Places of Interest
Hatfield has a rich history and a vibrant present, offering an array of places of interest for visitors to explore. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or just looking for a day out with family and friends, Hatfield has something for everyone.
From stately homes and historical landmarks to beautiful parks and modern attractions, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Hatfield.
Hatfield House and Gardens
A large Jacobean country house, built by Charles Cecil I in 1611, set in the picturesque 42-acre Great Park on the East side of Hatfield. The House features spectacular examples of Jacobean artisanship within its walls, such as in the famous Grand Staircase and in the Great Hall, which was used for entertaining members of the Royal Court.
The deer park surrounding the house and the older building of the adjacent Old Palace had been owned by Queen Elizabeth I’s father, Henry VIII, who had used it as a home for his children. It was while she was living in the Old Palace, in 1558, that Elizabeth learned of her accession to the throne.
In 1934, this navigational device was placed onto the roof of London Aeroplane Club to assist pilots with finding their way back to the Aerodrome in Hatfield. Providing a flashing white light that could be seen from up to 38 miles away, the beacon helped to visualise the route into Hatfield without the pilots having to rely on spotting and following landmarks such as roads and railway lines.
While the beacon was made obsolete during the Second World War, with the introduction of radar technology, the beacon remained in place in Hatfield until 1988, when it was relocated to North Weald Airfield Museum.
In 2013, it was moved back to Hatfield and now stands outside the Law School on the De Havilland campus of the University of Hertfordshire, close to its original location.
Statue of Sir Geoffrey de Havilland
A statue of Sir Geoffrey de Havilland was erected in July 1997 near the entrance to the College Lane campus of the University of Hertfordshire.
De Havilland was, in effect, a benefactor of the university itself, as in 1951 the de Havilland company gave the land adjoining the A1(M) to Hertfordshire County Council for educational use in perpetuity; this is also where the De Havilland campus of the university gets its name.
De Havilland’s statue was unveiled by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh.
Mill Green Museum
Hatfield’s famous 18th century watermill sits on the banks of the river Lea and uses techniques from over 1000 years of history to grind grain into flour. The museum on site provides an opportunity to see the tools that Millers and Bakers throughout the years have used in the milling process and visitors can explore the rich history of mills in Hertfordshire through their timeline exhibit.
The mill also runs special events, activities, and concerts throughout the year.
A designer outlet, featuring over 80 shops, restaurants, a giant indoor kids play area, and a nine-screen cinema, the Galleria first opened its doors in 1991.
Sitting, quite literally, on top of the A1 motorway, the centre was designed with Hatfield’s aeronautic history in mind, with its glass exterior representing an aircraft hangar.
This area of open grassland, situated on the site of the former Hatfield Aerodrome, features a series of interlinking paths, suitable for walkers and cyclists alike.
Covering the area where the runways used to lie, Ellenbrook Fields covers around 400 acres in total and was famously used for filming a portion of Steven Spielberg’s movie Saving Private Ryan and later the TV series Band of Brothers.
University of Hertfordshire
A force in education for over 70 years, the University of Hertfordshire provides training, education, and experiences for over 30,000 students from across the world. With over 550 degree options for prospective students, the university is split over two main campuses (College Lane and De Havilland), a site at Bayfordbury Observatory, and smaller sites across the local area.
Partnered with many major institutions and organisations across the globe, the University of Hertfordshire welcomes over 11,000 international students from over 140 countries to its campuses.
In turn, UK-based students have the potential opportunity to travel abroad to one of 170 universities worldwide to further their studies and experiences.
With a mission to create a rich and vibrant culture of higher education excellence, the University has been situated in the heart of Hatfield since 1952, where it was established as a technical college. From then, the institution has gone from strength to strength, growing to a Polytechnic before receiving full University status in 1992.
The Weston Auditorium
A full, 450 capacity performance venue, catering for orchestras, theatre productions, concerts, conferences, and meetings, the Weston Auditorium is situated in the heart of the De Havilland campus at the University of Hertfordshire.
With its excellent technical facilities, the Weston Auditorium regularly stages performances by the de Havilland Philharmonic Orchestra and features special exhibitions, guest speakers and unique performances.
Art and Design Gallery
The Art and Design Gallery at the University of Hertfordshire boasts the accolade of being one of the most innovative contemporary art spaces in the UK. The gallery space is an ever-changing landscape of art and ideas, photography, interactive installations, and more – featuring work by new and emerging artists from the UK and overseas.
A hub for the School of Creative Arts, the students who make use of this space can forge new relationships and connections with industry professionals and can kick start their careers in the arts. Come along and be the first to see what they can do!
The Forum Hertfordshire
Located on College Lane, the Forum brings world class entertainment to the University of Hertfordshire.
With events catered to all tastes, there is a night out to be enjoyed by any student of Hatfield’s home of higher education.