Hanging out in Herts

St Albans Cathedral, one of the places of interest on Christine’s trip to Hertfordshire.

In mid-June, Christine Horton, GTO for Hadleigh’s Salvation Army Ladies Fellowship in Essex, took 40 members on a day trip to Hertfordshire to visit the Van Hage garden centre in Great Amwell and the city of St Albans.

A friend of Christine’s recommended the garden centre, which not only offers a wide range of plants, garden products and furniture, but a miniature railway and free entry to its animal gardens. Christine says, “Van Hage at Great Amwell sounded like the perfect place for a group outing and I paired it with a visit to St Albans as there is only a thirty-minute coach drive between the two destinations.”

“As usual, I booked a coach with Kirbys of Rayleigh, Essex. They are reliable, friendly and always offer a fantastic service,” she continues.

Christine discovered Van Hage garden centre was well worth the visit. She comments, “There was a huge choice of plants on offer, and excellent clothing and homeware departments, but the animal gardens turned out to be the highlight! With 33 different species of mammals, birds and reptiles, there was much to see, from farm animals to more exotic creatures such as meerkats, racoons and marmosets.”

On arrival at St Albans in the afternoon, the group split up to explore the city at their own pace. Christine chose to visit St. Albans Cathedral, famed for its blend of architectures from different periods and its great tower, which includes Roman bricks salvaged from the ruins of Verulamium. Christine recalls, “The atmosphere was very peaceful and the excellent weather meant we could enjoy the beautiful grounds at their best.”

Of Great Amell’s Van Hage garden centre, Christine concludes, “It’s the perfect venue to visit for a couple of hours. We will certainly be returning!” Look out for GTO’s upcoming feature on garden centres to visit across the UK.