Word of Mouth Wednesday is our new blog feature. It’s going to be our regular list of things we like. We’ll share recommendations and spread the word. Any product, person or place that we discover, we’ll give it a mention. So if you’ve got somewhere / something / someone you think deserves a shout out, please email me email@example.com.
This week we’re giving you some ‘out & about’ inspiration. We start with the healthy option – getting your fresh air fix at Heartwood Forest. But if eating and drinking is more your thing – we’ve got you covered with a couple of pubs and some restaurant early-bird eating options. Oh and we’ve also got the cinema in there; details of a few upcoming events and a quick reminder of our previous ‘out and about’ posts in case you missed them.
Bluebells at Heartwood Forest:
Heartwood Forest is a new forest of woodland and wildflower meadows. You can explore by bike, horse or on foot along a network of paths, with three marked trails and two bridleways. Take a picnic or grab yourself something from Sandridge Village Store on the way. Alternatively if you work up a thirst, you could pop in to one of the nearby pubs – The Rose and Crown or The Queens Head. FYI there’s no toilet in the Forest so you’ll need to venture to Sandridge Village Hall if you get caught short. At this time of year you can also go to see the beautiful bluebells. But, if you do visit, please keep to the designated paths (and your dogs / children too). Unfortunately there is a growing issue with trampling within the forest which is damaging the bluebells. Once damaged (by dogs, children, people taking photos etc), the bluebells need approximately five years to fully recover. So please show respect and stick to the path. Click here to read more about the Heartwood Forest ‘Save our Bluebells’ campaign. The Forest lies between Harpenden, Wheathampstead and Sandridge; the nearest postcode is AL4 9DQ. As you arrive in the area you’ll see signs which will direct you to the carpark.
The Hare & Hounds pub:
One of the pubs that we frequent for our Women Aloud book club is The Hare & Hounds. It’s also where my family regularly go to unwind – and when we can’t be faffed with cooking. As well as lots of traditional pub grub, they do a children’s menu, Sunday roasts and mid-week specials…Tex-Mex on Tuesdays, Pie night on Wednesdays, Burger night on Thursdays and Fish night on Fridays (usually priced at £10, which includes a drink). In the Winter, they have a real fire roaring away and for those sunny days they also have a sizeable garden and some play equipment for the children. The pub also has a function room and baby change facilities. Dogs are welcome. The Hare & Hounds, 104 Sopwell Lane, St Albans, AL1 1RL.
The White Lion pub:
Another pub we go to for book club is The White Lion. It’s definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been since they refurbished last year. Good food with a lunch, dinner and little snacking menu; as well as daily specials and Sunday roasts. It’s also got a garden with plenty of seating to enjoy your drinks in the sunshine. The White Lion, 91 Sopwell Lane, St Albans, AL1 1RN.
The Odyssey cinema (and some nearby places to eat):
Few hours of free time? How about a cinema trip? In the middle of the day! I recently did this. I was unusually child-free with nothing urgent to do so I decided to go to The Odyssey cinema…how decadent! Going during the day was great; not busy, cheaper prices for the best seats, I even had a little bottle of Prosecco. If you know in advance that you’re going to have a day to yourself then you can book online, but you can just turn up as chances are there will be seats still available (don’t take this risk for evenings, weekend showings or during holidays.) If daytime is a no-go and you’re going to watch a film in the evening…why not indulge and have a bite to eat too. You could pop in to The Great Northern gastropub next door or a few steps up the road there’s Prime Steak & Grill who offer an early bird menu (2 courses from a set menu, £16 ) until 6pm. You’ve also got the latest addition to the London Road eating scene, St Villa, who offer 20% off their à la carte menu until 6.30pm (Monday to Friday) and if you bring your Odyssey ticket you can enjoy a free drink when you order two mains. And if you venture just round the corner from the cinema onto Lattimore Road, you’ll find La Casa Nostra; a cosy, reasonably priced, Italian restaurant – be sure to book though as it’s always busy. The Odyssey, 166 London Road, St Albans, AL1 1PQ.
If you’re looking for something to get you ‘out & about’ over the next few weeks; here are a few events you might be interested in…
- Book launch of ‘Spice Health Heroes’ | Thursday 20 April | Waterstones St Albans. The author will be sampling drinks from her book, tickets are £3 each and are redeemable against the price of the book on the evening. RSVP here >
- Women Aloud book club | Tuesday 9 May | The book we’ll be discussing is I’m travelling alone by Samuel Bjork. Find out more here >
- Introduction to Mindfulness | Saturday 20 May | Run by The Mindful Pathway. 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM. The day will cover both Mindfulness meditation and mindful practices that you can integrate into your daily life. Beginners welcome. Find out more here >
And finally, just in case you might have missed our ‘out & about’ posts…here’s a little reminder of what we’ve been talking about:
- Date night dining at Brasserie Blanc
- A bread making masterclass at Redbournbury Watermill
- A little bit of luxury at Pennyhill Park Spa
- Gin tasting with Tomoka Spirits Boutique
- Meraki festival fun comes to St Albans
- Chappell and Caldwell Supper Club
That’s it for today ladies. Don’t forget to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to give a shout out and share your recommendations in our new Word of Mouth Wednesday feature.