the Chiltern Open Air Museum (13/08/17)

The Chiltern Open Air Museum is fast becoming a favourite place to visit and the ‘Ragged Victorians’ weekend didn’t disappoint.  It was one of the museum’s living history events and involved Victorian enthusiasts wandering around the site as if we had been transported back to the 1870s or thereabouts. We were very impressed by how…

Berkhamsted Castle (29/07/17)

Berkhamstead Castle’s a great place to visit with kids, only a twenty-minute or so drive from Watford. The ruins of the motte-and-bailey castle are owned by English Heritage, and the site is free to get in. There’s limited free parking right outside, just next to the train station. It’s a large, grassy, safe site where…

Stockwood Discovery Centre (11/03/17)

Having heard about the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton on The Smallest of Things blog, we decided to check it out on a rainy weekend day. With it only being a 25 minute drive from Watford, it was a handy, FREE, indoor place to visit with an energetic toddler. First stop was the Discovery Hall, which featured…

Bekonscot Model Village and Railway (30/01/17)

‘You must go to Bekonscot Model Village!’: we’d heard this countless times since moving to Watford. The model village, built in the 1920s, is on the edge of Beconsfield and reachable via the M40 in about half an hour from Watford on a good day. The weather was bright enough when we visited for some…

200 Years of Printing 1816 – 2016 @ Watford Museum (17/01/17)

Just before Christmas we popped along to Watford Museum to catch the 200 Years of Printing exhibition. We were unaware of the huge role Watford played in the development of the industry, and stumbled across the ad for the event when researching Rembrandt House. The story was told across display boards near to the entrance. There…

Moving to Watford: One Year On (13/12/16)

It’s a year since we moved to Watford from London. But did we? We’re still having conversations with friends and colleagues over what really constitutes ‘London’. We both work in the capital and consider Watford – as it’s on the tube and a quick overland hop into Euston – still part of Greater London. Our commutes…

Rembrandt House, Whippendell Road (12/12/16)

We’d noticed the old plaque (?) space on the side of refurbished Rembrandt House on Whippendell Road and tweeted out a few things about its early history. 140 characters doesn’t do it justice so here’s a little more … We’d heard the building had been a large printing works and had assumed this had always been…

Oxford Natural History Museum (01/11/16)

We woke up one Sunday to a particular wet weather forecast and thought, with just a tinge of panic, ‘we must get out of the house otherwise we will all go mad’. Out of that was born the idea of going to Oxford for the day, as it could offer a treat for us as…

Heritage Open Days: Amersham Heritage Day (07/10/16)

This was our last visit of the Heritage Open Days weekend held over 10-11 September. We hadn’t visited Amersham before: the town was far quainter than we’d anticipated, with some lovely independent shops, ancient pubs and a beautiful park.

Heritage Open Days: St Albans South Signal Box (29/09/16)

Third stop on our trip around Heritage Open Day attractions on the weekend of 10-11 September was St Albans South Signal Box. The Grade-II-listed site was built in 1892, but by 1980 had closed. After many years of neglect a Trust was formed in 2003 to look after it, with the signal box finally opening to the…

Heritage Open Day: Little Cassiobury House (10/09/16)

The house from which Cassiobury Park takes its name was sadly demolished in 1927. The recent restoration of the bandstand and the other improvements being made to the park as part of the Heritage Lottery fund grant have further revived interest in the estate, and it was with great interest that we visited Little Cassiobury House,…

Heritage Open Day: St Michael & All Angels (10/09/16)

Saturday’s terrible weather wasn’t going to stop us visiting a number of attractions open for this year’s Heritage Open Days. First up was St Michael & All Angels on Mildred Avenue (see some pictures of the exterior taken in sunnier times!). The church was consecrated in 1913 and was built over a number of years, mostly…