There is more to Hertfordshire than its beautiful scenery and charming villages. With this itinerary, you will get the chance to discover Hertfordshire’s first gin distillery, Britain’s original health spa, a picturesque canal market town and glorious food in between.
Your first stop is in the beautiful Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a vision of idyllic countryside. Nestled in the hills you will find Puddingstone Distillery, Hertfordshire’s first gin distillery and creators of the award-winning ‘Campfire’ gin. The founders came up with this name after many a G&T was enjoyed outside around a campfire. Discover the story of Campfire gin during one of the tours around the beautifully designed distillery, bursting with the inviting aroma of juniper, or visit the shop to try some for yourself. While you’re here, wander down to P E Mead & Sons farm shop just next door, where you will find an array of local delights from fresh fruit and vegetables to freshly baked bread.
Lunch at The Akeman
A five minute drive will take you to The Akeman for lunch with everything from home cooked Sunday roasts to wood fired pizza. The restaurant is housed in an impressive Victorian building with many original features still in place such as the wood panelling and fireplace, perfect on a chilly winter’s day.
Once you have eaten lunch, take a walk around Tring Park for some fresh air and wildlife spotting, one of Hertfordshire’s most historic and diverse Woodland Trust sites and just a short walk from the restaurant.
Dinner and a stay at Champney's Tring
For the evening, indulge in total relaxation and rejuvenation at the luxury Champneys Health Spa in Tring, Britain’s original health spa. Your stay here includes access to all of the facilities, whether you would like to partake in an energetic gym class, wander around the 170 acres of parkland or relax in the sauna or jacuzzi, the choice is yours. There is also the spa of course, with a selection of specially crafted beauty and health treatments. The restaurant offers a choice of healthy yet delicious dishes leaving you feeling satisfied before retreating to your country style rooms, complete with the customary white robes and slippers.
After a fresh and healthy start to the day following a delicious breakfast, a ten to fifteen minute drive will take you to Ashridge Estate, back in the Chiltern Hills. This estate boasts 5,000 acres, home to ancient beech and oak woodlands, meadows, plains and a variety of wildlife. You can spend hours and hours exploring this vast expanse in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. By foot or bike is best so you can experience nature at its very finest firsthand, ramble in the meadows, follow the many footpaths, sit under an ancient oak tree or simply get lost in the serenity of Ashridge Estate.
The Alford Arms
For a well needed lunch, head to the Alford Arms, which is right on the doorstep of Ashridge Estate. This award-winning pub is tucked away in a small hamlet in Hertfordshire called Frithsden, surrounded by a secluded wooded valley and the Chiltern Hills. This is the perfect place to stop after a long walk or bike ride. The menu is a wonderful selection of classic recipes with new and interesting twists, local and seasonal produce, home-baked breads and foraging from the local area.
The Alford Arms
End your two days in Hertfordshire with a taste of the award-winning beers from the Chiltern Hills, straight from the cask. Tring was without a brewery for over 50 years, but Tring Brewery has well and truly established itself as one of the best with numerous awards to its name. It’s also worth noting that the beers produced proudly showcase special characteristics of the region itself. You may notice some rather unusual names such as ‘squadron scramble’ or ‘side pocket for a toad’. Each name has an interesting story behind it, inspired by influences from the region which you can learn about on one of the tours.