Residents are being invited to explore St Albans and the supporting area to sample the many attractions on offer during an action-packed weekend of events.
They can take a fresh look at where they live by visiting landmark buildings as well participate in sports and other activities either for free or at a discount.
Residents: Enjoy St Albans – formerly Residents First Weekend - is being held on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 January. It offers local people the chance to “become a tourist in and around your own city”.
Organisations taking part include St Albans Cathedral, several museums, the District’s main leisure centres, community groups, the Alban Arena and Willows Activity Farm.
The weekend offers something for people of all ages and interests including educational talks, exercise classes, guided tours, cut-price golf and a photo exhibition.
The weekend has been organised by St Albans City and District Council around five different themes: heritage, nature, active, Roman and creative.
Details of all the events can be found on an interactive map available on the website www.enjoystalbans.com/residentsenjoy
Councillor Salih Gaygusuz, Mayor of St Albans City and District, will be attending a number of the events over the weekend and said: “I am looking forward to seeing and learning many new things about St Albans.
“This is a weekend that anyone interested in our marvellous City should not miss. It is a great way to discover more about our rich cultural and social history and take part in some challenging activities.”
The programme includes:
- St Albans Cathedral Tours. Enjoy spectacular views of the City from the great Norman Tower. See the bell ringing chamber and other hidden gems. Both days.
Redbournbury Watermill, Redbournbury Lane, St Albans. Free entry on the Saturday from 9am to 1pm and on the Sunday from 2.30pm to 5pm. See a working mill in action with children able to grind flour on a replica Roman quern
St Albans Signal Box and Railway Museum, Ridgmont Road, St Albans. Free on both days from 10am. Experience the life of a Victorian signalman and use some of his equipment.
Objects On Demand – St Albans Museum Service has selected 70 objects from its collection that have local significance: take your pick from the selection to get a closer look. Town Hall, both days.
Clock Tower – climb the 93 steps for beautiful views of the City from the sole surviving medieval Clock Tower in the UK. Both days.
St Peter’s Church – guided tours on Sunday with information about the history of the church.
Willows Activity Farm, Coursers Road, London Colney. Free child entry for every paying adult from 10am – 5.30pm on both days. Farmyard animals, adventure play, tractor rides and acres of undercover play.
Heartwood Forest – the District’s mecca for dog owners, walkers, horse riders and countryside lovers. Open all weekend during daylight hours.
Batchwood Golf Course and Leisure Centre offers free gym all weekend, plus two for one at Abbey View Golf Course and a free Zumba class on the Sunday, 10am-11am.
Westminster Lodge has a bumper weekend of free and reduced cost activities including 25% off the Spa, £1 taster sessions on the climbing wall and a £1 Wet’n’Wild swim session.
- Cotlandswick Leisure Centre in London Colney has an open weekend with discounted and free activities including 25% off the football pitch bookings.
- Radio Verulam, above the Courtyard Café, 11 Hatfield Road, on the Saturday from 10am. Your chance to visit the studios of the 92.6FM community radio station. Stair access only.
- Courtroom dramas and guided walks – St Albans tour guides will be showing the Town Hall’s 1831 court room and re-enacting the sort of trials that took place there. Saturday only.
- St Albans and District Talking Newspaper - adjacent to Radio Verulam. Visit the sound recording studio where weekly audio programmes for blind and partially-sighted people are made. Saturday 23 January from 10am to 4pm.
- Write It Out Haiku – ten boards displayed around the City, created by writers from the local Parkinson UK branch experimenting with three-line Japanese poetry. Both days.
- St Albans Adventure Group – join a walk with this outdoors group around the District on Sunday, staring 10.30am.
- Verulamium Museum – View and learn about the Sandridge Gold Coin Hoard, one of the largest Roman coin collections found in the UK; design your own coins and listen to a gallery talk on domestic life in Roman Britain. Both days.
- Alban Arena – a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at the District’s premier entertainment venue. Reserve a ticket at the Arena box office at www.alban-arena.co.uk
- St Albans Camera Club Exhibition – free both days in the Town Hall foyer. Photos from an annual competition for A-level and University of Hertfordshire students.
- The Abbey Theatre at Westminster Lodge opens its doors to reveal its 2016 line-up and provide some musical entertainment. Sunday from 11am.
- St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society display at the Cathedral. The life and work of Frederic George Kitton, St Albans resident, 1889 to 1904. Includes his writings and sketches.
- Teenage authors from BeauSandVer, a sixth form consortium, team up at the Oxfam Bookshop for an hour of readings from their stories.