As the long school summer holidays approach, days out with the children don’t always involve an experience that calms the mind, eases stress and relaxes the body. But there’s every chance that inhaling the perfume from 20 acres of lavender fields in Ickleford, just outside Hitchin in Hertfordshire, will achieve all three, while giving you the feeling that you’ve been spirited away to Provence.
Hitchin has a long association with lavender. In the 1500s, at around the time that Queen Elizabeth was adding it to her tea to ease migraines, Hitchin was already famous for lavender farming. Today, Hitchin Lavender has 25 miles of glorious purple fields to wander through and pick from. The £5 adult entry fee (£1 for children) includes a paper bag and a pair of scissors for harvesting your own. Sunflowers bloom in mid to late August and they can also be picked for 50p a stem. If you don’t want to pay to walk through the lavender, entry to the farm is free and there are plenty of public footpaths and countryside walks to choose from.
Don’t leave without a walk around the museum and gift shop where you can pick up lavender plants and a variety of Hitchin Lavender products, from soaps and shower gels to essential oils (useful for dabbing on stings or bites) and even lavender honey. If you fall in love with the lavender fields you can also say “I do” in the middle of them. They take wedding bookings. You can also book outdoor classes including Full Moon Meditation, Mindfulness and Yoga. Not one for the yoga purists, but Beer Yoga is another option. No yoga experience is required, “just an open mind and a love of beer.”
Lavender is in fullest bloom from now until August. Go to www.hitchinlavender.com for a full programme of events, prices and field opening times.
And for properties in Hitchin, Hertfordshire and beyond, check out the Michael Graham website at www.michaelgraham.co.uk. You can also find us on Facebook and as always, we welcome your tweets.