Just 35-miles from London, Stevenage has an enviable range of activities close to the town centre including Knebworth House, the famous Tudor house and grounds that also doubles as a historic live music venue, all 120-acres of Fairlands Valley Park plus a museum, huge soft play arena and lots more.
Activities in Stevenage
Those around in the 90s will instantly recognise the name Knebworth, thanks to a series of huge Oasis gigs that took over the Tudor stately home and massive gardens, attracting hundreds of thousands of Britpop fans. Knebworth House still has a reputation for hosting large-scale gigs and live events, with Robbie Williams and Led Zeppelin playing there in recent years, but there’s a lot more to this huge Tudor estate than just rock and roll. Located just a few miles south of Stevenage, the Tudor house dates back over 500 years, with guided tours available, while the sprawling 250-acre gardens are home to a range of wildlife, 28 acres of formal gardens, a huge adventure playground and a fascinating dinosaur trail packed with over 70 prehistoric creatures. The house and gardens are largely open from spring to autumn, so check on their website for the opening hours before you arrive.
Benington Lordship Gardens
Fairlands Valley Park
If it’s outdoor family fun and adventure you’re after, look no further than Fairlands Valley Park. The 120-acre park located a mile and a half east of our Stevenage Central hotel is home to a wide range of activities including sledging, mountain biking, mountain boarding and an 11-acre lake used for windsurfing, kayaks, canoes, dinghies, power boats, fishing and more. There’s also a splash park which is perfect for toddlers, a bouncy castle, adventure maze and climbing wall. You can book ahead for courses or lessons for many of the activities, or just park up at the free large car park and explore the nature, walking and running trails, large pond and paddling pools.
Partyman World of Play
Now a nation-wide chain of soft play centres, Partyman World of Play is a one-stop shop for kids, toddlers, children up to the age of 13 and overworked parents who need a breather while their children let off some steam. With ball pits, slides, obstacles, multi-storey structures and trampolines to explore, there’s lots for kids to do. The centre is open daily from 10am-6.30pm in the Stevenage Leisure Park, while there’s an on-site café for hot food and drinks.
Get down and fabulously dirty at Church Farm, a real working farm packed with activities a short drive east of our Stevenage North hotel. A farm day pass will get you access to the animal farm trail where you can see hundreds of sheep, pigs, chicken and cows and allow you to explore the woodland – and come across the play area if you look hard enough. There’s also an excellent café and pub on site for lunch, drinks and snacks, and the farm store packed with fresh produce. You can also go egg-collecting, ride on the farm tractors and even book overnight camping – and glamping – should you want to really explore the great outdoors.
Open Wednesday to Saturday, the Stevenage Museum boasts nearly 30,000 artefacts including historic photographs and objects dating back hundreds of years. The small, free-entry museum just behind the Westgate Shopping Centre charts the history of the town, from its Saxon roots through to its position as Britain’s first post-war new town. The collections cover a wide range of topics including natural history, archaeology and geology, with regularly rotating exhibitions and a small on-site café and gift shop.
Benington Lordship Gardens
Benington Lordship Gardens might only be open a few weeks a year, but the Norman keep with a moat and an impressive 17th-century house is well worth discovering. The gardens are stunning and are open on select days and weekends from February each year where you can discover the pools and ponds, various gardens and array of wildlife. You can also come during some of the festivals held there each year, including the Chili Festival held every August bank holiday. Make sure to stop in at the tea room when you’re there and stock up on their excellent range of homemade soups, cream teas, coffee and cakes. Visit their website to see if they are open during your stay.
Welwyn Roman Baths
Take a fascinating trip back in time by visiting the Welwyn Roman Baths, several miles south of Stevenage. Once part of a huge villa complex, the Roman ruins have been uncovered and amazingly preserved, allowing you to discover their amazing network of hot, cold and warm rooms and state of the art heating system. The site is open daily from the end of February to October and then at the weekends and bank holidays during winter, while they also run regular re-enactments and children’s activities during the holidays.